The Lists

How to Give the Perfect Luxury Holiday Gift Every Time

It’s already that time of year. Yes, holiday shopping season is upon us. We here at Dandelion Chandelier wanted to at least allow you to get past Halloween before bringing this up. But now it’s go time, people. No, you should not wait until after Election Day. Who knows if you’ll be able to get out of bed at that point? Election night hangover sometimes lasts for days (years, even). Much better to get started now.

We’ve been thinking about the whole idea of gifting, and about things we’ve given and received that have been truly memorable for us. Herewith is our collective wisdom about how to give the perfect luxury holiday gift:

Step 1: Think long and hard about the emotional needs of the recipient. Not your emotional needs. Give no thought to impressing other people, nor to making yourself feel good. Do not be distracted by fads, nor by something you saw on Game of Thrones.

Step 2: Don’t go with anything that requires you to guess the gift recipient’s size (you can never win in that scenario; if you still choose to enter this dangerous terrain, then err on the side of buying a size smaller than the one you think is really required – the item may not fit, but the recipient will be flattered that you think they’re so tiny.)

Step 3: Think themes, because it’s a lot more fun that way. Figure out what emotional need you’re trying to satisfy for your gift recipient, and then put together 2-3 related items to meet the need – extra style points if you are really clever about it.

Step 4: Yes, you do need to wrap it. 2-3 related items nicely packaged is the goal here.

Step 5: Yes, a card is also a necessity, with a hand-written note from you.

See? Easy! Here are some ideas to get your creative juices flowing (we’ve also included a link to our Luxury Holiday Gift Guide Pinterest board at the end of the post just in case you need a little extra inspiration).

If your gift recipient needs:

A laugh (or at least a smile) – consider one of Whoopi Goldberg’s charming new “ugly” Christmas sweaters (she’s done versions for Hanukah and non-determinant winter holidays, too); a furry monster bag charm or monster-eyed backpack from Fendi; or Smith & Cult’s “Diary of a Beauty Junkie” 12-color nail polish gift set. We spotted lots of great fur ear-muffs in crazy colors that would look adorable. A witty or retro graphic T-shirt or pullover is always appreciated. Ditto fun socks.

Something good to eat – order a beloved food item from the recipient’s hometown that can’t be found where they live now (FoodyDirect.com is a great source; Legal Seafood will send a full New England clambake in a box); choose any one of the marvelous cookbooks that will be published this month; buy a gift certificate for dinner for two at a lovely restaurant near their home (or at their year-end vacation destination); share a favorite recipe and all the ingredients and utensils needed to make it (go all “Blue Apron” on them, but make it really personal); give a gift certificate to a cooking class; hire a personal chef to cook for them once a month. Every carnivore we know swears by Omaha Steaks. Sugarfina has scrumptious holiday gift sets with tiny adorable cookies, gummies and caramels in winter spice flavors.

A comforting cocoon in which to retreat – think cashmere scarves in soothing shades; scented candles and reed diffusers (we love Antica Farmacista’s champagne-themed holiday gift sets); a cashmere throw to snuggle up under; lavender pillow spray from L’Occitane; a great book in the recipient’s favorite genre; premium hot chocolate and marshmallows from Jacques Torres; Master & Dynamic headphones; Zimmerli mercerized cotton pajamas; Malin + Goetz bubble bath; or a crystal whiskey decanter.

Some supportive encouragement to get out more – perhaps tickets to one of the block-buster Broadway shows coming next spring (“Hello, Dolly” is already on sale); a Garmin GPS or some other fitness tracker (make it a match of yours and commit to joining in); a new Leica camera; a mountain bike; flying lessons; dancing lessons; a blueprint and materials to build a treehouse; a copy of Alain de Botton’s The Art of Travel or Cheryl Strayed’s Wild; tickets to the new National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, DC (it’s sold out for months, so you need to do this now so they can go at some point next year); a new tennis racquet. Or a new puppy!

New travel companions – a road warrior might appreciate a pair of Tiffany’s sterling silver airplane-shaped cufflinks; a Smythson leather passport cover; a bottle of Louis Vuitton’s new “Turbulences” fragrance; a stylish new pair of sunglasses (preferably aviators); a gift set of travel-size La Mer cosmetics; a Thom Browne or Loro Piana cashmere sweat suit to stay chic and comfortable on long plane rides; or a leather Balenciaga carry-on bag.

A break from the sharing economy – give them the gift of discernable ownership! A personalized Burberry scarf; or Goyard bag; or T. Anthony leather-bound journal or photo album; or stationary from Mrs. John L. Strong; or fine linens from Pratesi; or a Gucci or Louis Vuitton handbag or suitcase. Top it off with a great photograph of just the two of you in a beautiful personalized frame saying “I’m All Yours.”

As with so many things in life, the perfect luxury gift doesn’t have to be expensive. It just has to be thoughtful. If you’re still stuck, take a peek at our Luxury Holiday Gift Guide Pinterest board for some inspiration (Note to all procrastinators: thoughtfulness means thinking this through now, not on December 23rd).

Cases in point: my sister-in-law bought me a pregnancy journal the Christmas I was expecting for the first time. It couldn’t have cost more than $10, and I wrote in it every day, and I still have it and treasure it. During a particularly challenging time at work, one of my team members gave me a small figurine of the Hindu god Ganesh, the eliminator of all obstacles. I keep it on my desk to this day, and it reminds me that with persistence and the right team, there’s no barrier that can’t be overcome. My then-boyfriend-now-husband gave me a $5 plastic ice scraper for my car windows the first Christmas we were dating, and it was then that I knew I should marry him (true romance is when someone gives you a practical gift intended to keep you safe).

In fact, the best luxury holiday gift might even be free. A hand-written note, thoughtful and from the heart, might be the most precious luxury you could give someone this holiday season.

Forward This Article