Whether you’re shopping for that person who is notoriously difficult or you just put off your holiday shopping for too long, I’ve put together a list of gifts that almost anyone would love to receive. The list includes top quality items for the kitchen, some staples for the home bar, inspirational books, gear for hiking and camping, and a few gifts that are sure to get a laugh.
In the Kitchen
- Nicolas Alziari Olive Oil — My favorite olive oil, I use it for everything. It’s made in Nice, France, at the Moulin Alziari which is an ancient mill.
- Miyabi Mizu SG2 16 Piece Knife Block Set — Japanese knives made using the same process that was used over 1000 years ago to make samurai swords with the ultimate sharpness.
- Shun Premier 9 Piece Knife Block Set — Another excellent set of Japanese knives. Each knife takes 100 steps to make.
- Shun Premier 4 inch Paring Knive — Razor sharp knife for peeling, coring, trimming, decorating, and other detail work.
- All-Clad Copper Core Skillets, 10 or 12 inch — The copper core of this pan is incredibly responsive to heat, making this piece perfect for frying foods and cooking omelettes.
- All-Clad Copper Core 14 Piece Ultimate Cookware Set — The ultimate combination of culinary performance and beautiful cookware.
- Le Creuset Signature Cast Iron 10.25-inch Iron Handle Skillet — A kitchen essential, even for those who don’t think of themselves as a chef.
For the Bar
Whistlepig Whiskey — For making my favorite cocktail: a Whistlepig Manhattan.
Twisted Alchemy Cocktail Gift Set — Delicious fresh mixes and juices for an assortment of other cocktails.
Reading and Personal Development
- Unvarnished: A Gimlet-Eyed Look at Life Behind the Bar by Eric Alperin and Deborah Stoll
- A Promised Land by Barack Obama
- John Muir Wilderness Essays by John Muir
- Subscription to any service that allows the recipient to learn something new or read interesting things. I recently discovered Blinkist, which summarizes non-fiction books and podcasts in 15 minutes or less. You can listen to the audio summaries or read them.
- Temperature Control Mug — To keep your coffee or tea warm while reading that book or working.
Out on the Trail
- Salomon SpeedCross 4 Shoes (not high-top) — Shoes for when grip and precision are essential.
- Darn Tough Socks — Exactly what they sound like.
- Kuhl Renegade Rock-Climbing Pants — Durable and stretchy.
- Jetboil Flash Cooking System — Boils water in just over 3 minutes!
- MAMMUT Lightweight Helmet — For climbing.
- Mechanix Gloves — Mfr#: MF4X-75-008 — Suitable for just about any activity that is tough on the hands, but great for climbing.
- Osprey Exos 48 — Super lightweight backpack.
- CamelBak Crux 1.5L Reservoir — Easy to fill, easy to hydrate, hard to go wrong.
- MACPAC Puffy coat and Arcteryx Lightweight Waterproof Shell — Different coats for differing weather conditions.
- New Zealand Possum Socks — Available from a variety of retailers; keeps your toes nice and toasty.
- Patagonia Hestra Gloves — Keeps your hands warm, especially in cold weather and on mountain tops.
For a Good Laugh
- Four Seasons Mug — For those with a good sense of humor—Republicans and Democrats alike!
- Lingua Franca Sweater (Ex. “Will you shut up man?” sweater) — Cashmere sweaters embroidered with funny or political statements in NYC. My personal favorite: “Will you shut up, man?”
- Pajamagram — Can never go wrong with great pajamas. Very reliable company.
- Chicago Neighborhood Art Prints — Beautifully designed, unique gift for Chicagoans.
- DivvyUp Socks — Customize socks with a pet face, a human face, and just about everything else.