It would be a profound understatement to say that 2020 has been a tumultuous and chaotic year. For all too many, it has been downright devastating. Despite the doldrums, disappointments and heartache, people far and wide are endeavoring to embrace the spirit of the holiday season and find joy where they can. This includes bestowing thoughtful and heartfelt gifts on friends, family, colleagues and others of care and concern in our sphere.
With this, many have asked for my recommendations on holiday gadget gift ideas that can make our lives increasingly “at home” more enjoyable and comfortable, or that will generally make daily life better. This whether at home or cautiously out-and-about—this year or well into the next as normalcy hopefully resumes. Here are some of my favorite gift-worthy finds of the year across various categories, assuring there is something for everyone.
***** GADGETRY *****
The Aventon Level Step-Through Ebike (www.Aventon.com)
The Aventon Level Step-Through Ebike is the daily commuter’s dream bike. It is specifically designed for the urban commuter and is engineered to give riders back their freedom, helping them escape the bumper-to-bumper traffic of their daily morning commutes to and fro. Whether that’s going to work, school or anywhere else on the regular, the Level Step-Through Commuter Ebike adds a sense of thrill to the start of the day. Its peppy handling and electric motor technology provides speeds of up to 28 miles per hour on pedal assist! Arrive to school or work on time and without feeling drained … or even breaking a sweat. The Level Commuter is a class III Ebike and features both pedal assist and throttle settings that gives the rider the option to skip pedaling altogether. It boasts a 750-peak watt (500 watt sustained) brushless rear hub motor that makes going up hills a breeze. With its 48-volt integrated lithium-ion battery, the Level Ebike ranges roughly 40 miles per charge on average, which the rider can track with the large mounted backlit LCD display. Additionally, the Level Ebike comes loaded with added components providing commuters with functionality they look for. This Includes tailor-made fenders keeping both the bike and rider clean and protected from flying debris, a rear rack to haul essential cargo, an on-board suspension fork for a more comfortable and smoother ride over those uneven roads. This EBike is also a dream for those more leisurely outings as well.
ULTRASONE Performance 880 & ULTRASONE SIRIUS (www.Manfrotto.com)
For the audiophile in your life, the ULTRASONE Performance 880 headphones fulfill the highest demands on sound brilliance courtesy of it S-Logic and S-Logic Plus Technology. Unlike other headphones that push sound into the ear, the ULTRASONE S-Logic technology reflects sound off the surface of the outer ear in different directions before it enters the auditory canal—creating a natural surround sound experience. This, coupled with the S-Logic Plus Technology, provides a spatially improved perception of voices and instruments with stereo sound signal. In other words, it features amazing sound clarity to give you concert like sound from a set of traditional headphones. This technology also allows a reduction of sound pressure levels at the eardrum—up to 40 percent less strain that significantly reduces the risk of hearing damage. The heart of the closed headphones is a 40mm titanium-coated transducer. The clear high-frequency range draws every nuance of the music, while the bass range draws drums and effects impressively, without placing them too much in the foreground. To ensure maximum comfort for continuous listening, the headphones feature a metal headband and earpads with memory foam that adjust to fit your head and minimize external noise. The metal shielding technology also reduces the amount of radiation received by the headphones by up to 98 percent. The ULTRASONE SIRIUS is a module that converts every pair of headphones in the Performance series into a Bluetooth headset. You simply disconnect the cable from your Performance model and plug the SIRIUS Bluetooth module in its place. Enjoy your music via Bluetooth aptX technology with complete freedom of movement. The design of SIRIUS Bluetooth receiver is tailored precisely to the headphones of the Performance series. The strongly curved shape is based on the design of the headphones and hugs precisely on their housing. With an easy plug-in-and-go design, the frequency of human hearing is also transmitted.
Time Since Launch (www.CWAndT.com)
Potentially my favorite gadget find of this year! When John Glenn became the first American astronaut to orbit Earth, the only piece of technology on his body (other than a spacesuit) was a 12-hour stopwatch. Soon after launch, Glenn started his stopwatch in sync with tracking stations across the world. At that moment, Mission Elapsed Time (MET) began counting up from zero. A launch timer was not only required for a successful mission, in order to calculate position, but it also created a shared global time zone. Quietly situated at the center of a tremendous collaborative feat of human innovation, the launch clock marks an arbitrary Moment Zero—a moment shared by humans scattered all over the world and one hurtling through space. Use this very long-scale timepiece to mark the beginning of your own personal epoch. It could begin when you get married, have a baby, quit smoking, launch a rocket or on an ordinary Tuesday morning. Your specific epoch is safeguarded within this unique timepiece designed and over-engineered to outlive you. Suspended in a durable, borosilicate glass tube and sealed with gasketed aluminum end-caps, two LCDs show the days, hours, minutes and seconds since “launch.” This timepiece is built to count for 2,738 years, with batteries that will last 20-40 years and that can be swapped out without losing track of time. Time Since Launch is a product that was designed by Che-Wei for his senior thesis at the MIT Media Lab, where he went on to become the winner of the 2003 SOM fellowship and the Young Alumni Achievement Award from Pratt Institute.
