Burn it, Eat it, Drink it, Spend it: A Guide to Holiday Shopping

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Gift box with red bow on wooden background


With the holidays just around the corner, the shopping game is on. New York City is a madhouse during the Christmas season, and shopping for the perfect present can seem daunting. Furthermore, there is the question of how to choose something that your brother, child, sister, mother, coworker or friend will love and use, that won’t sit in a closet collecting dust until it is thrown out or re-gifted during the next spring cleaning.

Our secret to the perfect Done and Done present? Burn it, Eat it, Drink it, Spend it. Give gifts that are enjoyed because they are delicious, beautiful, luxurious, and comforting, but that don’t take up space.

You might be thinking “fruit basket.” A classic fruit basket is always delicious, but just because you’re being practical with your choices doesn’t mean you have to be boring! As we do with bridal registries, we recommend that you be adventurous in gift giving – the more unusual and thoughtful your choice is, the more likely the person will use it.


Candles. Nothing gives you that warm, holiday feeling more than a beautifully scented candle. But fragrant items are an extremely tricky gift to give, particularly to someone you don’t know well. If you pick a scent that is overpowering or improperly blended, you can render the recipient sneezing with a headache.

The trick is subtlety. Buy candles made with essential oils, never chemicals. This means forgoing the usual commercial manufacturers and opting for higher end,  small-batch candle makers.

The candle we have burning right now at Done and Done’s Uptown office is Thyme’s Frasier Fir. This is no run-of-the-mill “pine”  or “cedar” candle that smells like a car air freshener. Made with the essential oils derived from Siberian Fir tree, the scent is delicate, warm, and enveloping. It smells like a freshly cut christmas tree is settling in your house, ready to be decorated.

Our co-founders, Kate Pawlowski and Ann Lightfoot love scented candles, and have tried and true favorites. Kate loves Jonathan Adler Pop Candles, particularly the tomato and grapefruit scents.  For a pricier but failsafe option, Ann suggests the French-made Hotel Costes brand. Their brown candle is perfect for the winter, mixing fragrances of waxed wood, rum, mahogany, bitter orange pell, paprika, and oak moss. Another French favorite, Diptyque, lets you select the candles you would like to build your own gift set. Fantastique!


There is a whole wide world beyond the old fashioned gift basket. Give your true-blue New Yorker a real treat with a basket from Zabars containing the best New York bites, like chocolate rugelach, soft bagels, or salty caviar.

If your friend or loved one has weight loss goals, perhaps look beyond the bread-y sweets to something raw and delicious. Out of the Box Collective is the mecca of all food-related gifts, particularly those fresh and local. There is NOTHING on this site we wouldn’t eat right up. You can send your health nut friends boxes of colorful produce, or artisanal Bloody Mary mix from Pacific Pickle Works, among other healthful delicacies. For classic luxury, Harry and David offers deliveries of juicy, out-of-this-world pears that will make anyone forget heavy holiday desserts.

Not afraid of decadence? The master mongers of Murray’s Cheese will curate a plate of award winning cheeses. Sweet lovers will adore Vosges Chocolate, which combine unusual flavors within beautifully designed chocolate pieces. Plus, they have an entire section just for “bacon and chocolate.” Wow.

If you are a fan of the homespun vibe, you really can’t go wrong with baking a fresh batch of cookies for a loved one. Not only will they appreciate the time and elbow grease that you put into their present, but you can jazz up your delivery by designing adorable DIY packages. Just check out Pinterest for ideas!


Libations! Celebration! Booze is always a crowd-pleaser, but it’s not very personal. Add a little thoughtful touch by getting your whiskey-drinking friend a membership to the Taster’s Club, a service that sends a different scotch or bourbon every month, in addition to other goodies like guides on how to properly taste and evaluate the whisky, background on how it was made, photos of famous distilleries, and expert evaluations of what you’re drinking. For the thinking whiskey drinker!

If you know a coffee drinker who’d like to dip his or her feet into the world of specialty coffee, try a customized subscription to Craft Coffee. Craft tours independent roasters around the country and sends a selection of the three best coffees they find. It is a great way to expose a coffee lover to the work of smaller roasteries outside of New York.


Let’s be real: everyone loves a warm, nourishing massage in the middle of winter. You really can’t go with a gift certificate to one of the city’s high end spas. Bliss Spa offers affordable luxury, but if you’re willing to upgrade to the ultimate treat, a spa day at the Mandarin Oriental or the Peninsula Hotel is the an unbeatable recipe for midwinter rejuvenation and relaxation.

For friends or family with weird interests, Morbid Anatomy has an “Anthropomorphic Mouse Taxidermy class” where one learns how to preserve and pose mice with tiny dollhouse furniture, among other fabulously bizarre skills.  Plus, you get to take home your spooky dioramas for a home art piece that’s a real conversation starter.

Museum Hack offers offbeat museum tours that emphasize the lesser-known facts of the historical pieces and works of art. These non-fiction raconteurs will give you the “strangest, wildest, sexiest stories “ hidden in the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Natural History. Even lifelong New Yorkers would love to revisit the well-trodden halls of these landmarks to hear their salacious secrets.

For artistic types, go for experiences and classes that might deepen their skills or diversify their experience. Great for knitters or anyone who loves textiles, Loop of the Loom on the Upper East Side offers weaving class from Introductory to Advanced levels in the Japanese Saori method. They also do private lessons and classes for kids. The Zen weaving session teaches students how to use weaving to express themselves on the loom and turn the repetition into a soothing meditative practice. Alternatively, for creative souls who want an exciting artistic experience, opt for a glassblowing class in Brooklyn, where students not only learn how to make basic pieces but take home glassware they create!


In the past years, we’ve noticed a spike in business around New Years Resolution time. This is no coincidence – January is a month of making change. Give your loved ones the gift of a fresh start in their home by purchasing one of our beautiful gift cards in time increments of six hours or more. Visit our testimonials page to read about our clients’ experience with Done and Done, and contact us to schedule your free phone and in-person consultation!

As the holiday frenzy heats up, it’s easy to forget that the presents we give our loved ones are representative of the love we have for them – and there is no right or wrong way of doing that. As space is limited for many New Yorkers, some choose to forgo the expense and potential stress of gift giving altogether. In lieu of presents, couples can opt for a night spent making a special dinner, a favorite dessert, or splurging on concert tickets – experiences that are memorable, cozy, and priceless. It’s never too late to get creative with the way we express our gratitude for others, and consider how to give them something that will increase their joy while not adding to the chaos and clutter of New York City living.