What's the best gift you’ve ever received? This is the question we posed to five Brooklyn-based makers and entrepreneurs who are in the business of creating things that happen to make terrific gifts. Not surprisingly, the common thread among the objects they named was the thought behind them. While it's hard to hit the nail on the head perfectly with every holiday purchase, we all try our best--so in addition to their most prized gift, they also named a special piece of art, provision or good from their own stores that will make someone feel loved this season. Get inspired by their heartwarming responses below.
Meg Moorhouse, owner, Love + Victory: "On my recent 40th birthday, among other things, my dad brought me my late grandfather’s Ray Ban aviator sunglasses. It was telling that they are in mint condition, because being a Depression baby, he took care of everything. They only fit me moderately well, but I love having them around. Every time I get a glimpse of them, they remind me of my grandfather Lou who was so special to me and after whom my daughter Louella is named."
A special gift from her collection of Brooklyn-designed barware, art and gifts: "I had parents gift their daughter our 'I Marched' print commemorating the Women’s March for her 8th birthday since she participated. I thought that was an awesome way to mark a child’s early experience with civic engagement."
Amy Rothstein, founder of Dona Chai: "When I moved to NYC five years ago, my mother gave me a blanket that was the same one she had, and the same one she gave to my sister. It's super fluffy/cozy, a gray stretchy fluffy material. I love it, not only because it's cozy, but because it's something my mother, sister and I share."
A special gift from her shop of small-batch tea concentrates: "One of our (new) gift sets! Our concentrates paired with our artists collaborations: Dona Chai candles by Brooklyn Candle Studio & Dona teacups by Franca NYC."
Dara Furlow, founder of our very own With Love from Brooklyn: "My best gift ever was an oval Le Creuset Dutch oven I received nearly 20 years ago. I love making comfort food from chicken noodle soup and short ribs to chili and coq au vin, so it’s constantly in use. The nicks and scratches only make it more precious to me."
Special gifts from our collection of locally designed and inspired goods: "The With Love from Brooklyn gifts I recommend this season are a pair of Brooklyn tumblers and a Mason Shaker for mixing a fine seasonal cocktail—perhaps a Rosemary Maple Bourbon Sour from Shake: A New Perspective on cocktails."
Kari Morris, co-founder of Morris Kitchen: "I’d say one of my favorite gifts was my goose lamp that my dad gave me a few years back. I had one when I was little that I loved and who knows where it ended up over the years and moves that followed. A few years ago I tried searching for one, and mentioning my fond memories of the lamp to my dad set him out on a hunt and he fount one! This lamp is sentimental and reminds me of my childhood."
A special gift from her shop of specialty mixers and now, ceramics: "Creating memories with gifts is the best. Morris Kitchen strives to make products that encourage gatherings and cooking creatively. I’m a big believer that food and drink brings people together and creates memories. This year we have hand made ceramics on our site which are a great way to add to any table, and support local artists."
Dave Miss, founder of Davis's Famous Confections: "I think the most special thing that I've ever received is a copy of the very large Smithsonian Collection of Newspaper Comics. I originally was gifted a copy when I was a child from my "step"-grandmother who had married my entrepreneurial grandfather and never had children of her own. She inherited my mom who was a handful and subsequently we all got very adult gifts from her as children.
So at 8 years old I got this huge tome dedicated to the richness of the story and art of newspaper comics historically; not a toy or a bike or a football, a historical retrospective of comics. I loved it. I had no idea that actual adults wrote and made the funnies, which in 1978 weren't so funny. It took me to places that I could have never imagined. The world of Krazy Kat by George Herriman, Mutt & Jeff, the beautiful dreams of Nemo in Slumberland by Winsor McCay and the political jeering of Pogo from Walt Kelly. I read and reread ever panel in this 336-page book.
But it wasn't special when I got it. It was special when I "regot" it. I moved to Brooklyn after 20 years working in the kitchens and within the art community of New Orleans. I was displaced by hurricane Katrina and lost everything I own.....possessions, including this Smithsonian Collection book. I didn't lose anyone I love like an aunt or sister and most Louisianans lost so much more. After being here for six years I was in a healthy relationship and my then girlfriend, now friend, "re"gifted this book to me not really knowing how much it meant to my growing up and having something that I really felt was mine. It was like a secret knowledge bank. I opened the Christmas wrapping paper and was stunned. It had been out of print for a years and here it was again! A wave of emotion hit me and I started tearing up. I had been reduced to zero, displaced by a huge catastrophe and had lost my legions of friends and even a thriving business and stuff. Here was this one thing that had been with me since I was 8, now in my lap. It was special and I am still grateful."
A special gift from Dave's sweet shop would be one of his original brittles, the "Pistachio Crack," named one of the most addictive snacks in NYC by New York Magazine. It's available in one of our most popular gift boxes, the Brooklyn Baller.