11 holiday gift ideas that are truly magical

Each of them has curiosity built into the gift itself, and you’ll find that many offer a new view into nature, life or just your bedroom at home 

by CHRIS ROVZAR 

EVERY year, the team at Bloomberg Pursuits creates a whole slew of gift guides — steering our readers toward the best spirits, or the most extravagant luxury trinkets, or items that aren’t even physical gifts at all! But this year we wanted to get back to what’s best about the act of giving: Sparking a sense of wonder in someone.

To that end, here are 11 of the most enchanting objects we’ve seen in our many years of research on these guides. Each of them has curiosity built into the gift itself, and you’ll find that many offer a new view into nature, life or just your bedroom at home. These are our 2022 Gifts of Wonder. Bloomberg 


 

(pic Studio Drift)

Dandelight, by Studio Drift

This piece of artwork for your desk or shelf combines delicate phosphorus bronze and real dandelion seeds underneath a glass dome for a visually compelling sculpture that emphasizes the fragility — and power — of life. Dandelions are often viewed as weeds, but what child hasn’t found joy in picking up a bloom and blowing to watch the seeds scatter into the air? For this sculpture, flowers are hand-picked in the Netherlands, and the seeds are then connected by hand to an LED light, one by one, to create a flower that glows dreamily from within. The visible battery adds to the bare, bold aesthetic. Studio Drift; US$515 (RM2,400)

(Source: Stave Puzzles)

Ring of Fire, Stave Puzzles 

No puzzle maker in the world is more revered — and feared — than Vermont-based Stave, where the staff hand-cuts each board into complex and confounding combinations. Puzzles are separated into categories such as Treat, Trick, Teaser, Troublemaker and, of course, Tormentor. The Ring of Fire puzzle is in the last category, which means that many pieces may be about the same colour or shape, but each has only one place where it will correctly fit. The trio of hand-painted snakes that twist themselves into its correct final form symbolise eternity, which might be how long it takes your giftee to get there. Stave Puzzles; US$1,346 (RM6,200). 

(Source: DJI)

DJI Avata Drone 

There’s no better way to reignite someone’s curiosity in the wondrous world around them than by viewing it from a different angle. And with this small First Person View (FPV) drone from the masters at  DJI, they can swoop among treetops, weave around birds and even zoom between the rooms in their own house. 

The camera’s field of view is 155°, and with state-of-the-art motion stabilisation and 4K video, the resulting footage will stunningly capture everything from action sports to soothing nature scenes. 

Weighing just 1lb and featuring prop guards (for the safety of the people in the aforementioned house), this drone is also incredibly nimble. The Pro-View package comes with a Goggles 2 headset and joystick-like Motion Controller, both of which make the Avata intuitive to steer and a great introductory product for those who are trying FPV drones for the first time. DJI; US$1,388 (RM6,350). 

(Source: MoMA)

MoMA Avocado Vase

For those too young to wield a drone, or for those who appreciate a slower pace, designers Ed Spurr and Amy Hall Browne of ILEX Studio have created this clean and ingenious kitchen planter. All it takes is some water and the pit of an avocado to start a little, lovely educational odyssey. Spurr got the idea after organising flowers for an opening reception for a series of plant drawings by the artist Ellsworth Kelly, and the vases are available at the MoMA Design Store in a series of colours based on Kelly’s Coloured Paper Image XXII (Blue Green Yellow Orange Red (1976- 1977), an artwork in MoMA’s permanent collection. MoMA; US$65 (RM297).

(Source: Loona Lamp)

Loona Lamp 

Simple and stunning, the Loona Lamp can act as a dreamy nightlight or an object of office decor that offers inspiration and calming vibes. The textured plastic moon, at five inches in diametre, floats over the 5×5-inch wood base as it glows and slowly rotates. The magic is in magnetic fields, which your gift recipient will feel as they gently set up the lamp, and the details of the moon’s surface are so crisp they may just discover they’ll have a favourite spot to try and find in the sky one night. Loona Lamp; US$300 (RM1,372). 

