There are those for whom 'early Christmas shopping' means getting the search for presents both underway and out of the way in the middle of August, leaving the weeks leading up to the actual holidays free for baking, merrymaking (and, I can only assume, gloating). I am not one of these people. Here in Sweet Laurel world, I am proud of myself for having done 90% of my holiday gift search by the time the first week in December rolled around...which is really due to the very real possibility that I may be in a hospital in labor on Christmas Eve! Nothing--nothing!--motivates like an impending birth, people.
Having said all that, I really do look forward to choosing thoughtful gifts all year long, especially now that I have the new tradition of sharing the yearly Gift Guide with all of you! I had so much fun re-visiting some of the favorite shops and independent makers that I've gotten to know over the last twelve months, and I hope that this guide inspires you to check them all out thoroughly (my favorites are listed here, but this is tip-of-the-iceberg territory). A few of these are gifts I'll actually be giving to loved ones this year (looking at you, fabulous two-tone Fieldcrest wood watch from JORD...read on for a special gift code to pick up a watch for someone on your own list), a few are gifts that I find particularly inspiring (two cookbooks by amazingly talented authors who began as food bloggers, inspiring for obvious reasons), some are new territory for me (hello, beautiful baby gear!), and one shining star was extraordinary enough to make the list for two years running (this delicate minimalist brass necklace by From the Reliquary, one of my favorite local Phoenix artists).
One of the gifts I'm most excited to give this year really has to be this gorgeous wood watch by JORD (effortlessly modeled in the above photos by my husband). The prop stylist in me just can't resist running her hands over things constantly, I suppose, which is why I'm always drawn to objects made of natural materials. The warmth of wood, the subtle irregularities of ceramics, the sheen of brass and copper, the texture of woven natural fibers...all these surfaces give me a thrill that starts at the fingertips and works its way up. The rich, dark sandalwood of this watch pairs especially well with classic, masculine styles, which is why I'm so excited to give it to its intended recipient (shhh, no spoilers here!). Not that that kept me from spending a few minutes modeling this watch on my own wrist (it's the Fieldcrest series, if you're interested in picking one up yourself), and from being super tempted to keep the lovely thing for myself. In the end, I decided to do the right thing and package it up for the intended recipient--even the packaging itself is sharp, including a solid wood box and tweed pillow that presents the watch beautifully...another detail the prop stylist in me approves of heartily--who is going to have a very good Christmas this year. Want to pick up a men's watch (or women's watch) for someone on your list? The awesome team at JORD was kind enough to give me a few links to share with my readers who aren't 100% done with their Christmas shopping yet (I know that feeling). For a $25 JORD watches instant e-gift code good through 12/18 at 11:59 pm, click this link (code will expire on 2/28/2017).
Major thanks to JORD Wood Watches for sponsoring this post and helping to make my Christmas merry & bright! Thanks also to all the amazing shops and makers listed in this guide for following their own passions and creating such beautiful works. Remember, when you shop small by supporting independent artisans and unusual businesses, you truly give a gift twice (once to the recipient, and once to the maker in the form of your support). Happy holidays, everyone!