gift guide

A Time to Give

Holiday gifts that are anything but cookie-cutter.

Photos by Stephen Lewis Prop Styling by Sonia Rentsch
5 min

Travel & Adventure

ODS-1 Classic in-ear headphones
For a frequent flier, a pair of packable in-ear headphones is essential. Taking inspiration from the novels of Jules Verne, Paris-based Aëdle wraps its ear hooks in hand-stitched Venetian leather; the brushed aluminum buds feature a custom 10mm driver for deep, natural-sounding lows. $360;
Erno Laszlo hydra-therapy skin vitality treatment
The “famous pink mask” is a set of four moisture treatments for those whose faces need cooling and plumping after an overnight flight—or just a long day on the road. $80;
Delvaux Le Mutin saddle bag
An updated take on the label’s classic Chasseresse silhouette, this covetable carry-on from Delvaux’s latest collection is made from soft calfskin in rouge de pourpre—a magenta-meets-purple hue—and has a sporty twill-tape strap that wears lightly. $3,900;
Travel map pin board
Start a new family tradition with a pinnable board from Conquest Maps, a small operation out of Columbus, Ohio. Using 12 colors of pins, mark out your worldwide or American adventures on one of three elegant designs. From $99;
Shearling eye mask
One could wear this Fendi eye mask at home, but where’s the fun in that? Made from Italian silk, it’s decorated with mink fur to resemble the camouflage of butterfly wings and is guaranteed to make an impression at 30,000 feet. $590;
Stow tech and travel case
At 8-by-11 inches, this organizer from London-based leather goods company Stow is large enough to hold an iPad, and it comes with a plug adaptor usable in more than 150 countries. $575;

Style & Grooming

G-Timeless watch
This psychedelic 36mm timepiece displays lunar phases on a rotating rainbow disc that spins behind the dial. $1,460;
Simon Miller bonsai bag
The Los Angeles designer’s “bonsai” take on the bucket bag, with its acrylic handles, has become the preferred choice of fashion folk. There’s enough room inside for a phone, keys, wallet, and cosmetics. $590;
Apoteker Tepe Holy Mountain perfume
New Orleans-based perfumer Holladay Penick Saltz, who started Apoteker Tepe in 2014, uses natural ingredients to evoke the fragrance of a winter hearth: seven different resins, plus a rare extract of Lapsang Souchong tea, create an earthy warmth. $110;
Mark Cross vintage duffel
This jewel of a bag, made by one of America’s oldest luxury leather brands, is made from Italian calfskin leather in a natural brown. But the blue demands appreciation. $2,995;
Concrete eau de parfum
Fresh off her retrospective at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, Comme des Garçons designer Rei Kawakubo expands her line of perfumes with Concrete, a sandalwood homage to the city that comes in a bottle made from its namesake material. $150;
Bubble cluster ring
The new collection from Brooklyn jeweler Caitlin Mociun features a batch of Instagram-ready rings, including this “bubble cluster” of pearl, peach moonstone, and white diamond. $1,910;
Saturated-color sweaters
If you must buy a sweater, stay on trend with a bold color, whether in Acne’s coral pink, Theory’s conservative navy, or Raf Simons’s honeycomb marvel in marigold from his 205W39NYC collection for Calvin Klein. From top: Acne Studios, $650, and Theory, $285; CK, $775;

Home & Office

Baggen connected speakers
Stockholm-based Urbanears’ multiroom speakers are a powerful addition to the category. Users can stream from built-in Spotify Connect, AirPlay, or Chromecast; connect via Bluetooth; or use the classic auxiliary cord. They come in colors such as goldfish orange, indigo, and “dirty pink.” $499;
Tom Dixon cog pen collection
For these sleek writing instruments, British designer Tom Dixon set aside his typical metallic finishes, choosing a high-impact blue. $135;
Transparent box of dominoes
A domino set this handsome, with jumbo, tournament-size two-tone tiles and spinners, deserves to be displayed—and frequently played. $180;
Octopod clock
The latest collaboration between Swiss avant garde watchmakers MB&F and clockmaking artisans L’Epée 1839, the Octopod is inspired by the submarine hulls in the James Cameron film The Abyss. (Some may see a resemblance to Toy Story villain Babyface.) Its jointed legs can be unlocked and set in a range of positions, while the globular head rotates in every direction for optimal visibility. Rather than a traditional minute hand, the gears and springs inside the clever floating mechanism tell the time. $36,000;
Gitterwerk vase by Josef Hoffmann
Got architecture buffs on your shopping list? They likely love Hoffmann, the legend of the Wiener Werkstatte design collective, who created this latticework enameled steel vase in 1905. $380;

Sport & Exercise

Vaporfly 4% running shoes
These are the sneakers Nike designed to break the two-hour marathon barrier. They feature a carbon-infused nylon plate with a 10mm offset to minimize Achilles tendon strain and a 31mm stack height that adds impact protection for long distances. $250;
Hero6 Black camera
The newest iteration of the beloved minicamera has its most advanced stabilization technology yet, as well as 4K video at 1080p. But most exciting are its new QuikStories—slick, automatically generated videos edited from footage sent to your phone. $499;
EL 42 binoculars
Known more for its hand-cut crystal glasses, Swarovski also makes the most high-end binoculars on the market. These birdwatching favorites have an ergonomic wraparound grip and 4.9mm exit pupils to produce bright images in low light. $2,832;
Top loader bag
This waxed canvas duffel from Tracksmith looks simple, but the Boston-based independent running brand has reinforced the edges with leather corners and added a separate compartment for your shoes. $168;
Cannondale CAAD12 105 bicycle
Aluminum bikes don’t get the love that carbon fiber ones do, which is a shame. With an ultralight frame weighing just 2.5 pounds, this 11-speed bike is perfect for everyday city riding. $1,599;
Scorpion bike stand
For racers, a portable, lightweight bike stand comes in handy for cleaning, maintenance, and race-day storage. Make sure the bike has a hollow spindle crank—that’s where it attaches. $60;
Vyper 2.0 fitness roller
Turbocharge recovery times with this three-speed vibrating foam roller. Tested by top athletes, it’s made by Hyperice, a company partly owned by NBA All-Star Blake Griffin, Olympic gold medalist Lindsey Vonn, and former NFL MVP Adrian Peterson, among others. $200;
The Elder Statesmen x NBA scarves
The much-hyped Los Angeles-based fashion brand collaborates with the NBA on cashmere (yes, cashmere) scarves for fans of all 30 teams—even the Knicks. $725;

