Arts & Culture

The Big Jewcy Gift Guide

Our fashion editor has a gift idea for just about everybody you know. Read More

By / December 2, 2010

As New York City is decked in faux snow, scattered with twinkle lights and smelling of pine thanks to the epic Rockerfeller tree, us Jews are only days past digging into our sad excuse for a Thanksgiving meal. In the homes of Jewy Jews, Thanksgiving marks a harvest festival without a key ingredient. And so, I typically grip my Venti gingerbread latte in its adorably Christmas themed Starbucks cup each Thanksgiving morn as I take a moment to mourn the sad absence of butter in the infamously fleyshik feast. While we typically get a week or so between what soon turns into the most gluttonous month of the year, this year the masters of the lunar calendar had a more permanent food baby in mind when they managed to let Hanukkah and its latkes land itself immediately after we’ve stuffed ourselves full of Americana. With all the eating to fit in, there is not much time to prepare for eight nights of gift giving. And so, I thought I would take the liberty of assembling some quick solutions for catering to the wishlists of your friends and family.

For the Tech-Savvy Teen: After you’ve spent the year spoiling your teen with various gadgets, Echo’s Touch Gloves ensure their little fingers won’t catch frostbite as they punch in your credit card number to download the latest apps this winter. With styles ranging from your basic winter wear to more stylized driving gloves, your tween will not be sacrificing fashion for function as he or she skis down the slopes to the “WASPy Sporting” playlist they’ve created on their new iPod Touch. Sold in a variety of colors and textiles makes unisex gifting as simple as shopping online. Echo Touch Gloves, $25.00 – $78.00 are available at Bloomingdales nationwide and at echodesign.com.

For the Happy Hostess: While the average Jewish man believes that this title should apply to any and every Jewish female, there are few among us who truly epitomize what it means to be a ruffled apron wearing, cupcake baking, overwhelmingly perky happy hostess. These mini Martha Stewarts smile at the sheer thought of brining a whole turkey and find it essential and normal for their homes to consistently smell of something freshly baked. These ladies collect vintage kitchen trinkets the common chef would have no use for and surprisingly, love their booze as much as they do a perfectly butchered piece of meat. Selecting a trinket they are bound to not have picked up in the chaos of pre-holiday food preparations is sure to get you invited to their gourmet holiday soiree. Anthropologie’s Castle Key Bottle Opener and Dining Room Measuring Spoons are perfect for poppin’ corks, takin’ names and preparing the adorable little bar snacks she will not be able to resist whipping up. The Castle Key Bottle Opener, $12.00, and the Dining Room Measuring Spoons, $24.00, are available online or at Anthropologie stores.

For the Buttoned-Up Prep: For the girl who will likely be receiving more than her fair share of button down oxfords and bland winter scarves this season, its your job to spice things up. Knowing fair well that you will find her at holiday parties and on New Years Eve dressed as a standard Plain Jane, gift her an item that won’t take her too far out of her comfort zone but can still unleash the fun-loving edge she’s been keeping hidden behind those starched collars. Christian Louboutin is beloved even by the conservative set and selecting a pair you know she would never choose on her own is key. Turning any dress into a holiday look is simple when sporting these Ron Ron pumps. Their all over sparkle makes them versatile and simple enough to be paired with almost any cocktail dress. This works out well for Plain Jane – you know that having to put together complex, fashion forward looks makes her as uncomfortable as vacationing outside of Martha’s Vineyard. Christian Louboutin Ron Ron Pumps, $595.00, are available at Barneys New York and on their website.

For the Acquaintance: Whether it be in the form of a colleague, friend of a friend or an all too amicable distant relative, having good manners turns gift giving into an instant unpleasantry when they present you with a perfectly wrapped token of your supposed bond. Feeling the need to reciprocate when presented with a beautiful gift from someone who until now you thought you had all figured out is not as simple as the designer cashmere scarf they had wrapped for you, their supposed best friend. Preparing yourself for said awkward situation with an affordable, elegant and thoughtful gift option gives you a one up on this presumptuous gifter. Sending anyone a box of artisinal chocolates from Gail Ambrosius Chocolatier infused with flavors as exciting as earl grey, saffron and sweet curry and shiitake mushroom  is a sophisticated way to appear as though you’d planned it all along. Gail Ambrosius’ truffles, $22.00 for a box of 12, are available on her website.

For the Girl Who Has Everything: You know her and you love to hate her, she somehow has everything and you have the means and desire to buy her something lavish she has yet to acquire on her own. This is where you should find yourself competing with the closet of your giftee – its your job to get her something current, exciting and frivolous that she has not yet seen but that can keep up with the labels she is accustomed to. Proceed with caution – if you have read any of my pieces before you likely know that when left to my own devices, I always take the time to recommend you buy something completely stunning, financially daunting and all things considered, totally unnecessary. That being said, this special gift recipient would thank me for suggesting you buy her this jeweled Lanvin shoulder bag. I consider jewelry to be far too sentimental to gift on a whim, but this glittery, holiday evoking piece is just perfect. Lanvin’s Jeweled Nyota Shoulder Bag, $2,890.00, is available at Barney’s New York or on their website.

