Fresh baked bread, just like Mom used to make
Zojirushi bread maker bakes a perfect loaf and can also be used as a portable oven
The bread machine comes with a timer that can be set up to 13 hours ahead, so you can set it at night and have fresh bread for breakfast. It also comes with 10 bread cycles, including a super-speedy 2-hour Quick Bake, and an option for light, medium, or dark crust (with a viewing window to check the color). It makes a big 2 pound loaf, and you don't have to worry about the ingredients mixing consistently, because it comes with dual kneading blades.
Sound a little run-of-the-mill? Possibly, but what the machine lacks in technological novelty, it makes up for in versatility. According to the Zojirushi Web site, it can also be used for starting sourdough and making other dough that can be baked in other shapes; it can make homemade jam; and it can be used as an oven to make cakes or even meatloaf (although I can imagine a meaty aftertaste in my next sweet bread).
You can pick up the Zojirushi for between $190 and $225, depending on where you look, which by my calculations is just about the cost of 45 loaves of bread. If a year's worth of home-baked bread sounds better than store-bought, then consider buying yourself this holiday bread maker. And hey, you can save money and just give out loaves of bread instead of gift cards!