Buyers Rejoice

Insiders From NYC’s top retail stores pick their favorite holiday gifts.

’Tis the season for sugar plums, holiday parties and last-minute shopping. If you’re one to scurry around town on Christmas Eve leaving hardly enough time to wrap, tag and tuck those presents under the tree, this holiday gift list will inspire an NYC spree and leave time to spare. We’ve curated a diverse lineup in various price ranges from some of the city’s top merchandising pros. Get shopping!

 

THE MET STORE

Leave it to The Metropolitan Museum of Art to masterfully merge art with giving. Leanne Graeff, Senior Product Designer for the Met Store, lends us her holiday gift suggestions.

The Cloisters Playing Cards Pocket Square ($55) will dress up the man in your life. This handkerchief was adapted from a 15th-century set of playing cards in The Met Cloisters. Graeff says, “The rich colors will look wonderful peeking out of a suit pocket.” 

For ladies, she likes the Quimbaya Pendant Necklace ($178). Influenced by the pre-Columbian section of the museum, this hammered gold necklace’s lustrous finish will spruce up any outfit. “It brings an instant sense of style and polish.”

Handcrafted by a family-operated workshop in Italy, the Florentine Trivet in green and blue ($95) is sure to brighten almost any kitchen. According to Graeff, the ceramics are painted the same way they have been for centuries and reflect the techniques seen in The Met’s maiolica collection. 

Older kids can get their creative juices flowing with the Luxury Linen Watercolor Set ($150), complete with paint, brushes, a pad of acid-free paper and a teal linen case. Dressing up the pad’s cover is a reproduction of German artist Paul Klee’s famous 1915 watercolor, “Movement of the Vaulted Chambers,”  which Graeff tells us is what gives this gift an “essential tie to The Met collection.”

THE WHITE COMPANY

Filled with comforting finds, the furniture, clothing and homewares store, The White Company exudes sumptuousness, and there’s no better time for a splurge here than at the holidays. British Founder and Owner Chrissie Rucker gives us her must-buys.

Guys deserve their share of luxury, too, and Rucker believes you should “treat him to the comfiest and best loungewear around.” The men’s Cashmere Zip Hoodie ($325) works well for a yoga class, casual weekend brunch or a quiet night in. 

For the ladies, Rucker claims that it doesn’t get more indulgent than the luxe Shawl Collar Cashmere Robe ($475). (Rucker is keeping her fingers crossed that her husband reads this gift guide because she’d love to find it under her tree come Christmas.)

Glass is timeless, which is why the vintage Etched Mercury Tea Light Holder ($19) and the Mercury Bowl Vase ($55) make exquisite home furnishings gifts. Rucker suggests grouping several on shelves or decorating holiday tables with candles and flowers. 

The Little White Company (the children’s department) has a cute Reindeer Romper ($48), snug and comfy on any tiny tot. “This fun all-in-one is just perfect for baby’s first Christmas,” says Rucker.

 

BLOOMINGDALE’S

Erica Russo, Bloomingdale’s Operating Vice President and Fashion Director of Accessories and Beauty, assures us that style and gift giving go hand in hand. 

According to Russo, nothing says cozy chic quite the way that Bloomingdale’s Cashmere Crewneck Sweaters ($198) do. Available in The Men’s Store, the pullovers come in 10 different colors including slate, coal and dusk-blue.

“Show the woman in your life just how much she sparkles and shines,” suggests Russo, with Bloomingdale’s exclusive Roberto Coin 18-karat yellow gold Princess Chiodo Bangle Bracelet ($6,500), with openwork detail and capped with pavé diamonds.

Oenophiles will adore the Üllo Wine Decanter Set  ($149.99). Holding one full bottle of wine, the borosilicate handblown glass carafe includes a removable purifier that filters out artificial preservatives.

Russo says to “indulge your little musician” and celebrate “The Greatest Showman”—20th Century Fox’s film about P.T. Barnum, scheduled for release on Christmas Day—when you give the limited-edition Melissa and Doug Learn-to-Play Piano ($139.99). The hardwood little piano has 25 color-coded keys.

