Gothamist's Great Big Handy Holiday Gift Guide

<p></p>It's finally chilly out, and no one needs to talk about pumpkin spice lattes for at least another nine months. Allow us to make the final challenge of an already horrible calendar year marginally easier for you with this list of perfect, thoughtful holiday gifts uniquely selected to make everyone you care about feel forever cherished and adored. We've included all manner of needful things, from trapeze classes for your favorite daredevil to Serbian liquor for your inner demons. These are sincere suggestions (even the blow gun!). We would buy it all for ourselves if you disabled AdBlock!

(nelik / Shutterstock)

<p><strong>Pop Culture Prayer Candle</strong></p><p>When it comes to artisanal crafts, you may as well go all out, and this line of celebrity effigies may be the Etsiest thing currently for sale on Etsy. Let Tina Fey illuminate your evening reading or Snoop Dogg provide the mood lighting for your intimate Netflix and chilling. Maybe don't buy the Donald Trump version. </p><p>Britney Spears Prayer Candle, $8.99, <a href="">GrannysHopeChest/Etsy</a></p>

<p><strong>Carry-On Cocktail Kit</strong></p><p>Drinking in the sky is either a novel treat or a circumstantial necessity depending on who you're seated next to and how long you're trapped in that steel tube. This set of TSA-friendly fixings brings airplane booze to new altitudes.</p><p><a href="">Carry On Cocktail Kit</a>, $25, Rare Device</p>

<p><strong>Surprise Snacks</strong></p><p>One can only eat so many pita chips. Every two months, Try the World's food subscription service sends a nonperishable jamboree of food items curated from a different country. Their latest is a holiday-themed set filled with truffles, ginger snaps, and other festive tasties. Look out for 2-for-1 codes on their social media platforms; they often offer two boxes for the price of one, and currently <a href=";utm_medium=cpc&amp;utm_source=facebook">they're offering</a> 3 boxes for the price of one. Note: don't expect a quick delivery, when we ordered our boxes it took about one month to receive them, and customer service was mostly non-responsive. </p><p>Food Box Subscription, $39/2 months, $105/6 months, $198/12 months, <a href="">Try The World</a></p>

<p><strong>Make-Your-Own-Cheese Kit</strong></p><p>Chances are, you know at least one person who can't help but share every cheese-related listicle they come across on social media. This DIY mozzarella kit should get them offline for at least an hour. It makes at least eight batches!</p><p>Mozzarella &amp; Riccotta Kit, $25, <a href="">Brit + Co</a></p>

<p><strong>Electric Tea Kettle</strong></p><p>For those lizard people who prefer warm flavored water to life-giving pressed bean juice, an electric tea kettle is quite the game-changer. Its built-in stove boils water safely and efficiently, while a pleasant bell spares users the deafening squeal of its analog brethren. This puppy boils up to 1 and 2/3 liters fast and dirty for whatever herbs need steeping. Or, you know, instant coffee.</p><p>Breville SK500XL Ikon Cordless 1.7-Liter Stainless-Steel Electric Kettle, $79.95, <a href="">Amazon</a></p>

<p><strong>Trapeze Lessons</strong></p><p>New York is nothing if not a place where random people are doing random stuff. Take advantage of what the city has to offer by getting out there and doing something for a change. Trapeze School New York sells gift certificates for single lessons or regular classes so that you can escape your <em>X-Files</em> rut by flinging your body and the bodies of your friends through the air.</p><p><a href="">Flying Trapeze Class</a>, $50 Mon-Fri AM/$60 Mon-Fri PM/$70 Sat-Sun, Trapeze School New York</p>

<p><strong>Treat Yo Self Body Scrub</strong></p><p>This sugar scrub from Rain Africa has almond oil for softness, honey for moisture, and anti-fungal honeybush for the skin fungus you never knew you had. At $26, it's just the right amount of indulgent for the friend who's hesitant to spend money on dead skin removal.</p><p><a href="">Bee Essential Remedies Honey Scrub</a>, $26, Rain Africa USA</p>

