|John Pavan's Slate Tray With Walnut and Cherry Handles|
The brief pause before Thanksgiving can actually be a great time to get a head start on your holiday gift list — a chance to make sure your December is more about leisurely gift wrapping sessions over glasses of good wine than last minute scrambles to the stores. To help, we've come up with the first of several gift guides for the season — with special emphasis on the unique and elegant.
- Slate Tray with Walnut and Cherry Handles. When artisan woodworker John Pavan stumbled on an abandoned "sugar shack" deep in the New Hampshire woods he was inspired to find a new purpose for the lonely but beautiful slate shingles he found there. These lovely, one-of-a-kind serving trays ($150) are the result — with exquisite hand-turned handles of black walnut and cherry wood. We love the way the warm tones of the wood contrast with the charcoal gray slate. This is a timeless, versatile piece that would make a wonderful gift.
- Luxurious Candles in Toasty Scents. A truly opulent candle makes the perfect hostess gift, especially if it's in a warm scent like 19candles' Formula Number Five ($28) with star anise, juniper, and cardamom oils, plus a balsamic tree resin called benzoin which has complex vanilla notes. We also like Formula Number Eight ($28) with cypress, cardamom, and petitgrain — an essential oil with a unique woodsy-citrus aroma derived from the twigs of the bitter orange plant. Other warm scents include this antique sandlewood candle ($22) from Robin Sayres, a frankincense and myrr candle ($20) with a crackling wooden wick by Linas Candles, and this amber and fig candle ($10) from Jenny Bean.
- J Wine Gift Sets. Want an easy way to bring deep joy to the wine lovers in your life? Our Sparkling Elegance gift set ($55) features a bottle of our popular J Cuvée sparkling wine, plus two chic Schott Zwiesel flutes packaged together in an beautiful gift box. Or, if you're one of our many Late Disgorged Brut devotees, there's now a way to share your passion for it in the form of the Ultima Gift Set ($99), featuring the fabulously rich and delicious 2003 Late Disgorged Brut plus two engraved J flutes presented in a stylish black boîte a cadeux. Be sure to visit the J Boutique for more great gift sets.
- Hand-Made Wine Caddies. An elegant wine caddy (preferably complete with a bottle of good wine) makes a wonderful holiday gift, and we love this dignified hand-made leather take on one from Rivet and Leather Co. ($190) with its oil-tanned leather, solid brass latch, and cherry wood interior. This leather wine bottler carrier ($55) from Pedal Happy Design has some unique details as well, including a built-in sleeve for a wine opener and optional leather bike mounting straps. This farmer's market tote ($38) from Mims Maine gets its rustically chic look from waxed canvas and vintage cognac leather details. (We love that there's a special interior pocket for wine!) Finally, these festive holiday wine gift bags ($10) from Bloom and Barnacle definitely give us a warm, fa-la-la-la-la feeling.