Holiday Gift Guides 2021: Better Late Than Never

Everything from books to booze, decor and dinnerware, present ideas for the 11th hour

For anybody who has left shopping to the 11th hour or who has to pick up a gift unexpectedly, online shopping might not be an option anymore. While most of the selections below (which range from drinks to decor items, as well as books and vinyl) come from online shops that offer fairly quick delivery, they’re also available at different brick-and-mortar stores—most of which can be found around the country, from New York to New Orleans, Saint Paul, Sacramento, Detroit or Dallas.

Lily Pad Coasters

Designed by Aruliden, this colorful set of six coasters ($28) does more than protect a surface from moisture. The temperature- and scratch-resistant TPU discs can be linked in an array of sculptural combinations, when not in use. They’re a vibrant addition to any kitchen or dining space, whether they’re used for a cocktail party or with a morning coffee. They’re available online and in-store at MoMA Design Stores, Neiman Marcus and West Elm.

Black Food: Stories, Art, and Recipes from Across the African Diaspora (A Cookbook)

Curated by award-winning chef and activist Bryant Terry and published by 4 Color Books, Black Food: Stories, Art, and Recipes from Across the African Diaspora (A Cookbook) ($38) traverses time and location to capture the expansive multiplicities in Black culture. Through recipes, poetry, artwork and essays that explore food’s intrinsic connection with community and history within the diaspora, this rich cookbook encompasses the work of more than 100 Black luminaries, including visuals from Black Panther Party creative director Emory Douglas. Featuring a blend of traditional, contemporary and remixed dishes (from jerk chicken ramen by Suzanne Barr to okra and shrimp purloo by BJ Dennis) as well as an original playlist curated by Terry himself, this book is a treasure trove that readers will delight in losing themselves within. It’s also available at West Elm, and local, independent bookstores.

Mixed Emotions Perfume

Mixed Emotions ($190) incorporates surprising scents to create an entirely transportive fragrance. The perfume boasts top notes of earthy, herbaceous maté and a little tang from blackcurrant; a heart of radiant, floral ceylon black tea and green, fresh violet leaves; and a woody, calming base of papyrus and birch. While the combination sounds busy, the result is divine—a slightly sweet but grounding scent. It’s also available at Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue and Bloomingdales stores.

Yayoi Kusama Covered Everything in Dots and Wasn’t Sorry

Yayoi Kusama’s dazzling universe of polka dots is given a charming, kid-friendly rendition through Fausto Gilberti’s book, Yayoi Kusama Covered Everything in Dots and Wasn’t Sorry ($18). Written from the Japanese artist’s point of view and spanning 48 delightful illustrations, this children’s book details how Kusama got her start, following her journey from Japan to the United States in order to realize her passion for a dot-filled world. This enchanting story promises an inspiring read for children aged four to seven. It’s also available at Barnes & Noble and independent booksellers.

Rib Knit Hat

From Danish label GANNI, this rib knit hat ($95) has been crafted from a blend of recycled wool and synthetic polyamide. Made in Italy, the cozy, soft and warm accessory is available in various colors (fawn, black, pale pink or red) and features the brand’s name on a patch. This beanie is also available at Bloomingdales.

Legacy North South Tote

Utilitarian in design as well as function, the Legacy North South Tote ($50) stands up to everyday use. Constructed from heavy-duty 600D polyester, treated with Rain Defender durable water-repellent and triple-stitched, this tote was designed with commuters in mind. This is also evidenced by its array of functional details, like side pockets that fit water bottles, a sturdy zipper for protection and interior organization panels. These touches (and more) make this clean, patchwork tote a breeze to use. It’s available from Carhartt and various sports, outdoor and workwear stores.

2022 Deadbeat Club Calendar

From LA-based independent publisher (and coffee roaster) Deadbeat Club comes this limited run 2022 calendar ($30), featuring photography, color washes, custom lettering and personal doodles by contemporary artist and professional skateboarder Ed Templeton. Measuring 12 by 13 inches, with a Wire-O binding, the pages within vary between full color and black-and-white duotone offset artworks. It’s also available at Printed Matter.