StrongBoard Balance Fitness Balance Board (www.StrongBoardBalance.com)
Here’s a fantastic device to foster fitness at-home. StrongBoard Balance is today’s premier balance board. Perfect for all ages and fitness levels, it is portable and electricity-free and employs patented multi-spring technology that promises users will never find a point of stabilization. Compressing under any weight-bearing load, including the human body, StrongBoard’s springs are both reactive and dynamic. Simply standing on StrongBoard requires total core engagement. The biomechanics of spring technology coupled with the rigid platform require users to find their true center of gravity. StrongBoard is easy and safe to maneuver both on and off and its flat platform protects joints and surrounding ligaments from unnatural supination or strain, allowing the user to mimic real-life movements in all positions. StrongBoard weighs 15 pounds and may also be used as a weight for bicep, tricep, chest and abdominal exercises. In addition to the muscular and skeletal benefits, use of the StrongBoard requires the muscles to communicate with the brain, effectively opening, healing restoring and strengthening delicate neural pathways. StrongBoard delivers profound results to all levels of fitness enthusiasts, creating desired changes in how users look and feel, as well as improvement in balance, core strength, agility and posture.
Eggtronic Laptop Power Bank (www.Eggtronic.com)
Here’s a perfect gift for the “power hungry” set. The Eggtronic 20,000mAh Laptop Power Bank can help keep your various gadgets charged up when there isn’t a wall outlet to be found. The portable charger comes equipped with two USB-A ports to not only recharge phones and tablets, but with its 45W Power Delivery USB-C port it can quickly recharge compatible laptops as well. The power bank is covered in soft, water-repellent linen canvas with a soft touch frame around the side as well as a built-in LCD display that tells you the remaining battery life in one clear number, so you won’t be unexpectedly left without power. With 63W total output over three ports, the Eggtronic Laptop Power Bank can charge three devices simultaneously. Plus, the two high power fast charge ports deliver power at two-times the speed of normal chargers. It also features a slim and portable profile, covered in soft waterproof linen canvas and a soft touch frame. The LCD display even shows the remaining battery life at a glance. It’s a handy companion to have whether out-and-about and even in the house in areas where outlets are scarce.
obVus Solutions Laptop Tower Stand (www.obVus.me)
The obVus Laptop Tower Stand is an ergonomically designed, height-adjustable that turns a laptop into sit/stand/desk. Named “Best Laptop Stand to Save Your Neck” by Wired magazine, the obVus Laptop Tower Stand allows users to position their laptop at a range of heights and positions, so users have the flexibility of either sitting or standing—without requiring a standing desk that can be expensive and space-prohibitive. Compatible with most laptops, the Tower Stand’s sturdy, light, sleek aluminum design saves valuable home office space while supporting up to 22 pounds of weight. Independent joints allow for easy variable positioning to both height and angle of the laptop, giving users the flexibility to elevate the laptop screen from 1.35” to 12.5.” Weighing only 4 pounds, it is travel-friendly for those on-the-go.
Diamond Dog Smartphone Screen Protector (www.Amazon.com)
Here’s a great stocking stuffer to help keep those smartphone screens well-protected from drops and dings. Diamond Dog is a tempered glass screen protector for select iPhone models that features DiamondClad technology, which is a clear and durable diamond-like carbon coating that’s highly resistant to scratches. It’s six-times harder than original smartphone glass and allows for crystal-clear clarity and new phone responsiveness. Additionally, it also offers six-times better scratch protection, up to five-times more abrasion protection and up to three-times better breakage protection. Each Diamond Dog comes with an install tray, wet and dry wipe, dust and lint removal sticker and a screen polishing cloth. Unlike many screen protectors that appear cloudy or discolored after a while, Diamond Dog’s patented diamond-like carbon coating resists scratches, abrasions, smudges and fingerprints to give you HD clarity without having to constantly clean your phone for visual clarity. They are all designed and lab tested in Silicon Valley for superior performance, so you don’t have to worry about scratching or cracking your screen. Purchasing a Diamond Dog screen protector comes complete with a limited lifetime warranty.
Kavalli Key Personal Protection Accessory (www.KavalliKey.com)
The Kavalli Key is a stylish, multi-purpose personal protection accessory. It lets you distance yourself from viruses and germs on surfaces by reducing your contact with public doors, store checkouts, shared buttons and more courtesy of smart engineering and antimicrobial copper materials. It’s also a safety and security tool. With more striking surface and a hand-tailored design for easy grip and maximum comfort, the Kavalli Key is a major upgrade from using your home or car keys to defend yourself. Unlike pepper spray or stun guns, people of all ages and abilities can carry and use the key with ease. It is longer and wider than a typical key, which is perfect for the “key knife” approach for personal protection. You can jab, punch, gouge, dig or slash with the key in hand. Many home or car keys have jagged edges that actually hurt the user when applying them in a self-defense setting, but the Kavalli Key is designed for comfortable daily use and will be less likely to hurt your own hand when used to protect yourself against an attack. Additionally, if you drop your Kavalli Key during an attack, it does not provide your assailant with entry to your home or vehicle. It comes in two stylish designs and four finishes that wear nicely on any handbag. The key is handmade in the U.S., is TSA compliant and 10 percent of all sales support COVID-19 relief for frontline workers. The Kavalli Key is ergonomically designed to be very easy to use, just attach it to the included quick-release keychain and keep on your handbag or the most convenient spot for you so it is always accessible. When you are in public, simply hold it like you would your home or car key. Then, push or pull in any direction or use the tip for buttons and touchscreens. The Kavalli Key is an everyday carry to help you navigate our new normal.
