GIFTS | The 2010 holiday list

KnotbeltA beer-themed belt from Knot Belt Co. is among the items in 2010 holiday gift list.

The holidays — ready or not! — are knocking. It’s time to get shopping. Here’s our second annual selection for just about anyone on your list. This was assembled with the help of contributing writers Will Briganti and Maxwell Eaton III. It’s a bit on the masculine side, but you’ll cope.

Happy shopping.

GreenBlazerDuds and headwear
Bottle-green blazer: The navy blazer, definitely a wardrobe staple, can be complicated by the rarer bottle-green version. For outfitting, we turn to O’Connell, Lucas and Chelf, Buffalo’s iconic men’s store. Their three-button sack model fits the bill. Made in the United States.From $350.

Tab t-shirt: A campus classic for decades that takes its cues from crew teams of yore, this is an essential piece of casual clothing. Naturally, we’ve selected the St. Lawrence model, on offer from the Brewer Bookstore. $16.95.

NewarkBearshatEbbetts Field Flannels ballcaps: Made in the United States — a strong compliment — these flannel ballcaps are a must have, especially as winter starts to show its frosty face. Given our New Jersey roots, we recommend the Newark Bears model. $35.

DaleDale sweater: No clothing item we can think of quite says winter like a Dale of Norway Sweater. De rigeur in all alpine precincts, we’ve selected the U.S. Ski Team issue in honor of Lake Placid’s Andrew Weibrecht, who a bronze in Vancouver. $295 from

Jytte hat: Nordic skiing requires the right gear. We’ve always liked the Jytte (pronounced you-tay) hats procured by the St. Lawrence ski team some years ago, and the Idaho-based firm will set you straight when it comes to headwear. Hand-made in the United States. From $18.

Filson shelter-cloth cap: Lined with wool, this cap comes recommended by outdoor correspondent Steve Reynolds, a long-time Filson devotee. The water-resistant outer lining sets this cap apart. As appropriate for bird shooting as its for cruises through the urban jungle. Made in the United States. $62.50.

Brooks Brothers dress shirts: That these have been selected will probably not be seen as a surprise or a unique choice by some. It had to be done. Made in the United States — North Carolina, we’re fairly sure — these are essentials. Ed bought three earlier this year and has been suitably impressed to include them here, despite being generally skeptical of the Brothers. You won’t go wrong with the original. $89.50 or three for $199.

REGlassesRandolph Engineering Ranger Classics: Everyone needs good eyewear for sporting-clay excursions. Randolph Engineering delivers with its Ranger Classics, which can be customized with a range of lenses. From $119.95.

Ray-Ban Caravans: For your everyday sunglass needs, nothing beats the Ray-Ban Caravan. Nothing.Modeled on aviator frames that are still standard in most branches of the U.S. Military, these are Ed’s favorite sunglasses barring his grandfather’s Bausch and Lobs. And, for the benefit of our “Mad Men” fans, if they’re good enough for Don Draper, they damn well ought to be good enough for you. $125 from J. Crew.

Patagonia vest: Ed’s never recovered from the loss of his Morristown-Beard ski team vest, which was left by a friend at a Canton watering hole. He took solace for most of college in borrowing Furnary’s instead. A must-have layer. $149.

LiddesdaleShooting vest: We chose Barbour’s very fine model because it offers padding on both shoulders and because we doubt it’ll ever wear out completely. $199 from Orvis.

Barbour Liddesdale: The gold standard for a smart, country-styled coat for the winter. As common on the streets of Manhattan as its Beaufort and Bedale cousins, the Liddesdale is an affordable and stylish alternative. It’s also pretty cozy, which we’ll take. $149 at Orvis.

Henri Lloyd’s Breeze Performance Jacket: Contributing writer Will Briganti writes, “This is my best purchase of 2010 this far.” An avid sailor, Briganti’s word is bond on this choice. Versatile for coastal and urban activities. $69.

