Holiday Gift Guides 2019: Brick + Mortar

For those who need to buy offline, pleasant presents found in real-life stores

It’s officially too late to shop for holiday gifts online, but there’s still time to grab a last-minute present the old fashioned way: making a dash to real-life brick-and-mortar stores. These gift ideas are available from retailers across the country—be it New York or New Orleans, Saint Paul or Sacramento, Detroit or Dallas. Each item continues to be readily available but still makes for a thoughtful present—and chances are the retailers may be near your hometown.

New York: Club Kids: By Waltpaper

Authored by multi-media artist Walt Cassidy (aka Waltpaper), New York: Club Kids ($55) proves to be a most comprehensive survey of the legendary antics of ’90s nightlife in NYC. Cassidy, a central figure in the subculture, saw firsthand the “artistic, fashion-conscious youth movement that crossed over into the public consciousness.” Though it includes rare photographs, this book is far more than an attempt at archiving an era that bubbled up from the underground; it also works to contextualize modern-day concepts that originated with the Club Kids: “reality television, self-branding, ‘influencers’ and the gender revolution.” Available at Target.

Versailles Playing Card Set

Trading the traditional royal motif for artful objects, Jonathan Adler’s Versailles Playing Card Set ($35) comes with two decks—one in green and black and another in pink and gold. Both sets are packaged within a drawer box, that’s embellished with a striking golden geometric pattern, for easy storage or transportation. Available at Neiman Marcus.

Grand Cru Single Malt Scotch Whisky

Bridging the gap between liquid French refinement and spiritous Scottish prestige, Glenfiddich introduces Grand Cru ($325), a permanent addition to their portfolio. The 23-year-old liquid finishes for up to six months in French cuvée casks from the Champagne region. Dark gold in color, the 80 proof whisky coats the mouth with lavish creaminess. It’s smooth from start to finish and imparts elegance along the way. Available at quality liquor stores, including Astor Wines.

The Chronicler Kit

Made in Australia by Aesop, the Chronicler ($130) three-piece kit comes complete with the beloved brand’s Purifying Facial Exfoliant Paste, Primrose Facial Cleansing Masque and Fabulous Face Oil. Each product feels lush and rich, and leaves skin feeling fresh and nourished. Ideal for cold, dry months, this set is one of five seasonal kits available in the Of Muse and Myth collection. Available at Aesop and Saks.

Solange: When I Get Home

Solange’s 19-track When I Get Home ($24) is available on clear vinyl, for those who enjoy the ritual and sound of real-life records. With tracks featuring Sampha, Panda Bear, Tyler the Creator, The-Dream, Abra, Dev Hynes and others, it’s a lush album that waxes and wanes effortlessly between ballads, interludes and beyond. Available at Best Buy.

105-Piece Mini Architectural Model Kit

Recommended for architecture nerds (over eight years old), model kit maker ARCKIT’s 105-piece set ($40) comes with instructions for assembling the basics, but plenty of opportunities for customization, too. Whether an aspiring architect or someone looking for something structural to tinker with, there’s plenty to conceptualize and bring to fruition—from a standalone building to a corridor within a larger complex. Available at Nordstrom.

Plaid Chuck Taylor All Star High Tops

These multi-patterned Converse Chuck Taylor All Star Hi sneakers ($75) incorporate three different types of plaid and a world peace logo. Neon green piping accents the upper and the heel, offering contrast and even more flair. With their clashing patterns and colors, these otherwise classic All Stars (which were first introduced in 1917) stand out for all the right reasons. Available at Foot Locker.

SL2 Mirrorless Digital Camera

Referencing the classic 1970s Leica R3 in its design, the German camera-maker’s SL2 ($6000) is a full-frame mirrorless camera that’s undeniably versatile. Its a magnesium alloy body is covered in leatherette and black anodized paint, making it lightweight, but weatherproof. Additionally, it’s ergonomic, quick-moving, and naturally stabilizing. With a 47.3-megapixel sensor and a Maestro III processor, this camera really delivers and begs to be taken out on all your adventures. Available at Leica stores and good camera shops.

Tie-Dye Basketball

Part of an ongoing collaboration between Chinatown Market and Smiley, this tie-dye basketball ($65) adds extra flair to anybody’s game. Crafted from composite leather and inflated to official regulation size, this colorful ball affords equal opportunity for performance as it does expression. Best of all, it’ll be nearly impossible to mix this limited-edition ball up with others at pick-up games. Available at Urban Outfitters.

Rose of No Man’s Land Hand Cream

BYREDO’s striking new fragrance Rose of No Man’s Land ($42) is named for the 1918 song “La Rose Sous les Boulets.” The scent boasts notes of rose petals, but it’s not overly floral—thanks to pink pepper, papyrus and white amber. As a hand cream, it feels rich and nourishing when applied, but doesn’t leave hands feeling greasy. Available at Neiman Marcus.

Great Women Artists

With the work of 400+ artists from all over the world, Great Women Artists ($54) spans five centuries of glorious creations—from the Renaissance to Rococo, Surrealism, to street photography and beyond. While there are plenty of household names like Kara Walker, Barbara Kruger, Yayoi Kusama and Elaine de Koonig, hundreds of lesser-known artists are given the same amount of space in this comprehensive tome. Organized in alphabetical order, each artist (be it Anna Waser or Xiao Lu) is illustrated with an image of their work and a short introduction. A wonderful jumping off point for readers to begin exploring many of these artist’s careers, the book—by PHAIDON and in conjunction with Kering’s Women In Motion program—serves as a reminder that while oftentimes undervalued and underrepresented, there have been many, many great women artists. Available at Barnes & Noble.

Rope Hanging Planter

Available in five bright, cheerful colorways and two different sizes—small ($62) or larges ($102)—this hanging planter is handmade by Brooklyn’s Closed Mondays. A more sophisticated take on the oftentimes kitsch macramé version, this elegant iteration is made entirely of rope. Available at West Elm.

“Danger 380 Volts” Pétillant Naturel (2017)

Czech natural winemaker Milan Nestarec’s Danger 380 Volts ($35) is a funky and dry pétillant naturel that includes refreshing notes of apple, grapefruit and white peach. Crafted in the pétillant naturel style (aka the méthode ancestrale, in which wines are bottled before initial fermentation is finished, resulting in a natural sparkling), it’s slightly bubbly, cloudy and has an almost cider-like quality. Available at quality wine stores, including Astor Wines.


This vinyl pressing of the haunting and heartbreaking Ghosteen ($28) is the 17th studio album by the universally beloved Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds. The stunning record deals with grief and longing, but its over-arching themes are enduring love and healing. Lush and poetic, it’s an exquisite and entirely transfixing record. Available at Barnes & Noble.

Rounded Stacking Planter

Areaware’s tall stoneware stacking planter (which stands eight inches wide and eight inches tall) comprises two parts—a planter and a drainage dish—that nestle into one another to create one clean silhouette. With holes for excess water to escape, the planter ($80) is super-functional and easy to clean, while remaining an attractive object for the home. Also available in a smaller four-inch tall size. Available at Urban Outfitters.

Images courtesy of respective brands, hero image courtesy of Aesop