WHEN YOU’RE A KID, Christmas is all about getting. But the older we get, the more joy we get from giving. Here are a few suggestions for a variety of folks on your holiday shopping list:
FOR THE CHRISTMAS FANATIC
My love of the holidays is legendary. Exhibit A: I proudly wore my Buddy the Elf Ugly Christmas Sweater Vest from FESTIFIED (Festified.com) to Elf the Musical last night. Sure, it’s garish, with a quote from the movie on the back and flashing LED lights on the front. But the best way to spread Xmas cheer is being loud for all to see and hear, right?
Far more subtle is the Hawaiian Christmas 2015 shirt from REYN SPOONER (ReynSpooner. com), the designer brand favored by Pixar/Disney honcho John Lasseter. Designed by artist Eddy Y, this graphic collectable mixes traditional seasonal images with Hula girls and Santa playing drums and delivering gifts via canoe.
Socks are usually the lame gift your grandma gives you. But festive footwear– such as Holiday Penguins socks from K. BELL (ShopKBell.com) and reindeer-themed Anchorage socks from FARM TO FEET (FarmToFeet.com)– makes a great stocking stuffer.
I’m also really digging the new Roots Ski Hat from OKAY PLAYER (shop.OkayPlayer.com), which pays tribute to the greatest band in late night in cool Christmas colors.
FOR THE BEAUTY QUEEN/KING
We were fans of Brent Ridge and Josh Kilmer-Purcell on The Amazing Race. Now we’re bigger fans of their BEEKMAN 1802 (Shop.Beekman1802) line, featuring products grown/raised on their upstate NY farm. Their new Rare Earth Soap Collection has 18 petite goat milk soaps with special minerals added. Even the galvanized steel box they come in is a keeper.
Maryland’s WAXING KARA (WaxingKara.com) was started by beekeeper Kara Brook in 2012. Her beautiful Big Bag of Blossoms features full-size body butter, body scrub, bar soap, lip balm and Spa candle, all made from her honey and essential oils.
For the menfolk, there’s the Road Warrior Kit from LATHER (Lather. com), a “survival kit for guys on the go.” It includes travel-size body wash, shampoo, foaming face scrub, shave cream and more, all in a portable dopp kit and made from natural ingredients such as sea kelp, mint and almond.
FOR THE HOME CHEF
The holidays bring a whirlwind of activity in our kitchen and an assortment of new gadgets to try out. The certified refurbished Total Blender Classic from BLENDTEC (Blendtec.com) is a professional-quality blender that boasts a powerful 3.0 horsepower motor, 6 pre-programmed cycles, 10 speeds, and an illuminated LCD timer. Because it’s refurbished, it’s $120 cheaper, but comes with a 7-year warranty…
The 7-in-1 Multi-Cooker & Fryer from T-FAL (ChefsCatalog.com) is an innovative wonder that can cook almost anything. It allows you to fry, braise, sauté, simmer, brown, boil pasta and keep food warm, with a removable dishwasher-safe bowl that makes for quick cleaning.
The 3-in-1 Copper Fondue Set from TRUDEAU LUMINA (ChefsCatalog.com) brought back fond childhood memories of my parents’ fondue parties. This retro chic set makes it easy to whip up your own “melting pot” meal, putting a fun twist on your favorite meats, vegetables, fruits and cheeses.
FOR THE FASHIONISTA
Could leggings possibly be any more trendy right now? Every lady I know loves the way they look and feel. CHE RIE NY (CherieNY.com) offers an incredibly diverse array of spandex styles to choose from, from sweet to sexy and garish to groovy.
Not sure how I’m just now discovering the 112-year-old STORMY KROMER (StormyKromer.com) clothing line, but their comfortable, durable outdoor gear suits our lifestyle perfectly. My lady loves their quilted waxed cotton Highland Vest, which offers a form-flattering cut and faux fur collar.
She’s also a fan of IBEX (shop.Ibex. com), which is known for their outdoor clothing made from cozy merino wool. Their District Duffle Jacket is her favorite coat of the season, offering heavyweight warmth in a stately Putney Plaid print.
FOR THE POP CULTURE JUNKIE
This year brings a trio of sweet CD boxed sets, including Faith & Grace from legendary gospel/R&B group THE STAPLE SINGERS; I Saw the Light: The Unreleased Recordings, a 3-CD, 1-DVD set from country music icon HANK WILLIAMS; and the audio companion to my Reyn Spooner shirt, Hulaland: The Golden Age of Hawaiian Music, an excellent compilation from ROCKBEAT RECORDS.