MinnetonkaMocsMinnetonka Driving Moccasin: In Dark Brown – perfect for the ski lodge or casual Fridays at the office. Invest in only one pair, the more worn in, the better. $56.95 from Holly Woodworking of Old Forge, N.Y.

Justin Ropers: As appropriate for a day on the farm as they are in any situation where dress shoes aren’t required. The basic cowboy boot from Justin is a staple we can’t deny. From $99.

Bean boot: More than one pair (one being the shorter moc-version) is essential to make it through the mud, rain and snow. We like the new, shearling-lined model. Made in Maine as always. From $149.

Vasque Sundowners: Essential for any long trips in the woods. $170.

Accessories and housewares
GouchoBeltArgentinian polo belt: One snappily dressed reader is never without his. These are downright swell and are apparently standard on the polo fields of Argentina. In regimental and school colors from Gaucho Belts. $51.

Nantucket red socks: The genuine article, only for your feet. From Murray’s, the Island’s primary haberdashery. $17.50.

Billykirk and ACL & Co. canvas briefcase: A collaboration between A Continuous Lean.’s Michael Williams and Billykirk, this olive-drab canvas case is based on a World War II bag issued by the U.S. Navy. Made in the United States. $325.

Vice holster: This Etsy item caught my eye a few weeks ago. A holster that will hold a flask, a phone or a pack of smokes, it’s the perfect hideaway for your vices be they booze, texting or tobacco. On offer from Four Chamber Forge. $95.

Smathers and Branson flaskNeedlepoint flask: Rare is the time when a tipple isn’t welcome. Indulge in style with this needlepoint-covered numbers from Smathers and Branson. Customizable with monograms, too. From $65.

Cordial Churchman velvet bow tie: We picked the rust-colored option from the Cordial Churchman, the charming bow tie emporium run by Ellie LaVeer Stager. Made of 100-percent cotton velveteen, the tie is presented in the traditional butterfly pattern. Charming. $26.

Knot beer belt: Knot Belt Co.’s belts are simply charming and this fall’s beer-bottle is now exception to that rule. Made in the U.S.A. by a Laurentian, Nick Mannella. $55.

J. Press braces: When it comes to dressing somewhat professionally, do a little growing up and embrace braces. J. Press has a versatile offering from which to choose. Keep it conservative. $59.25.

Housewares and other gear
Chip and dip: One of Mrs. F.’s favorite pieces of serving wear is a glass chip-and-dip engraved with a Buffalo. It comes from Pitt Petri the venerable purveyor of all things proper in Buffalo, N.Y. These also come monogrammed. From $84.

whiskeystonesWhiskey stones: It’s frustrating, to say the least, when good whisky is diluted by the ice that chills it. Whiskey Stones to the rescue. Handcrafted from Vermont soapstone, this set of nine, properly chilled for four hours in a freezer, offers the right temperature and the right consistency for the holy water. $19.99.

New York in a Bag: A charming set of building blocks fashioned to resemble such architectural New York city icons as the Chrysler Building, the Guggenheim and MoMA’s original 1939 structure. From the MoMA store at $19.99.

Cocktail coupes: Exploring Westchester County’s Rivertowns — Ossining, Sleepy Hollow, Tarrytown, Irvington, Dobbs Ferry — this summer, we happened upon a very nice rummage sale at the Presbyterian Church in Dobbs Ferry. Lots of take could have been had, but we settled on a nice little set of vintage coupe glasses. For $2, they were a bargain. You can shell out a bit more at CB2 for adequate stand-ins. $5.95 each.

Olivewood cheese server: There’s no denying it. Ed and Mrs. F. have yet to find a piece of artisanal cheese they couldn’t palate. They often enjoy their curd on this olivewood cheese server from Williams-Sonoma, a gift from Mrs. F.’s grandmother. $59.

Cast iron grill: While we love Weber’s Smokey Joe, it pales in comparison to this hearty cast-iron offering from Lodge Cast Iron Cookware. Made with pride in the great southern state of Tennessee. $139.95.

