HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE 2022
From Thanksgiving gatherings to New Year’s Eve toasts, and all the “Happys” and “Merrys” in between, our end of year festivities tends to be a savory social jumble of friends and family. Whether dressed up or down, nibbling or feasting, in-person or online, chances are there will be sparkling lights, decked-out halls, seasonal songs and, of course, presents. To guide you on your gift-giving journey, I’ve filled the following pages with my favorite unique, fun, and enticing finds—all Santa sanctioned, I assure you! Merry Holidays!
I’M WITH THE BAND
Pioneer in plastic-free and toxin-free clothes, The Phoenix Brand, has come out with a shirt that crushes it on every level. FLOWMINGOS, a top made from eucalyptus-based, wrinkle-resistant lyocell, offers a retro nod to the iconic bowling shirt, only with artwork relating to its inspiration—the Flowmingos—a groundbreaking Brooklyn-based fusion brass band.
2022: A SLEEP ODYSSEY
Metrosexual or rugged individualist, he may not voice it in so many words but trust me, he’s a sucker for silk. Indulge him with the universe, delivered via the Milky Way in Celestial Silk’s Galaxy Pillowcase. This intergalactic overture to an excellent—and hypoallergenic—night’s sleep, and bed-head free morning, is (cliché intended) a dream come true. Info: celestialsilk.com
UP TO THE MINUTE
Highly coveted and drop-dead exquisite, mechanical timepieces from Bespoke Watch Projects begin life in limited editions, eventually reaching heirloom immortality. Intaglio 38 “Modèle Nu” Edition + Radial Lapis Blue Dial is among Bespoke’s most visually dramatic. Hand-finished with a curved silhouette, the design veers toward the hypnotic. Give it with caution.
If your favorite guy isn’t into presents, per se, think what would make his holidays happier, like taking over when unexpected kin quickly visit. The chill answer is True Story Foods’ Gather & Graze Holiday Bundle with Kurobuta bacon, prosciutto, and “salami.” A little sizzle/a little wrap then deli meats plus cheese & fruit and, zing all is calm, all is bright. Info: truestoryfoods.com
PLEASING TO THE EAR
My recent Zoom poll netted the following: people (mostly guys) are ready for a headphone upgrade; it’s the search that has them stuck on pause. Get ready then: YH- E700A Wireless Noise-Cancelling Headphones. Techno Nutshell: wireless; full-range sound; Bluetooth 5 with aptX; adapts in real time to individual ear shape… tons more, so head to the website and thank me later. Info: usa.yamaha.com
George’s “morbidly obese” wallet impacts his sitting and gives him back pain. Comedic hyperbole aside, it’s 24 years later and guys still overstuff. Stop the madness! At a svelte 8.5mm, The Groove Wallet™ holds six flat cards, has a detachable cash clip, is RFID secure, and its aerospace-grade body armor is guaranteed for life. Info: groovelife.com
Whiskey lovers, your luxury liner has arrived! Designer Dram’s master distillers have created an elegant on-line process that allows you to craft your own whiskey, from bespoke blend to custom label. In my (profoundly willing) test subject role, I tapped into Designer Dram’s on-point expertise, and it so paid off – both in presentation (breathtaking), and taste (perfection)!
He wants to go out… no, stay in… no, hang out... no, putter around. I get it, weekends are made for indecision… and football… and errands… and a nap… Let’s try this again. For all the above, just grab them: Proto101 Men’s French Terry Jogger Sweatpants. Soft, uncomplicated, with a hidden side pocket… and they come in six colors. Done and done… and nap. Info: proto101.com
CLOSE AT HAND
Since reality-TV divas and hardcore bloganistas aren’t the only ones hoping for a standout handbag among their gift cache this year, my annual everywoman quest brought me to Likha Clutch Purses, each one handwoven from natural plant fibers. Expect to be drawn in by the myriad designs and colors, distinctive clasps, and savvy size for essentials.
