From flower buds to the taste buds--here are some great gifts to use around the house.
For Salad Days
Nambé commissioned designer Karim Rashid to make these metal and cherry salad servers ($85). The Santa Fe, N. Mex.-based company started making housewares in 1951 from an alloy invented by nuclear scientists at Los Alamos. It resists tarnish and retains heat and cold longer than silver. CEO Dan Hillenbrand (whose family bought Nambé in 1981) recently began working with designers to forge pieces from materials like wood, crystal, and porcelain. www.nambe.com
A Bag That Blooms
To grow these paperwhites ($15), just add water; the flowers will bloom indoors in winter and can grow right in their bag. Potting Shed Creations, based in Troy, Idaho, makes gardening fare sold in Nordstrom and other stores. Founders Liz Cosko and Ann Killen run the company out of a former elementary school. This fall, it got some celebrity cachet when the television show Extra gave the company's Good Luck Clover to Emmy nominees. www.pottingshedcreations.com
The star product of O Olive Oil, makers of gourmet olive oil and vinegar, is its line of oils infused with organic California citrus ($16). Flavors include meyer lemon, grapefruit, blood orange, and--the company's latest--jalapeño-lime. CEO Greg Hinson got the idea for the oil (and the San Rafael, Calif.-based company) while living in Italy, where families drizzle oil on toast for breakfast. The 8.5-ounce bottles are sold at specialty grocers. www.ooliveoil.com
Warm and Woolly
Fold Bedding's throw pillows combine a modern aesthetic with the warmth of wool fabrics and feather stuffing. Husband-and-wife founders Max and Linda Geisler started the El Cerrito, Calif.-based company in 2000. Until recently, it was a two-person shop. After receiving a plug on ABC's Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, however, and a sizable order from W Hotels, the couple hired some part-time help. The pillows come in a variety of styles and colors. (The "bar" style shown is $140.) www.foldbedding.com
Up to six people can play Chinese checkers on this handcrafted oak board ($40) made by Channel Craft in Charleroi, Pa. Dean Helfer was a marketing major at West Virginia University when he founded the company in 1983 as part of a college project exploring channels of distribution (hence the company's name). Now, Channel Craft has 45 employees who recreate classic American toys. www.usillygoose.com
Staff editor KASEY WEHRUM has written for Inc. magazine on subjects ranging from the businesses behind professional bull riding to gadget inventor and father of the infomercial, Ron Popeil. His work has appeared in the New York Times, Worth, Budget Travel, and on MSNBC.com. He lives in Brooklyn.