2021 Holiday Gift Guide: 13 Elegant Essentials

Our Editor-at-Large wraps up the year with her favorite finds.

We’re entering the season that calls for gifts that say “Thank you”, “I love you”, and perhaps most of all “Happy holidays”.  All through the year, I collect ideas of things which I hope will delight hostesses and gift recipients. Here are some items I’ve come across for this year:

Hir Flower Fix


Flower Fix delivers fresh flower subscriptions monthly or quarterly in boxes printed with care information and tips.  Big Bodacious Bouquet selections highlight unusual blooms in generous bouquets, Stunning Roses introduces recipients to new and unusual varieties, DIY kits provide blooms plus arrangement accessories and the link to an online how-to video.


Hir Bartesian


It’s easy to serve complicated cocktails, no expertise required, with Bartesian‘s Premium Cocktails on Demand appliance.  Capsules with measured recipe ingredients are inserted into the device which is stocked with basic vodka, tequila, gin, whiskey.  Press a button and the margarita, cosmopolitan, whiskey sour and so on is dispensed, custom-made and ready to serve.     



No green thumb required with Gardenuity’s custom gardening kits and guidance.  Delivered in reusable grow bags each “garden experience” kit contains a selection of plants in soil matched to the region.  Nutrients, soil pH toner, regular feedings, and links for tips and weather alerts are included.  Salad greens, cocktail garden, taco toppings, sips and dips, merry mint, are among the giftable choices, and the kits can be sent with a card and code to future order the plants when weather permits.

Hir Ornament Anchor


For Connecticut residents, a very special item is Ornament Anchors, the creation of Sheldon, CT grade school student Ayaan Naqvi.  When a favorite holiday ornament fell from the tree and broke, Ayaan’s solution was a loop that pulls tight and clamps onto the tree branch securing each ornament in place.  The loops come in holiday colors and part of the profits are shared with animal rescue as a tribute to the “inventor’s” pet dog Zara.

Hir Wine


Classic crowd-pleasing wines for parties are paired in Celebrate the Season holiday host sets.  Scout & Cellar partners with growers and coordinates with independent labs to ensure that wines are free from synthetic pesticides, chemical additives, and sweeteners.  Gifts are delivered with a personalized branded card from the sender.

Vertellis Coasters 249689 700x


“What advice would you give your younger self?”  “When was the last time you did something new?”  Those are among the twenty questions posed by Vertellis on this collection of coasters. Printed on recyclable pulpboard, their engaging, thought-provoking questions deepen interaction and spark meaningful interchange.

Hir Hudsonest


Deliveries of paper napkins arrive every month or two to subscribers of Hudsonest.  The clean, modern, inventive designs add a touch of luxury to every day meals, making “daily life a little bit richer.”  In addition to dinner squares, the sophisticated tri-ply ply napkins come in Cocktail and Guest Towel sizes

Hir Grace Farms


Salted chocolate chip cookies, blended ground coffee, and a sampler of herbal teas feature in a boxed selection from Grace Farms, a humanitarian and cultural center in New Canaan, CT.  All the Chips, Drips, and Sips are made with organic and fair trade ingredients and proceeds support the foundation’s efforts to end forced labor forever.

Hir Legacybox

Help friends and family remember a special event – Thanksgiving dinner, holiday party, family reunion — by sending them a permanent record from Legacybox.  On request, the firm sends a box for photos, videos, or films of the event.  Mail back the mementos and the firm converts them to a thumb drive, disc set, or digital download that is a unique and permanent keepsake.

Philip Johnson Glass House Design Store 2018


Not your customary cubes, Andrej Urem’s architectural candles are available through the Glass House.  Handmade in Brooklyn, the wax forms are soy-based with lead free cotton wicks and a burn time of around sixty hours.

Teenie Harris Cubans 1941

New York Cubans Player Horacio Martinez Leaping Above Third Base at Forbes Field, Charles “Teenie” Harris, 1941,Carnegie Museum of Art, Heinz Family Fund © Carnegie Museum of Art, Charles “Teenie” Harris Archive.


Pictures of Duke Ellington and musicians gathered around a piano, a very young boxer wearing oversize gloves, a woman posing on the fender of a vintage car are among the images captured by preeminent photographer Charles “Teenie” Harris when Pittsburgh Courier illustrations were recording the African American urban experience in the middle of the 20th century.  The Carnegie Museum of Art is selling the archival prints framed,  in any size.

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A boxed trio of charming books on her favorite themes, Flowers and Gardens, Feminine Touch, and Furry Friends feature the enchanting watercolors and glorious photographs of noted designer Carolyne Roehm.  Interspersed thoughts, quotes, and sayings are introduced with updated initial letters that bring to mind the treasures of medieval manuscripts.

Mad Lego Necklace


 LEGO blocks were transformed into this striking necklace by Jacqueline Sanchez one of over forty designers selling contemporary jewelry at the Museum of Art and Design’s annual “MAD about Jewelry” sale running through December 11.  Throughout the year the museum’s gift shop is an ongoing source of cutting edge personal adornment creations fashioned from felt, titanium, resin, beads, gold plated glass – even concrete!

Screen Shot 2020 08 10 At 100944 Am 2


Pillows, comforters, mattress pads lined with wool are temperature neutral, working with your body to regulate body heat and coolness in all seasons.  Natural, convenient, easy to clean, they are an alternative to crushable feathers and synthetic alternatives.