You can’t even wrench the laminated Streetwise map away from him, so you know he’ll love this. Prepare yourself for weeks of, “Honey, come check this out!”
Three hundred and forty years after it was completed, master cartographer Joan Blaeu’s Atlas Maior ($200 from Amazon) is considered the baroque era’s premier atlas. This hardcover version is reprinted from the archives at the National Library of Vienna, and an accompanying, explanatory text tells us what we’re supposed to be looking at between bouts of gushing over the gold-trimmed images.
He’d never buy it for himself, but he’ll wear it everywhere. This buttery cashmere and lambswool cable-knit scarf ($125 from Kenneth Cole) comes in six colors and is 66 inches long. Kenneth Cole offers an identical pure cashmere version for $300, but you’ll have fewer color options.
Your tailgating parties are about get a whole lot more convenient. The Coleman RoadTrip Grill ($160 from Camping World) is a compact, portable gas grill that also works as a griddle or a stove. It even has little hooks on the side so he can hang his barbecuing tools while he’s grabbing you a beer.
This attractive portable speaker system ($204 from Amazon) is about the size of an old-school boom box, and is compatible with similarly old-school 3G and 4G iPods, iPod photos, and iPod minis. It takes batteries or plugs into the wall and has a remote control. It even recharges your iPod while it’s docked.
If he likes to cook, giving him Henckels knives is just a little bit sexier than greeting him at the door in a pair of spike heels and a silk scarf. This set ($170 from Amazon) includes the very useful eight-inch chef’s knife, six-inch utility knife, four-inch paring knife, and as a bonus, a nine-inch sharpening steel. When he opens it, you can whisper, “High-carbon, ice-hardened, stainless steel blades with three-rivet handles and a lifetime warranty.” Oh, baby.
This robe ($298 from Nordstrom) is a compelling reason to get out of bed in the morning, and an excellent excuse to climb back in. The robe alone could secure her undying devotion, but pick up a warm chocolate croissant and a thick Sunday paper, and all other men are dead to her forever. Comes in red, brown, and black.
A luxury bag shouldn’t require a woman to advertise for the company that made it. This quintessential Coach purse ($298 from Coach) is refreshingly logo free. It has a roomy main compartment ideal for a woman who carries light reading wherever she goes. The long, adjustable strap can be worn cross-body, which is comfortable for traveling. It’s elegant, classic, and sturdy enough to endure years of daily use.
I must say, it’s tough to find good day-of-the-week undies, and these ($110 from Amazon) are brilliant. The set consists of seven little pairs of tap pants wrapped in a satin bag. They’re playful, sexy, and a little bit kitschy, just like her.
These are diamonds. There are two of them. She’ll be pleased. This particular pair ($400 from Mondera) is one-third of a carat total weight, and H-G in color quality. You can also get them bigger and brighter if you like.
This just might finally get her out of her college sweatshirt, the one with holes in both elbows. Comes in orange, pink, green, and black ($158 from Eddie Bauer).
For the Kids
This sturdy dollhouse ($400 from Pottery Barn Kids) is a find because you don’t have to spend hours hunting around for accessories. In addition to the house itself and a four-member family with wooden faces and wire bodies (for easy posing by little fingers), you get furniture for all the rooms in the house, right down to a bedside lamp and the all-important stand mixer in the kitchen.
Baby’s first sleigh. The wooden Flexible Flyer ($100 from KB Toys) has steam-bent skis, steel runners, a back rest, and a tow rope. Best of all, it comes assembled, so you won’t be up until 4 a.m. banging your head against the shipping crate.
An enormous rocking teddy bear? This is the kind of toy a kid never forgets. Made by Steiff, the esteemed German bear maker, the bear ($225 from Sensational Beginnings) has an interior of solid wood and washable fur.
Keep your kids active and pleasantly exhausted with this portable trampoline ($120 from Amazon). It has a steel frame surrounded by thick padding. The best part? It folds flat when they’re sleeping, so you can have your living room back.
Every backyard should come with a zipline ($150 from Back to Basics Toys). Attach 90 feet of cable to two support structures, secure the plastic trolley to the line, and the kids are ready to zip through the air. This one supports up to 250 pounds, but they offer less expensive ones built for smaller bodies. I wouldn’t suggest it though; you know Dad would just break it.