Kaitlin Phillips’s unedited unreadable noncomprehensive Christmas Gift Guide:
You can read last year’s gift guide, for which I was not paid, HERE. It wasn’t edited either!
Susie — James Joyce freak, queen of the West Village, lover of Simone Rocha — is kicking off the gift guide because she has given me the best, most thoughtful gifts over the years: A heart-shaped le creuset on Valentine’s Day... the best smelling non-sticky hand sanitizer at the peak of the pandemic, by a perfume company… her favorite “ugly” fur house shoes just in time for winter. (See left: paired with the Row slouchy corduroys, the best corduroys money can buy, I have them in every color: camel and black.)
She says: Go to P.E. Guerin and replace all of the door handles in your entire apartment. This is really good advice, please PAUSE, click the link, and think about doing it. And by it I mean: Elevate your life. Change things no one else would bother to change!
She says buy clothes at 45R. “Pricey but forever.”
My grandmother was appalled by the gift of alcohol. But it’s hard to find a truly great glass of champagne in Sinai, South Dakota (population 200 and dropping), so what the fuck did she know, RIP.
Needless to say, I am not appalled by the gift of alcohol. For my 30th birthday present, my ex, Carsten H*****, called and gave me a choice of gifts, one of which was a case of wine from the year I was born (1990). Touching! Also touching: Giving people gift options?? He does this yearly and I think it’s cool.
A case of wine—a great gift!—doesn’t have to be expensive. I would categorize it as a supremely “practical gift” to send someone 12 bottles of “house wine,” so that when people who are not in “the best friend tier” come over you have something for them in the wine rack. It’s not for you, it’s for him, the alcoholic (ehem, any alcoholic but you) downing an excellent wine faster than you think it should be downed.
What case of “cheap” wine, you ask??? My friend, the LA astrologist Mercedes Kilmer,—who lives in the model apartment from The Long Goodbye, you know, the one where Elliot Gould is watching those girls do yoga topless; so you should take her advice, I mean imagine the ideas you have living in a place like that!!!—loves this primal wine, which “embodies the perfect alignment of primal of ancestral prowess and subtle elegance and nobility. Made from 100% Grignolino, one of the most ancient and revered local varieties of Monferrato, it comes from an East-facing single cru....Electric drinkability, zippy tannins, unending freshness and depth of character sing here a unique song of deep forests after an Autumn rain, Calvados-soaked wild sour cherries, spiced rye bread, red currants and cinnamon.” This wine company has a wine club — the gift that keeps on giving, seems like a family operation, I would def fuck the guy that owns it, he seems hot. Also…. Now that I’m biocoastal… I’m sort of a California-style wine drinker … so this natural wine shit appeals to me.
Everything else I order in bulk at Astor Wines, for the discount, they have a great selection, they’re really the best in the city, every boomer I know orders from them. Call them today: 212-674-7500.
When I want to buy a SINGLE bottle of PERFECT wine, AND I want to walk from the East Village, where I live, to the West Village, I go to “rare wines” in the west village, and talk to that SUPER hot guy who owns it, and who, incidentally, writes an AMAZING wine newsletter. Read the blog here. The WSJ wrote about it once, so you know it’s good...the WSJ knows wine. Buy something that costs $50 and you won’t be disappointed, and you might even impress someone.
Whenever I say a man is hot, I mean hot to me, but this guy is really hot, no???
If you know someone living abroad in a cosmopolitan city, I recommend buying them a subscription to The Natural Wine Company, which is affiliated somehow with Omar, that guy that runs Apartamento. For 135 euros, you can get 6 bottles, they don’t ship to the U.S. yet, sucks, but they hit the only 35 countries I’d ever bother to visit abroad.
If you are reading this gift guide please Venmo me @kaitlin-phillips! I would like to buy myself a nice bottle of champagne (see below). If you want to send me a bottle of champagne, I will give you my home address, I really don’t give a fuck: [email protected]
~~~A WICKER BASKET OF CAVIAR AND CHAMPAGNE AND POTATOES~~~
A single bottle of champagne — now that’s a great gift.
I like to send people a bottle of Laurent-Perrier champagne. Why? Michael Bargo drinks it. He’s the gay guy who is always unidentified in the Olsen twins’ pap photos (him and Tory Burch’s step-daughter, the wan redhead). He picks all the furniture for The Row store… follow him on instagram if you want to get the inspo that inspires the inspo-ers.
