There are people whose jobs require them to know where to find items to suit every taste at every price--classic, chic, surprising, fantastic, outré or all of the above at once. Who better, then, to turn to for inspiration when it comes to gift shopping than these arbiters of style? We asked a legion of creative professionals in the worlds of food and design to share the names of some of their favorite stores and some of their favorite food- or drink-related gifts. This list of amusing, practical or indulgent presents for the kitchen, dining room or bar should help you get a head start on your own holiday shopping.
GEOFFREY BEENE, FASHION DESIGNER
Outlook: "I believe in quality at the right price." Shop pick: Museum of Modern Art Design Store (44 W. 53rd St.; 212-767-1050). Gift choice: A chic and useful triangular trivet in silver and blue aluminum ($35).
AMY FINE COLLINS, WRITER
Outlook: "I buy the unexpected from a well-known source or something absolutely one-of-a-kind from an out-of-the-way or recherché source." Shop pick: Maxilla & Mandible (451 Columbus Ave.; 212-724-6173). Gift choice:An assortment of coral, shells, rocks, sea urchins and starfish for creating unusual tabletop arrangements ($1 to $150 per piece). Another shop pick: Best Cellars (1291 Lexington Ave.; 212-426-4200). Gift choice: Great wine finds for under $10.
ELISSA CULLMAN, INTERIOR DESIGNER
Outlook: "Presents should be timeless." Shop pick: William-Wayne & Co. (850 Lexington Ave.; 212-737-8934). Gift choice:A set of American pressed-glass tumblers with a thistle pattern ($15 each). Editor's note:Cullman's C & K Collection at Cullman & Kravis(790 Madison Ave.; 212-249-3874) has terrific gifts, especially the coasters ($25 to $54 each).
THAD HAYES, INTERIOR DESIGNER
Outlook: "I believe that it's better to give one beautiful thing than a lot of little gifts. I prefer simple pieces that can be worked into any interior, no matter the style--modern or traditional, formal or casual." Shop pick: Moss (146 Greene St.; 212-226-2190). Gift choice: An Osvaldo Borsani "P40" sleek reclining chair ($3,975).
GREG JORDAN, INTERIOR DESIGNER
Outlook: "My rule of thumb in buying gifts is to mix whimsy and opulence. For instance, I recently gave someone a pair of real miniature burros whose names are Party Pants and April Fool's." Shop pick: David Linley at Bergdorf Goodman (754 Fifth Ave.; 212-753-7300). Gift choice:An exquisite, handcrafted wooden pear-shaped box ($275).
CAMPION A. PLATT, ARCHITECT
Outlook: "You can spend a lot of money if you want to, but the price won't matter if the gift isn't right." Shop pick: Bowery Kitchen Supplies (460 W. 16th St.; 212-376-4982). Gift choices: Ever-practical and surprisingly great-looking expanding sponges ($7 to $13 a bag); a sophisticated stainless steel olive-oil can from Italy ($17).
ANTHONY ALBERTUS, PROP STYLIST
Outlook: "I like stores that make me feel like a witty shopper." Shop pick: The Gardener (1836 Fourth St., Berkeley; 510-548-4545). Gift choices: A plastic funnel to decant anything, from wine to olive oil ($5); heavenly "Empereur" or "Bourbon" tea in fabric bags from Mariage Frères ($19).Another shop pick: Restoration Hardware (281 University Ave., Palo Alto; 650-328-4004 or 800-762-1005). Gift choice: A penguin cocktail shaker based on a 1936 design ($48).
GARY HUTTON, INTERIOR DECORATOR
Outlook: "I often make mental notes of things that my friends wish for aloud." Shop pick: Hurd Beeswax Candles, in Napa Valley (3020 St. Helena Highway N., St. Helena; 800-977-7211 or 707-963-7211). Gift choice:Fabulous handcrafted beeswax bamboo candles (in custom sizes, $13 to $42). Another shop pick: Enoteca Wine Shop, in Napa Valley (1345 Lincoln Ave., Calistoga; 707-942-1117). Gift choices: An antique corkscrew ($40); a wine coaster or tastevin in sterling silver ($250 to $2,500).
PAULA LE DUC, CATERER
Outlook: "If I see something great, I buy it, then give it when the opportunity presents itself." Shop pick: Fillamento (2185 Fillmore St.; 415-931-2224 or 888-500-8507). Gift choice: A woven Asian basket ($15 to $65) filled with loose yellow lentils cradling a silver vase ($14 to $70). Another shop pick: Smith & Hawken (2040 Fillmore St.; 415-776-3424 or 800-776-3336). Gift choice: Florentine fiberglass planter in basket-weave motif ($150), lined with leaves and filled with bread.
STEPHEN SHUBEL, INTERIOR DECORATOR
Outlook: "I shop professionally on a daily basis, but when I'm buying gifts for friends, I need to be more creative with less money." Shop pick: Sue Fisher King (3067 Sacramento St.; 415-922-7276). Gift choices: A handblown English glass ornament ($5 to $20); a silver charger engraved with the Vatican's crest ($250).
SHEILA DONNELLY THEROUX, PUBLIC RELATIONS EXECUTIVE
Outlook: "I shop all year round, wherever we travel, from Istanbul to Jaipur." Shop pick: Garakuta-Do (580 N. Nimitz Hwy.; 808-524-7755). Gift choice: A Japanese obi cloth, which can be used as a table runner ($15 to $65).
