Eleni’s Cookies look so good that you’ll want to think twice before biting in. The cookie madame, who left a magazine career to start her own company with her mom’s oatmeal-raisin recipe, is rolling out a special yearlong gift package of eighteen seasonal iced cookies stacked in a tin each month ($465 with delivery; 212-255-7990). The lucky recipients will pop open a box to find whimsically bright seasonal designs, from Santa and his reindeer to bunnies and carrots and later to sailboats and flip-flops.
THIS BUD’S FOR YOU
Bring the garden to a friend’s doorstep every month with a bouquet of blooming stems ($45 and up) or a potted plant ($50 and up) from Surroundings (224 West 79th Street, 212-580-8982; www.surroundingsflowers.com). They’ll put together a custom package based on your budget and your recipient’s taste (even calling monthly to see what the green thumb wants), to be delivered for as long as your wallet allows. Choose among their signature English-garden-style centerpieces and baskets overflowing with multitone blossoms (from $85), including a winning cluster of vibrant roses in a julep cup ($125). Order by December 15 and Surroundings will waive the $35 membership fee for its Flower Club, which entitles you to 10 percent off flowers, 25 percent off orchids, and five free deliveries.
MELT IN YOUR MOUTH
Receiving François Payard’s Les Plaisirs Sucre is like getting a regularly scheduled visit from the Sugar Plum Fairy. Sumptuous handmade French chocolates, a pyramid of fresh strawberries accompanied by lush chocolate fondue, and a chocolate-mousse cake with almond dacquoise and a pumpkin-crème brûlée center are just a few of the treats ($600 with shipping for the twelve-month program; 877-9-payard or 212-426-1772).
At La Maison du Chocolat, employees well versed in lingua chocolat will design a custom gift package – an elegant, beribboned brown box filled with chocolates of your choosing – to be delivered as often as you specify. Get an online preview of the entire collection of handmade creations, like cocoa-dusted fine champagne truffles ($36- $114) and dark-chocolate Habaneras infused with fresh peach pulp ($38- $47). Then call the shop with your choices, or go the Quick Pick route and just name your price, leaving it to the staff to send a monthly confectionary treasure. (1018 Madison Avenue, near 79th Street, 800-988-5632 or 212-744-7117; 30 Rockefeller Center, 212-265-9404; www.lamaisonduchocolat.com)
Alfred Dunhill, that debonair English tobacconist, has a Cigar of the Month Club ($575 with shipping; 800-776-4053) that will deliver four cigars every month, selected from their collection of more than twenty brands of new and vintage stogies. The recipient also gets matchsticks and a Dunhill cutter; all he’ll need is an ashtray and some Altoids.
After you’ve taken care of the man, it’s time to look to his best friend. Give the pooch a yearlong treat with all-natural, vegan doggie cigars and cigar butts, complete with a nori seaweed band, from Blonde With Beagle ($164 with shipping; 888-819-2477). Developed by Josie Bell, taste-tested by her dog Charlie, and vet-approved, they’re even good enough for humans to snack on. Although the peanut-butter-flavored edible Frisbee is probably strictly for Fido.
FOLLOW YOUR BLISS
Think of it as Bliss in a box. Beauty queen Marcia Kilgore, whose spa services are touted by everyone from downtown divas to ladies who lunch, felt that everyone should enjoy a bit of her brand-name pleasure at least once a month. Hence the aptly named Continubliss ($999 with delivery; 888-243-8825). It kicks off with the arrival of a chic leather tote bearing a $100 gift certificate (a little something toward the famous triple-oxygen facial or that $1,000 jar of Crème de la Mer) and continues with at least two BlissLabs products per month, everything from the skin-softening Hot Salt Scrub to the ultra-intensive hand treatment Glamour Glove Gel. We loved the cheery blue packaging and blueprint instructions, which make re-creating spa treatments in your bathroom that much easier.
Not the do-it-yourself type? Avon’s preening mecca (725 Fifth Avenue, near 56th Street; 212-755-avon) offers Relax to the Max ($1,050), twelve monthly massages and a stash of body products that will ease even the tightest joints; Skin Deep ($1,050), a year of facials and skin-care products; and Nail It ($350), for a once-a-month manicure and bottle of polish (add another $550 for pedicures).
Chef extraordinaire Daniel Boulud serves up a year’s worth of gastronomic pleasures for two with A Taste of Daniel ($800, with tax and shipping; 212-327-3434). The gourmandizing begins with his hand-sliced Scottish smoked salmon, and proceeds every other month with delivery of his recipe-packed cookbooks, certificates for a three-course lunch at Café Boulud, and a five-course lunch at Daniel, culminating in a box of Boulud’s Connoisseur Iranian caviars.
Here’s a truly classic(al) gift: A Ticket Buyers Club membership to the New York Philharmonic ($170-$320 with handling; Lincoln Center, Broadway at 65th Street; 212-875-5656). Membership includes three to six vouchers for the season, which can be used for seats to anything from Beethoven’s Ninth (conducted by music director Kurt Masur) and Strauss’s tone poems to Klezmerfest and the Bach Tribute 2000.
WHAT’S UP, DUCK?
If foie gras is the gold standard for someone on your list, Hudson Valley Foie Gras – one of only two U.S. companies producing fresh duck liver for food meccas like Chanterelle – has the perfect gift for you. The Epicurean Dream Package ($450 with shipping; 877-BUY-FOIE) includes award-winning delicacies like fresh duck, terrine of foie gras, hickory-smoked duck breasts, confit of Moulard legs, and a canapé kit with Sauternes-flavored foie gras mousse. Products will arrive every other month, along with care-and-preparation instructions. Feel free to invite yourself to the cocktail party, because each parcel feeds eight.
Morrell and Company’s globe-spanning wine selections arrive each month – a red and a white, handsomely packaged and complete with tasting notes ($600 plus tax and shipping; 1 Rockefeller Plaza; 212-688-9370). The chosen bottles cover the oenophile spectrum not only geographically, but from dry to sweet and still to bubbly.
For more than 100 years, Flatiron Cleaning Company (212-876-1000) has tackled dirt everywhere. At $17 an hour (before tax and car service; four-hour minimum), their cleaning elves dust and tidy, mop, vacuum, wash the kitchen and bathroom, polish silver, and even do the laundry. They’ll happily arrange a year’s worth of visits for $919.32 (or shorter arrangements, as well). But they won’t do the cooking.