Njoie NFORCE Massage Gun (https://www.Njoie.com)
Health and wellness brand Njoie recently launched its NFORCE percussion massage gun, making at-home recovery and relief accessible to all consumers regardless of their lifestyle or activity level. Notable features include an ergonomic multi-grip design, five levels of adjustable intensity to accommodate consumers’ pressure sensitivity, three vibration patterns, six unique attachment heads to target specific muscle groups and low noise level so people can use it anywhere without causing a disturbance. The attachments include the following: Fork providing flexibility for the neck and spine; Bullet targeting joints with precision; Two ball heads for medium to large muscle groups; Multi-head point for abdominal muscles and hypersensitive nerves on the palm of the foot; and Flat that is less intrusive and can be used on all parts. The device penetrates deep into the muscles with more efficiency than conventional massages to loosen sore and stiff muscles quickly and efficiently by targeting specific muscles, thus promoting blood circulation. NFORCE stands out in the space by providing the same benefits to athletes, fitness buffs and the everyday consumer who wants to prioritize self-care. This handheld, rechargeable, electric percussion massage gun provides recovery and relaxation benefits and an easier entry point for everyone wanting to discover the everyday benefits percussion guns provide. NFORCE fits any sized hand comfortably and can be held for a range of different positions and mimics the Swedish striking massage method called Tapotement Stroke or Percussion Stroke Treatment, making it ideal for those who are new to massage and sensitive to touch.
*** STYLE ***
Zeitgeist Automatik All Blue Mesh Watch (www.Lilienthal-Berlin.com)
Here’s a style stunner for the guy in your life. The Zeitgeist Automatik watch from Lilienthal Berlin—a company known for its award-winning minimalist designer watches—features a stunning All Blue sun cut dial that radiates a fascinating light refraction and an extraordinary color depth guaranteed to turn heads. The dial is complemented by the Superluminova-coated hands and a galvanized surface, which allows them to glow in the dark. The watch is powered by a Swiss automatic movement, so you’ll never have to worry about a battery running out. Plus, the company created a slim case with a recessed crown for an all-day comfort fit. Finally, the watch is completed with a stainless-steel mesh that is flexible and smooth while still extremely durable. Featuring “Made in Germany” quality, the Zeitgeist Automatik includes pure sapphire glass and a multi-award-winning design finished in exquisite blue. The stainless-steel supple mesh strap is comfortable, durable and easy to change thanks to the quick-release mechanism. And because the Zeitgeist Automatik easily combines real luxury with an urban appeal, it has been chosen as 2020 Watch of the Year in Germany.
Casio EDIFICE Collection Timepiece (https://www.Casio-Intl.com)
To celebrate the 20th anniversary of its EDIFICE collection and its continued partnership with Scuderia AlphaTauri, which is the Italian Formula One racing team, Casio America, Inc. has released a stunning new timepiece—the ECB20AT-2A. The new design exudes both speed and intelligence, as well as the youthful energy and technological innovation of the Scuderia AlphaTauri team. Outfitted with an eye-catching dial, ion-plated bezel and navy-blue leather band, Casio’s ECB20AT-2A is dressed in AlphaTauri’s team colors and designed for the sporty man. The black and white ombre dial, which features the Scuderia AlphaTauri logo, enhances the overall design. The sub-dials also offer an added layer of tracking. A schedule timer is located at the 6 o’clock position, while another at the 9 o’clock position signals for alarms that are set through the full-time smartphone link and schedule timer. Meanwhile, the date is displayed at the 12 o’clock position. The metal strap keeper and back plate are engraved with the Scuderia AlphaTauri logo, as well as the EDIFICE 20th anniversary logo and the number 20 to mark the EDIFICE 20th anniversary. Additional features include a high-performance chronograph, full-time Smartphone Link technology, water resistance up to 100 meters, super illuminator, five alarms, full auto calendar, countdown timer, stopwatch and more. It’s a perfect choice for the sporty, style-minded man in your life.
Casio PRO TREK PRTB70 Series Watch (www.Casio.com)
Is there a man in your life whose at his happiest when holding a fishing rod—or enjoying outdoor activities in general? This is the timepiece for him! Built for the great outdoors and sharing design features from its predecessors, the Casio PRO TREK PRTB70 timepiece series consists of three models that feature quad sensor technology and Smartphone Link connectivity via Bluetooth to access functionality specially-designed for fishing. Casio’s new PRTB70-2 watch is equipped with this same quad sensor technology that can detect compass bearing, barometric pressure and altitude, temperature and steps—all functions necessary for outdoor exploration. Using Bluetooth and Casio’s Smartphone Link functionality, this timepiece can connect to the PRO TREK connected smartphone app, providing additional useful information for the outdoors such as route log, calories burned, location indicator and more. As mentioned, the new PRTB70-2 also offers special functionality geared toward fishermen, like the Fish In Time feature that uses fish icons to indicate catch probability throughout the day. A Fishing Timer alarm function automatically counts down with the second hand to the time remaining when a good catch period is about to be entered. These new Casio models also boast a wide face, large rotating bezel and soft urethane band for maximum comfort. Additional features include 200-meter water resistance; world time (39 cities and UTC); five daily alarms; a tide and moon graph; location indicator; phone finder; double LED light; 1/100th of a second stopwatch on a 24-hour clock; and a one-hour countdown timer.