THOMAS BEETON, INTERIOR DECORATOR
Outlook: "My problem is that I tend to give gifts I can barely part with." Shop pick: Algabar (920 N. La Cienega Blvd.; 310-360-3500). Gift choices: A black lacquer and mother-of-pearl chopsticks-and-rest set ($26); exotic tea-scented candles by Mariage Frères ($58).
KARYN MILLET, PUBLIC RELATIONS EXECUTIVE
Outlook: "I like to give simple presents wrapped with real ribbon and special paper. I enjoy staying home at night and wrapping everything up just so." Shop pick: Urban Gardener (1811 W. Cliff Dr., Newport Beach; 949-642-2949). Gift choice: A rosemary topiary ($10 to $49). Another shop pick: Home and Style (23011 Moulton Pkwy., Suite A-16; 800-565-5831). Gift choice: Antique-style white tassle-shaped candleholders ($24 each).
ROSE TARLOW, INTERIOR DECORATOR
Outlook: "One-stop shopping is the only way to go." Shop pick: Maxfield (8825 Melrose Ave.; 310-274-8800). Gift choices: Grumpy Old Men chocolates ($56); a Christian Tortu pewter vase ($80 to $775); a set of collectable Sixties Hermès silver-plate rope-trimmed coasters or an ice bucket ($1,750 to $1,850).
HARLEY BALDWIN, GALLERY OWNER
Outlook: "My most important Christmas shopping is for my wire-haired fox terriers, who are spoiled but appreciative." Shop pick: Gucci (203 S. Galena St.; opening in December) Gift choice: Plexiglass double dog bowl ($750). Another shop pick: Louis Vuitton (201 S. Galena St.; 970-544-8200). Gift choice: The "Aspen"canvas backpack ($715) to use in place of a picnic basket.
CHARLES DALE, CHEF AND OWNER, RENAISSANCE
Outlook: "Only give gifts you'd be pleased to receive." Shop pick: Chequers (520 E. Cooper Ave.; 970-925-7572). Gift choice: A set of four silver-beaded coasters in an organza bag ($25).
PETER M.HELBURN, EVENT PLANNER
Outlook: "I like to add to someone's collection in keeping with their home and entertaining style." Shop pick: Cooking School of Aspen (414 E. Hyman Ave.; 800-603-6004). Gift choices: For friends who are always enlarging their pantries, a basket of hard-to-find condiments--chutneys, oils, salsas and mustards ($8 to $50); a gift certificate for a hands-on cooking class, which includes a full meal with wine ($125).
CHRISTINA WRESSELL, PROP STYLIST
Outlook: "I like to pamper people with simple but luxurious items that make them feel special." Shop pick: Spatique Beauté (520 E. Durant Ave.; 970-925-4648). Gift choices: Products by Skin, such as fragrant Tahitian vanilla and ginger soaps ($5 each) and Citrus Salt Glow exfoliant ($27).
ANGÈLE PARLANGE, SHOP OWNER
Outlook: "I like to give frivolous gifts!" Shop pick: Peter Patout Antiques (920 Royal St.; 504-522-0582). Gift choices: A vintage china finger bowl that doubles as an hors d'oeuvres dish ($40); a 19th-century French handblown glass flycatcher ($300). "It looks great on a bar or a dining table." Editor's note: Angèle Parlange Design (5419 Magazine St.; 504-897-6511) is a local favorite, with items like the oversize "Five O'Clocktails" double-on-the-rocks glasses ($19 each).
CATHRYN FOLEY,ARTIST AND DESIGNER
Outlook: "For a great gift, I think happy and fun." Shop pick: Sister Agnes (3450 Magazine St.; 504-269-9444). Gift choices: A set of six antique sterling silver mint julep sippers ($325); a "Daphne" compote dish by William Yeoward ($360).
MIMI READ, DESIGN JOURNALIST
Outlook: "When you come up dry, give them something wonderful and edible." Shop Pick: Pied Nu (5521 Magazine St.; 504- 899-4118). Gift choice: A tremendous jar of Bella Cucina preserved lemons ($40).
MARIO VILLA, DESIGNER AND GALLERY OWNER
Outlook: "I try to find gifts that I'd love to get too." Shop pick: Latitudes (612 Julia St.; 504-566-9888). Gift choice: Opulent-looking serving pieces in mother-of-pearl, coconut wood and horn ($6 to $20 each).
LARS BOLANDER,DECORATOR AND STORE OWNER
Outlook: "I try to give things people wouldn't buy for themselves." Shop pick: Tiffany & Co. (259 Worth Ave.; 561-659-6090 or 800-526-0649). Gift choice: "Windham" lead-crystal candlesticks ($50 each). Editor's note: Lars Bolander(375 S. County Rd.; 561-832-2121) is another excellent source, with such products as Swedish-designed handblown glass bottles ($75 each).
LETA AUSTIN FOSTER,INTERIOR DESIGNER
Outlook: "Presents to treasure are those that have a homemade touch." Shop pick: Il Papiro (343 Worth Ave.; 561-833-5696). Gift choice: A leather-bound, hand-painted Venetian scrapbook ($55 to $250). "I writemy favorite recipes inside for a personal accent."
MIMI MCMAKIN, DESIGNER AND STORE OWNER
Outlook: "The personality of the gift should mirror the personality of the recipient." Shop pick: Vivi's Stationery (3 Via Parigi; 561-655-9374). Gift choice: Place cards made of luxurious paper, with cutouts of the host's initials ($24 for 50 cards). Editor's note: McMakin's own shop is Kemble Interiors (294 Hibiscus Ave.; 561-659-5556), where she sells objects for decorating a dining room, kitchen or patio, including verdigris copper lanterns ($285 to $385 each).