The Art of Giving

We asked a dozen tastemakers to share their favorite ideas for giving and receiving this holiday season

“I love gifting an antique or vintage piece of silver. Replacements, Ltd., is my go-to mecca of all these vintage finds — Jean Liu

Gorham Silver sterling Sphinx salad set ($2,400), George W. Shiebler sterling tined sardine serving fork ($1,600), Dominick & Haff lidded tea caddies (top, $480; bottom, $380), all from Replacements, Ltd.,

Holiday Cheer: Château d’Yquem Sauternes

“Chateau d’Yquem is the perfect accompaniment for foie gras, and any ole foie gras will do—terrine, pâte, whole, sautéed, or cold—dealer’s choice.” — Alex Hitz

Watercolors: Take a cue from Alexa Hampton’s family and commission a painting depicting a beloved’s favorite home or garden.

“My father’s watercolors were always so magical to me because I received personal ones for every important holiday and birthday. It came so effortlessly to him, and as someone who loves to paint and draw, watercolors have always eluded me.” — Alexa Hampton

Silver frame by Fotiou Frames,

Gold frame by Larson Juhl,

Custom albums by Paul Vogel (inquire for pricing),

Sterling epergne (in photo below roses) from Beverly Bremer Silver Shop, featured in Alex Hitz’s book The Art of the Host,

“The luster and sparkle of jewelry, be it for the table with a gorgeous epergne or showing up in a piece you love, always enhance the sense of occasion, whether a special day or every day. — Frances Schultz

Jewelry: Elizabeth Locke Sleeping Beauty turquoise small puff earrings ($4,875) and Sleeping Beauty turquoise Maltese cross pendant ($4,825) on Bellariva gold necklace ($10,250),

Lettered Olive personalized letterpress stationery (inquire for details),

2020 holiday gift ideas from Young Huh, ELAINE GRIFFIN, Tara Guérard, Angèle Parlange

Necklace: A great vintage find of pink quartz and smoky topaz,

Holiday Cheer: St-Germain elderflower liqueur

“I love a St-Germain spritzer! I do a 3-to-1 ratio of sparkling wine to St-Germain, a splash of club soda, and an in-season garnish: thyme or rosemary in spring, a sprig of lavender in summer, or an orange peel in fall and winter.” — Young Huh

Anne Hutson’s Charleston Cheese Biscuits,

Antique sterling silver biscuit box, great for cheese biscuits and flowers, from Beverly Bremer Silver Shop,

“Send a custom curated charcuterie board from a local caterer. The recipient can always add items fresh from their yard or garden to personalize it. Also, a local friend, Anne Hutson, makes the most divine homemade cheese biscuits.” — Tara Guérard

Fifth & Cherry sustainable F&C 14 cutting board ($299), a board that will stand the test of time,

French Poodle vinaigrette (bottom inset photo), original recipe created on the Côte d’Azur in 1870 ($14),

Beth Biundo heavenly spiced Moroccan almonds (in star dish on board; $16),

“I have two of Suzonne Stirling’s Paper Garden creations—a gardenia with kumquats and a camellia, which I wear in my hair (see photo). You could also use these exquisite paper flowers as ‘garnish’ for a charcuterie board that includes Beth Biundo’s Moroccan almonds! ” — Angèle Parlange

Suzonne Stirling incredibly intricate and unbelievably realistic Paper Garden flowers (inquire for pricing),

“Nothing says ‘I’m so happy you came to see me’ more than a crisp, starched dinner napkin at the table, especially if it’s monogrammed. I mean, that’s just love. They’re one of the few things you can’t ever have enough of—and that we don’t take time to buy for ourselves. — Elaine Griffin

Bobbins Design custom monogrammed dinner napkins in a rainbow of colors and designs (inquire for pricing),

Gift ideas from MARK D., YOUNG HUH, and SIKES, CATHY KINCAID, and Alessandra Branca

Holiday Cheer: Ruinart and Laurent Perrier rosé Champagnes

“Rosé Champagne sends me to euphoria. As most of my friends know, I love pink (and most colors) and pouring the blush Champagne into a glass and watching the bubbles rise reminds me of looking at a beautiful cerulean sky. There is just something about it, not unlike the palest of ranunculus or the rose of Sharon. — Angèle Parlange

Phalaenopsis orchids—the more stems, the better—are the seasonless hostess gift that continues to give year after year.