<p><strong>Hardy Wool Blanket</strong></p><p>The Faribault Woolen Mill Cabin Blanket is a classic merino throw that went viral in the interior design internet (?) after appearing in a photo of a serene lake house that's just a little too rustic to afford. Well-made enough to merit the price and cozy as all hell. Is $280 too much to spend on a blanket that will be handed down for generations and eventually shared by great-grandchildren huddled together under a tarp in their climate change refugee camp? That's for your conscience to decide. </p><p><a href="">Cabin Blanket</a>, $280, Faribault Woolen Mill Co.</p>

<p><strong>Handmade Coffee Table</strong></p><p>Furniture designer Aaron Poritz and his merry band of craftsmen hew these minimalist tables by hand from old growth lumber naturally felled during Hurricane Felix. Expensive, sturdy, and sustainable, the hardwood Montoya coffee table would fuel anyone's coaster addiction. A perfect Trojan horse to plant the seed of insanity in the minds of your enemies.</p><p><a href="">Montoya Coffee Table</a>, $1,300, Poritz &amp; Studio</p>

<p><strong>Samurai-Worthy Cutlery</strong></p><p>Equally appropriate for amateur chefs and Tarantino fans, Kikuichi knives are made through a process similar to that of Samurai swordsmithing. The Kikuichi family has been sharpening durable blades for over 700 years, from 10th-century Japan to your next meal. Revenge is never a straight line.</p><p>Kikuichi Gyuto Molybdenum All Purpose Knife (second from right), $94-$292, <a href="">Kikuichi</a></p>

<p><strong>Wine Purse</strong></p><p>Heeding the will of the people, the benevolent gatekeepers of Bed Bath &amp; Beyond's home goods oasis have designed a bag that they contest allows owners to "carry a bottle of wine in discreet style." Bring your wine purse to a job interview to make a stylishly discreet first impression, or buy it in black for stylish discretion at your great uncle's funeral. </p><p><a href="">Insulated Wine Purse</a>, $19.99, Bed Bath &amp; Beyond</p>

<p><strong>Pink Llama's Wool Rug</strong></p><p>No zebras were harmed in the making of this cruelty-free Jonathan Adler rug, which is handmade from 100% llama's wool by a family of experienced weavers in Peru. Participating llamas are raised at high altitudes in the Andes, a life of leisure that produces lanolin for soft and durable wool.</p><p><a href="">Zebra Peruvian Llama Flat Weave Rug</a>, $1,195, Jonathan Adler</p>

<p><strong>A Serious Massage</strong></p><p>We challenge you to find a New Yorker under the age of four who doesn't have stress knots. Unfortunately for our collective health, New Yorkers also tend to fall short in the self-care arena, especially when there's money involved. Give the gift of physical restoration with an Elemental Well-Being massage at TriBeCa's Shibui spa, which adheres to the five element theory of traditional Japanese medicine for a much-needed body and mind reboot.</p><p><a href="">Elemental Well-Being Massage</a>, $235/60 min.-$315/90 min., Shibui Spa</p>

<p><strong>Marble iPhone Case</strong></p><p>Like a regular iPhone case, but fancy. CLIC Marble is the world's first marble case for iPhones, and it's surprisingly lightweight. Whip this baby out in public to show the world that you have many leather-bound books and your apartment smells of rich mahogany.</p><p><a href="">CLIC Marble</a>, $79.99, Native Union</p>

<p><strong>Blowgun</strong></p><p>There is no feeling quite so strangely exhilarating as launching a projectile using only the power of one's own breath. This holiday season, woo your beloved with your dart-blowing prowess, give coworkers a thrill at the annual office party, or easily mark your territory at that crowded brunch spot. Just please don't go for the eyes; that's all we ask.</p><p><a href="">36" Avenger .40c Blowgun with Darts</a>, $13.99, Amazon</p>

<p><strong>Boots That Mean Business</strong></p><p>The '90s lived a good life, but we won't let them die on us, dammit. Eyelets, patent leather, and chunky heels bring these bad boys up to speed, while rubber platform soles are durable and easy to walk in. These are made by Vagabond, a Swedish company with over a half century of experience building boots to last.</p><p><a href="">Grace boots</a>, $140, Vagabond</p>

