The T List: Holiday Gift Guide, Part II

Welcome to the T List, a newsletter from the editors of T Magazine. For this week, we’ve turned it into the second installment of our holiday gift guide, with recommendations from T staffers on what we are coveting for ourselves this season, as well as the gifts we’re thinking of giving our friends and loved ones. Read the first edition here, and sign up here to find us in your inbox every Wednesday. And you can always reach us at

The Beverly Hills chocolatier andSons was launched last year by the brothers Marc and Phil Covitz, who grew up watching their mother, Aviva, run the local outpost of the Swiss chocolate brand Teuscher. Hoping to create American chocolates as luxurious as those they ate as children, the pair — along with the esteemed pastry chef Kriss Harvey — debuted their own hand-painted bonbons (some filled with fruit-forward ganaches, others with rich house-made pralines and popping candies), which come in beautiful foil-stamped boxes that open from their center. No less covetable are the brand’s holiday specials, including its Eggnog Snowmen, with white chocolate shells and creamy centers that strike the perfect balance between sugar and spice.

There may not be a gift more likely to be universally well received than an expertly arranged winter wreath. And Flowerbx, the international flower purveyor headquartered in London, is offering some of the most beautiful versions around, from a traditional grouping of Douglas and nobilis fir, alpine cones and pussy willow to a uniquely aromatic blend of wood-scented pine, red seeded eucalyptus and rose hips. The availability of specific styles will vary depending on supply and your location, but they can be shipped from almost anywhere in the world, with complimentary standard delivery in the U.S. (around two to three days); orders should be made by December 19 to ensure arrival before Christmas. If your hearth needs a little trimming, twisted garlands of eucalyptus, berries and fir are also just a click away.

In my fantasy kitchen there would be not much more than one big pot, a single perfect knife and a heat source, and all other unnecessary equipment would be banned. (No more apple corers or egg slicers.) But I would make an exception for this bread cloche, which is impressively effective: Made from mica-rich clay in England by the ceramist Isatu Hyde, it creates a steamy enclosure for your dough as it bakes in the oven, producing bread with a uniquely light texture and well-developed crust. It is also pretty enough to sit on your counter and double as a vessel in which to store your loaf.

There are few thrills greater than receiving an Hermès orange box, especially around the holidays. This year, I have my sights set on these painted wood bracelets, which can be worn individually, but look best when stacked on the wrist. Hand-lacquered in France, their sporty saffron, burgundy and coral stripes were inspired by the 19th-century blankets once used to cover racehorses (an updated version of which Hermès now sells as the Rocabar throw for the home). I like that the bangles don’t feel too precious (or expensive), while still possessing the elements of history and craftsmanship for which the brand is known.

Holiday parties might be on hold, but extra time at home is cause enough to elevate one’s pantry. Two of my go-to brands are Trade Street Jam Co. and the family-owned raw honey farm and label Zach & Zoë Sweet Bee Farm. The first finds ways to use less sugar to create small batches of jams with offbeat flavor combinations such as strawberry, chipotle and fig, while the second blends its honeys with other superfoods like bee pollen and beetroot powder. Try glazing your butternut squash with plum and rose jam or dressing up your morning bowl of granola with a drizzle of wildflower-lavender honey.

The Dewberry in Charleston, S.C., is one of America’s most interesting hotels — truly Southern, it’s both insouciant and warmhearted — and for its holiday pop-up shop this year, the hotel has found an ideal collaborator in Houses & Parties, a new online retailer created by the Savannah- and New York-based interiors and event designer Rebecca Gardner. The vibe is establishment dinner party gone kooky: There are chintz tablecloths, patterned china and colorful, faceted glassware that, when arranged together, suggest a sunnier, more social time. I’ll be sending friends the ceramic insects, a swarm of 10 different beetles and dragonflies made by hand in France with intricately glazed bodies and wired legs or antennae. Someday, they’ll make for unique place-card holders for guests — for now, they’re welcome tabletop distractions.

To ease my 6-year-old daughter’s quarantine-induced tantrums, a therapist suggested that I ask her to draw her feelings. So I felt a spark of recognition when I discovered “Thought Forms: A Record of Clairvoyant Observation,” first published in 1905 and assembled by the renowned theosophists Annie Besant and Charles W. Leadbeater. Based on the notion that our thoughts can be translated into colored shapes and patterns, the volume contains 58 illustrations that depict expressions such as “Murderous Rage” and “Vague Pure Affection.” Some of the greatest abstract artists of the last century (Hilma af Klint, Wassily Kandinsky and Piet Mondrian) were influenced by “Thought Forms,” which, along with related limited-edition prints and postcards drawn from its pages, is being reissued this month by the Brooklyn-based Sacred Bones Records. Any or all would make an inspiring gift — whether for a moody kindergartner or a friend interested in dabbling in the occult.