(Source: Celestron)

Celestron NexStar 5SE Computerise Telescope 

If you want to set their sights a little higher than the nightstand — as in, all the way to the stars — the Nextar 5Se is a great introductory telescope for amateur stargazers. Celestron’s orange tube features a five-inch mirror that will provide clear views of planets and familiar stars, and astronomical phenomena such as the Orion Nebula. Crucially, the fully automated GoTo mount comes programmed with more than 40,000 celestial bodies.

After budding astronomers align the telescope using three bright objects they themselves can identify in the sky, it’ll be able to show them almost anything they’d want to look for, with enough detail to clearly see Saturn’s rings or that favourite spot on the moon. 

Weighing only 15lb, it’s easy to take along to a friend’s house or even camping. Celestron; US$939 (RM4,300). 

(Source: American Museum of Natural History)

National Geographic Stunning Science Chemistry Set 

To enjoy the marvels of physics a little closer to home, a top-notch chemistry set is a magnificent gift for the young and the curious. Recommended for ages eight and up, this one’s approved by both National Geographic and New York’s American Museum of Natural History. Everything from creating a geyser or volcano to launching a rocket and causing colourful chemical reactions is possible with this engaging set, which includes kid-friendly direction, illustrations and insight into the chemistry of what they’re creating with their own hands. AMNH; US$50 (RM229). 

(Source: Lumio)

Lumio Lito 

For some little wonderers, reading is more their métier. And for them, consider this book-shaped nightlight, which casts a cosy glow every time they crack it open. The “book” cover materials range from maple to walnut to fabric, and its durability means it can go camping or even get wet without causing harm. Swing it open 360°, and it can be used as a standing table lamp. For those who love seeing a recipient’s eyes literally light up when they see what their gift can do, this is the perfect present. Lumio; US$225 (RM1,029). 

(Source: Ikorii)

Ikorii Magnetic Sand Hourglass 

We might bring many things within reach — the sea floor, the tops of trees, even the stars — but the one thing we will never bring under our own control? Time. 

Still, watching it slip by can be a wonderfully calming experience. For the person who finds themselves constantly overscheduled or pulled in different directions, a plain, beautiful hourglass can sometimes be the perfect little antidote to an otherwise harried day.

The best we’ve encountered over the years is the Ikorii hourglass with magnetic sand shards, which create a spellbinding little sculpture that’s different every time the glass bulbs are flipped. Instead of worrying where the time went, isn’t it time to wonder what’s coming next? Ikorii; US$45 (RM205). 

(Source: NKD Puzzle)

Mecanigma Puzzle Box 

This one’s not for the faint of heart. But for those brave enough to tackle an incredibly complex solo construction endeavour, the Mecanigma Puzzle Box comes in 541 ready-to-assemble pieces. (Braver still is she who takes on a maddening construction task with the help of a partner.)

The mind-bending result is a puzzle box of the highest order, with 15 movements in a steampunk-inspired cacophony of gears and articulated mechanisms. 

The history of the puzzle box as an art form is diffuse; they appeared in the 19th century in both Victorian England, as keep-sake souvenirs, and the Hakone region of Japan, as places to secure important tools. These modern iterations — which are made from laser-cut poplar plywood by NKD Puzzle in Lodève, France — include no digital parts, but will prove harder than almost any computer or video game challenge they’ve faced. (If you’d like to just order a completed puzzle box, which they don’t need to build themselves, NKD sells those, too.) NKD Puzzle; €278 (RM1,313). 

(Source: Seabob)

Cayago Seabob F5 

The closest someone can probably ever get to feeling like they’re personally flying — like you sometimes do in your dreams — is to shoot through the water and rocket from under the surface while hanging onto a personal water jet. If you’ve ever experienced a Seabob while on a cruise, or at a seaside resort while wearing scuba gear, you’ll know how amazing it feels and how it can open someone’s eyes to worlds they never thought they could explore. 

The entry-level F5 dives to 40m in depth at speeds of just over 12mph underwater, but for guests and kids, an onboard computer system allows you to set slower, shallower safety controls. Great for lakes and the seashore with goggles, Seabobs can also be used in pools and other smaller bodies of water. Seabob; US$9,940 (RM45,480).


  • This article first appeared in The Malaysian Reserve weekly print edition

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