Must Haves

Must Haves: A Holiday Gift Guide

By David Nash

From keepsakes that sponsor worthy causes to unique finds that will surely spark joy, this holiday season we round up items you can feel as good about giving as you do receiving.

Lion King. Since 2017, Tiffany & Co. has raised more than $8 million for the Wildlife Conservation Network through sales of the Tiffany Save the Wild collection to help protect elephants, rhinos and lions. Consider gifting this 18-karat gold-and-yellow diamond Lion Brooch ($35,000) to your mane squeeze and support a great cause at the same time.

Duck Dynasty. From the 1 Moncler JW Anderson line — part of the Moncler Genius project — comes the Battersealong ($2,835),a reversible and adjust-able vest in duck print rust red. Designed in a printed cotton on one side and solid black on the other, with a detachable hood and two-way zipper front closure, you can customize your look on a daily basis — weather permitting.

Heaven Scent. For the holidays, Trudon found inspiration in the warm hanging lights, colorful molten glass and golden accessories of an enchanted Moroccan souk for its special edition seasonal candles. Each candle glass is handcrafted and decorated with gold leaves. The Gabriel – Christmas Edition ($125–$620), described as a “gourmand chimney fire,” is a brand favorite, glowing with a soft green light for the archangel it is named after.

Bear Essentials. In 1903, the Steiff “Teddy” bear became an icon among stuffed animals after an American buyer placed a 3,000-piece order with the German toy company, precipitated by a political cartoon depicting President Theodore Roosevelt with a bear cub. Now, 117 years later, the popular plush bear remains the company’s top seller. Paying tribute to the original design, the maker has released a new limited edition Great American Teddy Bear ($298) available locally through Gump’s. Maybe he’ll make talking politics a little more bearable.

Stepping Up. Hand-embroidered by fourth-generation craftsmen in Pakistan, ONE432’s bullion embroidery and bead slippers — like the Geneva camou Lux ($245) — are definitely a step in the right direction. Inspired by a 400-year-old craft from Punjab, each fully symmetrical shoe takes eight hours to produce. Created by Ammar Belal, a professor at Parsons School of Design, the brand shares 50 percent of the net profits from each sale with its female artisans and its children’s education sponsorships in Pakistan.

In Focus. Brilliantly illustrating life in one of the country’s most culturally significant neighborhoods, San Francisco’s Chinatown ($40) is a documentary photography book worth sharing year-round. Local photographer Dick Evans captures scenes of everyday life — highlighting historic landmarks and shops, as well as residents, community leaders and local notables, including the late Cecilia Chiang— while writer Kathy Chin Leong gives voice to the 15,000 people who call Chinatown home. Published by Heyday, a Berkeley-based independent nonprofit publisher, all proceeds from book sales benefit the San Francisco Chinese Culture Center to help businesses and residents affected by COVID-19. Learn more from our interview with Evans and Leong.

The Pajama Game. Australian sleepwear brand Sant and Abel has teamed up with LA-based heritage wall-covering and fabric company CW Stockwell to produce its light-weight Martinique Banana Leaf collection. We recommend the shirt and PJ pant set ($198; available in men’s and women’s sizes) — and while wearing them, imagine your house is a private bungalow at the Beverly Hills Hotel. Fans of the soft cotton pajamas include Kourtney and Khloe Kardashian, Andy Cohen, Jimmy Fallon and Debra Messing.

Pretty in Pink. Founded in 2008 by Los Angeles artist Alexandra Grant — aka Keanu Reeves’ girlfriend — the grant-LOVE Project produces and sells original artwork, editions and jewelry that benefit artists and nonprofits such as the Epiphany Conservation Trust and Project Angel Food. Express your feelings with this Medium LOVE neon in black and pale pink ($15,000). Measuring 30 × 21 × 4½ inches, this limited edition sculpture will continually brighten someone’s day — and their wall.

Dream Weaver. A more compact version of the original, the Mini Pouch ($1,690) from Bottega Veneta — shown here in Racing Green — might be small in size, but it’s big on style. From kiwi and caramel to swimming pool, the woven calf leather bag comes in an array of fantastically named colors, and is the brainchild of the brand’s creative director, Daniel Lee, who continues to up the Italian house’s design game each season.

Pumped-Up Kicks. Debuting in creative director Bruno Sialelli’s second collection for Lanvin — spring 2020 menswear — the Nylon Bumper Sneaker ($550) has continued to reappear in subsequent seasons, to the delight of his growing fanbase. Available for men and women (there’s a satin version in multiple colors) and inspired by the running shoes of the ’70s, this retro sneaker is fast becoming a new classic.

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