The Businessweek Holiday Gift Guide 2015

Need some help with your holiday gifting? This year, leave it to the pros

Photograph by Brian Galderisi for Bloomberg Businessweek; Hair and Makeup: Megan Lanoux

It’s the most wonderful time of the year again, except for the least wonderful thing about it: figuring out what to get your loved ones. To make it easier on you, we rounded up authorities on all our favorite things—food, fashion, travel, design, and more—and asked them to help put together this guide. Take their advice and you can’t go wrong. (We couldn’t resist throwing in a few picks of our own.) It’s kind of like cheating, but not. The shopping is still on you. Happy holidays!


The Drink

Photograph by Keirnan Monaghan for Bloomberg Businessweek; Prop Styling: Theo Vamvounakis

Kenta Goto, founder, Bar Goto

What’s your general approach to gift giving?

“Keep it simple and straightforward. I want the gift I give to be meaningful, so I think about the person, and what they might like that they wouldn’t buy for themselves.”

What gift would you give to someone this year?

“Super high-end glassware like the Baccarat Harcourt Abysse Tumbler creates a special experience, a little treat in our busy daily lives.”


What do you want to receive yourself?

Yamazaki 18, because my fiancée and I love to enjoy it together.”


The Workout

Photograph by Brian Galderisi for Bloomberg Businessweek; Hair and Makeup: Rebecca Garcia

Amanda Freeman, founder, SLT studios

“The Fitbit Charge HR is one of the most accurate trackers out there. Bonus: It’s cool-looking.”


Zara Terez’s Power Mesh performance leggings are as flattering as black pants, with a little bit of peekaboo mesh. In other words, they’re perfect.”


“I’d give a TriggerPoint Grid foam roller so they can roll out their muscles post-workout.”


Will Torres, founder, Willspace gym

Reebok’s CrossFit Nano 5 sneakers have a dense, even sole, which makes them ideal for lifting and good for running.”


“A heart rate monitor is great for tracking your workout performance, but some of them are thick and uncomfortable. Suunto’s Smart Sensor is very thin and minimal.”


“The best wicking shirt on the market is from a small company in New Orleans. Tasc Performance’s Vital V-neck is incredibly comfortable and breathable and doesn’t hold on to odor.”


Our Picks

Spri’s Xertubes are color-coded by resistance level, so you can choose how much you want to sweat.

From $14.98,

Juice Things Up

“The Blendtec Designer 625 blender is state-of-the-art, and the Twister Jar is the best for making an açaí bowl.”

Jeremy Black, co-founder, Sambazon açaí beverages

Blender: 479.95; Twister jar: $109.95;

Photographs by Tim Schutsky for Bloomberg Businessweek

Manitoba Harvest’s hemp oil is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids and protein, and it has a great nutty flavor.”

Ryan Black, co-founder, Sambazon


“This year I’m giving everyone the Panatéa matcha ceremonial-grade tea set. I love the health benefits of matcha, and the design is beautiful.”

Mike Del Ponte, co-founder and CEO, Soma water filters


The Holiday Feast

Photograph by Keirnan Monaghan for Bloomberg Businessweek; Prop styling: Theo Vamvounakis; Food styling: Maggie Ruggiero

“The D’Artagnan cassoulet kit comes with everything you need to make a gigantic pot of authentic French stew, including the dish to serve it in.”

Nicolas Jammet, co-founder, Sweetgreen restaurants


Zalto wine glasses are beautiful and make even mediocre wine taste great.”

Jonathan Neman, co-founder, Sweetgreen


La Caravelle Champagne is high-quality but approachable. Overall, a great choice for any dinner party.”

Nathaniel Ru, co-founder, Sweetgreen


“I love the organic shapes and colors of Korin’s ceramic plates. They are a wonderful pop of color and contrast to any dinner setting.”

Soa Davies, executive chef, Maple


Misono UX10: “There’s nothing better than a really awesome knife that’s both beautiful and practical.”

Brian Bordainick, CEO, Dinner Lab


“The Coravin 2 system lets you pour a glass from a bottle of wine without exposing the rest of the bottle to the air. It’s so much better than opening a great bottle and not finishing it, or letting it spoil. What a waste!”

Daniel Boulud, chef and owner, Daniel


Ovenly’s vanilla salted caramel cake is a showstopper—and ships nationwide.

Our Pick


No matter whom you’re giving it to, Tom Dixon’s marble and brass cake stand is probably way cooler than the one they got as a wedding gift.

Our Pick


Match’s antique-style ladle is both homey and subtly luxurious.

Our Pick


Or Just Eat Out

Stephanie Izard, executive chef and co-owner, Duck Duck Goat

Source: Stefan Johnson/St. John

St. John in London is a cool little restaurant tucked away from the busy streets. The environment is very homey and down-to-earth. It’s the perfect place for anyone who appreciates nose-to-tail cooking.”