COMFORT & JOY
Cutting to the chase, Very Lovely Soles is a game-changer. This inspired purveyor of ballerina flats has styles ranging from everyday chic to sumptuously embellished (holiday parties, anyone?). Designed for comfort and longevity with soft Italian leather that molds to foot and offering amazingly cushy support, they’ve become my five-star go-to footwear. Info: verylovelysoles.com
Whether you’re gifting yourself, mom, sis, or BFF, Theraderm’s killer Anti-Aging System will pay off big time. Cleansing Wash, Fruit Acid Exfoliant, OPC Reparative Serum and Eternox Peptide Crème make up the daily regimen, and the limited-edition holiday version comes with a bag and bonus bottle of serum. Converts (like me) swear by it!
IT’S ABOUT TYME
Women everywhere are looking to downsize their arsenal of hair tools, but subtraction can be scary. After test-driving the TYME Iron Pro I concede: one is enough. Curl, wave & straighten, it’s all in the angle or wrist action. Built-in perks include (but aren’t limited to) five heat settings; temperature memory; auto shut off; cool colors. And curls hold -- all day! Info: tynestyle.com
ME, MYSELF & EYE
Anyone suffering from false eyelash envy, behold: MagnitiEYES™Lash Sets. Ingeniously glue-free, these ultra-luxe lashes have big-time celeb cred, as they’re the brainchild of makeup artist Ashunta Sheriff, whose clients have included stars like Rihanna, Marissa Tomei, Sean Combs and Becky G. Five fab sets cater to countless lash fantasies.
The artistry behind truly precious jewelry defies material and cost, a concept intrinsic to Love Talla’s uniquely personal fingerprint necklaces. Reflecting a “connection between people who matter most,” Talla’s designs, like her sun-centric The Rise, highlight the fingerprint of your choosing, for a gift that will, unquestionably, be cherished.
SHORT & SWEET
When the recipient in question is overdue for Elle Woods-inspired loungewear, Half Asleep’s Ruffle Robe is just what the lingerie guru ordered… in Dusty Sunrise (blush), naturally. Sustainably sourced, with ruffles in all the right places and unapologetically sultry draping, this study in femininity is (dare I say it?), a perfectly dreamy gift wrap. Info: halfasleep.co
The gift-giving fave, aka the winter scarf, has a reputation for teetering between practical & ho-hum. Verloop has none of that. In fact, all their knit items are colorful, fun, and certain to brighten even the grayest winter day. Their Soundwaves Scarf won my heart, but their website is filled with surprises like their eco-artful Repurposed Collection.
FOR HIM | HER | THEM
Urban warriors know the drill. Get up, get out, and keep your techno gear with you at all times. Herein lies my eco-centric obsession with Allégorie’s handsome/buttery soft Gala Tech Folio Bag. And while its slim profile defies the sizeable storage within, the big awesome springs from the fact these bags are made from apple peels. Upcycling above, beyond, and Delicious.
As the weather turns from brisk to frigid, and day dissolves into night before the 6 o’clock news, unleash some seasonal spirit—literally—by breaking out Saxtons River Distillery’s Perc Coffee Liqueur. Sipped as is, in Irish Coffee, or nuzzling with vodka in an Espresso Martini, Perc may not be exclusive to the holidays, but it doesn’t skimp on Joy to the World, either.
Initially, I thought that RED Chocolate Pralines, in either hazelnut or coconut, would be a good host/hostess gift. After tasting them, though, my selfish evil twin kicked in and, while I did eventually hand them over to my diabetic husband (no sugar added, yet decadent beyond belief), realized I’d have to buy in bulk—but only for those on my Really, Really Nice List. Info: red-chocolate.com
Debating what to get the gamer, podcaster, streamer, student, or content creator in your life? Clearly The HyperX QuadCast™ S White USB Microphone needs to be on your radar. Its litany of assets includes an anti-vibration shock mount, tap-to-mute with LED indicator, built-in pop filter, 4 polar patterns, and customizable RGB lighting effects. Info: hyperx.com
Harry Potter House Elves aren’t the only ones poised to whip up giant turkeys, elegant roasts, and to-die-for steaks. Pro and novice chefs are everywhere—perhaps even in your own kitchen—hoping to unwrap a meat thermometer that tells it like it should be. Well, the fix is in: MeatStick Mini is genius, any way you slice it!
