In Style, Out of Africa: Giving someone a share in a Himalayan goat/Mexican cow amounts to both a feel-good and do-good holiday present. But it is possible to give something fair-trade and flashier than farm animals if you head to Amani Ya Juu (3166 Mt. Pleasant St. NW; 202-536-5303), where Kenyan crafters turn lovely trad fabrics into such gifts as clutches (shown, $28), aprons ($16-$30), baby toys and batik table napkins ($24 for six).
Santa Hats Are Only For Tools: There’s nothing worse in December than being a man and having to dress for the office holiday happy hour — until now, of course. Bonobos not only offers Hannukkords ($125, Bonobos) but also khakis embroidered with ornaments, navy cords with Christmas trees and green pants patterned with Christmas lights. Any of them would make you the trimmest gent at the table or cocktail bash.
Trophy Boom: Design blogs are thick with vintage taxidermy heads. But a deer bust seems as likely to molt (or to be passe by late 2012) as a hipster’s handlebar mustache. Bend’s wire busts ($99-$150, Design Public) channel a “Where the Wild Things Are” vibe without irking your vegan pals. Two sizes of bear heads ($99-$129) and a grandiose horned water buffalo (shown, $149) com in three hues and work both as wall sculptures and non-beady-eyed coat hooks.
Bella Italia: Shunning Yankee Candle for gift-giving/house-scenting needs doesn’t mean you aren’t a patriot. But with Florence’s Santa Maria Novella (5454 Wisconsin Ave. NW, Chevy Chase; 240-743-4949) now open, making oneself smell like Italian roses with perfumes ($120-$140) or your palazzo reek of herbs is easier.
Naughty or Spice: Gingerbread and biscotti are both yuletide things we enjoy putting in our mouths. Now the American fave and the Italian cookie have made a lovely, cross-cultural baby in Nonni’s Gingerbread Almond Biscotti ($5 per package, Harris Teeter stores), a crunchily yummy melding of nuts and spices that works equally well dipped into an espresso or a plain old cup of joe.
By Katherine Boyle and Jennifer Barger