Holiday Gift Guide: For Everyone on Your List, We’ve Got the Perfect Gift
For Your Foodies and Gourmands
For friends and neighbors, gift certificates to neighborhood specialty markets are always well received. Marczyk Fine Foods and Tony’s Market (multiple Denver locations), both offer convenience in addition to indulgence. And for the foodies in your family, a cookbook is as sure a bet as you'll find. My recent favorites include "Home Cooking with Jean-Georges" and "The Cook’s Illustrated Cookbook: 2,000 Recipes from 20 Years of America's Most Trusted Cooking Magazine" (both around $25, available on amazon.com and absolutely user-friendly!). To personalize this gift for a spouse or partner, include a hand-written note offering to prepare the meal of their choosing.
For work colleagues, the simplicity of a good bottle of wine makes it the perfect holiday gift. For ample budgets, Chateau Montelena’s 2009 Napa Cab ($52) is a classic choice. For the mid-range, consider the Camille Braun Cremant d’Alsace, a sparkler that is both festive and affordable ($24). More modest budgets can safely bet on an approachable red blend, such as Kermit Lynch’s Côtes du Rhône (Cypress Cuvee) ($16). But, if you’re shopping for a true epicure, consider an experiential gift such as A Bottled Affair’s Wine & Chocolate Gift Set ($43) or a gift certificate to a food and wine tasting event (prices vary; localwineevents.com).
The holidays present an opportunity to engage with your clients on a personal level, and what better way to express your appreciation to a client’s staff than a basket of fresh baked goods from a local bakery? (For plentiful gift baskets, starting at $75 and up, try one of Denver’s trendiest bakeries, Leaf & Crumb, leafandcrumb.com). If you’re gifting to an individual client, take it to the next level by including locally produced coffee or tea in the basket, or even a bottle of Bailey’s Irish Cream ($24, and sure to warm attorney–client relations). For the gift that keeps giving, consider an annual membership to a wine or cheese club.
Gadgets for Those Always Plugged In
Considering a tech gadget gift this holiday season? It can be fraught with potential issues, but the most important is to set a budget for what is appropriate for the relationship with the recipient, because the cost of tech gadgets can vary. Whether for your friends and family, colleagues, or client, there’s a gift for those gadget hounds on your list.
For the inveterate jogger, frequent health club attendee, or the traveler on your list, consider a small, easy-to-attach MP3 player. Highly recommended are the Sansa Clip variants, starting at about $35 (sandisk.com or amazon.com), as well as the iPod Shuffle, at $49 (apple.com). The Sansa includes FM radio; the Shuffle has superior sound. For the audiophile, consider the iPod Nano ($149) or the iPod Touch (from $199), also available at apple.com.
A reader or traveler can use an e-book reader. The Nook Simple Touch, $99; the Simple Touch with GlowLight, $119; and Kindle Paperwhite, $119 (which has replaced the Kindle Touch) are leading options (available at barnesandnoble.com and amazon.com). Though Kindle leads the market, all are good readers. If the recipient borrows books from the public library, assure that their library supports the device you choose.
Tablets are a great choice for the higher budget. At the lower end of tablets, the Kindle Fire starts at $159 (from $199 for the HD version; available at amazon.com). This is a good choice for the media-focused user (reading, music, and especially watching video). It is a weaker choice for Web-surfing or serious work. The Google Nexus 7 now comes in new Wi-Fi models that are 16GB (for $199) and 32GB (for $249; available at google.com/nexus). For work, the market leader is the iPad, but at a cost (starting at $499; available at apple.com). The new iPad mini starts at $329, and the previous generation iPad is available, from $399. The new Microsoft Surface tablet with Windows 8 is worth a look for someone trying to integrate with their office Windows environment (microsoft.com/surface). The base version with Windows 8RT starts at $499 but includes a version of Office 2013 (without Outlook).
GPS is a possibility for someone without a navigation system in their vehicle. They start at $50, but a thoughtful gift will be a model with free lifetime traffic information, because that may be the most valuable feature. Major companies are Garmin (garmin.com), TomTom (tomtom.com), and Magellan (magellangps.com).
A final note: Do not overlook refurbished items. They are more carefully inspected than the original "new" item and will save you some money (usually available at the vendor’s website, or occasionally on others like woot.com).
Still stuck? Well, failing all else, you can opt for a gift card from iTunes, Google Play, or Amazon and let them choose.
For friends and family, I recommend David Eagleman's "Sum: Forty Tales from the Afterlives." Eagleman, a brilliant neuroscientist in his day job at the Laboratory for Perception and Action and the Initiative on Neuroscience and Law at the Baylor College of Medicine, presents 40 versions of the afterlife, none probable but all possible (Eagleman styles himself a "Possibilian").