Stanley Thermos: For the early morning call when you’re hitting the trail, the slopes or the road, keep your caffeinated fuel warm with this Stanley thermos, an undeniable American classic. My grandfather used one and so, too, should you. $48 from Urban Outfitters.

Books and stationery
Colonel Roosevelt“Colonel Roosevelt”: Edmund Morris’ third volume in his epic biography of Theodore Roosevelt. It’s worth re-reading “The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt,” (1979) and “Theodore Rex,” (2001) in anticipation. Morris looks at the last chapters of the 26th president of the United States. From $19.25 at

“40: A Doonesbury Retrospective”: It wouldn’t be an gift list with out a coffee-table book. Take home this one for the reader in your life. A 40-year retrospective of Doonesbury, the iconic strip by Saranac Lake’s own Garry Trudeau. From $59 at

“Coming home to Glory”: David Eisenhower’s memoir of life with his father Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, the 34th president of the United States. A must for every baby-boomer father. From $18.48 from

Moleskine notebooks: For writing, for jotting, for doodling. Can’t get enough of these tough little buggers. Made in Italy. $9.95 for a set of three from the MoMA store.

SCENE | The New York Junior League’s 39th annual Golden Tree

Mrs. F. and Cara Brugnoli, co-chairs of the New York Junior League’s 39th annual Golden Tree holiday shopping fair.

The better part of my weekend was spent at the East 80th Street headquarters of the venerable New York Junior League. Mrs. F., her co-chair, Cara Brugnoli, and a crack corps of other Junior Leaguers were hosting the 39th annual Golden Tree holiday shopping fair.

The event, which ran from Thursday, Dec. 2 through Saturday, Dec. 4, was expected to raise nearly $80,000 for the League’s host of outreach efforts across the city. Nearly 70 restaurants, retailers and individuals contirbuted silent auction items, wine, gift certificates, holiday wreaths and door prizes. Among the 56 vendors who participated were J. McLaughlin, Lilly Pulitzer, Magaschoni, The Linen Shop of New Canaan, Jack Rogers and C.K. Bradley, which delivered one of its final trunk shows. Owner Camilla Bradley is in the process of setting up a line of skiwear.

Crowds packed the League’s headquarters on Thursday and Friday night. Live music filtered through the four floors of The Astor House and Maker’s Mark Bourbon, Zyr Vodka and Harpoon beers were all available for tastings.

Mrs. F. released this statement:

“The 39th annual New York Junior Leauge Golden Tree Holiday Shopping event was a huge success as always! We had a wonderful mix of old and new vendors from which to purchase your holiday gifts. The evening events were full of holiday cheer, and on Friday, we were thrilled to honor the League’s anniversary volunteers and community partners for their dedication to improving the New York City community. Saturday, the League was filled with lots children enjoying a visit with Santa, participating in various craft projects, being entertained by Little Maestros and Rockin’ with Andy, and helping their parents shop! Twenty designers and vendors created masterful wreaths which were auctioned off in a Silent Auction throughout the event. We are so thankful to everyone who helped plan the event, volunteered throughout the three days, and came to shop with the NYJL. Next year, we will be celebrating 40 years of Golden Tree — it is sure to be even more fantastic than this year!”

Here’s a little gallery of passable Droid photos from the event:

CHRISTMAS| Season’s Greetings from

CardThe 2009 Forbes family Christmas card.

All the best for a blessed, joyous and peaceful holiday week from your writer, Mrs. F. and Kennedy. We hope all of our readers are enjoying the warmth of the season.

CLIP| ‘Last Christmas,’ a tacky holiday staple, 1984

GIFTS| The 2009 holiday list

FWaterFallingwater, the centerpiece of LEGO’s new Architecture series. See below.

With only nine days until Christmas, you’d better hustle to get all the presents you need for all the dear friends and relatives on your list.

