Be it for a boss, boyfriend, mother-in-law or family lawyer -- the list making has begun. With Black Friday and Cyber Monday in sight, and the rest of the holidays just around the corner, many of us have turned our attention to searching for the perfect gift.   Here's a list of some of my favorites to check out for family, friends, co-workers and clients this season.

Go gourmet.

Who doesn't't like to find a tasty treat under the holiday tree? With the advent of artesian eats, food has grown even more popular as a gift item. A trip to the Fancy Food Show this year introduced me to several edible presents, including:

John Kelly Chocolates. I am by all accounts a chocolate fanatic. I've probably eaten a piece of it almost every day since my teens, and I've written numerous articles waxing poetic about flavor profiles and creamy consistency. All of that is my way of saying it's darn hard for a chocolate to impress me -- but John Kelly's did. Their dark chocolate bars were toasty, roasty and rich, without being too dense.

The Dark Chocolate Bar with Roasted Almonds & Pink Himalayan Sea Salt was a top contender. But the real surprise from this company was the handcrafted fudge truffles. Often so oversweet they are cloying, the ones from John Kelly hit just the right note of sweet, salty and melt-in-your-mouth feel. My favorites were the Dark Chocolate Espresso and Semi-Sweet Chocolate with Walnuts. 

Oh, and the bars and box collections come in an elegant packaging that has gift written all over it.

Extravagonzo oils and vinegars. All the oils produced by this New York-based company are fantastic, but the two biggest delights were: The Jalapeño Lime Culinary Oil, which received the prestigious Sofi Award in the New Product category at the Specialty Food Association's 2017 Awards competition, and the Balsamic Vinegar. 

The vinegar is from Modena, Italy, and utilizes a base of 12-year-old balsamic. This vinegar comes the closest to the 30-year-old aged vinegar I tasted and bought in Modena itself years back. It has an earthy sweetness and pours out slightly thick.

Combined, these items make a lovely offering for any cook or foodie.

Travel light.

Long lines at security, flight delays and runway holds -- as any businessperson knows, travel is about overcoming travails. Here're a few items for entrepreneurs on the go:

The Airhook. This small device offers a two-in-one solution, acting as both a stable drink holder and a secure mount for an electronics device up to 8.5 inches tall. It attaches to the tray table in its locked position, so you don't need to sacrifice leg space with that cumbersome and annoying folded tray getting in your way.

Cabeau travel pillows. These are not your flimsy blow-up pillows that make you feel like your head is resting on a water balloon. With an ergonomic design that offers 360-degree support for your head and neck, these state-of-the-art travel pillows transform your coach-class seat into a first-class experience.

Compression socks. Sexy? No. But if you have ever been on a long flight and ended up getting off the plane with swollen legs, you will appreciate the simple stress relief these socks from Vim & Vigr offer. And, they are stylish to boot. Available for both men and women in four fabric options (cotton, nylon, moisture-wick nylon and wool), they come in a variety of fashionable prints, patterns and colors.

 

Make the office a nicer place to be.

Most of us spend the vast majority of our weekday at work, so why not put something under the company tree that adds more ho ho to the workday? A few much-appreciated gifts include:

QuickStand Eco. By now we have all heard about the studies showing how bad sitting all day long is for you -- and conversely, how good standing is. These easy-to-use workstations are the latest design in standing desks.  

Batelier Handicraft. I don't know about you, but I am constantly on the lookout for functional -- yet stylish -- ways to organize, manage and hold my Apple electronics.These folks produce handcrafted, high-quality, eco-friendly wooden stands, holders, docking stations and cable holders for devices including MacBooks, iPhones, iPads and the Apple watch. 

Fluent City classes. For your co-workers and clients who have expressed a longing to learn another language, this school offers online classes and private lessons in 10 languages across major cities. The school can also arrange for onsite classes for companies who want to gift corporate lessons to several people at once.

 

 

 

Published on: Nov 28, 2017
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.