Gian Marco Menswear
Marc Sklar, president
517 N. Charles St., 410-347-7974
What gift do you want from your store? Rarely do I take new merchandise out of the store. I usually wait for a season, or for something to be damaged, because my clients deserve the first shot. But there is a lamb-suede shearling coat ($2,700) made in Italy and it is soft like butter. The two things I hope are that no one else buys it and that it gets cold enough to wear it. What are you buying for others? Bold colored dress shirts by Duchamp (starting at $295). They are the quintessential English dress shirts. The colors are cool, the fittings are sexy and the styles are totally unique. What do you think of a lady buying her man shoes? We have some very unusual shoes and boots. Some are alligator, some are suede or lamb suede. We will bring in a mid-calf alligator boot made by Caporicci for special order for $5,500. And the same company makes a shoe out of a single piece of skin for $3,500. —C.C.
Jen Burger, general manager
604 S. Exeter St., 410-576-0444
What are you buying and for whom? Everyone on my list gets wine! One bottle that plenty will be receiving from me is William James Cellars pinot noir Gary Ranch Vineyard 2005 ($35.99). What if you don’t know what people like to drink? Pinot noir is a safe bet. Also, if you don’t know, you can get them something you like to drink. It makes the gift more from-the-heart. And if you don’t want to spend too much? My favorite inexpensive wine in the shop is Domaine des Vieilles Pierres
‘Cuvee de Louis’ 2004 Macon-Vergisson ($15.99). It just sings. What gift do you want from the store? No one ever buys me wine! I like wine, and I don’t always want to have to pay for it myself. If you want to get me a gift, buy me a bottle of Dierberg pinot noir 2005 ($44.99). –C.C.
George Howard Men’s Furnishings
George Shapiro, co-owner
Village of Cross Keys, 410-532-3535
What’s a good splurge gift? If you were really gaga over someone, you could buy them a cashmere sweater with baby lamb suede for $2,300. For someone that you are really madly in love with: a cashmere overcoat for $1,700. How about for someone you love a bit … less extravagantly? Ferragamo ties ($145), because they have unique patterns that have a certain novelty to them but also a sense of sophistication. Say you knew someone who works at the aquarium. A sophisticated fish-print tie would be perfect. What about a nice hostess gift? Buy a bottle of wine and tie a pair of cashmere socks around it. Or a lovely cashmere scarf. —C.C.
Nicholas Johnson, owner
901 S. Bond St., 410-522-7010
What are you getting your mom this season? We have some amazing dishes by Tag ($12 to $45). They’re technically holiday dishes, but they have such classic illustrations— nothing goofy or cartoonish. My mom entertains a lot, so I know she’ll appreciate them. I just have to give them to her early! What are you hoping your mom will buy you? An Umbra Digital Photo frame for displaying digital photos. It’s way more aesthetically pleasing than other digital frames under $200. —M.M.
Jennifer Hauser, co-owner with husband Benjamin
644 S. Exeter St., Harbor East, 410-727-6601
9 W. Aylesbury Road, Timonium, 410-252-6601
What’s the most surprising gift in your store? Our darkest chocolate bar, the Extrëm ($6), is high in cocoa mass, low in sugar, high in antioxidant properties and has the highest flavonoid content of the chocolates. Healthy chocolate. Now that is a gift. What are you buying this season and for whom? The Edelweiss Bar ($9.50 for 6 ounces; $18 for 12 ounces) for my father because it has all of his favorite things— white chocolate, pistachios, cranberries— and it has Christmas colors on top of it. You’re probably sick of chocolate, huh? I always have to have my own dark chocolate Santa to take home and put into my stocking. I love dark chocolate and it is handmade and hand-painted. It is very European. It’s not something you can get just anywhere. —C.C.
Scott Stanton, co-owner
3600 Boston St. #20, 410-276-3410
What are you getting your favorite pet lover? My niece loves dogs so I’ll get her a pink Cadillac with two poodles driving ($95). The top lifts off and you can store cookies inside. How about a hostess gift? We have Sauvignon Bark and Pinot Leasheo ($15). They are all-natural gravy packaged in wine bottles. We have a bunch of Christmas- and Hanukkah-themed dog treats as low as $2 each. Do pet owners ever get jealous of their pets getting all the good gifts? We always think it’s so much easier to buy a gift for a person’s pet— pets normally don’t complain! I think most people are surprised and happy if you think of their pet. What gift are you pant-ing over? I just got it— I couldn’t wait for it anymore! The Danish-inspired and designed doghouse ($475), which also serves as an end table. My dog George (he’s a ‘Baltimore Special’— a Chihuahua Dachshund mix) hangs out in it. Hey, cats like gifts, too! We do have cat products— we call it our ‘Cat-egory.’ We just ordered in some great design-oriented scratching posts that you would not want to hide in your home. —C.C.