*** SELF-CARE ***
LVL Shave Co. The Ultimate Neck Groomer (www.LVLShaveCo.com)
Speaking of shaving, The Ultimate Neck Groomer from LVL Shave Co. isa practical gift that makes neck shaving easy. No more asking your partner or juggling a second mirror to shave the back of your neck between haircuts. The Ultimate Neck Groomer by LVL Shave Co. is designed to shave the back of your neck for a quick, fresh cleanup and is perfect for any situation, like getting ready for a night on the town. This ultra-lightweight neck groomer features three aligned razors on a neck-forming strip and two ergonomic handles so you can easily shave the back of your neck on your own. Simply place under the hairline and swipe down! After use, it conveniently snaps apart and easily slips into its anti-microbial, breathable travel case and fits easily in your toiletry bag. The company also offers a Subscription Set to keep the ease and convenience coming. The first month includes 1 x Neck Forming Razor Strip; 2 x Rubberized light weight detachable handles; 1 x Breathable Travel Case; and 3-month supply of 15 razors. Then, every three months after, new razors will be delivered right to your doorstep for a nominal fee.
JINS SCREEN Blue Light Glasses – with or without prescription (www.Jins.com)
Do you know someone who deals with long screen time, whether at work on your computer or binge-watching your favorite series? If so, blue light may be causing you eye fatigue. As such, wearing blue light glasses can reduce this digital eye strain and better protect your eye health. At JINS Eyewear, you can pick any frame style and add JINS SCREEN blue light lenses. JINS has reportedly already helped over 12 million customers protect their eyes in both the U.S. and Japan. The company offers three blue light lens types: JINS SCREEN Regular, which blocks 25 percent of blue light and is good for everyday use on digital devices coming clear with a blue filter coating; JINS SCREEN Plus, which blocks 40 percent and is good for heavy screen time use with a light green tint; and JINS SCREEN Night, which blocks 60 percent and is good for night time use before bed, coming in an amber orange tint. The lightweight, Aviator-shape frame I chose has adjustable nose pads for better comfort. The inner plastic brightens the frame to give a simple yet unique detail. Of course, there are also different lens types depending on the type of prescription, or lack thereof, that one requires. Those include single vision, for correcting one field of vision (nearsighted, farsighted and astigmatism); progressive, for no-line multifocal lenses (nearsighted, farsighted and intermediate); readers; or non-prescription. The lenses, themselves, are thin and have anti-glare properties. The aspheric shape also creates less distortion and each lens has a 99.99 percent UV cut. No matter which you choose, you’re sure to reduce eye strain after long screen time.
OURA Active Face Mask (www.OurAgami.com)
Nothing says “I care” like facilitating one’s health and safety. OURA Active Face Mask is a great option, particularly for fitness-oriented people, as this reusable, antimicrobial mask was engineered for maximum protection and comfort while working out. Powered with lab-tested and proven antimicrobial technology, the OURA Active Mask doesn’t just filter germs, it simultaneously kills them. Plus, all of the company’s masks are designed with skin-friendly, hypoallergenic fabrics and a pouch on the inside, allowing users to add a NIOSH-approved N95 filter for the ultimate safeguard against pathogens. These masks were designed to also provide moisture-wicking properties to decrease heat and humidity around your face. With an updated design and a more breathable fabric, the OURA Active Mask is billed as the most comfortable protection you can get while working out, whether that be while you run, jump, lift or stretch. Additionally, when paired with the company’s Adhesive Active Tape, it is sure to stay on your face no matter how strenuous the workout. The water repellant material deflects sprays and aerosols to help prevent pathogen penetration from sneezes and coughs and the anti-static fabric doesn’t cling to your face while you move. The masks are also deodorizing to break down odor-causing molecules and bacteria and each has an air diffuser to prevent air from blowing into your eyes when you exhale. The OURA Active Mask features self-sterilizing technology. Antimicrobial agents such as silver oxide and titanium dioxide are permanently embedded into every thread of the medical-grade fabric and the masks have undergone independent testing by a leading third-party laboratory to ensure proper filtration.
imaware Women’s & Men’s Health & Wellness Test (www.Imaware.Health)
When it comes to wellbeing, knowledge is power as they say. So, here’s a gift box of a truly distinctive sort. The imaware Women’s and Men’s Health Test is a broad spectrum of biomarkers to help provide a comprehensive view into a person’s overall health. These tests review overall cholesterol profile and also measures inflammation levels. Biomarkers include HDL, LDL, triglycerides, hs-CRP, HbA1c, fasting glucose and more. It’s known that health and wellness are a function of many different culminating factors and the imaware tests measure the basic functions to give individuals the knowledge to obtain optimal health. Testing for general wellness allows a baseline to be established and an understanding of areas that can be improved upon, while also allowing a healthcare provider to assess any potential health risks and personalize treatment. Instead of nagging a loved one to visit the doctor for annual checkups, individuals can take control of their own, and partners, spouses or parents’, health paradigm from the comfort of home. In addition to being discreet and secure, all of the company’s tests are physician reviewed, and validated and performed in a CLIA-certified laboratory.
