Laura U’s Gifts for a Holiday at Home
The year that seemed to simultaneously drag on forever and pass us by unbelievably quickly will soon come to a close. But not before the Holiday Season! Though Christmas, Hanukkah and New Year’s Eve will all be celebrated a bit differently this year, holiday cheer still abounds. Many of us will not be able to gather with extended family or travel the globe to see far-away friends. However, we can still send gifts sure to please and pamper those we love. From inspiring art books and challenging puzzles, to luxurious pajamas and cozy robes, our “Gifts for a Holiday at Home” Guide offers stay-at-home-friendly gifts. Follow below for our 2020 holiday gifting picks — and let us know which pieces you love!
For Holiday — and Everyday — Dinners
. Always Pan in Blue Salt from Our Place .
“You could absolutely keep this pan out on the counter with the lid on and it wouldn’t look odd or out of place. It’s also light and easy to handle but feels solid… so I wouldn’t worry about it busting or breaking.”
– David Watsky, CNET
Sleek and streamlined — yet quite charming — the Always Pan by Our Place is our number one kitchen pick this year. With many of us cooking Christmas dinner on our own for the very first time, the Always Pan is a must-have. Pretty and functional, the Always Pan can help you “braise, sear, steam, strain, sauté, fry, boil [and] serve” your holiday meals. According to Our Place, it can replace “your fry pan, sauté pan, steamer, and skillet.” The pan can also serve as a replacement for your “saucier, saucepan, non-stick pan, spatula, and spoon rest.” This — thankfully — means fewer dishes during the craziest cooking days of the year! We love all the pastel color choices for the Always Pan by Our Place. However, the “Blue Salt” shade is our favorite, as it is perfect for both the holidays and all year ‘round.
For the Coffee Table
. Parergon: Japanese Art of the 1980s and 1990s by Mika Yoshitake from Blum & Poe .
“Parergon brings together some of the most enigmatic works that were first generated during a rich two-decade period. [They] are pivotal to the way we perceive and understand contemporary Japanese art today.”
– Los Angeles Review of Books
Support cutting-edge gallery Blum & Poe — known for their fascinating, finger-on-the-pulse exhibitions of contemporary American, Korean and Japanese artists — and learn about the ground-breaking sociopolitical art of ‘80s and ‘90s Japan. The book Parergon: Japanese Art of the 1980s and 1990s traces the 2019 Mika Yoshitake-curated Blum & Poe exhibition of the same name. Shown in the LA gallery space in two parts, Parergon “focused on themes of retro-futurism, noir, satire, and simulation” — according to Blum & Poe. The exhibition catalog includes works from “twenty-five artists including EYE, Kenjiro Okazaki, Mariko Mori… Kenji Yanobe, and Tadanori Yokoo.” Media featured in the show included “painting, sculpture, performance, noise, video, and photography” — making the sensory experience diverse and impactful. Immerse yourself in Yoshitake’s fascinating world and expand your appreciation for the post-Mono-ha New Wave Movement. Or gift that experience to someone on your list! Plus, the moody, minimalist cover of the book makes for a great design addition to any coffee table!
. Anni & Josef Albers: Equal and Unequal by Nicholas Fox Weber from Phaidon .
“A spectacular and unprecedented visual biography of the leading pioneers and protagonists of modern art and design.”
In his book Anni & Josef Albers: Equal and Unequal, Nicholas Fox Weber — head of the Josef and Anni Albers foundation and recipient of the PEN New England Award — explores the Albers’ impact on modern thought and design in the Northeast US. The pair was instrumental in shaping the Black Mountain College. The College was an experimental, interdisciplinary playground for pioneering artists like Jacob Lawrence, Paul Klee and Ruth Asawa. Equal and Unequal explores the complex — but ever-engaging — relationship between Josef and Anni. It spans their lives — from their time at the Bauhaus to their work in Connecticut at the peak of their careers. Phaidon describes the book as “accessibly written” with “more than 750 artworks, archival images, and documents—many published here for the first time.” The many photographs featured inside the book are certainly breath-taking. However, the book’s “beautifully cloth-bound” exterior “utilizes an elegant color palette and design that speaks to the work of both artists.” Pay homage to the legendary couple by including Weber’s book in your library — or atop your coffee table.
For Anywhere or Anytime!
. Olivia Von Halle Lila Striped Silk-satin Pajama Set from Net-a-Porter .
“Olivia von Halle’s luxurious ‘Lila’ pajamas are just too chic to be reserved solely for the bedroom.”
In their article “The Best Silk Pajamas” for Town & Country, Cassandra Hogan and Sarah Adams awarded another Olivia Von Halle set. The pair described the Lila Floral-Print Silk-Velvet Pajama Set as “as glamorous as it comes for keeping warm [on] chilly nights.” However, we recommend the Lila striped silk-satin pajama set by Olivia Von Halle for its comfort, classic design and versatility. The silk striped top can easily be worn outside the house with jeans or slacks. Additionally, Net-a-Porter recommends pairing the pants “with a chunky sweater and loafers.” With a set this soft and stylish, the options are endless — making it the perfect gift for any woman in your life!
For Breakfast in Bed
. Bosque Tray in Bosque Wood and Druze Agate by Anna Rabinowitz from 1stDibs .
