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My personal holiday shopping list

What I like to bestow (enforce…) on my nearest and dearest

Multiple books and objects, like a speaker and lamp, line wooden shelves. A radio sits on top op of a wooden dresser with a mirror hung right above.
My last NYC apartment, which served as the set of Curbed’s 2018 holiday gift guide.
Heidi’s Bridge

Welcome! This week I’ve got holiday shopping on the brain, as we recently wrapped the shoot for Curbed’s annual gift guide—in addition to city-specific guides—that will roll out this week. Earlier every year; I know, I know. And of course I will want you to read those, but this list is a bit more specific to my tastes and what I like to bestow (enforce…) on my nearest and dearest. —Kelsey


Four bright glass plates in the colors red, pink, green, and blue are positioned on top of a pink table.
This Gaetano Pesce tray is the manifestation of eye candy, and under $100 at that ($95 from Coming Soon). It’s made of resin so as to be a bit more durable than glass, and is surprisingly versatile. Now: how to decide which color…
A wooden bookstand is shaped like an open book on its back.
I would personally like to receive this bookstand—a classic shape rendered in solid black walnut, perfect for displaying the last three months of New Yorker issues or a selection of art books curated by spine design. Ahem. Designed by Antares Yee for Sun at Six, at DWR ($295).
A linen blanket in a maroon red color is spread across the sand. A straw hat sits on top of the blanket.
As someone who possesses a hell of a lot of block print, I can vouch for its versatility and general appeal. I happen to love Kesslyr Dean’s linen/cotton throw blanket in a muted berry ($125) and think it would make a solid holiday gift—even if it’s not likely to be picnic weather for a few months.
A pine tree is planted in a black plastic pot.
I’m calling it now: The Norfolk pine is going to be the next rubber tree in terms of large houseplant popularity. My mother tells me it was popular 30 years ago, which confirms my hunch that it’s due for a comeback. Fun fact: It’s not an evergreen at all, and is in fact native to tropical climates like Australia. This one comes potted in a nice rattan basket ($90).
A lemon tree is planted in a wooden pot and stands in front of a dark brown wall.
Speaking of moms, they like Meyer lemon trees an awful lot. Just remind them to keep it indoors for the winter! You can snag a two- to three-foot plant here for $55.
This light red, round planter is textured so that it looks like rings stacked on top of each other.
And perhaps you hate rattan for planters! Maybe you’d prefer ridged porcelain? Andrew Molleur’s oblique brick planter, available for $100, has a water tray built in. (Psssst, Molleur’s also got a yellow version in his webshop.)
A hand holds up a tote made of pink, dark red, and green yarn.
Big fan of Dusen Dusen right here, and Ellen van Dusen’s new kitchen collection has me sweating. One super gift-able thing you could get for a buddy, or a neighbor you’d like to make amends with for hosting one too many raucous holiday parties, is this irresistible market tote ($50).
A collection of six ceramic vases sit on top of a light brown table.
Let’s be real: If you don’t have at least one textured earthenware vessel on your holiday list, is it really a list at all? This ceramic Compote vase ($54), at left in the photo above, is made in small batches in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, by Leila Ray.
Marisa Albrecht
A patterned oven mitt with a swirled pattern, with splotches of red, light pink, and purple coloring.
Marimekko is a good call if you want to give something festive but not overtly holiday—its winter prints are unparalleled. And just about everyone could use a new oven mitt ($24).
Two pieces of glassware in a dark blue color.
Can’t go wrong with quality glassware. Consider this corrugated crystal rendition ($162 at Unison Home) by Tamer Nakisçi—a streamlined take on a vase in an oh-so-2019 deep-sea emerald green.

This week in tabs

To the left, a floorplan in black and white. To the right, a building with many square windows.
  • All I want for Christmas is the preservation of yet another endangered Paul Rudolph building. This Brutalist monument, Boston’s Government Services Center, has had its ups and downs, and one major section of the site is up for sale and threatened with demolition.
  • Across the pond, an example of a Brutalist gem revived: a Standard Hotel has just opened in the bones of the 1974 Camden Town Hall Annexe in Kings Cross London, and it’s a beaut.
  • For Buzzfeed, writer Katherine Miller articulates how the 2010s have “broken our sense of time,” weaving together the 2016 election, algorithms, TikTok, and The Office in a way that I suspect resonates with almost everyone paying attention to our world (and how we consume it) today.
  • Loved this ode to Detroit’s Hart Plaza, an often-overlooked public space designed by Isamu Noguchi, that—like many late modern civic plazas of its era—has tremendous value, but is showing its age without much hope for needed infrastructure updates.
  • I’m not sure how I made it all the way through a rather tedious celebrity interview in GQ to arrive at this golden nugget, but I’m glad I did:

“The first thing [Edward] Norton did when he decided to adapt Motherless Brooklyn twenty years ago was change almost everything. Norton shifted the story back four decades, from the ’90s to the ’50s, and centered the plot on the development of New York City in the middle of the twentieth century… That Norton took Motherless Brooklyn in that fresh direction—power as projected through city planning, and an antagonist modeled off the notorious master planner Robert Moses—may have struck admirers of his acting as somewhat afield. But Norton grew up in Columbia, Maryland, the experimental community built by the urban planner James Rouse, Norton’s maternal grandfather. Rouse studied cities, developed cities, made everyone around him aware of what cities could do to the lives of the people living in them.”

Shameless plug

Do not miss Curbed’s annual holiday gift guide—online this Wednesday, November 6—in which we photograph all our favorite home gifts of the season. For 2019, we’re also including locally sourced gift ideas vetted by six Curbed city editors, as well as recs from designers.

Sign up now to get Editor’s Notes directly in your inbox before everyone else. Every other week, you’ll hear from Curbed Editor-in-Chief Kelsey Keith as she shares her latest observations, intel, advice, and shopping recommendations.