minder Wellness App + ‘Smart’ Wearable Accessories (www.obVus.me)
Here’s a holistic way to help someone feel better in a variety of ways courtesy of smart wearable tech. minder’s patented, award-winning app + accessories transform the Apple Watch into a “smart” wearable. minder uses real-time visual biofeedback to coach and condition healthy habits like good posture, mindful breathing and purposeful breaks using a “gamified” environment and sensory cues. Designed to work on multiple touch points, minder makes healthy habits fun and produces outcomes clinically proven to reduce stress, increase strength, improve blood pressure and reduce chronic back pain. minder reminds users when and HOW to breathe, incorporating breathing options such as “Box Breathing” and “Diaphragmatic Breathing” along with a variety of soothing nature and ambient sounds. minder conditions posture through 360-degree, real-time biofeedback, visual prompts, audio chimes and soft tapping vibrations and allows users to schedule reminders – called ME/Mos (“Me Moments”) – to encourage mindful breaks. ME/Mos can be anything from a meditation break to drinking a glass of water to a full workout, and are centered around mindfulness, nutrition, movement, and healthful sleep habits, empowering users to take control of daily stress factors. Benefits of minder include improved mood, focus, sleep and core strength as well as reduced pain. The web site offers a free book titled “Why Posture Matters.”
***** FOODIE *****
Japanese Damascus KUMA Chef’s Knife and Honing Rod (www.KumaKnives.com)
Upgrade a friend or family member’s cutlery this holiday season with kitchenware from KUMA. One of the company’s top pieces is the Premium Chef’s Knife featuring a blade made of 67 fine layers of Japanese imported Damascus high-carbon steel and an ultra-comfortable G10 handle. This razor-sharp chef’s knife is a testament to outstanding craftsmanship composed of only the finest materials available. The result is a blade that comes incredibly sharp right out of the box and will keep its cutting edge for hours upon hours of work. Careful V-shape sharpening methods and up to eight types of handmade engineering processes ensure a scalpel like cutting edge, while minimal bolster exposes the blade heel to enable thorough cutting jobs. At a 58-60 Rockwell hardness, this super blade measures just 2.5mm thick. An easy-to-use protective sheath also comes included. Meanwhile, the KUMA Honing Rod is the perfect companion for your knives. Designed with carbon steel and a comfortable handle, this simple product lets you easily and quickly breathe new life into your old, dull cutlery. The KUMA Honing Rod comes with simple, two-step instructions for best use. This honing steel is a must have for anyone who wishes to keep their knives sharp with ease.
Tramontina Nesting Cookware Set (www.Tramontina.com)
Here’s a great kitchenware gift for those who are space-challenged—especially those apartment and condo dwellers. The Tramontina Nesting Cookware Set allows for unusually compact storage. When stacked, it saves up to 50 percent overall space and its footprint is no bigger than that of one single pan. The handles also lock together, protecting the pans by neatly spacing them. This modern cookware combines a durable, porcelain enamel exterior with a practical, PFOA-free, cadmium-free and lead-free Teflon Platinum nonstick interior. It also features a heavy-gauge aluminum core for excellent heat conductivity. The Tramontina 11-piece set includes a 12-Inch Sauté Pan; three-quart Casserole with lid; 1.25-quart Saucepan with lid; two-quart Saucepan with lid; three-quart Saucepan with lid; 4.75-quart Saucepot with lid. Compatible with gas, electric and ceramic glass cooktops, each of the cookware items included in the set are also oven-safe up to 350°F and 176°C and are dishwasher-safe as well.
*** SPIRITS ***
Vagnbys Wine Table Tower Aerator (www.EthanAshe.com)
Here’s a gift with panache. A stellar piece to fully experience the intricate bouquet of red wines, the Vagnbys Wine Table Tower is an all-in-one accessory for aerating and serving wine beautifully. It’s striking in stature with a tall glass decanter held aloft elegantly with a stainless-steel stand extending from a slip-proof, reinforced slate base. The rain filter function aerates and releases a wine’s flavors and essences as it is poured into the vessel, readying them for the palate. Designed to protect wine from unwanted germs or insects, the Vagnbys Wine Table Tower allows liquid to breathe and properly decant with small holes situated around the rim. The easy-to-use spout enables guests to neatly and uniquely serve themselves. At the end of an evening, if the wine is not fully consumed, the lightweight glass vessel of the Vagnbys Wine Table Tower is easy to lift and pour back into the bottle for another day’s enjoyment. It’s a true showpiece for any table setting and a delight for entertainers and guests alike.
Alkemista All-in-One Infusion Vessel (www.EthanAshe.com)
Also for spirit-lovers is Alkemista. Ready to infuse, pour and store, this is an easy-to-use, all-in-one alcohol infusion vessel that enables anyone to create and serve fresh, custom-crafted spirits at home or in a bar. With fresh fruits, herbs, spices and a little creativity, Alkemista can transform ordinary alcohol into extraordinary spirits, cocktails and bitters. What began as a simple quest to make better cocktails at home resulted in an innovative product that uses fresh ingredients to create infusions with flavors unmatched by their chemically created counterparts. It is a bar tool created for the casual entertainer, the home mixologist, professional bartender and even includes a recipe booklet for suggestion and guidance. The all-in-one Alkemista combines the ultra-fine filtering technology of fine Japanese teapots with the timeless design of a high-quality glass liquor bottle. Users simply add their favorite fruits, spices, herbs or botanicals to the stainless-steel filter, then add a base alcohol to the leak-proof bottle. After, let the flavors and aromas mingle until the spirit reaches the desired level of taste. The removable filter keeps unwanted particles from entering the liquid and the modern aesthetic of the borosilicate glass bottle stores the spirit sleekly, whether sitting on a bar or while being served.
