Present Perfect

Present Perfect

By Lori Hutzler Eckert 

The fine art of gift giving has little to do with finding an item the object of your affection simply needs, but everything to do with wrapping up that oh-so perfect present that his or her heart truly desires. And so this year, Emerald Coast Magazine’s Gift Guide includes a hand-picked selection of must-have luxuries, unexpected indulgences and tempting treasures for everyone on your holiday list (and perhaps a little something for you, too).

1 Divine Dining Design
Seasonal ceramic plates, cups, bowls and more bring a festive flare to the table during the holidays. These hand-painted place settings, by Mississippi artist Gail Pittman, are created to withstand everyday use but designed to become family heirlooms. $10.50 to $80; Gail Pittman Ceramics, Silver Sands Factory Stores

2 Comfort and Joy
Visions of sugar plums are sure to dance in their heads with these soft and sweet Christmas pajamas by Pepper Toes. The festively patterned two-piece set also helps protect little ones, as the flame-resistant fabric passes all Federal Childrenswear Flammability Regulations. $42; Gigi’s Fabulous Kid’s Fashions & Toys, Rosemary Beach

3 Tree Charm
Sparkling and whimsical, the Jay Strongwater Teddy Bear ornament is our favorite piece from the renowned artist’s spectacular 2007 holiday collection. The 4-inch tall, hand-enameled glass treasure is carefully sprinkled with Swarovski crystals, in trademark Strongwater style. $175; Duce & Company Interiors, Miramar Beach and Clements Antiques of Florida,  Miramar Beach

4 The Groomsman
The Art of Shaving, a New York-based men’s grooming-product company, has developed “the four elements of a perfect shave,” as well as finely crafted shaving products that have changed the way many of the best-dressed men start their day. $100 for the four-piece shave set to $200 for the nickel-plated razor; Don Alans, Santa Rosa Mall

5 Holiday Cheer
For the consummate host or hostess on your list, this simple but elegant apothecary-style beverage server is a unique but useful gift. Perfect for punch at a holiday brunch or cocktail party, the dispenser is offered in two generous sizes, 16 or 25 inches tall. $187.50 and $237.50; Bohlert Massey Home, Destin

6 The Write Stuff
Wish your friends and family the best in 2008 with Mrs. John L. Strong’s Lucky Series stationery. These seven glassine-wrapped cards and envelopes, created by New York’s premier  stationer since the early 1900s, feature hand-engraved icons of good fortune on beautiful archival-quality paper. $55;

7 Catch of the Holiday
This Van Staal 300G spinning reel is as beautiful as it is tough. Designed to withstand the rigors of deep-sea fishing, the spectacular lightweight reel offers aircraft-grade construction with watertight stainless steel and titanium components for trouble-free performance. $749; Bass Pro Shops, Destin Commons

8  Mood Lighting
Striking alone or in a set of two or three, these Ikon Lumninesse Sculpture oil lamps by DayNa Decker bring instant ambiance to any room. The modern-shaped pillars, made from exotic Makassar ebony wood, feature a unique wood wick that offers a gentle crackle with each flicker of the flame. $375 to $475; Design by the Gulf, Seagrove

9 Beach Read
“Seaside Style” is an art book, a decorating resource and a pleasurable read about a gracious life lived by the sea. Local author Eleanor Lynn Nesmith, an Emerald Coast resident, opens the doors to many of the homes found in the famed master-planned community of Seaside with beautifully written descriptions, complemented by Steven Brooke’s photography. $45; Sundog Books, Seaside

10 Confection Perfection
As a gift for a teacher, the boss, a party hostess or preferably a good friend who really likes to share, a Kilwin’s holiday basket is the sweet and easy choice. The expert staff at this candy and ice cream store will custom create a basket full of fudge, brittle, nuts, caramels, truffles and more. Starting at $25; Kilwin’s Chocolates & Ice Cream, Grand Boulevard at Sandestin

11 Luxury Redefined
Sleek, stylish and sophisticated, the all-new Mercedes-Benz C-Class has it all. The much-anticipated fourth-generation redesign resulted in a longer and wider car for increased comfort and improved aesthetics. And although new state-of-the art safety features have been added, performance of this affordable luxury car lives up to the Mercedes-Benz reputation. Starts at $31,975; Quality Imports Inc., Fort Walton Beach

12 Jewels from the Sea
Pearls are back, but with a reinvented twist on the classic ladies-who-lunch jewelry staple. This baroque pearl choker by Mazza & Company, Tahitian tear-drop pearl ring by Tara & Sons and South Sea and Tahitian pearl bracelet with 4.42 carats of diamonds by J.R. Gold create the gift of a lifetime. Necklace, $7,500; ring, $1,395; bracelet, $13,900; Destin Jewelers, The Village of Baytowne Wharf at Sandestin and Miramar Beach

13 iStyle
Teen girls will tune into this brand-new hot and hip accessory by one of Florida’s favorite designers, Vera Bradley. The signature quilted iPod Nano cover, available in more than 15 of Vera Bradley’s most brilliant patterns, features a spring clip, snap tab closure and clear plastic window. $25; My Favorite Things, The Market Shops at Sandestin

14 Hol-Ahhhh-Day
The Five Paths to Peace Aveda holiday gift basket is the perfect item for that friend or family member who is always on the go. The basket features Soothing Aqua Therapy Salts, Calming Body Cleanser, Replenishing Body Moisturizer, Lavender Fleurs Singular Note Oil, and a certified-organic cotton neck wrap filled with French lavender. $88 (a $110 value); Avantgarde Salon and Spa, Destin

15 In Good Taste
This year, send crab cakes instead of fruitcakes to the ones you love. These fresh, jumbo-lump crab cakes, weighing in at nearly half a pound each, can be shipped anywhere in the continental United States. All the recipient has to do is heat these delicious crab cakes, perfect as a starter or an entrée, and enjoy. $8.95 each, Sarah K’s Gourmet, Destin

16 Puddle Jumper
Little ones will get a kick out of these Lilly Pulitzer Kids’ Swellies. Available in sizes 1 to 12, these fun and durable rubber boots come in “Bright Navy Confetti,” “Cocktail Pink Charm School” and “Princess Pink Marching Band” patterns. $78; Barefoot Princess, WaterColor and The Market Shops at Sandestin

17 Decked Out
If your teen has the need for speed, this neon-green panda skateboard definitely will do the trick, and then some. Made by Enjoi, one of the top names in skateboarding, these four wheels will make the skater on your list flip. $109; Maui Nix Surf Shop, Destin Commons

18 Jet Set
Frequent flyers will thank you for these fabulous but functional travel accessories by Lug. Made from durable, lightweight materials, the spacious backpack, comfy and portable travel blanket and pillow set, and handy passport portfolio are all your favorite smart and savvy traveler needs to hit the road in style. $36.95 to 89.95; Hooch & Holly’s, Seaside

19 Silver and Bold
Mercury glass, originally produced in Europe during the mid-19th century as an affordable replacement for sterling silver, is one of the year’s hottest home accessories. A single ornament for the tree or an eclectic collection of candlesticks, vases and statuettes is an elegant, tasteful and timely gift. $16 to $140; Potager’s Gardens & Verandas, Miramar Beach

20 Gold Leaf
Gloria Books just released this limited-edition luxury book titled “New York” in time for the holidays. The 26-pound collector’s piece celebrates the history, art and architecture of its namesake city with historic and newly commissioned writings, as well as archival and modern photography. Three levels of editions at pre-order prices of $2,500 to $12,000;