EDGE Holiday Gift Guide: Home For The Holidays
Black Friday, Cyber Monday: it sounds like preparation for war rather than retail therapy and holiday giving. But let’s face it, the whole gift-giving ritual can be a stressful period as you obsess about what to give to whom. Which friends merit a spa day - and who in your family needs a swift kick in the pants?
If you’re home for the holidays, take a deep breath and look around at the place where you grew up. Be happy that your family gave you what they could - and reward them with something that makes their house a home.
After all, home is where you left your childhood heart - especially during the holidays.
Cire Trudon: Spiritus Sancti Candle
Been feeling a little like Marie Antoinette lately? Why not light your home like Versailles? Founded in 1643, Cire Trudon became the Royal wax manufacturer, serving the Queen and her court at Versailles, utilizing the best wax collected from the beehives of the Kingdom. In 1811, Napoleon celebrated his son’s birth with a Trudon candle encrusted with three gold coins.
Today, Cire Trudon’s motto remains "The bees work for God - and the King." We might add, "and You" - because these candles are the crème de la crème. Poured from Trudon’s signature vegetal wax, a mixture of soya and copra (dried coconut kernels), with a pure cotton wick, Cire Trudon’s candles are entirely biodegradable.
Our favorite fragrance for the holidays, Spiritus Sancti opens with vapors of incense that will have searching for the thurible. With a heart note of lily of the valley and a basenote of labdanum that evokes the muskiness of amber, Spiritus Sancti evokes one of those services at the Cathedral affectionately known as "Smoky Mary’s," where midnight Mass on Christmas Eve is a banquet of bells and smells.
Once the fragrances permeate your rooms, it’s your call as to whether you’ll be singing Handel’s "Messiah" or declaiming, "Let them eat cake."
Made in Normandy, France and housed in a gold-crested, hand-blown glass vessel from Vinci, Italy, Cire Trudon’s candles have a 75-85 hour burn time. That’s plenty of time for you to determine if you’re the Queen or the Bishop.
PRICE: $80.00 / 9.5 oz
LINK: Cire Trudon Spiritus Sancti Candle
The New Atlas of World History: Global Events at a Glance
Look, humans have been around for six million years - and no matter how powerful your iPhone or your iPad, that’s too many years for you to find all the answers with a few keystrokes. Besides, on an itty bitty screen, it’s very difficult to comprehend the breadth of Alexander the Great’s conquests - or how New York in 1871 was larger than Beijing.
If, after completing years of humanities and world history, you’re still struggling to determine where Mesopotamia fits with Babylon and Thebes and the Zapotec culture (answer: they’re all from the 2nd millennium BC), then "The New Atlas of World History" is the answer you’ve been seeking.
Exactly as its title suggests, this stunningly illustrated atlas of history and geography features 55 color-coded maps that encompass the entirety of human history - from all around the world. One gaze at a double-page map tells you that when Baghdad was the world’s largest city, the Pueblo culture ruled the American Southwest while the kingdoms of Germany and France rose out of the break-up of Charlemagne’s empire.
Interspersed with the full-color maps and 48 illustrated timelines are concise summaries of notable cultural and historical events, such as a feature on the spread of the world’s major writing systems - for, as author John Haywood states, it is "the adoption of writing that marks the end of a society’s prehistory."
While you might not consider "The New Atlas of World History" to be connubial reading, you might also remember that the mind is the seat of all sex. Show off your smarts. Fill up your partner’s head with the facts of human history - and then celebrate your genealogy with humanity’s age-old rhythms.
PRICE: $49.50 / cloth / 256 pages w/350 color illustrations and 55 maps
LINK: The New Atlas of World History: Global Events at a Glance
The Hype Noses: 24 Caramels Urban Candle
So you don’t have a fireplace for the holidays? Get yourself the Hype Noses candle and listen to the crackling of the wooden wick. A bit like rain on a tin roof, the sound is every bit as soothing as the Yule log on cable television - and before you know it, you’ll be singing "It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year."
The Hype Noses candles come from the Parisian perfumer Stephane Humbert Lucas, which means that these candles are drenched in fragrance. With a 15% perfume base, the scent permeates the air and elevates your mood. These elegant, vegetable wax candles are made of soy and palm, which affords a creamy texture for a delicate suffusion of the fragrance.
The 24 Caramels Urban Candle is equivalent to inhaling deeply of a vat of simmering sugar and butter on its way to becoming caramel. The smell is so tempting that you would almost risk a burned tongue - to taste it on your palate.
Light the 24 Caramels candle and you’ll soon see yourself locked in a bakery late at night: no one but you, the pastry chef, and the intoxicating fragrance of salted caramel cupcakes. Notes of vanilla mix with coconut milk and caramel, with a hint of Canadian balsam from the little pine tree next to the front register. And all the while, the wooden wick crackles with a slow-burning flame that is as hypnotizing as one in a wood-burning fireplace.
Happy Holidays, Santa baby!
LINK: The Hype Noses 24 Caramels Urban Candle
"Brideshead Revisited: 30th Anniversary Edition"
Back in the early Eighties, in certain gay bars around Boston and other Northeastern cities, it wasn’t uncommon to see gay boys arriving at gay bars on certain nights, teddy bears in tow, ready to watch the PBS television broadcast of "Brideshead Revisited."
Apart from a teddy bear renaissance (and particularly those named Aloysius), the award-winning series launched the career of limpid-eyed actor and heartthrob Jeremy Irons. With an international cast of award-winning actors, "Brideshead Revisited" was based on Evelyn Waugh’s classic roman fleuve - and took more than two years to film. With more than eleven episodes, clocking in at nearly 700 minutes, the ravishing series is the equivalent length of seven feature films.
Thirty years later, "Brideshead Revisited" is more acclaimed than ever. The British Film Institute placed "Brideshead Revisited" at number ten on the "100 Greatest Television Programmes."
With the recent massive popularity of the British series "Downdon Abbey" (now in its second season), the release of the 30th-anniversary edition of "Brideshead Revisited" could hardly be more fortuitous. The four-disc DVD and the three-disc Blu-ray set feature a brand-new HD transfer, as well as bonus features such as the "Revisiting Brideshead" documentary, four episode commentaries, outtakes, photo galleries, and a viewer’s guide.
This holiday season, return to Brideshead.
PRICE: $59.99 / DVD or $69.99 / Blu-ray
LINK: "Brideshead Revisited: 30th Anniversary Edition"
(Gift guide continues on next page...)