<p><strong>Balkan Brandy</strong></p><p>With pretty much every European country vying for the distinction of Most Historically Ingrained Binge Drinking Culture, the Eastern contingent at least brings some originality to the bar table. Far from chugging beer or pounding shots, traditional Eastern European drinking for sport centers on a variety of delicious fruit brandies that vary in strength and base depending on their country of origin. The most well known is Slivovitz, a bracing liquor distilled from plums that's popular in and around Serbia, Poland, and the Czech Republic.</p><p>Defy the gift tyranny of a nice bottle of wine with this no-nonsense Balkan favorite. Serve straight up, down the hatch.</p><p>R. Jelinek 5 Year Slivovitz, $23.99, <a href="">Liquor Barn</a></p>

<p><strong>Veggie Spiralizer</strong></p><p>2015's trendiest kitchen appliance may get a mixed rep for the fad diets it enables, but you don't have to assign a ridiculous name to your eating habits to enjoy the unique satisfaction of consuming your vegetables in pasta form. The Brieftons Vertico Spiralizer is easier to use than more common horizontal models as it lets gravity do all the spiralizin' work for you. Ideal for sneaky parents trying to con offspring into getting their four servings.</p><p>Brieftons Vertico Spiralizer, $24.99, <a href="">Amazon</a></p>

<p><strong>Movin' and Shakin' Board</strong></p><p><a href="">Sitting is</a> <a href="">killing</a> <a href="">us</a>. Show your kin you value their lives with a standing board that provides continuous gentle movement to increase heart rate and circulation.</p><p>The American-Made Level®, $389, <a href="">Fluidstance</a></p>

<p><strong>Beer Mustard</strong></p><p>It can be tough to come up with an original edible gift for foodie friends when you yourself subsist on a diet of cookie butter. Outsource your grocery shopping to Durham, NC, where local favorite Bull City Burger and Brewery sells condiments enhanced by their famous in-house-brewed lagers.</p><p><a href="">Spicy Beer Mustard 2 Pack</a>, $15, Scoutmob</p>

<p><strong>Waterproof Bluetooth Speaker</strong></p><p>Portable wireless tunes, hi-fi sound, and available in pretty colors. If you're feeling flush, buy two—you can sync them to play music in tandem. If the mood is right, you can even watch them make out.</p><p><a href="">Braven 705 Speaker</a>, $99.99, Braven</p>

<p><strong>Devilishly Cozy Bathrobe</strong></p><p>To the basement-dwelling son or daughter whose <strike>freelance career</strike> funemployment is rounding the corner of another bleak year, nothing says "you're still here, huh!" like a proper uniform.</p><p><a href="">CozyChic® Adult Robe, $127, Barefoot Dreams</a></p>

<p><strong>An All-Purpose Tinkering Set</strong></p><p>There will always be an app for that, but doing it yourself is so much cooler. Best Made's "possibilities bag" is full of simple tools designed to prepare you for any problem everyday life and/or the vast frontier may throw your way. For the friend who always carries a Bowie knife and bought a pair of those nifty sandals with a bottle opener in the sole.</p><p><a href="">The Possibilities Kit</a>, $75, Best Made</p>

<p><strong>Grown-Up Coloring Book</strong></p><p>In the past few years, "adult" coloring books have seen a <a href="">mainstream resurgence</a> due to their therapeutic and creativity-boosting effects. Also: coloring!!! Throw it back to the good ol' days, when "rainy day activities" included options other than Netflix with an '80s movies-themed doodle book. Coloring may awaken the kid inside, but John Hughes is coming for the inner teenager.</p><p><a href="">Eighties Movies Rainy Day Colouring &amp; Activity Book</a>, $3.83, PizzaEaters/Etsy</p>

<p><strong>Vinyl Subscription</strong></p><p>For the music aficionado, a different record each month, curated from all genres and spanning mainstream classics to obscure finds. Includes additional goodies like album-inspired art prints and custom cocktail recipes.</p><p>Subscription, $23-$27/month, <a href="">Vinyl Me, Please</a></p>

<p><strong>Communist Coin Bank</strong></p><p>'Tis the season for commodity fetishism. What better way to impose an uncalled-for critical lens on your family members' complicity within the capitalist system than with the bust of egalitarian OG Karl Marx?</p><p><a href="">Das Kapital Coin Bank, $15, Kikkerland</a></p>