Food & Drinks

Salter Fine Cutlery knives
Artisan Gregg Salter makes every one of these blades in his shop on the Big Island of Hawaii, pairing traditional Japanese blacksmithing techniques with beautifully curved handles made of native Koa wood. They’re the preferred knives of the chefs at the Grill, which opened in May at the former Four Seasons inside New York’s Seagram Building. $1,035 for two-piece set;
Last Drop 1971 blended Scotch whisky
Any drinker would appreciate receiving one of the mere 1,352 bottles ever made of this whisky blend. It’s the latest from Last Drop, a London-based outfit that buys up, blends, and distributes casks of aged liquors from shuttered distilleries. In his 2017 Whisky Bible, Jim Murray gave the release a 97-point score and named it Scotch Blend of the Year. $3,999;
Glenmorangie Pride 1974
Even fewer drinkers will get to enjoy the Glenmorangie Pride 1974—a scant 503 bottles of the $9,050 single malt exist. The spirit inside the crystal decanter (by Philippe Starck protégé Laurence Brabant) has notes of salted-caramel toffee, chocolate truffles, rum raisin ice cream, and aged balsamic vinegar. $9,050; email
Wim frozen yogurt maker
Froyo fanatics, take note: A Google alum has invented a one-touch, single-serve, Keurig-like device that’s perfect for home chefs or those who don’t cook at all. (Milk not included.) $299;
Toast toaster
In December the Museum of Modern Art design store will begin carrying this stainless-steel beauty. Designed in 1968 by Italian architect Gae Aulenti, it remains the cheekiest way to burn your bread. $198; pre-order from
Dimes peppermill
Feel like more fun in the kitchen? This multicolored pepper grinder, by Sabrina de Sousa, co-founder of Manhattan’s healthy snack haven Dimes, adds just the right amount of spice to the table. $120;
Canon wine tilt
Your guests won’t be able to miss that special bottle in this 3D-printed porcelain wine “tilt,” available in a numbered edition from Brad Ascalon, a New York-based designer who’s also created furniture for French powerhouse Ligne Roset. $410;
2009 La Romanée Domaine du Comte Liger-Belair
This spicy grand cru red Burgundy, from a plot directly behind the legendary RomanéeConti vineyard, boasts rich cherry and rose-petal flavors with an overlay of smoky minerality. This stylish, sensual vintage has ultra-smooth tannins and the house’s hallmark silky texture. $3,600;

How To Give…


…a work of art

“The most potent gifts are things you would miss yourself—to choose something that is, in a way, a loss to you. That is the real gift of giving. It goes for a work of art, too. If you know the person really well, a unique object can have incredible resonance. My advice is just to give the gifts you want to receive, so you don’t end up being the kind of person who gives socks and underwear at Christmas.”
—Philip Hewat-Jaboor, chairman of the Masterpiece London art fair

…a piece of clothing

“Oh, that is hard. But you can’t go wrong if it comes from the heart. What I always tell anyone I give a gift to is, ‘Listen, if you need to return this, go ahead. Swap it for something you like more. I may not have gotten it right that time.’ And that is why we sell a lot of gift cards at this time of year. It’s less pressure. My dad used to say about money as a gift: ‘It’s always the right color, and it fits everybody.’”
—Sid Mashburn, owner of his namesake upscale men’s boutique, Atlanta

…something for the home

“It’s not about brands. You have to believe in your object. It could be a story, a link with your own family. It could be new, it could be old, it could be expensive. It’s more about the experience. I gave the best gift to my son. It was a small wooden box that my great-grandfather had given to my father, so when my son was 16, I gave it to him. It’s the link with family, with story, with savoir faire.”
—Sophie Demaret, director of spa and boutiques at Hôtel Crillon, Paris

…sports memorabilia

“Personalized stuff is really big. If you know someone is a big supporter of a particular team or, in my case, a race car, getting them that specific thing is good. But if you can get it personalized somehow, that’s even more special. If they like [my racing team] Penske, for example, and they like a particular car, reach out over social media and ask for something specific to be signed. Sometimes in racing and motorsports, colleagues will send a die-cast of your vehicle—like a 1/60th scale version of your race car, just miniaturized but identical and very detailed—and those mean a lot to me.”
—Josef Newgarden, 2017 Verizon IndyCar champion and driver with Team Penske, Nashville

…a good bottle

“If it’s a birthday for someone who’s not too old, I find a wine from the year of their birth. If the person is quite ‘mature,’ I recommend ports—you can find a very, very aged one and it’s still affordable, compared to an older bottle of Bordeaux. Some people drink bourbons or Scotch, so I try to get a rare one or a year that is special to them. But if you want to make Anthony Bourdain smile, just find a bottle of Pappy.”
—Eric Ripert, chef of seafood restaurant Le Bernardin, New York