Every year, Ann and I round up our favorite gifts at the beginning of December. And every year the line between “great for others” and “great for me” gets a little fuzzier. So all of these are both – things I’d recommend giving to the special people in your life, but also things I’d be happy to find under the tree labeled with my name.
1. If you’ve got a collector in your life, a leather tray is a fantastic gift. Ann doesn’t always appreciate my collection of detritus on the dresser — cough drops, bills, yesterday’s collar stays, acorns, Airpods — but I think this could help. One person’s trash is another person’s treasure. Mine run together.
2. Okay, so a sport coat is a gift for someone you REALLY love. But this one stood out to me because the windowpane is like Christmas lights on a tree… brights against the earthy neutral ground. So it’s got some holiday cheer but it’ll take him throughout the whole fall/winter season.
3. A cashmere hat. Now that I have been shaving my beard and keeping my hair shorter, I could use a little extra warmth up there. This heather pine color is really beautiful.
4. A tie that speaks to the recipient’s interest can be really nice. Tennis… records… cats… the stock market… It’s not always something they’d buy themselves but it does show that you’re paying attention. Actually, it looks like there’s only one of those cat ties left, so you’ve gotta jump on it if there’s a cat guy in your life.
5. Periwinkle cords are a nice gift for the guy who likes basics but wants to step out a bit. It’s more neutral than you’d think, and pairs nicely with browns and greys and navy blues. Like jeans with a little lift.
6. A whole week’s worth of navy socks. Hear me out on this – these socks are one of the greatest things we’ve ever made. The guy that makes them for us in Portugal is a sock fanatic and we literally spent years working with him to get them right… a real upgrade over our previous Italian-made ones (which we liked until we didn’t). They’re 2ply/2ply yarn, they stay up on your leg, they stay cool in the summer and the winter… as far as socks go, these are aces. I prefer over-the-calf, but sock length comes down to personal preference — so for the super practical or regimented guy, find out which way he leans and give this a shot. He’s gonna like it now and love it later.
7. Another very practical gift – that’s got a bit more personality – is a cheery pair of boxers in Liberty Fabric… flora or fauna. These can function as sleepwear or loungewear, and they always put a smile on my face. For the quieter guy, university stripe oxford or end-on-end is a cool choice… it can match his dress shirt.
8. This windowpane shirt is a winner. It feels like it could be a staff shirt for the elves while they’re working on toys. Can’t you just picture a whole office full of them wearing it? Or workshop, I guess. It’s so happy. In fact, this was one of the first swatches we picked for the fall season. It did not check the basics box, but I love it.
9. For the guy who loves a half-zip sweater, this track jacket sweater is a nice changeup. It does it all. You can warm up for a race or stay warm under a blazer. Great with a pair of grey sweatpants or grey flannels.
11. More in the way of reading material… Riffs by Bruce Boyer. You may know GBB for his clothing writing, but you’re gonna have a whole new level of admiration once you get into this new book on jazz, blues, and early rock. We love a renaissance man, and Bruce is a legend.
13. I like the idea of a leather tote for a recent graduate or someone who’s landed a new job. An upgrade for the schleppers. I currently use a canvas tote but this one is pretty handsome. Maybe it’s time to up my game in 2024.
14. This Cashpad fishtail parka is like a cross between a coach’s jacket and a Mod military coat. Kinda Vince Lombardi meets Quadrophenia — so a great gift for football fans or music fans. Or fans of layerable outerwear. The quilted liner is made of recycled cashmere and it can be removed in milder climates. Just unbelievable… one of my favorite pieces of the season.
15. A special belt buckle makes a very cool gift. The tree of life is on my personal wishlist, which is funny, because we’ve been making it for nearly a decade, but just recently got back into it. It may not be the tree of the holiday season, but it is the tree of life… so I’d say it’s the tree of every season. It’s bound to get a compliment, or at least a comment. Get them a leather strap to go along with it and you’re in business.
16. For the last-minute host or neighbor gift… the No. 138 candle scent has been my favorite lately, and we pre-wrapped a batch of them for easy grab-and-go gifting in the coolest marbled paper with a box of matches (which, now that I think about it, would look great in that tray.)
17. A box of stationery and a Kaweco fountain pen to go along with it. Brass if you’re splurging, green if you’re not. Kind of unexpected but highly useful, and probably something he’s not gonna buy for himself.
18. Chocolate peanuts. Like I recommend every year. I cannot get enough of these. Anyone who likes to snack will feel the same.