This was my birthday gift to myself (a tradition I highly recommend). After admiring John Sohn’s work for years, I finally treated myself. It is a big chunky hand to hold you close, or to lay cheekily on your couch. The craftsmanship is really outstanding, and the packaging it came in was inspiringly chic. Don’t forget to have fun!
I love Chicago. And hot dogs. And chips. And so these chips obviously combine a lot of my interests. They are also very good. Some seriously better living through chemistry because you can actually taste all of the components of a Chicago Dog in each chip (though I would argue that with the canvas of potato they might best represent a depression dog). It’s a wild ride.
I learned about these glasses from my friend Aya who has impeccable taste. They’re so lovable and hold a genuinely surprising amount of liquid. A proper little weirdo ready for a good time.
An absolutely legendary piece of design that should be in museums if it isn’t already. The simplicity! The lines! The functionality! Because it folds flat I hang it from a pot rack when not in use. It is perfect.
I don’t wear jewelry often but I do like a pin or brooch on occasion. This tiny brass pin is the result of a collaboration between Alexis Stiteler (whose hand-drawn clothing is outrageously beautiful) and jewelry maker Ann Erickson. It has medieval vibes in the best possible way.
One of the greatest baking books ever published—a total game changer and instant classic. Anyone who cares about baking should have this book. I can’t recommend it highly enough. I don’t know what else to say.
We ordered these last Christmas and could not believe how good they are. They manage the perfect balance between sweet and savory while feeling like a treat either way. I think about them all of the time. I will probably order more right now.
I am a little fatigued by bubbly design stuff, but when something works it works. And this chunky plate works well. I use it for serving, because I think it would be annoying to eat off of given the height of the lip. But it works beautifully as a serving plate and comes in lots of fun colors.
Published in 1994, but new to me, this is probably my favorite thing I read this year. Drury captures the Midwest and a cast of eccentric characters really beautifully. It says a lot that it has added a layer of meaning to the Midwestern landscape for me. I find myself thinking about the book whenever we are speeding through cornfields and farmland.
Rachel actually recommended The End of Vandalism to me, so we know she has good taste. She also has one of the best brains working today, and her essays and newsletter are a consistently engaging/challenging/inspiring. But would any of this translate into fiction?! It turns out, yes. Her debut novel is as brilliant as everything else she does. She creates a group of characters that you can’t help but love and she brings her native Belfast to life. I found myself using Google Street View to walk myself around neighborhoods in the book because I’d grown so interested. Rachel also might be better than anyone else at writing about what it feels like to be hanging out at a pub.
I don’t want to tell you anything about this book because everything I read about it before reading it made it seem much less interesting than it is. It’s a brilliant book featuring a main character that I related to strongly (what does it mean that many reviewers seem to describe her as unlikeable?!). I may never again ride an escalator without thinking about this book.
Aviva Halter turned one of our vacation photos into the most beautiful hand-painted delft tile. It is the perfect memento of our trip to the UK earlier this year. (This is me and Bryan in front of Ham House. Hi!)
In this economy making your own gifts is never a bad idea. I am obsessed with this recipe for marbled shortbread that Elana Berusch developed (she is always an inspiration). Every time I make them I am delighted with the results. And you’ll be glad to know that these are not just pretty, they are also genuinely delicious.
A classic gift, perfectly done.
It is not hyperbole when I say that AP Shop may be the best store I have ever been to anywhere on earth. The fact that is is located in a small town in southwest Michigan a couple of blocks from the beach, only adds to the allure. Ariane Prewitt is the genius behind the shop and greets customers with stories of the items she has scouted on her travels. I love hanging out with her and asking questions about her cabinet of curiosities (cottage of curiosities?). These clay plates from Mexico are finished with beeswax which is buffed into a finish that resembles leather and gets more beautiful with age. But there is a catch: you have to go to AP (or call!) to shop. Which in itself is a kind of gift these days.
Outside of Bryan, one of the people I spend the most time with (and love the most!) is 10. And they’re incredibly cool and precocious and seem both older and younger than 10 all of the time. Tweens! This magazine delivers a good mix of content to satisfy this age group while feeling inclusive of multiple identities. Certainly more so than anything I had at that age!
This is the perfect brandy for holiday baking, and I use it every year in my mince filling or fruitcake. But it is so good that I find myself sneaking tipples whenever it is open. It has a classic flavor profile that pairs perfectly with fruit and warming spices. It is old and pale just like me.
The year of the quirky glass? Maybe! These are nice because they play well with other wine glasses while also having potential for something like a frozen daiquiri.
A luxurious gift for your friends who love baking. It is hard to know who is really sourcing things ethically, though this company makes claims to. But the idea remains—a luxury ingredient that is so nice to have someone else pay for. If you do give this to someone, I suggest also including a link to Nicola Lamb’s newsletter edition that covered vanilla beans.
It’s just kind of sexy packing tape.
Quo Vadis is a favorite restaurant in London and it’s celebrated chef Jeremy Lee published this stellar book last year. It is up there on my list of best-designed books (that cover! it’s electric!) and is full of recipes that capture the joyfulness (and Britishness) of his food.
Kitchen tweezers are something I would have considered an ick until I started using these and realized all of the ways they can be helpful. I may not be plating fussy dishes of food, but I use these to flip delicate things in a skillet or add flower petals to a cake. They’ve unexpectedly become something I use regularly in my kitchen. (There is also a smaller set for very delicate tasks.)
A funny note to end on! Nobody needs another tote bag. I don’t like branded things. And I don’t even read Apartmento magazine regularly. But over the course of the year this tote bag has become a favorite thing. It is the perfect size and weight. I like the straps and the interior pocket. It just works!
Happy holidays, friends!
Remember that all of my previous guides are archived on the site including:
AND WAIT! There’s more! Next week I will be back with a gift guide featuring some of my favorite people. I’m so excited!