 

MoMA DESIGN STORE

We turn to The Museum of Modern Art for choices that keep us thinking right up until we purchase and even more so afterward. Emmanuel Plat, Director of Merchandising for the MoMA Design Store, divulges his preferred holiday gift picks.

Named after Einstein, the wall-mountable Albert Clock ($340) displays unsolved math equations that require cracking to read the time, so geeky guys and gals can work their minds and tell time simultaneously. Plat refers to the gadget, which features a white LED display and six different levels of difficulty, as “a clock like no other.” 

For women, Plat selected the Origami-inspired “Plywood” Shoulder Bag ($250) because it’s “a wonderful ‘trompe l’oeil’ bag that looks just like plywood, but is made from one piece of leather.” Wearable on the shoulder or as a cross-body purse, it has slots and pockets on the interior to stay organized.

“This German dinnerware brings a cheerful touch to any dinner party,” says Plat of the elegant and dishwasher-safe Cucina Colori Dinnerware ($180). Each white porcelain set consists of six dinner plates and six salad plates that don a slim ring of color around the edges. A six-piece bowl set ($108) can be purchased separately.

Your little one can “stay warm and see in the dark” when he or she sports the Kids X-Cap Light Up Hat ($30) in pink or blue. The beanie contains a removable lamp that shines three levels of light up to four continuous hours and can be recharged via USB. 

 

MACY’S

There’s no store with the history of the 2-million- square-foot Macy’s Herald Square (the first store to have a real “Santa,” among other firsts). Cassandra Jones, Senior Vice President of Macy’s Fashion Office, lets us in on her No. 1 choices.

Jones suggests giving him “the gift of style with classic pieces like varsity jackets and smoking slippers, reinvented for the modern man,” such as the Tommy Logo Capsule Item Varsity Jacket ($129) and Steve Madden Smoking Slippers ($100).

Ladies who appreciate fresh floral scents will love Gucci’s Bloom Fragrance (3.3 oz. for $124). For a more whimsical present, opt for fun plus sparkle with a Bow and Drape Sweatshirt ($68-$78).

Outstanding host gifts include Thirstystone Barware ($15-$85) and Studio Mercantile Bar Games ($20-$120). Jones says that “gorgeous barware and games will help celebrate any occasion.”

Sometimes, life can feel like a movie for grownups, but children will think they’re living in one when they catch sight of FAO Schwarz’s 93-inch Giant Bear ($500) on Christmas. Jones says, “Make their wishes come true” with this supersize stuffed animal.

 

THE NEW-YORK HISTORICAL SOCIETY MUSEUM & LIBRARY NYHISTORY STORE

The New-York Historical Society Museum & Library gift store offers NYC-centric presents for all ages. Ione Saroyan, Director of Merchandise Operations, shares her favorite items from the shop.

The Vintage Vietnam Marine Aviator’s Jacket ($230 to $270) is perfect for stylish men with a penchant for history. Referred to as the “Marine Corps Harrier Pilot’s Second Skin,” the army green jacket pays tribute to the garment worn by Navy and Marine fighter pilots from the 1950s through the 1970s. 

Saroyan says she favors the Well Behaved Women Seldom Make History Tote ($19.95) because “it gives me hope.” Printed with the noteworthy phrase by Lauren Thatcher Ulrich, the purple, white and gold canvas satchel is a gentle reminder of the American suffrage movement and the women’s movement that prevails today. 

Diehard fans of the Big Apple will adore the 35-by- 14-inch wool New York Skyline Pillow Cushion ($150) that pictures the iconic cityscape in all its glory. The wide-angle image showcases New York City from the Hudson to the East River.

 

For kids, the book “When Jackie Saved Grand Central” ($17.99) tells the remarkable story of how the famed first lady fought to protect one of New York’s most beloved landmarks and ultimately change history. Written by Natasha Wing with illustrations by Alexandra Boiger, the 48-page read is excellent for ages 6 to 9. Saroyan claims this book as one of her favorites because “Despite it all, she persisted.”