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A Sampling
A Sampling

The Gifting Awards

December 12, 2023

The Co's Picks

BEST STOCKING STUFFER: L’Isolina Spaghetti Dust

A small pasta brand out of Long Island, L'Isolina gained national recognition for its Spaghetti Dust, a simple spice blend. It may be our favorite foodie find of the year, but the beautiful red and green packaging makes it especially perfect for a stocking stuffer. Runner up: Comme Si socks. Everyone needs socks. No one likes buying them. Comme Si makes some of the best quality and color presentations we’ve seen in easy gift sets for the whole fam.

BEST CUSTOMIZATION: Alex Mill in-store hand-painting

Alex Mill offers hand-painting and chain-stitching personalization at its New York City stores for the holidays, encouraging shoppers to think outside the box of simple monogramming with more personal details like Peanut characters for the Charlie Brown Christmas lover. Runner up: Masel Milano bespoke tie. Turns out ties don’t have to be the most generic gift ever with this sentimental touch of personalization. Get a monogram on the front and place a more personal message on the back closer to the heart.

BEST JUDAICA: Hannah Polskin menorah

Artist Hannah Polskin’s sculptural menorahs have topped our lists for three years running. While menorah design elevates to objet d’art in the home décor category at large, none are quite as unique and chic as hers. Runner up: D.S. & Durga Chanukah In The Desert candle—not exactly Judaica, but a clever nod to the holiday made with Balm of Gilead, known as a biblical oil.

BEST IN BOOZE: Maison Balzac martini duo

In a sea of maximalist barware, might we suggest this elegantly understated martini glass set by Maison Balzac, featuring eternal glass olives. Runner up: The American Bar. No cocktail book holds a candle to legendary bartender Charles Schumann’s, published in 1991. Alphabetized recipes for over 500 drinks are punctuated by 1930s-style illustrations and fascinating histories of leading cocktail brands. Famous for cultivating exceptional hospitality, at 82 he still serves at his iconic Schumann’s bar in Munich, Germany, which The Co. visited this summer. We spotted this book recently at a local gift shop in Virginia, showcasing its timelessness.

BEST GAG GIFT: Tushy bidet attachment

Gag gifts can be useful, too. Everybody poops. Tushy bidets make for an amusing present-opening and a truly practical gift. They even have a travel bidet for the real clean freaks, another great stocking stuffer. Runner up: "I Am The Eldest Boy" cap by Refined Spirit. The perfect sibling gift for Succession fans. You can also put any custom embroidered text on their high-quality caps, so get creative with the inside jokes and jabs.

MOST PRACTICAL: Saltrain oral hygiene set

Speaking of practical, we're smitten with the oral hygiene gift set by Korean brand Saltrain, including its signature gray salt toothpaste, two brushes, a brush holder, and matching candle. Runner up: Thousand bike helmet. Give the gift of safety in style to your Citi-biking friends and family who may not always remember to wear a helmet.

MOST "EXTRA": Gohar World pearl dishwashing gloves

For the host with the most, Gohar World’s pearl and ruffle-adorned dishwashing gloves make the chore a fun act of 1950s-housewife cosplay. Runner up: Goop’s vacation packages. Plucked from Goop’s “Ridiculous but awesome” gift guide, technically, these are the most extra, ranging from a private island rental in Fiji to a 7-day airship cruise to the North Pole. They fell to second place for the exclusive price point, but if money’s no object, this is the ultimate grand gesture and speaks to consumers’ interest in experiences over things.


The School Collection, from NY-based photographer Catherine White, first caught The Co.’s eye at the Colgate University bookstore, and though only available for a limited number of colleges right now, we love them for standing out amongst the traditional college swag. In a variety of options from humble to big-time brag, they're perfect just-for-you gifts. Move over car stickers and Champion sweatshirts, we expect these images to become place-of-pride in family rooms all over. Runner up: Hype & Vice. Classic collegiate logos and colors in more updated cuts and silhouettes for the spirited student who won’t sacrifice style.

BEST FOR YOU: Loftie alarm clock

Engineered by sleep scientists, Lofties “digital detox” alarm clock has been around for a few years, but still reigns supreme as universal wellness gift with consumers’ interest in sleep hygiene surging. Runner up: Act + Acre sets. Hair health has never been hotter and Ace + Acre offers a variety of cleverly named holiday bundles, including the “At Home Salon Set,” the “Scalp Facial Kit,” and the “Multi-Masking Set.” Not just for the  girlies, they're good for guys who all want better hair, too.

BEST BUNDLE: Free People “Take A Hike” pack

Free People’s Take A Hike giftable bundle is a lesson in merchandising to activities and interests for the holiday season, with major upsell potential. Runner up: Cabi soy sauce tasters. Be a little more original than a Harry & David food bundle with this niche set for the refined, sushi-loving palate.

BEST SHOPPING EXPERIENCE: Selfriges Christmas Market

London department store Selfridges always delivers on masterful merchandising and in-store initiatives, to it’s no surprise this year’s Christmas Shop is the ultimate one-stop destination. From Christmas décor to gift personalization and professional wrapping stations, they truly thought of everything. Runner up: Dallas Shopping Center. This shopping village does Christmas right with all the stores working together: different stands outside each store, Santa on site, carolers, wagon rides, and holiday discounts.


Recently we’ve seen consumers’ love of scrapbooking and letter-writing translate to homemade, paper-bag-style gift wrapping. Vintage shop Café Forgot put a branded spin on this for the holidays, wrapping gifts in brown paper with quirky stickers and handwritten notes. Runner up: Flamingo Estate. For more sophisticated packaging, the food and fragrance brand does traditional green and red with an original aesthetic twist in beautiful boxes recipients will want to keep.

BEST ADVENT CALENDAR: Bonpoint doll house

Brands have tried and failed for years to get this right (remember Chanel advent-gate?). Children’s brand Bonpoint is on point this year with an advent calendar shaped like a doll house that kids build day by day, stimulating them much longer than a chocolate will. Runner up: Westwing. The Dutch brand’s calendar is packed with full-sized home and kitchen product, made for bigger-and-better adult enjoyment.

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