AFTER ALL the Thanksgiving hoopla, I was finding it hard to focus on that next big holiday on the calendar. In particular, I was running on empty when it came to gift ideas, let alone interesting ones. So, as I’ve often done in the past, I checked in with my fab MyLittleBird colleagues—Nancy, Mary and Kathy—for their suggestions on what to give and also what they’d like to see under the tree for themselves! Nancy found some wild pajamas; Kathy is asking Santa for Fragonard soaps and Mary is hoping someone among her family and friends wants a terrarium. Thanks for your input, team, and to Stephanie, who has already weighed in with her garden-inspired thoughts. See below for some inspiration for your own list. And, as long as you’re asking, I did come up with a few of my own ideas.
JK Adams, the Vermont company of butcher-block renown, has these clever new cheese boards made of charcoal slate. We have the Washington DC skyline on ours—it’s part of the JK Adams Cityscapes Collection. There are seven other cities represented: Boston, Chicago, Denver, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Seattle. At 5 by 12 inches, they’re not humongous, but at $20 they’re a great hostess or even regular gift.
Nancy: No, I don’t want to drink absinthe and don’t know anyone who does. But how cool will this 19th-century repro absinthe carafe look on your favorite friend’s bar cart? The Absinthe Loupe Carafe (left) is $49 at Frontgate. In olive-growing areas of Italy, where people take their olive oil seriously, they take these handsome stainless-steel containers to the local cooperative frantoio and buy their oil for the coming year. Now, I use a lot of olive oil but not this much—I just want to feel a bit more italiana. This two-liter stainless container with spigot (right) sits on a stand, is by Sansone and is $89.95 at WaterCheck.bz, which sells it as a water dispenser.
Kathy: There isn’t much I want, but I can always find lush throws, fancy room sprays, goofy Christmas ornaments I’d like to give to friends and family. I think once we get to our age we have just about everything we want. Certainly everything we need. And then experiences become more important than things. So I suppose if there is something I’d want it would be for Santa to spring for one of those Viking River cruises along the Danube or some other European river.
Kathy: If Santa has maxed out his credit cards, there is one other thing he might consider giving me and that’s a year’s supply of my favorite Fragonard Olive Oil Botanical Soap (left). It’s the one thing I’ve splurged on since a French friend gave me a bar years ago. And now I give it to my friends, too. $19 may be a lot to spend on a bar of soap, but the lavender fragrance is divine and the dense, luxurious bar lasts a month. I usually buy six bars at a time at Fragonard. Janet: They make this Santa Maria Novella Potpourri (right) out of a mix of rosemary, clove, thyme and lavender. It supposedly smells like the Tuscan hills. I think it smells better. This bag of 100 grams is $35.
Janet: There’s a recipe in Yotam Ottolenghi’s and Sami Tamimi’s Jerusalem cookbook, Roasted Chicken With Clementines & Arak, that makes me, a so-so cook, look like a star. Ottolenghi has recently come out with a new one, Ottolenghi Simple: A Cookbook (left, $21, Amazon) that promises dishes made in 30 minutes or less with 10 or fewer ingredients and a single pot. A definite for my friends of similar cooking caliber. I have a brand-new glossy kitchen with a despicable-looking dish rack that’s old as dirt. This minimalist, Japanese-designed Wood-Handled Dish Rack (right) might even change my attitude about washing dishes. It’s $65 from Food52.