My dad is Jewish and has about as much interest in clothing as I do in his annual prostate exam. So I won't be getting him jawnz for Christmas. But we both love reading, so last year I gave him a Kindle for Hannukah, and if he still has it, this case will be the perfect companion. It looks nice without being all I-have-many-leather-bound-books like some of the other more whimsical cases out there.
When I think gifts, I naturally veer towards clothing, since that’s pretty much my career. However, my father doesn’t care at all about fashion (or style) - my mother has dutifully outfitted him for over 40 years. He does care for comfort, and for good people. And he travels a lot. So this year he is getting a pair of travel slippers, great for long plane trips and questionable hotel carpets, from La Portegna; a company run by Jose Urrutia and Leticia de la Cuesta, who are good people.
I've never been especially close with my dad. We don't have a bad relationship, but he was raised in a very strict, WASP-ish New England household where your children are your children and not your friends. It also doesn't help that we have very different tastes. He likes fixing up old cars and going to church, I like reading and ... not going to church. One thing we can agree on, though, is workwear. For years he ignored my interest in fashion until one day he saw me wearing a pair of Rancourt moccasins, and started asking about what they were, where they came from, and telling me how much they reminded him of the L. L. Bean moccasins he wore when he was a kid. It was great to finally be able to share a passion and interest of mine with him. I can't imagine a better gift than a pair of classic, Made in Maine moccasins from Rancourt.
My dad and grandfather were printers by trade; typical Yanks that insisted on buying only what they needed - and the best example thereof that they could afford. That is to say, my dad has everything he could possibly ever need - built for a lifetime. We were joking recently that the best gift I could get him would be to get him less than he has now.
The heritage trend of the past decade has made it surprisingly easy to find ridiculous objects that are overly well made just for the sake of it. Enter the Col. Littleton beer koozie: bridle leather, neoprene lining, brass rivets, and a price tag to match. Four years ago I got my dad a set and they were an immediate hit - they’re still taken out every time a can of beer needs to be kept cold. Their absurdity is exceeded only by their practicality, and they strike the right balance of indulgence and usefulness that makes for a great gift.
I can’t tell you what I’m going to get for my dad, because he’s probably reading this. I will say that I once got him a picnic basket (well, a styrofoam cooler) full of duck products from Hudson Valley Foie Gras - torchon, ingredients for confit, and a few magrets - that we prepared and devoured, as a team, over the next week. If you’ve got the time and inclination to hang around with your family and cook, a bunch of weird ingredients can make the period between Christmas and New Years’ much more interesting. And much more delicious.
My father's dearest friend was George (3rd Earl of Sudbury), whom you may remember as the founding member of the London Fibre Association, an exclusive dining club devoted not to fabrics or telecom but to fine intestinal health. Though his tastes ran to the eclectic (including a wondrous assortment of Bolivian penis gourds), he was never found without his Asprey travel pouch. Made in Italy from sueded bull with palladium hardware, it's as festive as a trip to Naples, though without the threat of petty larceny.