“Anything Lewis Miller touches has the giant gift of his personal magic attached. His Flower Flashes have enchanted the masses with wondrous surprise, beauty, naughtiness, and generosity. His Flower Flash boxes positively pop open with the same beauty, joy, and abundance he is known for.” — Amanda Lindroth

Lewis Miller’s Flower Flash boxes (from $185) include fresh flowers and instructional videos for a variety of arrangement options (also check out his new limited edition prints of the most popular NYC Flower Flashes),

“Pearls represent timeless, understated elegance. They naturally have their own unique color, shape, and luster. They never go out of style.” — Holly Holden

Pearls, pearls, and more pearls. For Mikimoto and other treasures, shop Bromberg’s, (box: stylist’s own).

Smythson Panama zip currency case ($335) and Mara card holder ($175),

“With the timing of our current lives, travel has never been more thrilling. Even a small trip to the country can feel like a whole new world and inspire fresh approaches to our everyday lives.” — Alessandra Branca

William Yeoward Crystal Katerina caviar server with spoon ($280) through Scully & Scully,

Buccellati caviar server with caviar detail edging ($7,100),

“Caviar! Buy the best and the most you can afford. American hackleback is great, but nothing gets us through a pandemic like some beluga!” — Alex Hitz

Note: Two small shell dishes, blini dish (bottom right), and mother-of-pearl spoons are from stylist’s own collection.

Gift ideas from MARK D., YOUNG HUH, and SIKES, CATHY KINCAID, and Alessandra Branca

Verdura studded lemon chrysoprase bead necklace ($7,500),

Hatcher Cargo porcelain: For the most sought-after finds, visit

“Hatcher Cargo is the ideal blue-and-white. It is always timely and has a place in every home.” — Cathy Kincaid

Modern Ginger Jar tip towels ($40/set of two) from Haute Home,

Kotobuki shears feel great in the hand. For similar, visit

A place for everything with the L/UNIFORM No. 3 Tool Bag (about $945),

For the brightest of scents, try Bronnley Lemon & Neroli soaps ($25/boxed set of three),

“Myrtle topiaries are both casual and elegant and when cared for can live for a long time. I also love how tall and linear they are—they add height to a mix of accessories.” — Mark D. Sikes

Myrtle topiaries are a chic gift to accent any tabletop.

Holiday Cheer: Negroni Sbagliato

“To make a sparkling variation on a classic Negroni cocktail, I combine 1 part gin, 1 part vermouth rosso, and 1 part Campari in an ice-filled old-fashioned glass; top with chilled prosecco; stir; and garnish with an orange twist (sometimes I swap out the gin for more prosecco to make it even lighter).” —Alessandra Branca

The playful shapes of the Casa Branca Fleurette cocktail napkins ($160/set of four) add fun and flair to the table,

“My friend Frances Palmer gives me extra dahlia bulbs each year—a gift I treasure dearly!” — Young Huh

The dahlia is one of the happiest and most striking flowers with its bright colors and gigantic growing abilities,

Heart cup ($359), Piazzi decorated cup ($375), and Grainger McKoy julep cup ($799) from Beverly Bremer Silver Shop,

Produced and styled by Amanda Smith Fowler | Principal photography by David Hillegas

Background fabrics by Kravet, Items not listed are from the stylist’s own collection.

Additional photo credits: Epergne by Iain Bagwell, from The Art of the Host by Alex Hitz; Jean Liu by Nathan Schroder; Frances Schultz by Christy Gutzeit; Tara Guérard by Stetten Wilson; Angèle Parlange by the bellman at Hotel Sacher, Vienna; Elaine Griffin by Kelli Boyd; Amanda Lindroth by Graciela Cattarossi; Holly Holden by Gabriella Narus; Alessandra Branca by Nick Mele; Alex Hitz by John Ellis; Cathy Kincaid by Haynsworth Photography; Young Huh by Manuel Rodriguez

This story appears in Flower magazine’s Nov/Dec 2020 issue. Subscribe to the magazine or sign up for our free e-newsletter.

Flower magazine November December 2020 cover