Here are some gift recommendations from your writer:

• Ceramic New York City coffee cup: Iconic and happily non-disposable, this ceramic version of New York’s ubiquitous coffee cup preserves the classic 1963 design while being friendly to the environment. $12.

McAllan• MacAllan Cask Strength Single-Malt Whisky: We got into this the other night after a party and we probably shouldn’t have. With notes of cheese and chocolates, it’s a tasty aperitif. From $55 at your local liquor store.

• Monogrammed double old-fashioneds: Serve your cocktails in style with these terrific glasses from Buffalo’s Pitt Petri. $45 for a set of 4.

• Newburyport seat: Designed in 1928 for use in rumble seats, this wooden folding seat is a design classic. Crazy Creeks, so popular in camping circles, owe their design heritage to this beauty. $54.99.

• Wooden backgammon set: While we don’t play nearly often enough, Mrs. F. and I love our wooden backgammon set. The granddaddy of all board games, it’s well worth learning. $68.99.

• Personalized cheese server: We received one of these as a wedding present and it’s one of our favorite serving pieces. Perfect for preserving a beautiful triple cream, this covered glass piece will serve you and yours for years. $49.

Tote• Filson log tote: My father won’t relinquish his old canvas L.L. Bean tote, so I’ll have to settle for this terrific Filson product. $69.50.

• LEGO Fallingwater set: Embrace your inner child while paying tribute to an architectural triumph. LEGO’s architecture series is geared toward nearing-30 former LEGOheads like your writer. $99.

• Adirondack Pillow: With designs that summon the beauty of postcards from the 1930s and 1940s, Catstudio’s line captures the spirits of states, parks and resorts around the country. While we’re particularly fond of the Adirondacks, Catstudio is sure to have products for your favorite destination. $149.

• Monogrammed matchbooks: Calling cards in their own way, these are a great little mementos. I’ve relied on Party Basics, a Buffalo firm, for these for years. You won’t be disappointed. $31 for a case of 100 books.

• Hudson’s Bay Blanket: Winter’s here and well, warmth is key. Nothing will keep you warmer than a Hudson’s Bay Blanket. An investment, to be sure, but a very, very good one. $349.

• Grosgrain watch straps: From the source, Central Watch Station, a wonderful watch-repair and retail kiosk in the 45th Street Passage of Grand Central Terminal, these nylon ribbon bands are classics. Easy to clean and comfortable, they’ve been a staple for me since the mid-1990s. Five for $29.95.

• Filson vest: A perfect, traditional layer for a cold day in the Adirondacks or anywhere else. $105.

Socks• Collegiate socks: Show your school pride with these cozy cotton socks from Smart Turnout in Britain. $24.

• Ribbon Belt from Knot Clothing: Tie a bit of whimsy around a loved one’s waist with a made-in-New-England belt from Knot Clothing. They’re a sure bet. $35.

• Zippered cigarette bag: For your smokes, your phone or that notepad where you store your Don-Draperesque ideas, this bag is it. From the recently-launched ACL and Co. line from A Continuous Lean.’s Michael Williams, it’s based on a World War II U.S. Army-issue sack that kept GIs’ luckies dry and toasted. $32.50.

• Caravan aviators from Ray-Ban: When my father served in the U.S. Army Medical Corps in the 1970s, he wore Caravan-shaped eyeglasses and sunglasses. Keep your retinas healthy with a pair of these American icons. $119.

• Mad Bomber: The warmest hat I’ve ever owned is a navy-blue Mad Bomber I got as a present about 12 years ago. Lined with rabbit fur, it’ll keep your noggin and your ears better than warm. The Mad Bomber is an absolute must for winter.

Hat• Dale of Norway hat: If fur hats aren’t your thing, then you might opt for the Dale of Norway Vail hat. Show your support for the U.S. Ski Team. $49.

• Barbarian Rugby Shirts: The perfect alternative to that ratty sweathshirt you should have retired during the Clinton Administration, the Barbarian Rugby shirt is one of the best thing that’s ever happened to me. The St. Lawrence version, sales of which benefit the Alumni Association, can be had here. $59.95.