Photographer: Natalie Behring/Bloomberg

Da Dong in Beijing has fantastic service and a great environment to enjoy Peking duck on Christmas Day.”

Source: Turtle Inn

“Eating lobster on the beach at Francis Ford Coppola’s resort Turtle Inn in Belize isn’t a bad way to spend any holiday.”

Source: Heritage Tavern

Heritage Tavern in Madison, Wis., has great comfort food and feels super cozy. Basically everything perfect for a cold holiday night.”

Stress Relief

Photograph by Jonno Rattman for Bloomberg Businessweek

“Being at Aire Ancient Baths is like being transported to Istanbul. Especially in winter, this experience is a treat.”

Vanessa Packer, co-founder, ModelFit studio

From $77,

Get on a Plane

“The landscapes of the Atacama Desert in Chile are like something from another planet. I especially like the Tierra Atacama Hotel & Spa for the way the modernist architecture meets the roughness of the setting.”

Michael Davis and Laurent Vernhes, co-founders, Tablet online travel guide

From $1,390 for a two-night all-inclusive package,

“The Concordia Eco-Resort in St. John, Virgin Islands, is an easy trip from the East Coast. The rooms are perched on a hillside, and the connection to natural beauty is incredibly rejuvenating.”

David Bowd, co-founder and CEO, Salt Hotels

From $195 per night,

“Absolutely look no further than Palace Les Airelles in Courchevel, France. It has direct access to the slopes of Les 3 Vallées, a perfect spa, a two-Michelin-starred restaurant, and rooms that truly feel like you’ve escaped to a fairy tale palace.”

Lee Schrager, founder, South Beach Wine & Food Festival

From $1,173 per night,

Take Your Mind Off Work

“Unlike your typical puzzle where you have a picture to guide you, with Bryce Wilner’s Gradient Puzzle there’s only a subtle shift in color. A masterpiece, no pun intended.”

Joe Doucet, designer


“The feedback from the NeuroSky EEG brainwave starter kit helps you track your mental state, so you don’t get burned out and can maximize your potential.”

Tasso Roumeliotis, founder and CEO, Location Labs


Mauli Rituals Himalayan healing salts help balance and optimize our bodies against the stress of modern life.”

Ariana Mouyiaris, creative director, Make Beauty


“If you want to unwind with an existential crisis, Hearts of Darkness and Burden of Dreams look at two uncompromising artists—Francis Ford Coppola and Werner Herzog, respectively—and how not compromising almost kills them but also yields truly stunning films.”

Zack Akers and Skip Bronkie, co-founders, Limetown podcast

Hearts of Darkness: $39.99; Burden of Dreams: $23.39;

The Microphones’ album The Glow, Pt. 2 is an epic thing in the world. The deep, foggy, analog care that Phil Elverum puts in produces one of those rare things that actually deserve to be heard on vinyl.”

Sarah Gertrude Shapiro, co-creator, Lifetime’s UnREAL


Photographs by Tim Schutsky for Bloomberg Businessweek

Michael Cunningham’s A Wild Swan and Other Tales reimagines classic fairy tales with a wry psychological twist. The dreamy illustrations by Japanese artist Yuko Shimizu are surreal.

Our Pick


The Outfit

Photograph by Brian Galderisi for Bloomberg Businessweek; Styling and Matket: Shibon Kennedy; Hair and Makeup: Rebecca Garcia. Outfits, from left: Tory Burch sweater ($395) and skirt ($495;, Gucci watch ($920;, Shannon Nataf ring ($2,700; Dover Street Market NY), Jimmy Choo shoes ($795;, Sophie Hulme bag charm ($190; Theory pants ($245;, Albertus Swanepoel hat ($290;, Alex Mill scarf ($75;, Billy Reid shoes ($425; Rochas sweater ($1,045; browns, Jenni Kayne pants ($550;, Oliver Goldsmith sunglasses ($440;, Jennifer Fisher necklace ($6,450) and ring ($340;, Vita Fede ring ($335;, Christian Louboutin shoes ($675; Saint Laurent turtleneck ($1,350;, Baldwin pants ($196;, Christian Louboutin shoes ($945; Suno sweater (price on request;, J Brand pants ($198;, Gucci watch ($790;, Jennifer Fisher ring ($3,000;, Jimmy Choo shoes ($695; Levi’s jacket ($298) and pants ($68;, Kenzo shirt ($345;, The Tie Bar socks ($8;, Billy Reid shoes ($425; Additional items, from left: The Tie Bar tie ($19; Tak.Ori hat ($395; Beltology belt ($85; Miu Miu sunglasses ($360; Proenza Schouler purse ($1,175; Paul Smith tie ($165; Karen Walker sunglasses ($300; Sophie Hulme keychain ($215; Kara purse ($560; Loewe coin purse ($380;

“The fit of a Saint Laurent blazer is so special and striking. It can be dressed up or down and creates great and varied moments.”