Check Dog Bed

A pet bed that doesn’t need to be hidden away, Dusen Dusen’s Check Dog Bed ($198) doubles as an eye-catching floor pillow. With a 100% cotton canvas base and acrylic chain embroidery, the cover can be machine-washed in cold water, but it’s not dryer-safe. With a polyester insert, the bed measures 36 by 27 inches (and about four inches tall) and provides your pooch with a stylish place to snooze. A different iteration of this dog bed (and various Dusen Dusen products) is also stocked at Nordstrom stores.

Japanese Breakfast Jubilee Vinyl

Limited to 500 copies and available only at Rough Trade, this special edition of Japanese Breakfast’s Jubilee ($25) comes on a clear green vinyl. The indie band, helmed by singer and author Michelle Zauner, crafts an infectiously exuberant, electropop sound for their third album, which catalogs a fight for happiness in nuanced, guitar-laden tones. While the clear green vinyl is exclusive to Rough Trade, the album is also available at Urban Outfitters and independent record stores.

Dry Gin

For those who enjoy a dry gin with a citrus tinge, this iteration ($55) from LA-based AMASS promises notes of various fruit peels, lemongrass, pepper and more. Crafted using 29 botanicals (11 of which are grown in California), with no artificial additives, it’s complex but easy-drinking, and works in most cocktails—especially a classic martini. It’s also available at Astor Wines and other good liquor stores.


After Sayaka Murata’s first book to be translated in English, Convenience Store Woman, garnered a cult following with over a million copies sold worldwide, the writer is back with an even more shocking and strange novel, Earthlings ($17). The book tells the story of a young girl who feels alienated by society until, one day, she confides in her best friend and plush hedgehog, Piyyut, who blesses her with magical powers. Together, the narrator and her similarly disenfranchised cousin (who thinks he’s an alien), make a pact to navigate the world together. While this may sound like a dreamy childhood story delivered through light prose, Murata’s novel remains dark and vivid—especially as the now-adult protagonist reckons with womanhood and the consequences of escaping a stifling world—from murder all the way down to cannibalism. The book is available at Barnes & Noble and at independent bookstores.

Neon Tube Light

Full of potential, HAY’s neon tube lights ($60) can be hung or leaned against a wall alone or along with others to create a dramatic, moody glow. Available in red, blue, yellow or warm white, each one measures 59.25 inches and features an in-line switch located on the 78.75-inch cable. Each 12-watt LED has an average life span of 6,000 hours—or 250 full days. They can be purchased at independent design shops and MoMA Design Store.

Harmony Collection Rich Cacao Single Malt Scotch Whisky

The inaugural release in the new limited edition Harmony Collection from The Macallan, the Rich Cacao Single Malt Scotch Whisky ($280) delivers a delectable profile of fine chocolates, cinnamon and dried fruits. For this first expression in what will become an annual series, The Macallan whisky-maker Polly Logan collaborated with Girona, Spain-based pastry chef Jordi Roca of three-Michelin-star restaurant El Celler de Can Roc and owner of the bouquet hotel Casa Cacao. The sustainable packaging for this release includes a 100% recyclable gift box, made from discarded cacao pod husks, and front and back labels crafted from 15% organic cacao shell, 40% post-consumer waste and 45% FSC virgin fiber. This expression is also available at good independent liquor stores.

MORE JOY Silk Eye Mask

Made from 100% silk, Christopher Kane’s black eye mask ($85) features the words “More Joy” in the same font as the 1972 intimacy manual The Joy of Sex. Made by siblings Christopher and Tammy Kane, the mask is luxuriously soft and comfortable and adds an inspirational touch to your next nap. It is available online and at Nordstrom.


A celebration of pastel as an art medium, Swiss-born artist Nicolas Party’s Pastel exhibition at NYC’s The Flag Foundation was a delightful, immersive experience. For those who didn’t have the opportunity to wander the venue—with its Rococo-inspired murals, patterned walls and rich, elaborately framed paintings—the book Pastel ($50) commemorates the show. The 216-page hardcover serves as a look through the exhibition (featuring artists like Mary Cassatt, Edgar Degas, Toyin Ojih Odutola, Jean-Baptiste Perronneau and others) and includes words from Nicolas Party, Glenn Fuhrman, Robin F Williams, Louis Fratino, Loie Hollowell and Billy Sullivan. It’s also available at Target, Barnes & Noble and independent bookstores.

Hero image courtesy of HAY