10 Holiday Gifts That Ignite the Five Senses, Curated by Our Editor-in-Chief
Connect with loved ones through their favorite tastes, smells, sights, sounds, and textures.
Updated Oct 12, 2018 3:59 PM
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The simplest approach to giving a really excellent gift, according to Domino editor-in-chief Jessica Romm Perez, is through the senses.
“Our senses are how we engage with the world,” she says, and to engage them fully during our busy day-to-day lives is a rare treat. For the holiday season, Perez has curated a gift guide inspired by her favorite tastes, smells, sights, sounds, and textures—items that invoke a feast for the senses. Each gift is a small dose of luxury, she notes: “Little indulgences like these can make your everyday feel a little more elevated.”
While her morning ritual of grinding and brewing whole coffee beans engages all five of her senses, Perez finds the fresh flavors to be the most indulgent part of the experience. “It’s something that feels special,” she says, sipping from her favorite double-walled espresso glass by De’longhi. “It’s a luxury to have my coffee at home.” Her secret to re-creating the café experience without leaving the house is owning a high-quality machine. For espresso made right, Perez prefers De’longhi’s La Specialista, a traditional-style espresso maker that allows you to consistently handcraft drinks; it’s how she makes the perfect oat milk cortado in her kitchen on a quiet Sunday morning.
Sound quality does wonders to lift Perez’s mood, especially during the workday. At any given moment, you’ll hear the sounds of an acoustic guitar or the smooth jazz of Bill Evans flowing from her office as she catches up on emails while sipping a macchiato made fresh from the easy-to-use De’longhi Dinamica with LatteCrema, which lets you brew any of your favorite drinks at home with just one touch of a button. Perez keeps one in her home office for an afternoon pick-me-up. “Beautiful, calming melodies really do help me feel productive,” she says, recommending the Sonos Move and a custom Spotify playlist as the perfect gift pairing for anyone who likes to bring music wherever they go. “Depending on where I’m working or wanting to listen to music, it’s obviously super-portable and has such an amazing sound quality.”
Images have a way of being transportive. “I like art that takes you to another place or has a special meaning,” says Perez. When shopping for friends and family, her go-to is the contemporary selection of framed prints and photographs at Tappan Collective. “It is an excellent source for finding cool new artists, and it has a really great roster of photographers, including Gia Coppola, who have a particular point of view,” she adds. To keep track of her visual inspiration, she also keeps a journal—one of her favorites is by Astier de Villatte, hand-printed and gold-embellished in France.
Textiles can bring a luxurious element to winter interiors, says Perez—“think: layered sheepskin with heavy linen and bouclé.” She likes the textures of Maison de Vacances, including the French brand’s colorful kitchen towels woven from a cotton-linen blend and its lavishly soft sheepskin rugs. When it comes to what to wear around the house, her recommendations fall on opposite sides of the spectrum: Dôen’s Edina Robe for its vintage, almost Old Hollywood glamour, and Entireworld’s sweatsuit for the ultimate in comfort. “It’s an amazing gift,” says Perez says of the latter. “At the end of the day, you look forward to putting on that cute little matching set and curling up in front of the fire.”
According to the psychology of smell, scent evokes memories and emotions unlike any other sense. For Perez, a high-quality Italian coffee bean from De’longhi is synonymous with Christmas Day in Rome. “The aroma takes me back to sitting in a piazza with an espresso in the morning,” she says, recalling fond memories of her last family vacation.
Smell is also an incredibly powerful but overlooked component of a well-designed interior, she adds, recommending the No. 5 Terre du Guild scented candle by architectural design firm Roman and Williams. Its elegant blend of leather, tobacco, and other deeply aromatic spices translates the mood of the company’s interior design practice into an olfactory experience.