“Natural alternatives [to marble] such as onyx, malachite and agate, are rising in popularity.”
– Georgia Madden, Houzz Australia
The elegant Bosque Tray by Anna Rabinowitz — available through 1stDibs — offers nature, character and uniqueness to any interior. Add it to a coffee table or credenza to display trinkets. Use it to serve drinks during the holidays or carry it into your bedroom to bring your partner breakfast in bed on Christmas morning. The base features a stained slab of bosque wood while the handles are a pair of elegant brass-framed druze agate pulls. 1stDibs describes the design of this tray as “notable” due to its “visual tension.” This effect is created by the striking contrast between the “natural edges of the stone…[and] the clean geometry of the wood.” Gift this try to a treasured friend, present it to your holiday hostess or keep it for yourself!
. Botanica Floral Duvet Cover Set from Peruvian Connection .
“Quality and comfort come without compromise – and it seems that each piece is truly stitched with love.”
– The Style Line
Known for their beautifully crafted and flawlessly finished collection of romantic and nomadic pieces, the Peruvian Connection’s at home collection is a sophisticated marriage of delightfully charming and appreciatively functional. The Botanica Floral Duvet Set is delicately woven with cotton sateen, offering a smooth, silky touch, and its intricate, 17th century Dutch floral motif is entrancingly serene. Giving the gift of rest and relaxation during the busiest time of the year is thoughtful and will surely be enjoyed.
For Cuddling on the Couch
. SKIN Sierra Quilted Cotton-jersey Robe and Eye Mask Set from Net-a-Porter .
“If you can’t find a unique gift for your friends or family while holiday shopping, consider investing in a super-soft robe. No one can complain about a gift that basically guarantees instant relaxation and usually comes in a convenient ‘one size fits all.’”
– Madison Alcedo, Real Simple
The Sierra Quilted Cotton-Jersey Robe and Eye Mask Set from SKIN — available through Net-a-Porter — is ideal for gifting with its soft feel and relatively lightweight construction. Made from quilted cotton, the robe is cushioned enough to provide some warmth but light enough for those in warmer winter climates. According to Net-a-Porter, the Sierra Quilted Cotton-Jersey Robe “feels like you’re wrapped up in your favorite comforter.” The eye mask blocks out light for the perfect slumber without being harsh on lashes. The set comes with an adorable “cardboard ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign that flips to read ‘Welcome’ on the other” side. This little addition makes the set a sweet gift for anyone who needs a quality sleep or a warm hug from afar.
. Orange + Pink Color Surge Throw .
“Inspired by the works of Mark Rothko, the Color Surge throws are painted by hand…producing a unique work of textile art.”
– Rosemary Hallgarten
British designer Rosemary Hallgarten is beloved for what Houzz refers to as her “dedication to artisan craft and opulent texture.” These two elements are nowhere better expressed than in her Color Surge Throws. Woven from Peruvian baby alpaca wool, the Color Surge Throws are incredibly soft to the touch. Larger than the standard 50 x 36” throw blanket size, Color Surge throws are six feet square. Their size makes them the perfect addition to a bed, porch or couch — or for children on a long, chilly car ride. While Rosemary Hallgarten’s Color Surge Throws are available in two art-inspired patterns, we were especially taken by the orange and pink, Rothko-esque throw.
For Illuminating the Mantle
. Stargazer Candleholders, Verde Guatemala Marble and Brass, Set of Two from 1stDibs .
“A beautiful union of brass and marble, the ‘Stargazer’ candle holders are inspired by orreries. [Orreries are] mechanical models of the solar system used since classical times.”
These British-made candle holders are the ideal addition to any mantle, dining table or credenza. They offer a touch of glamour and a flicker warmth. Designed by Slovene jewelry designer Lara Bohinc, the handmade Stargazer Candle Holders boast a “beautiful union of brass and marble.” 1stDibs notes that the candle holders’ design was inspired by “orreries.” Orreries are antique heliocentric mechanical models of the Solar System intended to track the paths of planets around the sun. The suspended brass orb — emerging from the dark green of the holder’s Verde Guatemala marble — clearly communicates this inspiration. Their “powerful sculptural presence” truly makes these candle holders functional art pieces.
For Family Fun
. The Snow Two-Sided Puzzle from Gray Malin .
“Gray Malin’s awe-inspiring aerial photographs are shot from doorless helicopters, creating playful and stunning celebrations of light, shape, and perspective.”
– Barnes & Noble
Gray Malin’s two-sided puzzles offer the escapism that has “escaped” us this season — what with wide-spanning holiday travel restrictions and global health concerns. The Snow Two-Sided Puzzle is nostalgic for anyone who has enjoyed a snowy Christmas. However, this Gray Malin puzzle particularly reminds us of our mountainside projects in Aspen, Colorado. These new puzzles are described by Gray Malin as the “kind of break we need — and deserve” right now, each. Each offers “not one, but two, fine art photography prints” to assemble and marvel over with children, partners or friends. This lovely Snow Two-Sided Puzzle displays a “majestic winter wonderland scene on one side and…colorful skiers on crisp white snow on the other.” The two stunning images making the puzzle a fun addition to any lodge or living room.
Be sure to let us know which pieces make it onto your holiday gift list this year — or if you receive any yourself! Happy Holidays to each and every reader. We at Laura U wish you all the best!