World’s Best Chocolate – Chocohappy
World’s Best Chocolate – Chocohappy

Holiday Cheer Starts Here: BJT’s Annual Gift Guide

Puzzled about what to buy that difficult-to-please friend, ­family member or business associate? Whether your gift recipient is sporty or chic, a brainiac or a daredevil, we’ve got you covered. You’ll find ideas here to make anyone on your list feel special.

World’s Best Chocolate
Every year BJT editors put their own needs aside and embark on a selfless quest to find our readers the newest, best chocolate on the market, and this year the winners are truffles and caramels from Chocohappy. The Whistler, British Columbia company was founded by a Belgian chocolatier who makes the confections with all natural ingredients and packages them in paper cones as a throwback to the way sweets used to be sold at the general store. This year the company is producing limited-edition holiday cones ($17) filled with 10 mint truffles dipped in white chocolate.  We also love the caramel sea salt version.

Paddle in Peace
Know someone who loves the open water? A paddleboard will surprise and delight. Unlike surfing, paddling is easy to pick up without getting knocked around, and the sport’s languid nature will bring peace to the most stressed-out ­person on your list. Ten Toes has many boards to choose from, including the Weekender ($600), which folds up for tight storage or brief trips.

Sporty Spice

You can’t go wrong with a coffee-table book, andThe Stylish Life series from teNeues is the perfect solution for sports fans who already have all the outdoor gear they need. Beautiful full-page photography fills the $55 volumes, which each focus on the history and allure of a particular sport, including soccer, tennis, yachting, golf and skiing. Even the non-sportif will get a kick out of these glossy compilations.

Toys That Teach

Why present new parents with yet another stuffed bunny to add to their infant’s pile of unused playthings? Instead, give Hoppibox, a customized package of carefully chosen educational toys for babies and toddlers (newborns to age 3). A yearly subscription costs $264 and includes four quarterly shipments filled with fun and colorful toys that help develop fine-motor, cognitive and social skills.

Safety Doesn’t Happen by Accident

Know a frequent flier who has everything? How about giving him or her a three-hour Executive Emergency Training course for business aircraft passengers ($750) at any of FlightSafety International’s worldwide learning centers? FlightSafety can also come to your gift recipient’s office to conduct classes inside a corporate aircraft and can tailor the instruction to specific needs. Options include a wide variety of training using fire extinguishers, aircraft exits, oxygen equipment, life vests and life rafts. Participants will also gain a basic understanding of aircraft systems.

California Scootin’

Help your spouse keep up with the kids on the $200 El Dorado scooter by Razor. Originally designed for pros doing rad scooter tricks in Southern California, it’s sturdy enough to whiz through city streets in record time without wobbling or crashing. The El Dorado is made of ultra-tough lightweight aluminum and will support riders weighing up to 220 pounds.

One-of-a-Kind Treasures

For a one-stop shop for try, a website that brings together over 2,000 dealers, shops and galleries selling everything from rare jewels to antique furniture to haute couture. Founded in 2001 to “bring the Paris Flea Market online,” the site offers an easy-to-navigate interface that allows you to skip flea-market craziness and sort through treasures from the comfort of your own home. To make shopping even easier, 1stdibs often curates themed collections such as “Cabana,” which includes Italian ceramics, rare silver and other decorative items.

Time for a Cold One

Craft beer is all the rage these days, so why not give the hops enthusiasts in your life the opportunity to brew their own? The Beer Machine ($99) is the perfect gadget for a newbie. It ferments, conditions and dispenses, and you can customize the flavor to suit your taste.

Sparkle and Shine

Anne Sisteron’s jewelry is delicate and dazzling and guaranteed to make even the most grounded woman feel a little weak in the knees. The former model’s website holds treasures for all ages, wallets and collections, from tiny diamond chain bracelets for your teenage ­daughter to stunning extravagances for your one-and-only. Particularly beautiful are the gem cocktail rings with large-carat vibrant stones such as emeralds, rubies, opals and topaz. Shopping for a man? Sisteron also offers belts, briefcases and other accessories.

Havana Heaven

Impress the cigar aficionado in your life with the sleek and compact Liebherr XS 200 17-inch cigar humidor ($2,699). Besides being easy to use, it comes with cedar shelves, two presentation boxes, LED lighting, and—most important—precise sensors that will activate alarms if the humidity or temperature seem to be off.

Four Days of Contemplation

You know that friend who always wants to debate the meaning of life long after everyone else has left the bar and gone to bed? Give him or her four days of contemplation and wonder at Curiosity Retreats, whose mission is to “create a unique forum where the lifelong curious can gather to explore in depth the great questions of today.” The retreat—which includes sessions such as an outdoor “Astronomy Night” and “The Science of Happiness”—takes place at Discovery Channel founder John Hendricks’s luxurious Gateway Canyons resort in western Colorado. The retreat includes gourmet meals and cocktails, spa appointments and yoga. Packages start at $4,828.

Stylish Storage for the Road

Online accessories retailer Cuyana states that “fewer, better things lead to a fuller, better life,” and after seeing the company’s $95 Leather Travel Case Set, we have to agree. The set, which can be monogrammed with up to three letters on the outside and comes in a variety of vibrant colors, is perfect for makeup, jewelry, tech accessories or any knickknacks that need toting around.

‘I’d Like to Make the World a Coke’

You’re undoubtedly familiar with the single-serve coffee machines that have replaced traditional brewers in offices and 20 million homes. Now there’s Keurig Kold, a machine that can make any of dozens of cold drinks in less than 90 seconds. Choose from sodas, iced tea, seltzer, sports drinks and more, all chilled to a perfect 39 degrees. The Kold lists for $369.99 and pods retail for approximately $4.50 per four-count box.

A Peek Behind Dylan’s Peak

In one astonishing 14-month period, Bob Dylan recorded Bringing It All Back HomeHighway 61 Revisited and Blonde on Blonde, which many critics rank among the best, most influential records of the entire rock era. Now comes The Cutting Edge: 1965–1966: The Bootleg Series, Vol. 12, a six-CD collection that examines the creative process that produced these classics. The package features outtakes and previously unavailable songs and devotes an entire disc to sessions for “Like a Rolling Stone,” arguably Dylan’s most famous number. For casual fans, there’s the two-disc Best of the Cutting Edge; and for fanatics, there’s an 18-CD Collector’s Edition, which includes every note recorded during the 1965–66 sessions, plus original mono singles and more. Limited to 5,000 copies, it goes for $599.

Jennifer Leach English is BJT's editorial director.