New DVD/ Blu-Ray collections include the BEST OF HISTORY GIFT SET, 17 DVDs containing six of the channel’s most popular series; MY FAVORITE MARTIAN: THE COMPLETE SERIES, the classic sci-fi comedy that run from 1963- 1966; THE WONDER YEARS: COMPLETE SERIES, a 26-DVD set of warm, fuzzy nostalgia packaged in a faux-locker slipcase; and Mix 10 from INDIEPIX, a boxed set of 10 critically acclaimed indie films.
FOR THE SKI BUM/ SNOW BUNNY
Atlanta may not get much snow, but slopes in the north and west will soon be blanketed in white. The lightweight, water repellent Hometown Down Hooded Parka from STIO (stio.com) is great for keeping quilter Jack Frost at bay, with 800-fill responsibly sourced down, mid-thigh length, hand-warmer pocket, and a sleek modern look perfect for cities or slopes…
For full body warmth, pair the parka with Lithic Gloves from ARC’TERYX (Arcteryx. com) and St. Moritz Lite 200 Boots from HI TEC (Hi-Tec.com). Both are durable, insulated, waterproof and made to keep you cozy in the harshest environments.
For serious skiers who take their own gear, the alpine ski binding from KNEE BINDING (KneeBinding.com) is downright revolutionary. Made of strong carbon fibers, their patented Pure Lateral heel is designed to detect forces that cause knee injuries and release the skier’s boot when too much weight is applied.
FOR THE SHOE FIEND
Our family isn’t big on collecting stuff, but we all have more than our fair share of shoes. I was excited this month to learn of the return of SIMPLE SHOES (SimpleShoes.com), a beloved brand which came back via a Kickstarter campaign. Their slick, sporty Waveoff shoe is a retro-modern trendsetter, with Memory Foam insole and uppers available in suede and leather or hemp canvas and leather.
The Arctic Vegan Boots from JAMBU (Jambu.com) are an eco-friendly fashion hit, made from vegan leather with a partially recycled rubber outsole and top-to-toe faux fur lining.
FOR THE ACCESSORIZER
We’ve been a fan of WEWOOD (WeWood.us) for years now, and the line keeps getting better. Their Assunt Chocolate Watch is made from sustainably-sourced Indian Rosewood, a dark wood with streaks of purple and red. It’s a gorgeous timepiece, and comes in recycled and recyclable packaging.
The Berry Aztec Print of the Alberta Travel Tote from BAGGALLINI (Baggallini.com) is as colorful as the WeWood is refined. The bold Mexican-style print makes a fashion statement, while the roomy interior provides space for laptop, paperwork and more in hidden pockets. It’s perfect for business or pleasure.
FOR THE WORLD TRAVELER
Traveling 80-90 days a year for the past 5 years, I’ve realized that it’s the little creature comforts that make the difference when you’re far from home. Our list of the best gifts for travelers could fill an entire book! The Travel Kit by JW Hulme from ALLEN EDMONDS (AllenEdmonds. com) is made from American Bison leather, with solid brass hardware and a lined, pocketed interior. The kit oozes class and is guaranteed for life.
The Signature Briefcase with Madison Black Handle from ELLIOT TAYLOR (ElliottTaylorNY.com) is the snazziest briefcase I’ve seen, with refined black leather offset by the dark-stained valet handle. It’s a perfect accessory for the sharp-dressed man.
We’ve tested many luggage brands over the years, but none impressed us more than EAGLE CREEK (shop.EagleCreek.com). Their No Matter What Flatbed AWD 22 is another fine lightweight carry-on, with heavy duty fabric and 4 multi-directional wheels that make it easy to roll or carry.
FOR THE TECH GEEK
The portable laptop and tablet rendered the desktop computer obsolete. Don’t be surprised if the Alpha T10 Smartwatch from MARTIAN (MartianWatches.com) does the same for bulky cell phones someday. Its classic look says analog, but its smart features are extensive, including app notifications, voice command control, silent alarms, “Phone Leash” and “Find Phone,” and many more…
The Drive 4G-X Cell Booster Kit from weBOOST (weBoost.com) is a handy gadget that provides a more reliable cell signal and faster data speeds, even on the road. It can give you up to two hours of additional talk time in areas where signals are weak.
The SONY X1000V 4K ACTION CAM (Sony.com) is the first mountable camera with pro features like 4K resolution and full HD recording. The“Advanced Steady Shot” stabilization and high-frame rate shooting produce stunning videos. Accessories include board and helmet mounts and a remote control for viewing the action live. Watch your back, GoPro! -Bret Love
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