Luxury Magazine 2021 Holiday Gift Guide | Bonus: All-Time Greats

All-Time Greats

The best versions of simple, useful items everyone wants and needs.

By Irene Rawlings
Phillips Forged Knives

The most important tool in a chef’s kitchen is a good knife. Phillips Forged Knives, based in Knoxville, Tennessee, makes one-of-a-kind carbon steel Damascus kitchen knives that are both beautiful and strong. Plan ahead, as there can be a four-month waitlist. “I studied fine art at University of Tennessee where I learned metalwork and combined that with my love of food and cooking,” says John Phillips. From $1,000 to $5,000;

Hunter boots

Hunter boots have been keeping country gentlemen, upland bird hunters, and wet-weather walkers dry since 1856. The original dark-green Wellington (“Wellies”) boots are made of natural rubber, constructed by hand (over three days) from 28 individual parts. Shorter versions are available in trendy colors such as tundra gray and indigo blue. From $140;

Saatva mattresses

Made to order in US factories, Saatva wide range of mattresses use organic cotton, natural wool, or latex to provide a layer of plush comfort. The supportive and comfortable innerspring design is made with recycled steel, an eco-friendly memory foam layer, and an organic cotton cover. From $1,295;

The Laundress plant-derived detergents

The Laundress offers clean, fresh-smelling, plant-derived detergents and fabric conditioners that deep clean your clothes. Stain Solution, Denim Wash (scents include lily of the valley and jasmine, sweet musk, sandalwood, and a touch of citrus), Wool & Cashmere Shampoo (a nice cedar scent), and scent-free Baby Detergent are customer favorites. So are luxuriously scented Le Labo Rose 31 and Santal 33 detergents. $45/16 ounces;

Bose Noise-Masking Sleep Buds

Tiny, wireless, fit-into-the-ear sleep buds replace noise from snoring partners, loud neighbors, barking dogs, and street traffic. Bose Noise-Masking Sleep Buds utilize a truly miniscule circuit board to store up to 10 files from the Sleep App’s library. Naturescapes, for example, includes sounds from walks down a country lane, along the shore, or in the forest. Batteries provide 10 hours of run time. $250;

Mason Pearson hair tool

Mason Pearson is a cult-classic hair tool from a 130-year-old British family business. The boar bristles (or a combo of boar and nylon bristles) sit in a handmade, rubber cushioned pad that turns brushing your hair into a stress-reducing scalp massage while it controls flyaways and frizz. Plus, it lasts forever. From $175;

Komodo Kamado

For serious outdoor cooks, the Komodo Kamado charcoal grill creates a brick-oven-type environment for uniform cooking and browning. It weighs a hefty 1,688 pounds but rolls easily on six high-density black rubber castors. The exterior finish can be bronze, royal blue, shiny black, or fire-engine red. $3,500;

Chris-Craft boating

The Chris-Craft brand was born in 1874 and through the golden age of recreational boating (1920–1950) became synonymous with the elegance and grace of classic, mahogany-hulled power boats. “Owning an antique boat is somewhat of a status symbol, but in many respects, it makes sense because these boats do not depreciate in value,” says Anthony Ingerson, a broker with Antique Boat America. From $95,000;

Eiderdown pillows

Eiderdown pillows are prized for their lightness and warmth, encased in heirloom-quality silk covers. The eider is a fat seabird, more penguin than duck. Most spend their lives in the Arctic Circle and their down is collected in Iceland and Scandinavia by hand from abandoned nests (after the chicks have hatched). The annual world harvest is just 4 tons. $3,090;

Frette sheets

More than 500 European royal families have slept under Frette sheets. Today, the 160-year-old Italian brand is found at five-star hotels, on private aircraft, and aboard iceberg-sized yachts. The company offers custom designs, monogramming, and in-home installation, and this season’s color palette features rich amaryllis, soothing aloe, and dark azure. The Ultimate Sheet Set, $3,500;

Runamok Organic Maple Syrup

High-quality organic maple syrup is taken to a new level by Vermont-based, family-owned Runamok. The company sells syrup infused with herbs and spices, aged in bourbon or rum barrels, and even “sparkled” with pearlescent food-grade mica for the holidays. From $18;

Diaspora Co. sells single-origin spices sustainably grown on small, family-run farms in India and Sri Lanka. Order fresh, potent blends including smoky Nagauri cumin, lemony-nutty Nandini coriander, bright-and-floral Pragati turmeric, and Kashmiri saffron. From $12;

Smythson of Bond Street personalized stationary

Personalized stationery—monogrammed correspondence cards, creamy writing paper, thick business cards, and luxe wedding invitations—can be designed by you and crafted by Smythson of Bond Street (the go-to for British royals). Business cards from $256, correspondence cards from $305, diaries from $235;

Bathroom Butler heated towel rack

Is there anything better after a shower than wrapping up in a warm towel? A smart tech Bathroom Butler heated towel rack can be temperature gauged to dry beach towels in the summer and to provide a heated towel experience during the colder months. From $900;

Brooks Sports Running shoes

Natural and comfortable for walking, jogging, and road-and-trail running, the Catamount athletic shoe by Seattle-based Brooks Sports has a midsole that’s soft and cushiony enough for day-long runs and the 3 mm lugs provide grip on uneven, moderately rocky terrain. A well-designed, all-around outdoor shoe. $160;

Vintage Bogdan fly-fishing reels

Vintage Bogdan fly-fishing reels are among the most prized reels available anywhere for their incredible drags. Handcrafted in the small New Hampshire shop of the late father-son team Stanley (1918–2011) and Stephen Bogdan (1949–2021), new reels would typically keep customers waiting for three years. Bogdan reels are still known the world over but are no longer in production. From $3,000;

Loro Piana fine jackets

A vicuña coat is made from the most luxurious (and rarest) animal fiber in the world. The Vicuña Storm System from Italian heritage brand Loro Piana is made from the vicuña’s ultra-lightweight fleece—incredibly fine hairs, even finer than cashmere. This wool is worth more than gold. $23,385;

Canada Goose arctic wear

An exceptional down parka from Toronto-based Canada Goose was inspired by the rugged demands of the Arctic and would be equally at home at Antarctica’s McMurdo Station as Vail’s black diamond runs. Funds from every sale of the specially designed PBI Collection go to Polar Bears International to support habitat conservation. From $895;

Classic BMW Motorcycles

Retro-style bikes like BMW’s R nineT Scrambler and the just-launched BMW R18 are very popular, but classic BMW motorcycles are trending—especially the 1970 /5 Series, the first classic BMW ‘Airhead’ motorcycle. The early 1970s also saw the release of the BMW R90S, the first true sports-touring bike. From $23,000;

Arturo Fuente Opus X cigars

One of the most coveted cigars in the world, Arturo Fuente Opus X is the first-ever Dominican puro, and known for being bold, smooth, complex, and hard to find. It’s made in ultra-small batches (only about 500 boxes are produced each year) from 5-year-aged tobaccos grown in mineral-rich soil on the Chateau de le Fuente farm. From $30,000/box;

Polarized sunglasses are useful on water, on beach days, on the snow, on road trips, and in other high-glare situations. Italian brand Persol is one of the oldest eyewear companies in the world. Their designs have been a favorite of style icons such as the late Steve McQueen, aka The King of Cool, and are a good balance between dressy and casual-classy to go with board shorts or pinstripes. $480;