Holiday Shopping

by Cynthia Sin-Yi Cheng
November 29, 2007

The short block from Sixth to Seventh Avenune along CHRISTOPHER STREET in the West Village has an array of gems for one-stop holiday shopping. Start near Sixth Avenue at Geppetto’s Toy Box (No. 10; 212-620-7511) where you can pick up an adorable, handmade German-imported stuffed rat playfully called Literati Ratter ($50). Don’t be misled; this is no New York City rat. It’s actually quite exquisite and somehow resembles an elephant. Also check out the smart-looking kid-size silver race car ($90) or have fun choosing from several food-themed board games: Pizza Fraction ($21), Candy Factory ($40), or Healthy Hurdles ($24). Go quick, as, sadly, this wonderful store will no longer be around come mid-December. For those with a weakness for designer cashmere goods, Lucien Pellat-Finet is right next door (No. 14; 212-255-8560). Across the street, [hus] (no. 11; 212-620-5430) specializes in all things Scandinavian from toddler outfits in four-leaf clover prints by Holly’s Baby to Tretorn shoes and Hakansson skincare. Easy to miss, as it’s housed below ground level, but be sure not to, is The Porcelain Room (No. 13; 212-367-8206) which will indulge your taste for fine tableware from the likes of Augarten and KPM. Canines on your list will love the accessories at Le Petite Puppy (No. 18; 212-727-8111). Christopher 19 (No. 19; 212-627-9159) carries contemporary jewelry for both men and women. Wrap up your shopping day — and your presents — at Greenwich Letterpress (No. 39; 212-989-7464) where you’ll find greeting cards, place cards, and wrapping paper. I spotted a pack of twelve gift tags created from recycled vintage giftwrap ($15) that will go well with solid wrappings. Make one last stop at LainaJane (No. 45; 212-807-80777) for some sexy lingerie by Fleur T and Eberjey as well as well-chosen kidswear.

A superb selection of animal-themed accessories can be found at the gift shop annex of STONE BARNS CENTER FOR FOOD & AGRICULTURE (630 Bedford Rd, Pocantico Hills; 914-366-6200; Store hours: Wed — Sun 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.) located in a former Westchester County Rockefeller estate. This non-profit farm and educational center also houses Dan Barber’s Blue Hill outpost. The gift shop has a good selection of food books for kids, animal-themed plates and placemats, as well as vegetable- and plant-print napkins. There are tours of the farm property and restaurant kitchen, a café and brunch service at Blue Hill on Sundays (Reservations: 914-366-9600).

Here are some ideas for stocking stuffers. A tin of sweetriot flavor 50 ($4; Whole Foods) from 100% cacao nibs dunked in 50% dark chocolate are perfect for a quick chocolate fix with tremendously pure and potent flavors. What’s more is it fits into even the tiniest bag. Cool Japanese stationery at Kinokuniya (1073 Avenue of the Americas.; 212-869-1700), including pens in more hard-to-find colors than you can imagine, notebooks in all sizes, animal-shaped post-its, and more. Bacon strips band-aids ($5) will brighten any carnivore’s day.

For the gourmand, get a bottle of Estate Extra Virgin Olive Oil from Pietra Santa Winery ($35) in Cienega Valley, California. This blend of 59% Frantoio, 11% Coratina, 24% Leccino, and 5% Italian Mix is green and spicy due to the varietal selections and early picking. It’s perfect to serve as a first course with some crusty baguette to savor the purity of the olives. If you prefer your olives at the bottom of a martini glass, they’ll look stunning in Stefano Giovannoni-designed crystal Mami martini glasses ($108 for a six-piece set) for Italian brand Alessi (130 Green St; 212-941-7300). They can’t be beat in sheer elegance.

The next Happening issue will be on holiday entertaining, including seasonal cocktail recipes, wine merchant recommendations, and my 2007 champagne list.

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