Presents to Deck the Halls
The holiday season makes everyone think about heading home. In good ways and bad. But then there are people who think about home all the time. You know the ones. They are the people who are constantly repainting their dining room, or asking you over to admire their new den or sample Bolognese cooked on their new stove. (And hopefully it's not because they are smug show-offs but because they are genuine hosts.) For those happy nesters on your gift list this season, it's always appropriate to give them something that makes those nights, and days, spent at home even better.
So welcome to the latest edition of BusinessWeek.com's ongoing Executive Gift Guide series. So far, we've already given our top picks for edible treats (see BusinessWeek.com, 11/16/06, "Good Gifts That Taste Great"); auto-focused presents (see BusinessWeek.com, 11/10/06, "Gifts for Car Lovers"); products to pamper yourself with (see BusinessWeek.com, 11/03/06, "Presents for Pampering"); wearable items (see BusinessWeek.com, 10/26/06, "Giving the Gift of Style"); and BusinessWeek editors' choices (see BusinessWeek.com, 12/1/06, "Holiday Gifts Right Out of the Box").
In the Kitchen
For the house-proud, few rooms are more important than the kitchen. Today's kitchens have evolved from places of drudgery to the focal point of the home. Increasingly, it's the room where the family watches TV, does homework, or just hangs out, but its primary function is, of course, the preparation and often consumption of delicious home-cooked meals. But those meals don't cook themselves and behind every great chef stands a set of appliances.
And few are more useful or appreciated—not to mention expensive—as an Aga stove. This English cast-iron enamel stove can be found in just about every stately home across Britain, where its radiant heat is perfect for not only roasting grouse or brewing up a pot of tea, but also because it warms the whole kitchen. (And anyone who has ever spent time in a drafty English country house has spent many a blustery afternoon huddled around the Aga because central heating is still a novel concept there.)
Therefore, while at around $9,575 the price tag might be steep, for the cook who has (almost) anything, the two-oven cooker, which comes in a range of incredibly vibrant colors—jade, red, yellow, purple—will be sure to brighten up any kitchen.
A simpler—and less expensive—way to show your appreciation for all things culinary is by bringing a smaller piece that any host or hostess can use, like a set of cheese plates. Williams-Sonoma's vintage collection is elegant yet modern and looks like it costs a whole lot more than $36. Or, to add a personal touch to the holiday table, how about customized napkins? ForYourParty.com's paper goods allow for complete creativity yet are quite affordable—$23 for a set of 50.
Bath and Beyond
While some people like to do, others like to watch. And nothing's better to look at than a movie or TV show on the big screen. Panasonic's plasma TV comes in a 50-inch version for $3,499.95.
During the hubbub of the holidays, peace and quiet is the top item on many people's wish lists. And what better way to fix up your bathroom and bring a smile to your spouse's face than by installing TOTO's Neorest Bath Collection? For $31,800, the Japanese bathroom fixtures company offers incredible spa-like indulgences such as a rain shower with body spray, a toilet that warms the water and washes the user, and a bath that remembers what temperature you like the water.
The bathroom experience doesn't have to end there. Stepping out of the tub should be just as pleasurable as getting in. Soft, warm towels can make that happen, such as Yves Delorme's Medallion set for $364.
No matter what area of the house you buy for—the kitchen, bathroom, backyard, or family room—you can make someone's home-time experience a little more pleasant this year.
Click here to see great gifts for the home.
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