So yeah: If he’s doing something, you should do it too. For instance! Whenever he has a dinner party he just serves baked potatoes, caviar, and champagne. If someone came over to my house with a wicker basket of those three things, I would fucking kiss them. I suppose you could also round out any gift basket with a fucking ugly champagne-shaped candle…though it’s too tacky for Bargo, he would never.
Caviar is a staple of Marian Goodman’s diet. She prefers the Petrossian brand. Her staff says, “We usually get her the basket...it doesn’t matter if it says sold out, you can just call...
Also it detracts from the glamour but be sure to get the bodega thin lays, because the chips are sometimes too crisp...the best crème fraîche is isigny st mere.”
Alex Traub, the Times reporter and native UES-er, says Sabel’s is where his parents buy caviar.
I can also recommend Dom Perignon (vintage 2010), because the aforementioned Susie has messengered them over to me out of the blue from time to time, and it’s excellent. Whenever she sends me champagne, she explicitly says do NOT save it for a special occasion.
Let me just say that, in general... it’s really good advice to chill out and do whatever you want and not care about anything at all EVER. Like...so what I got wasted and spilled on your couch. Flip the fucking cushions over. Or Get it reupholstered by Nick Poe…then you’ll actually have something nice. Not to belabor this point but every time I’ve spilled wine on someone’s couch it has not been a couch worth saving… This is why they call it “social work.”
...Oh, while I’m here, call Nick Poe if you need a desk? He just did some nice desks for the Paris Review office, dunno if they’re still having parties but if they are, check them out...
THE KITCHEN GIFT GUIDE, BROUGHT TO YOU BY RACHEL TASHJIAN OF OPULENT TIPS, and GQ MAGAZINE—NOTABLY MY EX BEST FRIEND, like, 2014-2016—THE GODDESS HERSELF:
Do you dream of having an overpriced, inefficient kitchen appliance that inspired an entire literary genre??? Have I got the gift for YOU! The AGA is a legend of British country cooking culture, which you may have seen while perusing WOI or studying the Instagram of English-Russian heiress (and explorer??? In these times???) Alexandra Tolstoy (yes, that Tolstoy). This is a $20,000 cast iron stove—though you can get a half size for $6,000ish, and you can sometimes find them used, I know someone who drove to Nebraska to get one off Craigslist—that locks the heat into dedicated "cooking zones" so that the insulation creates the most tender and moist roasts and baked goods possible. The price does not connote ease of use: you have to adjust nearly everything you make to its impetuous ways. Its radiant warmth means British country house owners often use it in place of heating, and its regular presence in these kinds of homes gave rise to a niche genre of British romance novel called the AGA saga, pioneered by author Joanna Trollope. (Her real name!!!) Essentially, these are books about people in Laura Ashley dresses making pies and having sex in purposefully down-at-heel cottages filled with chintz furniture--very au courant. My favorite is The Rector's Wife, and the queer romance novel (!!!!) A Village Affair.
Claude Lalanne designed the GREATEST bar carts of all time with her husband Francois-Xavier; my favorite is a hippo. Also every boring rich person has one of their sheep. You might have seen the gold breast and torso plates they designed for Yves Saint Laurent, which are still copied by designers to this day. But most interesting to me are Claude's flatware designs...radiant organic sculptures you can use everyday, like these Snail Spoons (probably ~$6,000?). They really believed that being alive is a work of art! Shouldn't you, too?
It’s super easy to find children cheap funny gifts—like magic grow toys—but sometimes you just want to buy the yuppies yuppy shit:
A friend of mine just had a baby, and the celebrity S***** M***** sent her nice stuff from Quincy Mae, the organic baby store.
If you want to dress your kid like a serious Japanese architect, which is a really good idea, shop at Makié. “It’s all handmade,” says T editor Thessaly La Force, “Baby couture!” (This baby hat set, with Super soft and fluffy fleece booties, is my favorite.)
Little Moony in Nolita has a personal shopping service for people who just want to e-mail over the age and “gender” of the baby and not get involved on a personal level and have it shipped, and not give a shit what’s in it. I like the store because I think the only humans who can get away with wearing harem pants are children; their harem pants for unpotty trained kids make SO MUCH sense!
I do think every 10-year-old boy should get an uncut sheet of $1 bills.
This isn’t an earth shattering suggestion, and I debated deleting it, but children are boring so their gift guide must too be boring… if I’m shopping online, and therefore I’m bei