Attention, Santa’s little schleppers! Our cool-as-hell gift ideas for everyone on your “nice” list will make you so excited to shop, you’re going to need a bigger tote (or five) to carry it all. We’ve not only selected the perfect present for the very specific (and picky) New Yorkers in your life, but we managed to do the unthinkable: make holiday shopping fun. So whether you’re searching for a relaxing treatment at one of the city’s best spas for your brother that really, really needs to chill out or a special gift to cheer up your friend with the shittiest commute, we got you. If nothing here appeals to you (impossible), make sure to scope out New York’s excellent holiday markets to find that one-of-a-kind find.
The best holiday gifts for 2021
Forget crowded department stores—your holiday shopping is already done, thanks to us. (You’re welcome, New York!)
Time Out New York staffers share their top 2021 gifts
An illustration of their favorite hangout by Bop Bop Illustrations
Commemorate your fellow New Yorker's favorite spot or an important local haunt where it all began with a print of it by an NYC artist—Annie Schonberger or Bop Bop Art. She has so many city favorites to choose from, including Dante, the Little Owl, Books Are Magic, Katz's and Russ & Daughters. Each one starts at about $65.—SW
A cookbook from Bonnie Slotnick Cookbooks
A walk through the packed shelves at Bonnie Slotick Cookbooks is one of the best ways to spend an afternoon in New York. Make it an even more exciting trip by stocking up on some cookbooks as holiday gifts for your loved ones. A few specific suggestions: Jake Cohen's Jew-ish for a fun take on classics and NYC chef Dan Kluger's debut cookbook, Chasing Flavor.
Kimika’s Holiday Cookie Tin
One of last year’s best new restaurants, Nolita’s Kimika is poised to offer holiday cookie tins this season. Keep an eye on its site to snap up pastry chef Clarice Lam’s creations like Hong Kong milk tea shortbread sandwich cookies and ginger-miso caramel mallomars. The tins include 18 cookies for $45.
Carnegie Deli's Iconic New York Cheesecake
If they really miss Carnegie Deli's New York Cheesecake (RIP the brick-and-mortar store, which closed in 2016) you can surprise them with one this holiday season! You can actually order a four-inch or eight-inch cheesecake through its store on Amazon right now. The larger cheesecake is $99.—SW
For a quintessential New York gift, go for the new Brooklyn-themed Monopoly board that swaps Atlantic City's famous streets for the likes of DeKalb Avenue and Brooklyn Botanical Garden. Who knows? The entire family might jump in for a game in the middle of your holiday meal.
Chef Collective Gift Card
Prior to the pandemic, Chef Collective was one of NYCs premier restaurant suppliers. It was quick to shift its fresh, small-farm offerings straight to consumers in 2020, and its top quality versus your standard billionaire-backed big box store is remarkable. Delivery is paused while Chef Collective moves warehouses, but it promises to return soon and gift cards start at $50.
Handmade pottery from Super Mud
To make a memory together, get a gift certificate for you and your person to go and learn how to make your own pottery or to purchase a handmade piece from a local artist at Super Mud. A private class for one or two people is $275 for 2 hours and its shop of handmade gifts is full of various items.—SW
Ode to Babel Gin
Ode to Babel is a Crown Heights cocktail bar that’s owned and operated by Marva and Myriam Babel. They’ve also created a proprietary small-batch gin blend that’s made in New York with organic corn. Ode to Babel Gin has cirtusy notes, looks good on a bar cart and is only sold locally online for $48.50 and in shops like The Natural Wine Company and Urban Uncorked.—Amber Sutherland-Namako
The Get Lit giftbox from Her Highness NYC
If you want to give them a high-end, luxury experience when they light up, look no further than the Get Lit giftbox from Her Highness NYC that includes an elegant gold snakes grinder, an art-pop red lips ashtray, and refillable gold butane lighter. It's $75 at herhighness.com.—SW
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