Best Gifts of the 2010

The holiday season is now officially over, so what better time to reflect on all of the great gifts we gave and received:

Thea
Best Received

My sister, PA Nina, knows how much I love horses and that I needed a nice, simple, gold necklace. She gave me this amazing Minoux Jewelry piece, Little Lucky Lady. I’ve worn it everyday since Christmas.

Best Given
My step-mother, Jean, is super savvy with new technologies and adores her iPhone. I gave her the Echo Touch Glove designed for iPhone that I somewhat skeptically posted about earlier. She loved them and will no doubt use them often.

Tammy
Best Received
Alexander Wang jacketDo I really have to pick just one? I got so many great gifts this year! OK, I’ll pick two. The first is this amazing Alexander Wang jacket that my super stylish mom got for me — it’s a double-breasted, cropped black blazer with metal snap buttons, sheer side panels, and a kind of rubber belt on either side. I wore it for NYE over a gold dress, and felt party perfect.

My boyfriend got me another gorgeous Hermes scarf this year, and has officially started a collection for me. It’s a beautiful beigey color depicting a field with bunnies hidden in the grass. The best part is the pops of color from bright red and blue flowers that come out of the grass. Two for two!

Best Given
The best gift I gave was for my brother, a Paulinho da Viola record that I picked up at Tropicalia in Furs, a record shop in the East Village that specializes in Brazilian vinyl. You can’t pick this up just anywhere in Pittsburgh; it was a sweet find.

Nicole
Best Received
The best gift I got this year was my brand new iPhone 4 from my boyfriend Dan. So shiny, so smooth, so fast. Hmm, maybe I should get myself a case before it becomesDelorean Nike Dunk unshiny and unsmooth.

Best Given
The best gift I gave was TO my boyfriend Dan. Or actually, I should say that (lord willing) I WILL give it to him after I finally get it from the slacker eBay buyer I bought it from. I got him the v. v. hard to find 2010 Delorean Nike Dunks. They are/will be awesome.

Melissa
Best Received
When Lady Gaga at Madison Square Garden tickets went on sale months ago, I thought “Too pricey! I will be frugal and smart and save my money.” Luckily, my fellow Power Animal and best bud Kiki thought “Melissa will want to be frugal, and then will regret it.” Thank the lord that she knows me better than myself, because she was right. As everyone got more and more excited for the upcoming concert, I started feeling sadder and sadder. No ticket? What was I thinking! Christmas came around and what did I get? A ticket to the Gaga concert from Kiki! Best. Present. EVER!

Best Given
Sad to say, my presents were not nearly as epic as Kiki’s gift to me. BUT, I did give my brother Andrew a pair of Urbanears Headphones. Not only do they sound great but they are also noise canceling. I knew I had hit the mark when my brother texted me a few days after Christmas saying “I can’t hear the crazy woman ranting about something right next to me on the train, these are amazing!” Peace and quite on the train? Priceless.

Kat
Best Received
An amazing trip to Costa Rica, thanks to both my boyfriend and his dad! They are the most generous ever, fact. PURA VIDA, my friends!

P.S. One quick travel tip: Though we did not stay at the hotel Vista de Olas (in the town of Mal Pais), we went for a drink there one evening right at sunset, and it was Rag & Bone Burrows Bifold Walletquite possibly one of the most *amazing* places ever. Ever. If you are ever in Mal Pais, you must must check it out!

Best Given
A sleek and lovely (or should I say “manly”?) Rag & Bone wallet that I gave to my boyfriend, who needed a new wallet desperately. And a new wallet, might I add, that was seemingly designed to be slim so that it can be carried in the back pocket of any type of pant, be it either slim or regular fitting.

Nina
Best Received
I received so many great things this year — a Kindle, an awesome new Hobo wallet, a Rebecca Minkoff handbag! But the best gift was definitely a beautiful set of Laguoile steak knives from my parents. They are so gorgeous, that I’m almost scared to use them.

Best Given
My dad is usually a pretty hard person to find a good gift for, so I was very excited to come across the New York Times listing of the Year’s Best Cookbooks. He loves to cook Indian food, so I got him At Home with Madhur Jaffrey and Street Food of India. Then, because I love all the beautiful cookbooks published by Phaidon, I got him The Book of Tapas.

Jessie
Best Received
An iPod Nano — I am getting ready to head back to the gym after two months awayiPod Nano with a back injury and am really looking forward to creating new playlists on this very tiny and portable iPod and having FM radio as well!
Best Given
My sisters-in-law and I decided this year we were not feeling the traditional gift exchange and that we would make each other things instead. I had a great time making them beaded bracelets and recipe cards for two of my favorite recipes: Curry Chickpea Salad and Chocolate Dipped Macaroons.

Hillary
Best Received
I was also going to say that the best gift I received was an iPod Nano (from my awesome husband), but Jessie beat me to it. Instead I think one of the best and most interesting gifts I received is the second edition of The Encyclopedia of New York City by Kenneth T. Jackson from my brother. Clocking in at 1,500 pages, this book has more than 5,000 entries about the city and treats each borough with care Encyclopedia of New York City Second Edition(many other NYC reference books focus primarily on Manhattan). My brother also got me the AIA Guide to New York City, which has thousands of entries documenting the buildings of the city, including the one where I spend a great deal of time. The best thing about this book is that some of the entries are strictly factual while others are written with acerbic wit, especially the “necrology” section about buildings that are no longer in existence. There is just something wonderful and random about what you notice and learn when flipping through the pages of an actual encyclopedic book, as opposed to the experience of reading wikipedia. I think Kindles and Nooks are great, but books are also super sweet. Books: never forget.

Best Given
My sister is the Christmas taskmaster (lists due to her Dec. 1st!). So to giver her a hard time, my lovely brother always asks her for “world peace,” “a cure for cancer,” “ending hunger,” and “international tolerance.” This year my sister and I conspired against him and gave him a gift card to Jet Blue with enough credit that he can fly just about anywhere Jet Blue can take him. He works extremely long hours in the catering business and deserves a vacation (props, little bro!). Maybe he’ll come visit me and Dan! Yay, NYC!