For those of us who swear by sunglasses, style is mega, landing a “one-of-a-kind” pair? A rare coup. Until Woodzee. By converting authentic used skateboards into on-trend sunnies, no two pair in their Recycled Skateboard Series is identical. And all are in keeping with Woodzee’s sustainability mission. Classic yet cutting edge, you may find yourself ordering multiples. Info: woodzee.com
THE SET WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO
Destined to become a showpiece for anyone lucky enough to rate Dragon Glassware’s Diamond Decanter Set. The striking diamond design and its seeming ability to defy gravity when perched in its stand make the decanter—flanked by twin dragon embellished glasses—the epitome of cool. For wine, whiskey, brandy, and non-stop compliments. Info: dragonglassware.com
This year’s tree-trimming party just got a little sweeter with the addition of three tantalizing Gingerbread Ornaments from Sur La Table. Crafted in Poland by skilled artisans, each mouth-blown glass piece has been delicately hand-painted, so that every sugar-and-spice heart, star, and gingerbread dude are singularly spectacular.
3D & ME
What kid (or grown-up for that matter) wouldn’t want to channel her or his inner superhero into an action figure? Way possible. The Hasbro Selfie Series goes from mobile app to digital face scan to 3D printer to six-inch figurine of the subject as a Power Ranger, Ghostbuster, or G.I. Joe, Marvel, or Star Wars character. Virtually, “self” customization.
ON THE MOVE
What lives in a backpack under the radar until it unfolds into a cool set of wheels ready to take you… well, anywhere? Spin Master’s Valor Kick Scooter. Built “small to fit kids’ big lives,” this baby rocks the title World’s Smallest Full-Size Scooter while checking both the durability and smooth ride boxes. Awesome to the nth. Info: valorscooter.com
AND THE BEAT
Punch! Swipe! Twist! Flick! Four simple actions that turn a seemingly innocent hand-held gizmo into a mind-blowing music mixer/LED light show—and its possessor into one fierce DJ. RUKUSfx comes with pre-loaded music tracks and sound-effects, but its built-in mic and upload capability open the door to endlessly awesome mashups. Info: rukusfx.com
GAME OF DRONES
Forget the remote… just toss Sky Viper Force Hover Drone and let the good times take flight begin. Is it motion sensors or the magic radiating from your fingertips that keeps the sphere airborne? From aerodynamic freestyling to obstacle avoidance challenges, the drone is at your command… use it wisely.
With a retro lunchbox vibe, only filled with modern dollhouse delights, Play Maysie cases come in a variety of styles. But their Holiday Bundle Home Case (one side a living room, the other a kitchen) has it all, from magnetic accessories to dolls to carrying strap – in short, everything necessary for the best portable play date ever! Info: playmaysie.com
At 5, Mia, a New York kid with love of horses, invented Power Pony, a mini-steed replicating the real deal. Powered by a foot-controlled ZüME engine, Power Ponies trot, gallop, race, turn, and spin at a young equestrian’s bidding. The current stable of four fabulous ponies, including filly unicorns Princess & Crystal, are in high demand.
If Christmas 2022 happens to be baby’s first noel, HoneyBug has the wee one covered… along with swaddled, bibbed, and Rudolph-ed! Known for its brand-name custom boxes for infants and toddlers, HoneyBug’s Holiday Collection boasts a Rudolph box of baby basics starring a “deer’ knit Rudolph toy and storybook based on the TV classic.
YULE ADORN THEM
When budding bakers are too tiny to tackle recipes, REAL COOKIES’ Holiday Dip & Sprinkle Cookie Decorating Kit is just what the mommy ordered. Twelve chocolate chip cookies (gluten free and vegan) ready for tiny hands to dip into melted semi-sweet bits and bedeck with festive sprinkles. Scrumptious, but do try to save one for Santa! Info: realcookiesco.com