Vagnbys Champagne Sabre (www.EthanAshe.com)
For that someone who has it all is Vagnbys Champagne Sabre, with which they can mark any and every occasion. A statement of impeccable class and celebration harking back to 19th century French tradition, this modern Champagne Sabre merges blade, grip and guard into a sleek, seamless piece of stainless steel and instills fear into the neck of every bottle. A true showpiece of craftsmanship worthy of the finest bubbly, the molded handle and handsomely hearty blade offer a perfectly balanced swing for a dramatic, yet effortless—and safe—neck release with every opening. Weighing approximately 20 ounces, the Vagnbys Champagne Sabre is made purely of stainless steel.
Sagrada Stemless Wine Glasses (www.CornetBarcelona.com)
Just wow. Focus this gift on those you want to mind-blowingly impress with an item that’ll exceed expectations. They’ll experience the divine beauty of a stunning architectural wonder with Cornet Barcelona’s handcrafted, one-of-a-kind “Sagrada” Stemless Wine Glasses. Each piece is mouth-blown and masterfully shaped, before being hand-painted by seasoned artists of the craft using traditional methods. After being designed to the ideal shape, each luxury wine glass is painstakingly hand-painted with unparalleled attention to detail. The result is a one-of-a-kind piece of art with a mesmerizing kaleidoscope of rich color that adds “picture-perfect” sophistication and beauty to any conversation. Cornet Barcelona’s unique collection of glassware draws inspiration from the timeless beauty of the stained-glass windows of the Sagrada Familia Basilica in Barcelona, Spain. The Sagrada line of wine glasses are handcrafted for beauty, durability and to enhance the flavor of your favorite red. Cornet Barcelona specifically crafts them with a wide bowl, encouraging more contact between the wine and the air, allowing the wine to breathe, relax and release its alluring, complex aroma. Each piece arrives in a silken-lined luxury gift box and they are also available in sets of two, four, six, 12 and 24 glasses.
***** HOME *****
The Original Plush Cuddle Clone (www.CuddleClones.com)
What better way to celebrate the love your friend or family member has for their fur baby—past or present—than in the form of a custom-made plush duplicate? Dogs, cats, horses, rabbits and more can be transformed into stuffed animals that are exact replicas from photos you provide. Handcrafted from the highest quality faux fur, Cuddle Clones’ custom plush stuffed animals capture all of the physical details and unique features of your specific and unique pet! This includes attributes like eye color (even different per eye), one floppy ear, special markings and the like. The online process consists of just three simple steps: Upload photos of your pet; specify any unique traits and characteristics; choose the position you want the Cuddle Clone to be created in—either sitting or lying down. The results are truly awe-inspiring and tremendously endearing—particularly if gifting to someone who lost a beloved pet. Plus, each purchase helps to buy meals, toys and medicine for animal shelters all across the country. In fact, the Web site indicates nearly 4,000 Cuddle Clones and almost 16,000 toys have been donated to date. I can assure you this is a gift that will be cherished for years to come.
World Vision Handcrafted Housewares (www.Donate.WorldVision.org)
Also cause conscious is World Vision, which offers an array of stunning handcrafted houseware gifts that not only look great, but also do good in support of this humanitarian organization’s cause to tackle poverty and injustice. And there are a litany of lovely items to choose from. This includes the Upcycled Artisanal Bowl crafted from reclaimed industrial waste such as wires and metal. Talented artisans in India have hand-bent and soldered each piece into inspirational shapes to create this artistic and elaborate bowl—great as a decorative piece or to hold special items. Each design is unique and colors and size may slightly vary with each piece. The bowl is from the 2020 gift catalog from World Vision, a global humanitarian organization that fights poverty, hunger and injustice both here in the United States and in countries across the world. The proceeds from the sale of the gifts support the World Vision Fund, which addresses specific, urgent needs that empower people out of poverty and helps them rebuild in the wake of natural disasters. Another of my pick’s from this year’s catalog are the Opportunity Collection Serving Spoons—an elegant kitchen serving piece sure to elevate the presentation of special meals this holiday season and beyond. Each is handmade by fair trade artisans in India, who receive a living wage, a safe place to work, business development training and opportunities to build long-term business relationships in their communities. The spoons are skillfully carved from acacia wood and accented with gold tones, with a length of approximately 11-inhces. Shop here and support do-good consumerism.