Reads and other media
Pano• San Francisco Panorama: Newspaper loves everywhere are singing the praises of the Panorama, a one-time print paper from the folks at McSweeney’s. Bringing together some of the best writers, designers and artists working today, the Panorama is a celebration of the power of print. $16.

• “The National Parks”: Ken Burns’ latest opus is comprehensive and, if nothing else, a love letter to some of the nation’s greatest natural treasures. From $69.

• “Store Front: The Disappearing Face of New York”:Exploring the value of enduring charm of the city’s neighborhood businesses, authors James and Karla Murray shed light on an increasingly endangered species. $65.

• “Neil Leifer: Ballet in the Dirt: The Golden Age of Baseball”:
The glorious photographs of Neil Leifer, taken in the heyday of America’s pastime, are sights to behold. A must for sports and photogrpahy buffs alike. From $27.

• “Bullet Park”: John Cheever’s 1969 novel about the lives of two suburban men, one named Hammer and the other Nailles, will seem a bit familiar to fans of “Mad Men,” as both the author and the book have inspired parts of the hit television drama series. From $10.

• “The Speakeasies of 1932″: Al Hirschfeld’s atlas of New York’s watering holes in the final year of Prohibition is a must for any cocktail fan or lover of the old city. It’s a favorite of mine and always gets pulled off the coffee table when guests visit. Complete with cocktail recipes. From $24.95.

• “Mad Men”: Season Three: While it’s not yet available, you can pre-order your DVDs of the third season of television’s finest show. $31.99.

MUSIC| ‘Ella Wishes You a Swinging Christmas,’ 1960

EllaThe cover of “Ella Wishes You a Swinging Chrustmas.”

Advent is nine days old now and Christmas, as they say, is all around us. Surely your favorite oldies station has converted itself to a Christmas-only format and will be blaring bad versions of “Jingle Bell Rock” from now until Epiphany. Dreadful.

But don’t despair. You don’t have to trap yourself in a Christmas hell listening to the likes of, oh say, Jessica Simpson belting out a bleaty version of “Silent Night” or something. Heaven help us.

Instead, as is always a good strategy, refer back to the classics. While I’m a huge fan of Vince Guaraldi’s “Charlie Brown” work, I have to nominate “Ella Wishes You a Swinging Christmas” as the greatest Christmas album of all time.

Recorded in the summer of 1960 and released that Christmas by Verve, “Swinging” has terrific versions of a number of non-carol classics like “Let it Snow,” “The Christmas Song” and “White Christmas.” I’m particularly taken with “Sleigh Ride,” “The Christmas Song” and the rarely repeatedly but superb “Good Morning Blues.”

Take a listen:

One thing that doesn’t make any sense is the ridiculously 60s album art. Last I checked a Golden Unicorn with what might be a gardenia in its mouth emerging from some tall grass has nothing to do with Christmas. Am I wrong?

But no matter. Open your iTunes and drop the $9.99 hammer. You won’t be sorry, nor will your Christmas party guests, who grow tired of Elmo and Patsy.

CLIP| Dean and Frank do ‘Marshmallow World,’ 1965

CLIP| ‘Marshmallow World,’ circa 1970

Of candy canes and christmas trees


Last Christmas (or the Christmas before), we received a stockpile of Christmas ornaments my mother-in-law made with her sewing machine in the late 1970s. Needless to say, they’re well-made and charming. Homespun ornaments must have been a thing in the 70s. My mother made a boatload too.

I imagine this trend will re-emerge.

Seasonal sensation


Egg nog is a wonderful old Advent tradition and one I’m happy to take part in. The debate rages on as to whether the Golden variety trumps all the rest. I say it does.

Served alone or spiked, Egg nog is naked without a ample dusting of shaved nutmeg. People prefer theirs spiked with a variety of liquors; I prefer either Bourbon or Scotch.

Happy Drinking.

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