Christmas Gift Ideas from Smith Journal

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Christmas Gift Ideas from Smith Journal

Thursday December 06, 2018 Written by Smith

Christmas is – and we say this without any intended malice – quite close. Closer than you think, probably. But – and this bit is crucial – not so close that you can’t still go on an online present-shopping spree. Below are some goodies we wouldn’t mind waking up to, should you need some inspiration.



Sydney outfit Erstwhile sells reproductions of antique maps (and botanical/zoological illustrations) mounted between timber batons and hung from hemp rope – the better to lend your loved ones’ lounge rooms the air of an olde worlde classroom, or an embassy in some imperial outpost of yore.

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If you’re not going to source your wares locally (which, in this economy, is a slightly tall order), you could at least source them from some rather exotic-sounding places. Like, Budapest, for instance. The Hungarian capital isn’t widely known for its bright, cotton canvas backpacks. But after laying eyes on this range from YKRA, perhaps that will change.

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The growler dates back to the 19th century, when people used to carry beer home from the pub in galvanised pails. Pail tech has come a long way since the 1800s. Exhibit A: these swanky copper GrowlerWerks growlers from (you guessed it) Portland, Oregon. They’re perfect for poker nights, cocktail parties or liberal-minded job interviews. “Oh, that? It’s just my growler. Can I pour you a pint?”

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After Vanishing Elephant, well, up and vanished a few years ago, founder Huw Bennett set himself a new task: producing nice- looking, hard-wearing garments for the hospitality industry. The result is a range of sleek, sustainable cotton aprons which are just as fetching at home as they are in the commercial kitchen.

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If your friends care nothing for rules, then this KLOK-01 watch isn’t for them. Its design is based on the slide rule – that dignified engineers’ friend and handy computer-before-computers – and can be fiddled with just like the real thing. It also tells the time, which is handy.

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Maplestore’s Snow Peak coffee maker is a good gift for people who like brewing filter coffee (which usually requires the use of a fragile, not super-outdoors friendly ceramic filter cone) and camping. Made from collapsible metal panels, it’s sturdy, easy to pack, and capable of brewing the good stuff on the run.

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Getting down to the fundamentals of photography has just been liberated from the camera obscura set. The CROZ is a pared-down digital camera you can build yourself, and it’s designed to make you concentrate on taking photos rather than fiddling with metering modes so long you miss your shot.

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Emily Thiang used to design Smith Journal. Then she left (insert sad face emoji) to focus on a new project: mei-li, a handmade clothing range that looks every bit as sharp as the magazine she used to make. The collection focuses on monochrome women’s tops and dresses that can be worn right way around and back to front, made from all-natural fabrics.

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Strike this Ferrocerium rod with the back of a knife (or any piece of metal, really), and watch sparks fly. Do this next to some kindling and you’ll have your own Neolithic-style campfire in no time. Handmade by Swedish brand Kare, using ethically sourced deer antler for the handle, it’s not only practical: it looks nice, too.

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Scientists have estimated there are about 50 individual birds for every human on earth. But how can your loved ones get their share? By assembling one of these powder-coated, fold-it-yourself Brdi feeders from the ornithologically obsessed designers at Onehundred. Receive it in the post, assemble it in minutes, stock it with seed and stick it to your window for a twitter stream actually worth listening to.

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You may have read about Tim Malfroy back in Smith Journal volume 10. He’s a second-generation beekeeper and producer of wild, non-invasive honey. It’s taken a while, but Tim’s finally selling jars of the sweet, hard-to-produce stuff (wild bees work at their own speed), and we have to say it’s been worth the wait. It’s available in two varieties: Polyflora, and the pollen-packed Post-Brood Polyflora. Tim also runs one-day beekeeping courses, for those looking to get into the game.

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Don’t want to purchase yet another bottle of whisky only to watch it disappear before the month is out? This Square Spirit Decanter and Tumbler set from Royal Doulton could be the ticket.* Some say a good decanter can make the stuff you put in it taste better. The jury may be out on that, but one thing is certain: it will class up a room quicker than you can say “Jack Donaghy”.

*Tray, whisky and bar nuts not included.

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Some people claim to hate getting socks for Christmas. But these people are overlooking one important fact: getting socks for Christmas is much, much less depressing than having to trudge down to the store during your precious free time and purchasing socks for yourself. These selvage cotton ones from Nudie Jeans Co. are nice on the eye and the foot. They’ll thank you later.

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13 flask

Stanley Vacuum Flask

Just who was this Stanley fellow? No idea, but he must have been a bit of a legend. The range of flasks named after him first hit the market in 1913, and over 100 years later they’re still the best-looking thing to drink a hot cup of coffee or soup from.

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Most cookbooks are a collection of recipes designed to be followed verbatim. Which is fine. But this cookbook is different. Written by Iranian-American chef Samin Nosrat, Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat promises to impart something magical on its readers: the ability to turn just about any combination of ingredients into something delicious.

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Darts aren’t only for very fat, beer-swilling men with ponytails, big fat sausage fingers and crappy t-shirts. This set encases a self-healing sisal fibreboard, feather-fletched darts and a chalkboard for keeping score, all within an iron-latched oak cabinet crafted from solid wood with a natural finish. It’s lovely and frankly we recommend keeping this for yourself and giving your friend a nice, shiny short-sleeved satin shirt with a snake on it instead.

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What to get the pot plant aficionado who also happens to have a thing for cheap, American beer? Why, a gypsum cement-cast pot plant pot in the shape of a Budweiser can, of course. These come care of the folk at Hello Happy Plants, and are great for succulents and small plants. Do not drink.

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Camping season needn't mean daggy season. Featuring a flashy Chevron pattern, this sleeping bag is equal parts eye catching and camp smart. Would go well with your Sleepy Jones PJs.

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