Ann Fortune, buyer/designer
1407 Fleet St., 410-276-1180
What’s a good gift under $25? We have something that’s kind of like the holiday gift basket except not full of crackers and cookies, but scents and smells ($22). It has incense, a ceramic incense holder, candles and three natural essential oil perfume sachets that can be put in suitcases and drawers. When I was little I liked opening up a box that had a lot of little things in it— not just one sweater. What is going to fly off the shelves this season? Holiday ornaments made from old record 45s ($16.50 for three). You could split them up and make them stocking stuffer gifts. No two are alike. What are you hoping someone gives you? A glass skull handmade from recycled materials in a kiln that uses wind energy ($60 to $160). I love dead things— I think they are really quirky and fun. I collect skeletons. How about a gift for people who have everything— or think they do? The Zen alarm clock. You can get it in two tones: the B-tone ($99.95) or the E-tone deluxe ($109.95). You are giving people the gift of peaceful awakening during the hectic holiday season. —C.C.
the house downtown
Stephanie Gamble, owner
Belvedere Square, 410-464-1440
What are you going to buy your mother-in-law this season? A Bella Notte throw ($264). It comes in a variety of colors, but I love the granite color. It is a wonderful luxury item. OK, here’s a question that’s almost as difficult: What’s a good gift for a co-worker? This set of four leaf-shaped pewter cheese spreaders from Vineyard Gardens ($36). They make me speechless. I think they are so cool. It could be for a man or a woman and it’s something that everyone can use and would probably not buy for themselves. How about something for the special someone? Pajamas! We have the new ones from Pine Cone Hill ($48) that are made from bamboo. They’re very soft. I sleep in them every night now. —C.C.
Nola Dobratz, marketing director
Towson Town Center and Pikesville, 800-487-0309
What are you buying from the store and for whom? A Grand Band ($50) for my brother-in-law. It is a rubber band with a plate on it that can be engraved. Guys are hard to buy for and this is an easy, fun and practical gift. How about for that special someone? An uber-exclusive watch. The Harry Winston timepiece from the Avenue Collection has 2.38 carats of diamonds set in 18-carat white gold ($26,100). For a lady, you could get the elegant Harry Winston diamond lace bracelet ($168,900). What about something that doesn’t cost quite so much? Pre-wrapped gifts— anything from platters to frames to teacup sets ($12 to $35). They are already packaged and you can grab 10 and go! What’s getting a lot of buzz this season? Large cocktail rings by John Hardy or David Yurman ($595 to $2,500). Also bangle cuffs, or wide gold or diamond cuffs are big right now. We have a beautiful diamond cuff from Doris Panos (starts at $14,000). It is a stand-alone knockout piece. —C.C.
south moon under
Ellen Abbott, buyer
The Shops at Kenilworth and Harbor East, 410-641-1644
What’s a good gift for your BFF? A beautiful frame from Magnolia Lane ($69.95). I’m buying one for my best friend, Julia, who had her second baby a few months ago. What about for a gals’ gift exchange? Mee Too cozies ($14.95). They’re great for holding those holiday drinks. They come in so many fun and bright assorted patterns. Plus, people will know which drink is theirs because of the initial. Buy one for each of your girlfriends like I did— ‘K’ for Kate, ‘A’ for Anne, ‘D’ for Danielle and ‘E’ for me. What’s a good gag gift? I like the 50 Hilarious prank notes ($4.95), fun sticky notes with printed messages like, “Meet me at the water cooler in five minutes …
I will tell you what everyone is saying about you after last night. — A friend.” —M.M.
Michael Finney, co-owner
10437 Stevenson Road, 410-486-8377
What’s a great cheap gift from your store under $15? I prefer the word ‘inexpensive.’ Pink boxer shorts ($12.95) by Peter Blair.
