The Savvy 2015 Holiday Gift Guide

By Juliette Olah
December 9, 2015

It’s box-ticking time—aunt Mary, check! Colleagues, check! Best friend’s brother’s cousin’s partner...geez—it all gets complicated pretty quickly. To help you find your way, here are some nifty gift ideas of all shapes and sizes, no matter how many gaps need filling on your list.


The Grand Explorer

Know someone who can’t sit still? Help them exert their finest effort across mountains, rivers, snow fields or through the treacherous terrain of the inner city commute with state-of-the-art gear that’ll make competitors want to cry. Go for muted colors in complementary shades for a super fresh approach.

Experience together: A quiet trail in one of Japan’s 30 sublime national parks.

Other ideas: CW-X compression tights (¥19,440), Arc’Teryx Granville Backpack (¥23,000), Adidas Climaheat boots (¥9,850), Arc’Teryx Beta SL jacket (¥35,000), MBC AZ7 hybrid bike (¥64,000)


The Hungry Gastronomer

If you never get to converse with your loved one due to the overwhelming sound of passionate munching and unnerving murmurs at the sight of the specials board, you’ve got a crazed foodie on your hands. Appliances and cookware that are a little off-beat can work a charm for this lot, as they may have a pretty well prepped kitchen. If you get stuck, you can always just haul them to the newest dinner spot, pronto.

Donate: ECHO helps make nutritious food available for the undernourished in rural and urban areas.

Other ideas: Haku Inox Gyuto knife (¥15,500), Boska fondue set (¥4,000), Via beer foamer (¥6,800), Siroca coffee maker (¥12,880), Green Farm vegetable grower (¥26,784), eyeball lunch picks (¥300)


The Thread-Obsessed

For the smooth-dressing style stalker, stick to slick accessories with a dash of personality, or go for reference material they can use for inspiration. Skip anything with sizes, you don’t want to be playing guessing games and find yourself in a pickle.

Experience together: Fashion Illustration: 1910-1920s at The Kyoto Costume Institute

Other ideas: Comme des Garçons wallet (¥15,260), Marco Monde graphic gloves (¥8,208), Love, Life, Style by Garance Dore (¥2,347), Mulberry leather keychain (¥12,930), Victoria Beckham Supra Kitten sunglasses (¥56,648)


The Gizmo-Mad

Ah, our beloved technophiles. The word “update” sends them into overdrive, so there’s no way anything 2014 will do. Keep them occupied with the latest and greatest inventions to rival Inspector Gadget’s collection. *Spoiler alert: one of these items levitates.

Experience together: Easy—Tokyo’s Robot Restaurant of course.

Other ideas: Sennheiser headphone with microphone (¥27,800), Om/One levitating bluetooth speaker (¥24,123), Q-gadget glass keyboard (¥18,900), Vivitek projector (¥68,510), Nishimura Yuzen Chokoku iPad Mini case (¥27,000).


The Well-Stocked

Making present buying a slight nightmare are the annoyingly organized (damn you!) who have every need and want 100 percent fulfilled. The best way to approach this dilemma is to think outside the box. Way out. Let’s skip straight to experience gifts here.

Experience together: Hover through the sky on a helicopter cruise; Invite someone to press pause and gift them a chef to come over to do the cooking; Learn how to make sushi under the watchful eye of a master.


Young Ones & Mini-dults

Kids and teens are the most fun to shop for. If you want to be ultra-considerate, never buy kids a gift that makes a noise. I mean any noise. Think about it, does listening to Elmo’s chortling giggle for two hours straight complement a belly full of turkey and too many glasses of glühwein? Give a gift to the adults as well as the kids.

Donate: It’s never too early to get little heads around the necessity of helping all creatures great and small. Besides, what kid doesn’t want to adopt a tiger?

Other ideas: Mokulock wooden bricks (¥3,078), Fliker Y-Volution scooter (¥17,999), Star Wars Spud Trooper Mr Potato Head (¥2,199), Ed Emberley’s Drawing Book of Animals (¥719), DIY Smartphone projector (¥4,171)


Still haven’t checked off all the names on your list? For beauty junkies, check out these five great gift sets or these pampering spa treatments. For the art buff, try an original work by a contemporary Japanese artist. And for more experiential gifts, consider one of these holiday concerts.

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