For the Sartorial Gentleman: Whether they come with or without hefty bank accounts, there is a new breed of man that I cannot help but find devilishly attractive. Such is a breed of male that regardless of budget truly cares how he looks, smells and how often he grooms. He drinks single malt scotch, takes the time to shop vintage and yet remains undoubtedly rugged and masculine. For this chic magnet, I love gifting a few items I know he’ll never purchase for himself but would appreciate owning.  Byredo Parfums took the time to honor this sartorialist with their Fantastic Man Collection which makes the perfect gift for those who secretly enjoy smelling clean, fresh yet unique and factor that appreciation for hygiene into what makes them an uber man. The Fantastic Man Collection, $45.00 – $195.00, is available at Barneys New York or on the Byredo website.

For the Flipped-Out Frummie: For that friend of yours who went rogue for most of your college experience and who you later found out was spending most of their time at Hillel, it is important to honor the traditions they have committed to while providing them with a way to do so stylishly. For those who care far more about lighting the Hanukkah candles at exactly the right time post-sundown than they do their home decor, pick up this Jonathan Adler Hex Enamel Menorah which is certainly spiritual yet tastefully modern. sending them something a relative should have been nice enough to gift them at their Bar Mitzvah is a thoughtful way to insist that you really do understand the tradition that lurks behind the gift giving and delicious fried nibbles. The Hex Enamel Menorah, $295.00, is available at JonathanAdler.com.

For the Young Fashionista: For twenty somethings on a budget or pre-teens well-ahead of their J.A.Pdom, gifting something festive and holiday evoking while remaining affordable is key. To me, anything with sparkle fits the bill for a perfect holiday token and when it comes to affordable luxuries, fashion lovers are looking to beauty products, particularly nailpolish, to give them the fresh, exciting rush one gets from sporting a new ensemble. Gifting a single nail color can seem a little slighting so opting for the perfect set can be ideal for youthful fashion lovers. Deborah Lippmann’s All That Jazz Collection has versatile colors that are both on-trend and age appropriate for spreading all kinds of seasons greetings. I’d plan to sport the sapphire glitter polish for the eight nights of Hanukkah and swap it in for the ruby glitter when I attend my office Christmas party. For the rest of the season, the warmth and sparkle of the blush glitter will keep me smiling as each time I done and remove my gloves. The All That Jazz Trio, $40.00, is available on DeborahLippmann.com.

For Your Wife [not your Mistress]: Jewelry aside, shopping for one’s spouse is typically tricky, primarily when lingerie is concerned. While a wife would tend to purchase super sexy separates with her husband in mind, gifting an intimate item that is more for her than for you could be the personal touch you were hoping to achieve. The perfect cross between loungewear and lingerie is key in this case, and selecting an item in a delicate fabric ensures that all things selfishly raunchy get saved for later. Kiki de Montparnasse does sexy yet ladylike intimates and loungewear better than anyone and is perfect for both naughty and nice gifting. This time around, opt for their Wrap Teddy in a warm and luxe rose color. While choosing something special and feminine that is as comfortable as her sweats can say, “I appreciate you,” presenting your wife with an unsolicited box of naughty intimates can scream, “I accidentally swapped your gift with my mistress'” Kiki de Montparnasse Wrap Teddy, $195.00, is available at Barneys.com and in Kiki de Montparnasse boutiques worldwide.

For the Closet Fatty: This indulgent lady or gentleman relishes in the nights they get to take dessert to go and enjoy it in sweatpants, in peace and quiet on their living room couch. For this sweet-toothed foodie, eating dessert when full from one’s entree just is not the same as saving it for later when it can be properly savored as a pre-midnight snack. But, for the nights when you hope they are looking for something sweet without the added calories, Laduree Mini Perfumed Candles transport anyone to a lavish tea service at the famed Parisian macaron shop without contributing to one’s love handles. Pick up Laduree’s perfumed duo of fresh strawberry and sweet brioche mini votives, $50.00, at Opening Ceremony stores worldwide or on OpeningCeremony.us.

While you may not have a sartorial gentleman, a girl lucky enough to have everything or a JAPpy tween in your life, one of these exciting gifts is certain to put a smile on the face of any friend lucky enough to receive them. Whatever gift you choose to present to your loved ones, be sure to remove all price tags and pair it with a sentimental, handwritten card – nobody likes a gift from a disingenuous cheap-o.

To read more from Carrie Goldberg, visit her blog at ThisIsMPC.com.

*Header image brilliantly styled by Randi Brookman Harris for InStyle.

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