I love pink and it’s not always easy to find a good pair of pink boxers. They seem to just complement everything. What’s a good gift for a co-worker? A sock monkey from BlaBla or Lisa B ($27 to $59.95). They come in so many different colors and styles. There’s even one that looks like Adam Duritz from the Counting Crows. Basically, sock monkeys rule. What do you get the person who has everything? Other than a sock monkey? A 19th-century bronze sculpture ($500 to $7,500). Or a custom ‘Vixen’ tie ($85). They require close attention because there are hidden pictures in the patterns, like one with running foxes and naked women. —M.M.
Edward Steinberg, president
Festival at Woodholme, Pikesville, 410-653-2266
What’s a great inexpensive gift? These Carolina Artisans socks ($24) made here in the U.S. are so much fun. Isn’t it a bit boring to give socks as gifts? These are personality socks. They are good for conver- sation and they come in a host of patterns. Styles range from, ‘What came first, the chicken or the egg?’ to ‘Head of the class,’ featuring a school of fish, to ‘Prozac’ with smiley faces. How about a good gift for a co-worker? ‘The Four Elements of a Great Shave’ by The Art of Shaving contains shave cream, a shaving brush, pre-shave oil and moisturizer. It comes in sandalwood, lavender and lemon scents, as well as an unscented version. Guys like it and every
man needs it. It’s also available as a TSA-approved travel kit ($39-$60). What’s going to sell like hotcakes this season? Tommy Bahama’s reversible knits and cashmere sweat shirts ($85). It’s a pull-over zip that comes in a variety of colors and is reversible, so that if you travel, you have two sweaters in one. What about a gift with a big ‘wow’ factor? A gift certificate for a custom-made shirt (starting at $95). The person can control the type of collar, fabric, pocket treatment, cuffs, shaping or sizing— and, of course, the monograms
and colors. —C.C.
the kellogg collection
Paige Hebert, manager
6241 Falls Road, 410-296-4378
What’s one thing from your store you’re buying this holiday season and for whom? A carved stone Chinese Fu Dog ($108). They look antique and make a fun, unique accessory for bookshelves and coffee tables. I’m getting one for my sister. How about something for your cat-sitter or dog-walker? Susan Wallace gift note cards ($15). They’re these great 3-by-5 notecards illustrated with beautiful watercolor paintings. What’ll be the hot-ticket item this holiday season? Anything and everything in the Courtly Check pattern by Mackenzie-Childs. This pattern (a black-and-white check with a hand-painted look) is great in any kitchen. We have it in everything from placemats and coasters to pitchers, ice buckets and photo albums (prices vary). What gift do you want from your store? The Green openwork Garden Seat by Payne Street Imports ($350). It works perfectly in any room and can work as a small table or extra seating. How about a one-of-a-kind gift? An antique green ginger jar, circa 1760 ($95). It’s a deep jade color with an antique crackle finish. It makes a wonderful addition to any room at a fantastic value. —M.M.
Sideshow at the American Visionary Art Museum
Ted Frankel, ringmaster
800 Key Highway, 443-872-4926
Help us out with a good gift for a co-worker. We have candles that smell really good ($10), so if your office stinks or the guy next to you doesn’t wear deodorant, it would be good to have around. That’s a gift that truly benefits the giver. What about something for the person who has everything? A [Magic] 8-Ball ($10) so they know what is coming. Ah, yes. The gift of the future. What about a festive party gift? We have a Jesus figurine lamp ($12) that changes colors and could be used as a centerpiece, maybe in the middle of some deviled eggs. Or a Natty Boh angel ($10) made out of Natty Boh beer cans by Baltimore artist Jim Pollock. Or a goat skull hand-decorated in Nepal ($45). You will probably be the first one on your block to have one. —C.C.
diamond jewelry buyer
2020 York Road, 410-252-6666
We hear the Pandora bracelet ($40) is the hot gift for young gals this season. What gives? It is like a charm bracelet,
but very modern— the charms include anything from a cell phone to an angel to a ghost or animals. It’s an easy gift for guys
to buy because they can buy the charms for several occasions before the bracelet is ‘finished.’ Your bracelet becomes part of your story and everyone’s bracelet is different. What about a creative gift for a co-worker? We custom-make a Baltimore Christmas ball ($14.95 to $24.95) that features a cityscape painted in Ravens purple and yellow. And the fashionista on your list?
I would buy a long gold chain ($400 to $3,500) that can be layered with other chains. It is something they probably will not already have because it is just getting popular in the area. What are you hoping Santa will bring you? The Circles and Motion Pendant from Hearts on Fire ($8,000). It is 18-carat white gold with two diamond circles, one inside of the other. It can be worn with blue jeans or a little black dress. How about a stocking stuffer? Sunglasses by Tag Heuer and Brighton ($50 to $300). —C.C.
