Finding the perfect holiday gift can be maddening — is this the color they’d want? Is it something they already have? Is it so last year? — but really, once you have a sense of a person’s taste, it’s not impossible. This season, we’ll be talking to members of various tribes to find out exactly what to get that serious cook, or golf dad, or picky teen girl in your life. Think of it as a window into their brain trust — or at least a very helpful starting point. Today, ten wives and girlfriends on the gifts (from comfy robes to all-purpose oils) they want for the holidays.
“A subscription to Bouqs.com. A friend gave me a year-long subscription to this flower company for a birthday a couple years back, and every few weeks when I least expected it, really unique flowers would show up at my door. Let’s be real, I don’t need flowers. Watching this year’s mounting climate disasters and conflicts, I’m left wanting to do more. So, I’d ask for four temporary shelters provided to refugee families by the International Rescue Committee.” — Jessi Hempel, editorial director at Backchannel, married 12 years
“Daniel Wellington opened up a relatively new boutique in Soho. I visited and fell in love with the rose gold version with a leather band. I’m trying to use my phone less, and having a watch — the real kind — helps keep me from having to constantly check the phone.” — Hempel
“I am obsessed with this lotion. Day to day, I wear a homemade body oil mixture, but I save this lotion for special occasions. It tones, moisturizes, and gives my skin that J.Lo glow. It’s a perfect stocking stuffer. I also have a bag full of prints that I have needed to frame for more years than I would like to admit. The bag currently lives behind the mirror in my bedroom, so I can avoid the shame I feel every time I look at it. If someone, say my boyfriend, were to take them and get them framed for me at Framebridge, it would be the best Christmas surprise.” — Cristina Martin, marketing at BentoBox, dating for one year
“A pair of Ted Muehling earrings — my favorite. [Editor’s note: These are a great mom gift we’ve written about before.] A joint membership to the New York Times Film Club — great films and when we had a membership before it helped us to have a date night. I’d also love a gift subscription to Murray’s cheese-of-the-month club. Luxurious and yummy.” — Terri Gloyd, owner of LIC Counter Café, married 30 years
“I really want the Yolkster! It helps you make perfectly poached eggs. My friend has it and says it’s amazing.” — Olivia Seely, public relations at Derris, dating three-and-a-half years
“Anything from Catbird. My boyfriend usually does a really good job of picking out simple jewelry like tiny gold studs. I’d also love a black cashmere scarf for the winter. Naadam or Cuyana have ones I like. We do a big trip every year in lieu of physical presents. It may sound strange, but I’ve been dying for a pair of compression socks for the flight — my feet get so incredibly swollen and I have to hobble off the plane.” — Seely
“I’m also obsessed with my houseplants. I really want this Haws watering can but haven’t been able to convince myself to spend the money.” — Seely
“I love this book as a little, thoughtful stocking stuffer. I think in life, we all experience struggle or pain of some sort; it’s what you do when it happens that matters. It’s an inspirational gift. I found it through Oprah’s Book Club!” — Ronnie Sykes, communications strategist, married two months
“I love all the Shinola products and would really adore this watch. I don’t wear a lot of color but I keep coming back to this watch with the green face. It is never something I would buy for myself but I want it.” — Kaylan Rexer, brand director for Ilegal Mezcal, dating eight months
“This is my favorite go-to for just about everything: moisturizer and hair oil and perfume. It smells fantastic, has natural ingredients, and feels amazing on the skin.” — Jennifer Plotnick, dentist and owner of Grand Street Dental, married two years
“This Fellow Stagg matte black pour-over kettle, which I’m sure has lots of fancy features that actually affect the quality of your coffee but I just want because it’s pretty.” — Christina Chaey, editor at Bon Appetit, dating for three months
“A plushy bathrobe from Snowe to live in for the rest of the season, whether or not I am post-shower. Also if we’re talking about couples’ gifts, matching bathrobes are a thing I secretly LOVE.” — Chaey
“I’d also want a Jo Malone luxury candle, because I cannot bring myself to spend that money on a fucking candle but have no issues accepting one from someone else.” — Chaey
“While we’re at it, throw in one of these adorable ceramic match strikers, which I guess you could also use to store Q-tips but other than that serves literally no other purpose.” — Chaey
“I want books by brilliant women: The Synthetic Proposition is a must for anyone interested in conceptual art and identity politics in art. I have heard the author give incredible lectures about conceptualism covering Adrian Piper, Renée Green, David Hammons, Mary Kelly, and several more. And South of Pico by Kellie Jone covers artists like Betye Saar, Noah Purifoy, Senga Nengudi. I just missed her reading but I am eager to read this book.” — Jennie Jieun Lee, ceramic artist, dating six years
“The Judi Rosen Doo Wop Forever Sweatshirt. I’ve known Judi since the early ’90s and I am so pleased she has a new shop in Greenpoint. A very long time ago, I used to wake up to neighbors singing doo-wop on my corner in San Francisco, so this sweatshirt seems like a perfect vestige of my youth.” — Lee
“I really want the face oil from Wonder Valley. This stuff is amazing, made in the California desert from organic essential oils. I wash my face with it, I use it as a moisturizer; I wear it as a perfume and it’s good for your face, body, and hair. It’s just a one-stop shop. Also would love a necklace by my friend Irene Neuwirth. She uses a lot of raw gems and has an uncanny eye for color compositions that are reminiscent of the ocean.” — Kelly Sawdon, partner and chief brand officer at Atelier Ace, married two years
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