<p><strong>Lifelike Statues</strong></p><p>Appealing to techies and deeply unsettling to everyone else. DOOB uses 3D printing to clone the images of your loved ones and craft <strike>voodoo dolls</strike> figurines in their likeness. A fun new way to satiate your God complex, available in sizes ranging from 10 cm to Frankenstein.</p><p><a href="">DOOB</a>, $105-$952, DOOB 3D</p>

<p><strong>A Real Camera</strong></p><p>That's right, son: back in the day, the camera was a whole separate machine! Phones may be ever-evolving more Instagram-worthy lenses, but until the iPhone 2000 renders all other devices obsolete, you still can't beat the real deal. With impressive technical specs for its compact size, the new Sony a7RII Mirrorless Camera has professional photographers lusting after its 42 voluptuous megapixels. At over $3,000, she ain't cheap, but boy is she pretty.</p><p><a href="">Sony Alpha a7R II Mirrorless Digital Camera, $3,198, B&amp;H</a></p>

<p>When all else fails, a book proves that you had to have at least put <em>some</em> effort into picking a gift. These five reads are worth anyone's time, and they look damn fine underneath a tree:</p><p><em>Dear Mr. You</em>, by Mary Louise Parker</p><p>Rather than define their narrator only in relation to male figures, actor Mary Louise Parker's intimate letters to the various men in her life illuminate the complex subjectivity of the woman behind them. Skip the self-help mush this year and give Mom a book with some real life lessons.</p><p><em>Dear Mr. You</em>, $25.00, <a href="">McNally Jackson. </a></p><p><em>Mad Men Carousel: The Complete Critical Companion</em>, by Matt Zoller Seitz</p><p>For the sympathetic male antihero in your life, Matt Zoller Seitz' comprehensive episode-by-episode <em>Mad Men</em> guide promises to decode at least some of that heavy symbolism. Recaps and essays are spoiler-free so new viewers can read as they watch.</p><p><em>Mad Men Carousel: The Complete Critical Companion</em>, $27.50, <a href="">McNally Jackson. </a></p><p><em>The First Bad Man</em>, by Miranda July</p><p>Funny, feminist, and sharply perceptive, multimedia wunderfrau Miranda July’s debut novel tackles the disconnect between experience and expression in a short but punchy narrative. Protagonist Cheryl is a put-upon young woman who's yanked out of stagnancy by a disruptive houseguest. July is never afraid to get weird, and you shouldn't be either.</p><p><em>The First Bad Man: A Novel</em>, $16.00, <a href="">McNally Jackson.</a></p><p><em>Between the World and Me</em>, by Ta-Nehisi Coates</p><p>Dad really doesn't need another stale Civil War narrative—this will teach him more about American history anyway. Drawing inspiration from James Baldwin, Coates explores what it means to be black in America in the form of a letter to his son. Coates's unflinching look at the entrenched injustice of a society built on slavery combines history and memoir to distill the dark essence of the American dream.</p><p><em>Between the World and Me</em>, $24.00, <a href="">McNally Jackson.</a> </p><p><em>My Brilliant Friend</em>, by Elena Ferrante</p><p>The conclusion to Elena Ferrante's four-part Neapolitan feminist bildungsroman came out this summer to great fanfare. But the uninitiated should start with this first novel, which focuses on two young female frenemies growing up in 1960s Naples. <em>My Brilliant Friend</em> starts out slow, but you'll be ripping through all four of Ferrante's offerings in no time.</p><p><em>My Brilliant Friend</em>, $17.00, <a href="">McNally Jackson.</a> </p><p><em>St. Mark's Is Dead: The Many Lives of America's Hippest Street</em>, by Ada Calhoun</p><p>There are endless crazy stories and fascinating troves of trivia emanating from this three-block-long street that keeps reinventing itself and attracting so many of New York City's most colorful characters. Most of the action in (St. Mark's native) Ada Calhoun's book takes place rom the 1950s onward (though there are good bits about, for example, the Stuyvesants, Emma Goldman, and WH Auden) and the whole thing is a great reminder about how New Yorkers love to pronounce a neighborhood "dead" when it changes into something different than whatever Golden Age came before. </p> <p><em>St. Mark's Is Dead: The Many Lives of America's Hippest Street</em>, $27.95, <a href="">McNally Jackson</a>.</p>