8×10 Serrated 3D Crystal Photo (www.3d-Innovation.com)
This is a great way to elevate those family or couple photos and turn them into awe-inspiring décor. 3D Innovation is a leading manufacturer of 3D laser etched crystals, made using the latest German laser engraving technology. The company produces high quality, top-of-the-line and personalized custom-made crystals, including the 8×10 Serrated #D Crystal Photo. Featuring the finest optic crystals available that are similar to the quality of crystal used in large NASA telescopes, 3D Innovation uses a variety of crystal shapes and sizes and can engrave almost any image, design or logo. The result is unparalleled 3D images based on your specifications using green light lasers—a leading technology that produces the highest quality in laser etching reproduction. The 8×10 option also includes a LED base to make your crystalized image shine bright! The company’s engraving technique is considered to be the best-in-class high-resolution subsurface, leaving the crystal smooth and clear for easy cleaning. The process for buying your own 3D Crystal Photo from 3D Innovation is also quite simple and you can order from the comfort of home. Just upload your image of choice directly to their website where you also select the crystal specification and size of preference. The 8×10 Serrated 3D option provides a quaint size and a uniquely hand carved shape. Once 3D Innovation receives your order, they ensure that the uploaded image meets the standards to be compatible with their system and then production ensues. With doorstep delivery, the final product is a stunning tribute to the photo subjects
Gold-Dipped Rose and Vase Set (www.EternityRose.com)
Another gorgeous and meaning décor gift is a Gold-Dipped Rose and Vase Set from The Eternity Rose. The company preserves real, natural roses that are dipped in certified 24-karat gold and combined with an ornate gold-dipped vase. The gold has a brilliant and lustrous mirror finish, resulting in a stunning symbol of love that literally lasts an eternity. Its eye catching, elegant and serves as a constant reminder of the love and adoration in your life. Plus, the Eternity Rose’s Gold-Dipped Rose and Vase Set comes in a beautiful leather display with a padded velvet interior. The case itself has a toughened glass viewing window built into the lid and the interior has separate recessed channels for both the rose and vase. The set even includes a two-sided Certificate of Authenticity to ease any potential concerns with the quality of the product. Nothing symbolizes love more than a single rose. The aspiration of the Gold-Dipped Rose and Vase Set is to take this symbol of love and develop it into a stunning work of art that will be proudly displayed, symbolizing love for an eternity. The gold roses are made from real rose flowers grown in the company’s own nursery via trained horticulturalists to ensure the highest quality. The roses are moved through a 60-step process gaining numerous layers via immersion electroforming that utilizes a proprietary formula. During the process, the roses are inspected for form, plating quality and any other imperfections that may occur. Only when they have passed the exacting quality control screening are they moved on to the 24-karat gold-dipping baths. The precious-metal coating process comprises of dozens of extremely thin layers that are slowly built up over many weeks. This results in a mirror finish that is highly lustrous and brilliant in its surface appearance. The flower will not ever corrode and will last literally for thousands of years. The whole process takes around three months per rose.
Edens Garden Essential Oil Sets & Diffuser (www.EdensGarden.com)
Here’ s a great daily indulgence. The Home Aroma Essential Oil Set from Edens Garden is an easy way to make your home a sanctuary. The 100 percent pure essential oil set contains the uplifting vibe of Aroma Fresh, Lavender and Sunshine Spice to calm and invigorate your mind, body and spirit. Simply diffuse the oils in your favorite diffuser—such as the company’s own Diamond Diffuser—allowing you to breathe in the aromatherapy, find some peace and remind yourself that there’s no place like home. All of Edens Garden’s essential oils are 100 percent pure, free of any fillers, synthetics or harmful chemicals. They are also GC/MS tested to ensure quality and safety, so you can rest assured that you’re getting the very best. The Lavender Essential Oil Set, my personal favorite, is stocked with a botanical variety of Lavenders, each with its own nuanced aroma including Bulgarian, French and Greek. Perfect for use at work or at bedtime, the Lavender set is your anytime relax pack. For its part, the Edens Garden Diamond Diffuser is designed to fill your surroundings with the elegance of 100 percent pure essential oils. This ultrasonic diffuser provides an unparalleled aroma experience, allowing you to breathe in the natural benefits of aromatherapy in a compact and convenient way. Artisan handmade using natural materials, its highly innovative construction ensures ease of use and quiet operation. With multiple mist settings, the Diamond Diffuser lets you customize the interval and intensity of your chosen aroma. This device is your gateway to the healthful, mindful benefits of pure aromatherapy.
Brass Chain Plant Hangers (www.HastingsHouseDesign.com)
Here’s a pretty way to bring the outdoors in! Hastings House Design’s Brass Chain Plant Hangers make great gifts for plant lovers or anyone looking to incorporate plants into their space. These hanging decorative planters are a versatile, modern way to elevate your favorite plants. They complement many design styles with their brass plating, from eclectic bohemian interiors or minimalistic Scandinavian style, to a mid-century modern aesthetic. They are also great for small rooms, freeing up precious tabletop space! The hangers can be strung from either hoop to accommodate various pot shapes and sizes with its innovative pin system. The unique design can hold potted plants in two ways: Place one of the hoops around the pot to secure it; or set the pot (with a saucer) on a hoop and secure with the included metal pins, ensuring everything stays put. Other sizes, finishes, configurations and styles of plant hangers are available at the company’s website and all materials are sourced in the U.S. Each model is proudly handcrafted in Portland, Oregon. The company’s web page is filled with other unique plant hangers and décor each bursting with possibility.
Pro-Spin’s ‘The Portable’ All-in-One Ping Pong Set (www.Amazon.com)
Ever get the urge to play ping pong, but don’t have an official table? Do you find yourself wanting something fun to do with friends and family that’s easy to set up and clean up? Have these capabilities wherever you are with Pro-Spin’s “The Portable” All-in-One Set. Play anytime, on any table! It’s great for when you’re cooped up inside and even better when you’re on the go. It is ideal for family camping and RV trips, business trips with colleagues and the employee lounge at the office, or certainly to use at home to keep the kids entertained when you don’t want to clutter your home with a full ping pong table. The set includes one retractable net that stretches up to 72-inches wide, which fits any table up to two-inches thick without leaving scuff marks; two high-performance ping pong paddles that are equipped with a slightly sticky layer to give more spin and control to up your game; three white pro training balls that are dent-resistant and designed to be slammed by competitive players and still maintain their shape; and one premium carrying case made for easy storage and travel. While Pro-Spin touts the ping pong set as a means of entertainment, they underscore that it is not simply a toy. Instead, it is a high-quality, high-performance portable ping pong set. All Pro-Spin Sports products come with a one-year warranty to ensure you receive the very best quality product.