Eagleman’s is an original fictional form. The titular purpose of these 40 very short stories is exploring what may happen after we die, but the book is really about how we live. The less said about this book the better. Just read it. It may change your life; it will definitely broaden your perspective (eagleman.com/sum).
No attorney should lose sight of why our job exists—why, at the most fundamental level, we do what we do. For those for whom law school and the philosophical underpinnings of our profession seem a distant memory, I recommend "Justice: What’s the Right Thing to Do?" by Michael Sandel. In this book, Sandel, an acclaimed professor of public philosophy, has encapsulated the teachings of his legendary Harvard course for undergraduates. Sandel addresses the dominant strains of philosophical thought informing our public discourse, from Plato through Kant and Rawls. Like the greatest teachers, he offers clarity of thought and historical perspective without dictating answers to the difficult questions he poses. If the disease of the daily grind has caused you to forget the intellectual spark that led you to this profession, Sandel provides the antidote (justiceharvard.org).
As an appellate criminal defense attorney, the majority of my clients are incarcerated. The two books already mentioned are sure to enrich anyone committed to exploring the depth of thought provided, but my clients typically need advice more grounded in immediate need.
For the challenges facing these folks, I cannot recommend "Getting On After Getting Out: A Re-Entry Guide for Colorado" strongly enough. Authored by Carol Peeples and Christine Donner of the Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition, "Getting On" provides the tools to navigate the incredibly difficult challenge of reintegrating into society after a stint in prison. The book plainly explains the legal landscape, the collateral consequences of conviction, and the steps to successfully staying above water for those re-entering society. The purpose is to remedy the condition well-expressed on the book’s back cover by Art Leonardo, executive director of the North American Association of Wardens and Superintendents: "The fact is that our business is way too popular. It’s so easy just to incarcerate people, put them away and just forget about them." In a country where more than 3 percent of the population is under some form of correctional supervision, a resource like this is indispensable. Anyone practicing criminal defense, let alone our clients, should have a copy of this book (ccjrc.org/reentry-guide.shtml).
A Little Pampering
A pampered gift may be the perfect antidote for recovery from a stressful holiday season.
For female friends, family members, and colleagues, a gift certificate to a spa or salon that offers a variety of services will allow her to try a new service, and still remain loyal to her regular hair stylist or nail technician. If you purchase a gift card from a particular spa or salon, make sure it is a place that you have visited and hold in high regard. Otherwise, a gift card from Spa Finder (spafinder.com) will allow her to choose from more than 4,500 spas worldwide.
Many modern men, although they may not admit it, also enjoy certain spa services, such as massages and pedicures. For a manlier option, a gift card to an upscale barber shop or a spa that caters to men may be a welcome treat. Some barber shops also offer facials and scalp massages, along with regular haircut and shaving services.
If you do not want the recipient to know how much money you spent on the gift, you may consider a spa gift basket or luxury shaving kit, from a website such as proflower.com, which will allow the recipient to enjoy a pampering experience.
A spa gift may not be appropriate in all circumstances, such as for a client or colleague you do not know very well. If you do not know the person’s particular sentiments on spa or grooming treatments, a more conventional gift may be a better option.
Gifts for the Home
As so much of our time with family and friends centers around food, I’m particularly fond of gifts for the kitchen and tabletop. Specialty linens such as the Woodblock Print Napkins from wisteria.com ($20 for a set of four) make for a unique but affordable gift for the entertainer in your life. And the mixologist in your set will adore the Yarai Cocktail Mixing Glass ($36, cocktailkingdom.com), as functional as it is beautiful. Finally, for a truly "organic" take on kitchen art, check out the Manchester Glass Set offered for $128 on anthropologie.com. It’s a lovely way to store fresh herbs (or even sprout new ones).
When it comes to decorative gifts for coworkers, gifts for the home are best. Such gifts not only show your recognition of life outside work, it also avoids any awkwardness that might result if a gift happens to conflict with your coworker’s own office style. If you do feel comfortable giving office décor, you’ll find a terrific selection at gumps.com/office/desk-accessories. Their Small Frame Collection offers something for everyone, with prices starting at $55 per frame. For a truly unique home gift idea, make it personal by giving a handmade holiday wreath from a local florist. Denver’s City Floral offers gorgeous custom wreaths, with prices beginning around $45 (cityfloralgreenhouse.com).
Decorative gifts for clients are most appropriate when you have a relationship that goes beyond the professional. In this case, it’s usually OK to go for a bit of whimsy. Fun serving pieces such as the Row Boat Salad Bowl ($65, uncommongoods.com) or the Mouse Cheese Board ($59, rshcatalog.com) are both functional and inspired. And if you’re looking to go big, the Zoffoli Desk Globe with Drink Cabinet ($230, atlasglobes.com) offers old-school charm to any executive’s desk. Another vintage-inspired option to consider is the King Size Carousel Gumball Machine ($80 and up; available through antiquegumball.com). It’s sure to bring a smile to any client’s face. D