Pendleton blankets remind me of something you might find at an old camp in the Adirondacks, but the latest design has a Japanese twist. The wool version conceived by Commune for the Ace Hotel in Kyoto is chocolaty brown with subtle stripes of pink and green and whipstitched edges. But when it comes to warmth, why stop there? The Rug Buddy is like a giant heating pad that plugs in and slips under your rug. Since I got one, I’ve found myself falling asleep on the toasty living room floor nearly every night. And apart from the cord I hid under the couch, you would never know it’s there. Lastly, I recently found an attractive replacement for the old sponge that was sitting by my sink: This knit linen cloth, which is made from 100 percent Swedish flax yarn, is rough enough to scrub a pan but soft enough to wipe your hands.

When the pandemic hit the U.S. in March, the produce purveyor Natoora, which began as a kind of online farmers’ market for New York restaurants such as Eleven Madison Park and the Four Horsemen, expanded into home delivery. Now, through its app, I can order seasonal fruits and vegetables from small farms located between Northern Maine and Southern Pennsylvania, fresh bread from She Wolf Bakery in Brooklyn and a variety of delicious cheeses, meats and other pantry goods. This month, Natoora is offering a Peak Season Holiday Box that can be purchased as a gift (click “Send to a Friend” in the app). In addition to the usual December bounty of squashes and winter greens, you’ll have the option to add a 100-day-old free-range Sussex Cross chicken or a turkey from Snowdance Farm in the Catskills — perfect for a holiday dinner — as well as some last-minute stocking stuffers, including single-origin chocolate bars and fresh California citrus.

Anyone who lived through the ’80s will remember the amusingly named husband pillow, a cushion that peaked in that decade and whose protruding arms provide support for reading (and working) in bed or lounging on the floor. The New York-based textile designer Christin Ripley’s Klismos pillow, an updated version of the backrest in an of-the-moment marbled print, is perhaps the perfect gift in a year when many of us are spending more time at home. For comfort while vertical, though, I recommend another reimagined classic, Sleeper’s shearling slippers. Slim, square-toed and available in colors including rose pink, bright orange and lemon yellow, they’re more fashionable than their L.L. Bean or Ugg counterparts, but just as warm and fuzzy.

This year, my friends and I plan to host our annual Secret Santa over Zoom and to send each other our gifts in the mail. I intend to give a feather headband from the Wailuku-based store Native Intelligence on Maui, which works to highlight the crafts of the local Hawaiian culture, as well as traditional Polynesian design. Headbands have experienced a resurgence recently and classic styles abound, but these Hulu ones — which come in an assortment of vibrant colors, feathers and styles — are handmade by an artist on Kauai, and highlight the fact that featherwork is among the oldest of the native Hawaiian arts. Plus, at $34.95 apiece, I’m staying within budget.

When Miuccia Prada introduced her brand’s now-iconic backpack in 1984, she redefined what a luxury bag could be by making it in the same fabric used to produce parachutes. Now, as part of Prada’s new Re-Nylon campaign, the Italian fashion house has issued a collection of clothes and accessories constructed from 100 percent sustainable, regenerated nylon that was created through the recycling and purification of plastic found in oceans, fishing nets, landfills and from textile fiber waste. Nothing sparks my nostalgia for the ’90s more than a bucket hat and, for this one, the brand reworked its classic triangular logo to evoke the universal symbol for recycling. Plus, the material can itself be recycled, so it’s really a gift that keeps on giving.

A few years ago, I stumbled across a January 1988 New York Times article about people who’d recently given to the paper’s Neediest Cases Fund — which dates back to Christmas Day 1911 and solicits donations from readers for the less fortunate — and was delighted to read that my mother had donated $100 in my father’s name. At the time, she was working for the Legal Aid Society of New York in Queens as a public defender and likely did not have an abundance of disposable income. (She was also weeks away from finding out she was pregnant with a child who would develop lamentably expensive tastes.) When I brought the fact of the gift up with her, she had no recollection of it, but gave a pleasantly surprised shrug. More and more — and especially at the end of a year during which the sitting government has failed so many — I’m trying to channel her easy generosity. A contribution to the 2020-21 campaign will support 10 carefully chosen social welfare agencies (you can specify which if you’d like), from Children’s Aid to World Central Kitchen to First Book.

Last but not least, there are hundreds of nonprofits and fund-raising initiatives to consider donating to this season. T’s editor in chief, Hanya Yanagihara, plans to give to the Food Bank for New York City, which works tirelessly year round to provide food for those in need. Senior digital features editor Alice Newell-Hanson is including the Hunger Project and Feeding America on her list. Features director Thessaly La Force plans to donate to KIND and Border Angels in order to help alleviate the current border crisis, as well as the Oakland nonprofit Creative Growth, which provides a professional studio environment, gallery exhibitions and representation to artists with disabilities. Deputy digital editor Kate Guadagnino is supporting Artist Relief, which offers grants to artists in financial difficulty. And features director Kurt Soller suggests giving, as he does, to the Actors Fund and the Gay Men’s Health Crisis.

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