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’re 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 email@example.com.
While a scarf may not be the most unexpected gift you give this holiday season, thanks to a recent collaboration between Saved NY — the home goods store and line founded by Sean McNanney — and the artist Lukas Palumbo, also known as Lukas The Illustrator, it could be the most beautiful. Saved NY is known for its sustainable Mongolian cashmere blankets and fashion accessories and Palumbo for finding inspiration in nature and 16th-, 17th- and 18th-century etchings. Cue seven original hand-spun, handwoven felted cashmere scarves featuring a range of vibrant designs that will take you back in time: One shows a ship on the high seas while another features a knight returning, presumably triumphant, after having had a faraway adventure.
To me, there’s no better wintertime gift than a warm bowl of pasta — and no better pasta chef in America than Missy Robbins, of Brooklyn’s Lilia and Misi restaurants. This month, in collaboration with the New Jersey-based ceramist Jono Pandolfi (who made dinnerware for Lilia), she’s created the clay Union Bowl, which comes in three neutral shades, and has a deep shape that’s perfect for piling high with noodles; for the actual pasta, you could go one of two ways, depending on the culinary talents of the person you’re treating: Robbins and her partner, Talia Baiocchi, recently released “Pasta: The Spirit and Craft of Italy’s Greatest Food, With Recipes,” a comprehensive, beautifully photographed cookbook ideal for months spent hibernating. Or, if such kitchen skills can’t be relied upon, just send them fresh pasta, sauce and other provisions from Misi Pasta, the chef’s own online retailer, which ships nationwide.
In many cultures, the humble daisy symbolizes regeneration, a prescient theme for the dawn of a new year. For a pair of blooms that will last longer than those picked from a field, look to the Brooklyn-based jewelry designer Bernard James. His daisy-shaped studs are handcrafted from 14-karat gold and would make a charming gift for anyone looking for something of a fresh start. Or, for a piece of jewelry that smells like a flower, try one of the aromatic rings from Jodan, which is based in Arita, Japan. The otherwise minimalist ceramic bands have raised square or half-moon-shaped gold leaf accents that are meant to be daubed with essential oils (sold separately), and will carry their scent all day long.
A beauty-and-wellness-themed stocking is sure to leave loved ones in need of a little extra pampering looking and feeling their best. To that end — Gilded Body offers a handmade Marble Body Brush, a dry brush that tackles rough winter skin. Then there’s Bathe’s Anointing Oils, which, when massaged into the skin before a bath or shower, create an immersive, aromatherapeutic experience. (Try any of the brand’s four calming scents — palo santo and vetiver; neroli and myrrh; lavender and sandalwood; and clary sage and citrus — or its Discovery Set, which includes a one-ounce bottle of each.) To spoil someone in need of serious unwinding, Crystal Greene, a facialist based in New York City, offers gift cards for her deeply relaxing La Sculpture facial, a rejuvenating treatment that incorporates massage techniques and leaves skin luminous. Once glowing from head to toe, your recipient will be in need of a finishing touch, perhaps in the form of Byredo’s Mad Red lipstick, a vibrant raspberry shade with a matte finish and a sculptural applicator that’s perfect for any holiday party. Or, for a more unexpected trinket, throw in an elegant acetate toothbrush with silk bristles from Officine Universelle Buly 1803, which can be engraved with the future brusher’s initials in the font of your choice.
December is holiday-party season, and a nice bottle of booze is always a reliable Yuletide offering. For a beverage with a back story, try the artisanal rice wine from Hana Makgeolli. The Brooklyn-based producer was founded last year by the first-generation Korean American Alice Jun, who’d started making the milky Korean concoction in her apartment using organic rice and traditional brewing techniques she learned from her father growing up. She and her business partner, John Limb, also offer gift cards that can be used at their tasting room, where their makgeolli is served alongside housemade bar food, including Dubu Kimchi (steamed tofu with sautéed kimchi) and Bossam (braised pork belly and cabbage). If you’d prefer a dark liquor, there are various worthy options from Uncle Nearest Premium Whiskey, founded in 2017 by Fawn Weaver with an aim to pay homage to the first known African American master distiller, Nearest Green. All of the brand’s offerings, including its 1856 Premium Aged Whiskey and the 1884 Premium Small Batch Whiskey, are distilled, aged and bottled in Tennessee, where Green was born.
home and away
Traveling around this time of year is always stressful, especially now. To temper the madness, and to dispel any preholiday jitters, I recommend creating a cozy environment wherever you land. Start by lighting a stick or two of incense from the London-based fragrance brand Vyrao. My favorite is Ember, which has notes of cistus and cedarwood, and comes in vibrant hues of neon orange, bright yellow and magenta. Then pad around your newly fragrant place in a pair of just-as-colorful Knighton slippers from the British heritage brand John Lobb. They’re made of a soft and cushiony cashmere suede, and come with a zippable travel case that, going forward, you won’t leave home without.
Games are always an easy way to bring family and friends together, and this year, there’s something for everyone. Take the new Monopoly ISSIMO, made in collaboration with the Italian e-commerce retailer, which is an offshoot of the legendary Pellicano Hotels Group. Modeled after an Italian road trip, this update to the classic board game takes players through the country’s 20 regions, highlighting iconic locations such as Fiordo di Furore, Stromboli and Burano, to name a few. For a more meditative endeavor, try Piecework’s new Tall Poppy 500-piece puzzle, which, when assembled, reveals a fuchsia-toned photograph taken by the floral designer Doan Ly. Parks Project’s Minimalist National Park Playing Cards, meanwhile, feature illustrations of scenes from the Badlands, the Grand Canyon and other national parks, and proceeds from the deck go to supporting the protection and preservation of public lands. Finally, for the aesthetes on your list, Sunnylife’s Lucite Chess & Checkers board is an eye-catching two-in-one game set whose transparent pieces are miniature sculptural works in their own right.
When I give jewelry to a friend, it’s important to me that it’s more than just a beautiful piece, so I begin by choosing a maker whose work feels deeply personal. One example is the Florentine designer Marco Panconesi, who draws on his memories of travels with his family. I especially like this pendant necklace of his with layered chains and a blue obsidian dipped in green enamel. Another is Ren, founded by Crystal Ung, whose mission is to honor and extend her Asian American heritage through modern jade pieces. And if jewelry simply feels too intimidating of a gift, consider one of her vintage trinket trays, which are sourced from Asia, date back to the 19th century and work perfectly for holding already-owned baubles.