***** TRAVEL *****
Parker Clay Leather & Handwoven Products (www.ParkerClay.com)
Parker Clay is a premium leather and handwoven goods brand designed in Santa Barbara, California and produced in Ethiopia. They have a variety of luxury bags and goods that are sure to impress even the toughest-to-shop-for personalities on your list, all while doing a little good for the world. Their ethically made handbags, backpacks and wallets are made from 100 percent sustainable leather and support Parker Clay’s Center of Excellence, which provides personal and professional development—and employment—for marginalized women in Ethiopia. All orders can be placed online and shipped directly to your friends and family, ideal for celebrations that may look different this year. Quality-wise, the company uses only premium, full grain leather from Ethiopia, hand selected to ensure quality, beauty, and durability. It’s the highest quality available and represents the natural and unaltered hide. It’s not sanded or weakened, and is as tough as nature intended it to be. This leather is built not just to last, but to get better with every passing year. While the company offers an array of outstanding goods made from this top-quality material, one particular coordinating suite caught my eye—especially for the guys on the gift list. First, the sophisticated Omo Overnight Bag is perfect for those looking to travel light on a quick getaway. It can be carried by its handles or worn as a backpack for hands free adventures. Measuring 19 inches long by 11 inches wide by 11 inches high, it also features a premium exterior zipper closure, exterior pockets and an interior cotton lining. Each purchase of this Omo Overnight Bag provides 15 hours of employment to the company’s team in Ethiopia. The matching Axum Dopp Bag is handcrafted and designed from a single piece of premium Ethiopian full grain leather and is the perfect travel companion to carry all of your necessities. The handsome and sleek Presidio Laptop Sleeve is designed with the entrepreneur in mind. Built to give your computer the perfect protection and designed with a soft leather lined interior, it is the essential companion for your meetings and work trips. Completing the self-curated set, the 805 Luggage Tag is designed with the traveler in mind and is handcrafted to be durable yet distinguishable while you are traveling the world. The flap reveals a standard sized business card to keep your information accessible.
Raycop GO (www.Raycop.com)
As travelers, workers and students continue to adapt to changing COVID-19 restrictions, the need for portable sanitization increases. If there’s anything this Thanksgiving holiday proved, people are itching to travel, even during this global pandemic. The new Raycop GO is a great tool to take with you. It’s the industry’s first portable UVC vacuum that uses UVC light to eradicate 99.99 percent of bacteria and viruses. It is an easy-to-use, go-anywhere, sanitizing, portable vacuum and UVC light appliance. The new Raycop GO is designed to enhance safety during and after the coronavirus pandemic with effective UVC light technology and HEPA filtration. The device is affordable and easy to assemble and disassemble with snap-in sections for portability. It is perfect to bring along on vacation or business travel for use in RV’s, hotel rooms, mobile homes, cars, trains, planes, boats, offices, dorm rooms and vacation rentals. Raycop GO can sanitize everything from cell phones to luggage, bedding and hard surfaces. The entire filtration system, including the HEPA filter, is washable as well. It even collects and traps fine dust, keeping those allergens out of the air. The American Chemical Society advocates the widespread use of UVC light as a short-term, easily deployable and affordable way to limit virus spread in the current SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. The Raycop GO cordless portable vacuum uses the same UVC technology that hospitals do to eradicate nearly all particles of viruses, bacteria and dust mites from fabrics and floors in every corner of the room or recreational vehicle. The gift of sustaining good health is perhaps the best gift of all.
Forbes Business Council Member Merilee Kern, MBA is an internationally-regarded brand analyst, strategist and futurist who reports on noteworthy industry change makers, movers, shakers and innovators across all categories, both B2C and B2B. This includes field experts and thought leaders, brands, products, services, destinations and events. Merilee is Founder, Executive Editor and Producer of “The Luxe List” as well as Host of the nationally-syndicated “Savvy Living” TV show. As a prolific consumer and business trends, lifestyle and leisure industry voice of authority and tastemaker, she keeps her finger on the pulse of the marketplace in search of new and innovative must-haves and exemplary experiences at all price points, from the affordable to the extreme. Her work reaches multi-millions worldwide via broadcast TV (her own shows and copious others on which she appears) as well as a myriad of print and online publications. Connect with her at www.TheLuxeList.com and www.SavvyLiving.tv / Instagram www.Instagram.com/LuxeListReports / Twitter www.Twitter.com/LuxeListReports/ Facebook www.Facebook.com/LuxeListReports / LinkedIN www.LinkedIn.com/in/MerileeKern.
***Some or all of the accommodations(s), experience(s), item(s) and/or service(s) detailed above may have been provided or arranged at no cost to accommodate if this is review editorial, but all opinions expressed are entirely those of Merilee Kern and have not been influenced in any way.***