The unofficial Goldman Sachs holiday gift guide for 2017
Once again, it’s that time of year where children everywhere learn one of life’s most valuable lessons: Santa loves rich kids more.
Since last year’s list — with over 5.4 million views — was the most popular gift guide in media, we decided to keep the same theme going: an eclectic mix of the fantastical and the practical, albeit still skewing slightly toward the 1%. After all, that’s the American way.
Here are the things a man wants but feels guilty buying for himself, as well as the things he needs but probably doesn’t even know of. Regardless of how deep your pockets are, this is the only holiday gift guide you’ll need.
John LeFevre is the creator of satirical @GSElevator on Twitter, and the author of the bestselling book, “Straight to Hell: True Tales of Deviance, Debauchery, and Billion-Dollar Deals,” currently in development with Paramount as a major motion picture.
For his inner child
My son’s newfound obsession with dinosaurs and fossils has resurrected a passion from my youth, one that undoubtedly, many men can relate to. Coming up for auction in the coming weeks is a complete Triceratops skull($150,000), a stunningly preserved fossilized alligator ($30,000), and a extinct American lion skull ($55,000) that would make the perfect office conversation piece. At the lower end of the price spectrum is this meteorite slice complete with extraterrestrial gemstones ($1,500) that doubles as a work of art.
For his closet
I’ve written many times about socks. I don’t like loud or gimmicky socks; they don’t add personality or style. I hate color matching socks with my wardrobe in the morning, especially when hungover. And sorting and pairing is tedious. Simply put, I like plain, elegant socks, and I love the fresh feeling of new ones as a lifestyle choice. Enter the perfect new subscription service, Brummell($6-7 per pair). They send premium-quality dress socks to your door every few months at a huge discount. This means you never have to worry about socks again, leaving you to focus on more important fashion considerations, like this Loro Piana Cashmere pullover ($935) or these Tom Ford Straight-Fit Vintage-Wash jeans ($680).
For his midlife crisis
Cars are typically a terrible investment, except for rich people. Hitting the auction block this December includes every boy’s dream SUV from the 1980s — a Lamborghini LM002 ($450,000), one of only 60 delivered to the United States, unapologetically complete with a 76-gallon fuel tank and a Countach V-12 engine, and the instantly collectible and exceptionally rare Ferrari LaFerrari ($3,500,000). Or if those are too garish, there’s always Paul McCartney’s 1964 Aston Martin DB5 ($1,800,000).
For his weekend getaway
When I lost my sunglasses this summer in France, I was pushed out of my typical name brand comfort zone. That’s when I discovered Christopher Cloos ($145) — a Scandinavian eyewear company — with its classic and timeless design, understated aesthetic (no gaudy logo), and best of all, the same top-quality craftsmanship as famous brands at less than half the price. Now, the only time I lose mine is when my wife borrows them. Throw in these Frescobol Angra swim shorts ($220) and the timeless Aspinal Harrison Weekender ($1,045) travel bag. Finally, no beach trip (or Christmas gift list) would be complete without a Pickett travel Backgammon set ($400).
For his library
Only 65% of men read at least one book per year. Of those, less than half actually finish a book they start. That’s why I’d recommend Michael Knowles’ whimsical satire, “Reasons to Vote for Democrats: A Comprehensive Guide” ($9). More seriously — since reading allows you to borrow someone else’s brain, my picks this year include Melissa del Bosque’s “Bloodlines: The True Story of a Drug Cartel, the FBI, and the Battle for a Horse-Racing Dynasty”($18), Ron Chernow’s “Grant” ($18), Douglas Preston’s “The Lost City of the Monkey God: A True Story” ($18), and Yuval Noah Harari’s “Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow” ($20), although honestly, I haven’t finished that one yet.
For his conscience
If you are seeking a once-in-a-lifetime experience that also supports conservation, Natural World Safaris has organized this philanthropic journey ($1,000,000) — a 12-trip package visiting 18 of the world’s most endangered species across the world, including snow leopards, white rhinos, jaguars, and polar bears. Alternatively, there’s always the gift of sustainability in the form of a pair of chickens ($18) or sheep($80) via Oxfam to women in developing countries. These animals create a steady income stream — fertilizer, eggs, wool, and offspring — to those who need it most.
For his hangover
It’s a little-known scientific fact that Matcha tea, with 10 times as many antioxidants as traditional green tea, cancels out the fifteen drinks he had last night. So set him up with the Tealyra Matcha Tea Ceremony Starter Kit($60), add some Tom Ford Anti-Fatigue Eye Treatment ($90) for the external damage, and help everyone else out by lighting a Wilnelia Forsyth Candle ($63).
For his collection
Given that a da Vinci painting recently sold at auction for $450 million, having previously changed hands in 2005 for $10,000, maybe you don’t want to rush in on a pricey work of art right now. Instead, go for a conversation piece with some historical significance, like an American flag ($20,000) from a landing craft tank that sunk on Omaha Beach during the D-Day invasion, one of Abraham Lincoln’s checks ($12,000), or a handwritten scientific letter by Galileo($1,500,000). When you consider your chances of getting it back in a divorce, it’s not really that expensive.
For his eating and drinking
Sometimes we want a burger and a beer, and sometimes we want a gourmet meal and a bottle of something memorable. Accordingly, this Le Creuset 6-Piece Cast Iron Cookware Set ($750) can handle all of his culinary requirements and will last for a lifetime, and the Weston adjustable burger press ($22) is something he’ll never realize he needed until he gets one. And just for a bit of needless decadence, there’s this Clos Laguiole Handmade Olive wood Corkscrew ($140) and Asprey silver Ram Head Decanter ($3,700).
For his peace of mind
In these turbulent times, peace of mind comes in many forms. I can’t speak highly enough of this August Smart Lock Pro($250). It allows you to lock and unlock your door, control keyless access for others, and monitor who comes and goes, all from your smartphone and without replacing your existing locks. And I’m sure this Professional Grade emergency survival kit for four ($999) is great too, but thankfully, I have yet to use mine.
The Honorable Mention – An Eclectic Mix
A Celestron GPS-guided Telescope ($2,800) will make him feel like a kid again.
This Sony A7R II Full-Frame Mirrorless Camera ($2,400) will remind him why people still have cameras.
These North Face Etip touchscreen-friendly gloves ($50) make a great, practical stocking surprise.
I’d never buy this Asprey 5×7 Enamel Picture Frame ($2,400) for myself, but I’m really happy I have one.
I’m almost embarrassed to admit that I like this Levitating Bonsai tree ($170).