By Caitlin Kelly
Welcome to this annual tradition, my personal selection of 30 gifts for men and women of all ages, except kids and teens.
No tech. No affiliate payments.
Lovely things for home, body, life!
Here’s a great pair of cufflinks, tiny blue birds, from Liberty of London, one of my favorite stores in the world. $64.74
Also from Liberty, this white woven leather handbag is super-chic, minimal, and blessedly free of designer logos. (I have a fairly similar bag in black and get compliments every single time I use it.) Personally, I would have a cobbler add metal studs to the base to help keep it clean. $485.48
There are so many ways to donate to charity and all so individual. I have previously here included the Daphne Sheldrick Trust, established in 1977, which works to protect East African wildlife, especially elephants.
This is a great French brand, Laguiole. A set of six wooden-handled steak knives, $98.00
You can’t beat a short pair of fabulous ankle boots for a hit of style in a long, boring, cold winter. Love these, in three colors, from Anthropologie, (which offers four pages of amazing boot options, short and tall.) $160.
The chic-est winter women I know are those in Montreal and Toronto, and a brightly colored, oversized wrap adds warmth and style to any outerwear. This one comes in five colors, including teal, red and bright yellow. $48
I love anything with a patina — the weathering of age and use. This 15-inch-high ceramic vase looks like an amphora dredged up from some Cretan shipwreck, but it’s new. I love its organic simplicity and its scale. $88
And these, in two sizes, for candles, look like something from the 18th century with their coppery floral exterior. $18-28.
I love, love, love the elegance of UK old-school stationery brand Smythson. How about a tiny, perfect leather notebook marked, in gold script: Small Book, Big Ambition? (So many other great choices here as well.) $60. Or this jaunty striped 2020 agenda, the perfect size to tuck into a suit pocket. $110
A cable-knit crewneck men’s sweater is hardly (as Miranda Priestly might drawl) ground-breaking…but in a cool pale blue? Also in red, from UK brand Boden. $120
You’ll love or hate this 8 foot by 11 inch rug — but I love its sharp, graphic black and white stripes. In the right room, it would be terrific. Also in 5 by 7 size for $199. From Ikea. $299
This throw, in charcoal gray with caramel stripes, is elegant and simple. It’s polyester, which explains its crazy low price. $4.99
This tea towel is so gorgeous I’d even frame it, with fantastic colors, marking an essential piece of American gay history, the June 29, 1969 attack on Manhattan’s Stonewall Inn. $22
A splurge, but John Robshaw’s linens are really special. This Japanese-inspired quilt, in crisp blue and white, reversible, is a lovely investment, for full/queen size. $296.25 on sale
I recently bought this yummy sandalwood soap from the classic American company Caswell-Massey, (which offers many other products) and am really enjoying it; this one is oversized and soap on a rope. $22
A huge fan of transferware, I like these new brown and white bread and butter plates in that style, also perfect for appetizers. $21 each
An odd gift, perhaps — but this black oak shelf is minimal and elegant; imagine three or four of them…$135
Really lovely and totally useful, a corkscrew that resembles a small bird, from a fantastic museum gift shop, The Morgan Library & Museum in New York City. $14.95
Also from the same shop — and do explore their website deeply for a wide array of lovely things — how about a Mad Hatter or Alice in Wonderland tote bag? $24.95
Well, you all know how much I love jewelry! But with a very specific aesthetic — not rubies, emeralds, sapphires or diamonds. Not Big Brand Names. This company, which I follow on Instagram, has two shops, in Pennsylvania and Rhode Island, and I want everything! The look is minimal, clean and modern but also very beautiful. Like these oxidized silver pierced earrings in the shape of an ammonite $253.
And I’m also a big fan of London-based jeweler Ruby Jack, whose earrings I purchased in 2018 and absolutely love. (These are the ones I bought.) She has much expanded her line, which is sculptural and dramatic, but not weird. She ships internationally (obviously!) and was very helpful. This sculptural silver ring is a knockout. $423.51
I love fragrance and wear it daily. Now you can wear the smell of where I live (!) — THVF — That Hudson Valley Fragrance. I smelled it at their Manhattan store and it’s quite lovely, as are their several other options. $110
For your favorite tools nerd — the old-fashioned analog kind — this cotton black and white Hermes scarf with an illustration of elementary mechanics is a cool choice; it’s on their men’s site, but anyone could enjoy its graphic simplicity. $200
If you’re offended by curses, this is not the site for you — but this terrific red and white hockey jersey is safe-for-work, made by my Canadian pal Aaron Reynolds, inventor of Effin’ Birds, a mini-empire of sweary pins, T-shirts, mugs, sweatshirts, playing cards, posters and more. I love the baseball shirt he gave me, (moi?!) that says “Listen to My Opinions ” — and we laugh so hard every time we play with his playing cards it’s positively distracting. $60
Another talented Canadian, another highly creative friend, Ali G-J of Toronto, makes scarves, tote bags, laptop cases, phone skins, phone cases, pillows and more. This gray and white throw pillow with a pattern of tree branches, made from her own watercolor, is simple and lovely. $64
Books are such a deeply individual gift, but I’m going to recommend two that I love and own — fascinating and visually beautiful reference books to savor at leisure: A History of the World in 100 Objects, published in 2010 and What Great Paintings Say. $20
Coffee! There are so many ways to make it, but this is terrific — a stoneware French press, in six gorgeous colors. I house-sat a few years ago for someone who had a similar style and it was efficient and perfect for just a few cups — and without fear of the inevitable shattering of the usual glass container. From Williams-Sonoma, in red, orange, light and dark gray, navy blue and white. $95; Not as pretty, but also in stainless steel $55
For your favorite Star Wars fanatic, an R2D2 popcorn maker. Yes, really. $99.95
I sell my images from Instagram — CaitlinKellyNYC — and I also coach other writers of journalism and non-fiction; details here.