Nino Germano, owner
313 S. High St., 410-547-7900
What do you get the person who has everything? I would do a basket with cheeses, different cuts of pasta and a nice bottle of olive oil (baskets made to order, from $20 to $30). We have different cuts of pasta imported from Italy that you don’t see in the supermarkets. Also, our extra-virgin olive oil soap ($3.75) is great for your skin. What gift do you want from your store?
I have a sweet tooth, so I love all of the imported cookies we sell. I can’t open a bag, or I will eat the whole thing! I like the Tarallucci ($4.95), which is like a coffee cookie. In English, Tarallucci translates to “bread of the stars.” What’s going to be the big seller? The Panettone, definitely. We also have Italian Nutella ($2.50 to $8.95). The jars of Nutella in the grocery stores are often made in New Jersey, but we have the kind from Italy. It has that
special flavor. —C.C.
Kacey Buchanan Stafford, co-owner
921 W. 36th St., 410-366-3456
What’s on your radar? I’m buying a leather wallet for my brother ($58) from a Brooklyn-based company called Insiders. They handprint these original photos of Brooklyn and Manhattan onto the leather so they last forever— like a tattoo. How about something under $15? We have these great handcrafted soaps by Biggs & Featherbelle ($4.50 each). They’re made right here in Baltimore by two sisters, Kasey and Kelly Evick. What’s on your own wish list? I want our handmade mahogany champagne cabinet ($565). It’s really beautifully finished and big enough to hold everything— bottles, martini glasses, shot glasses— yet it’s still fairly compact.
Laura McCormack, owner
6083 Falls Road, 410-377-4881
What’s a great gift for a young girl? We carry these fabulous polka-dot cosmetics cases by Jazzed ($15). How about a hostess gift? Holiday napkin baskets ($18.99) or fantastic insulated lunch totes ($24) by Murval, a company based in Paris. They keep your lunch cool but look stylish at the same time. What do you have your eye on for yourself? That’s easy! These patent leather ‘Jet’ ankle boots by Yellowbox. They look exactly like the ones from the 2007 Gucci collection, and they’re only $59.99! What’s going to sell big this holiday season? Definitely our quilted patent leather bags ($45) by Murval in black, brown and red. They look like they’re Chanel. —M.M.
the Pleasure of Your Company
Hannah Rodewald, owner
Green Spring Station, 410-821-6369
What’s one thing from your store you’re buying this holiday season? I’m getting the personalized correspondence cards and envelopes by Waste Not Paper for my college-age nieces and friends. The cards come in 23 contemporary colors like strawberry, poppy and chartreuse, and you can mix and match with 50 lining-patterns for the envelopes ($46.50/set of 25 personalized cards, lined envelopes). Guess you have to plan ahead for that. No— there’s a two-day printing time! You can procrastinate until the Friday before Christmas and still have a personalized gift to put under the tree. How about a gift for those who haven’t yet mastered handwriting? ‘The Knot Fairy’ book and audio CD by local author, Bobbie Hinman ($15.95). ‘The Knot Fairy’ is a whimsical little fairy who loves to fly into children’s rooms at night and tangle their hair while they sleep.
The story is cute and the artwork is beautiful, plus people love the local connection. —M.M.
Gail Kandel, president
1636 Reisterstown Road, 410-415-6333
What’s a good gift for a co-worker? A Chilly Jilly ($30)! It’s a wrap made of a lightweight, washable fabric that is used in the finest athletic clothing. It’s perfect to keep in your handbag and pull out in a cold restaurant, and it doubles as a bikini wrap in the summer. What gift do you want from your store? Definitely a new Zenobia suit. I love to travel with a great suit and I love to go into the closet and have a perfect outfit without thinking about it. What’s a gift that will impress even the most discerning woman in Baltimore this season? A pair of Camileon heels. It’s a revolutionary idea— the shoe goes from high heel to low heel all with the twist of the foot. They’re made in Florence, Italy, in the same factory as the best designer shoes. They retail for $325, but they have the quality of a shoe double that price. The idea is patented and has been featured on ‘Good Morning America’ and ‘The Today Show.’ Time magazine is including them in “The Best Inventions of 2007.” We will be the only store in Baltimore to carry them. —M.M.