Uri Minkoff, designer

$2,990 (full suit),

“For the women in my office, I’d like to give an Isabel Marant cashmere scarf. An accessory like a scarf is so universal, and this one is perfect for evenings out, too.”

Clare Vivier, designer


“The Outlier Liberated wool duffel coat is lined with ultra-warm lightweight fleece, with high-tech magnetized fasteners down the front. It’s the perfect jacket for being outside in deep winter.”

Matt Taylor, founder, Tracksmith performance apparel


“The Renzo briefcase from Ernest Alexander is a great, manly bag. You can carry a laptop, iPad, notebook—all the supplies you need.”

David Hart, founder, David Hart Menswear


“The Gilbert blazer by Rag & Bone is such an evergreen piece. In cost per wear, it’s worth every cent.”

Jeanne Yang, stylist


“A cozy sweater is always a great gift. I love See by Chloé’s ponchos especially.”

Todd Snyder, designer


Marni Degradé sweater: “The mohair-nylon blend makes it durable, and the rich color makes it feel fresh.”

Jill Wenger, owner, Totokaelo boutique


Sporty Stelvio sunglasses from Autodromo complement just about any face shape.

Our Pick


Fendi’s ladylike Peekaboo bag is both traditional and adventurous—the perfect combo for gifting.

Our Pick


The Finishing Touches

“A 37-millimeter Uniform Wares watch is a classic.”

Kal Vepuri, co-founder, The Arrivals


“My friend Irene Neuwirth has the most striking pieces. These earrings set with rose-cut Rose of France gems have a fantastical quality of the utmost luxury.”

Dana Lorenz, designer, Fallon Jewelry

Price on request,

Photographs by Tim Schutsky for Bloomberg Businessweek

The twin pearl ear cuff from designer Shannon Nataf’s Joaillerie line is striking on its own, but it will also play well with just about anyone’s existing jewelry collection.

Our Pick

$1,280, Dover Street Market NY

The Office Upgrade

Photograph by Keirnan Monaghan for Bloomberg Businessweek; Prop Styling: Theo Vamvounakis

“The Twenty Four Hour Woman calendar has a different hilarious drawing for every day of the year.”

Isaac Nichols, ceramicist


Markus Brunetti’s cathedral portraits are composed of hundreds of images to capture the awe and splendor of these buildings.”

Hanya Yanagihara, author, A Little Life

Prints from $9,600,; book $31.80,

Piet Hein Eek’s Tube clock is made from extruded aluminum, and the number markers are actually produced in that process. The brass plating adds a bit of luxury.”

Craig Olson, founder, Canoe design store


“I love a Carl Aubock leather-wrapped rock paperweight. Walter Gropius had one on his desk.”

JP Williams, owner, Design MW


“The simple lines and metal work of Lindsey Adelman’s table light are beautiful.”

Kelly Wearstler, designer


“I like the handcrafted feel of these A Question of Eagles planters. They bring the outdoors in.”

Joshua Greene, co-owner, Hernandez Greene design store


Peperomia are great in low-to-medium light. The ripple variety is my favorite.”

Tassy de Give, co-owner, Sprout Home garden store

Kitaboshi’s wood-cased pencils look as good as they work and cost less than a subway ride.”

Dave Gilboa, co-founder, Warby Parker

From $1,

Postalco notepad: “A good substitute for iPhone Notes, and the pressed-cotton cover means I can use it as a coaster.”

Neil Blumenthal, co-founder, Warby Parker


Cire Trudon’s Spiritus Sancti candle smells like an old cathedral, very peaceful.”

Lisa Smith, creative director, Areaware design store


Stuff for the Desk Drawer

“I am a big fan of the Harry’s foaming shave. It’s included in the Winston set, which makes a great gift.”

Emily Weiss, founder, Glossier and Into the Gloss

Foaming shave $6; Winston set $25,

Susanne Kaufmann’s hand cream has the most amazing, rejuvenating scent.”

Robert Gerstner and Karl Brandl, co-founders, Aedes de Venustas fragrance boutique


Daphna Laurens’s paper clips are functional and visually arresting.”

Will Cooper, creative director, Ash NYC design store


Hay’s mirror-shiny brass scissors are incredibly good-looking.”

Ari Heckman, CEO, Ash NYC


“The Nars Het Loo satin lip pencil is super wearable with a very ’90s matte finish.”

Emily Weiss, founder, Glossier and Into the Gloss


Photographs by Tim Schutsky for Bloomberg Businessweek

Master & Dynamic’s solid brass ME05 earbuds produce a resonant sound (think: trumpet) and are also surprisingly comfortable.

Our Pick