Christmas shopping can be an intimidating endeavor at the best of times. Not only do you have to find the time to get to the shops, and navigate the running of the bulls that is walking into any retail store after Thanksgiving, but you have to actually buy a personalised gift, often for people who are unwilling to give any kind of clue as to what that might be.
Add to that the fact that, if you're reading this guide, you're most likely either shopping for a loved one who smokes a pipe and aren't sure where to start or are yourself a pipe smoker who may be a little intimidated by the sheer number of options to jot down on your wish list. By way of a helping hand, here are seven holiday-themed gifts or ideas to get you back on track.
A perennial favourite with fans of the Irish marque and aromatic lovers alike, 2016's seasonal offering employs an apricot liqueur topping on a base of Virginias, Burley, and black Cavendish.
While in recent years this collectible line has focused on bright, festive colors or more reserved, woodsy palettes, 2016's edition bridges the gap between the two — offering classic shapes in a familiar, yet understated combination of deep ruby for the briar, bright nickel for the mount, and swirled, forest green for the mouthpiece. The result is both subtly festive and tastefully reserved — classy briars that evoke the spirit of the holidays while remaining relevant all year long.
Continuing with their Christmas carol theme from past editions, Cornell & Diehl's Corn Cob Pipe & A Button Nose is inspired by a classic children's ballad that tells the tale of a snowman magically brought to life by an enchanted hat, just to enjoy the sweet reprise of a bowlful of his favorite blend, or so we recall. That blend was composed of gold and red Virginias, Burley, and Cavendish, flavored with a topping that readily evoked the aroma and flavor of hot cocoa, and sliced into a cube cut to easily fill your bowl.
Savinelli's own Christmas themed pipes, the St Nicholas, brought back their solid Author shape for their 2016 run, the 320 KS,= — a design that's been conspicuously absent since 2013. Throw in the more modern 311 KS, as well as a handful of old favourites, and finish them in a deep, dark green with a marbled red band and dimpled rustication, and you've got yourself one festive series.
Since the 1980s Mark Tinsky has produced a limited edition Christmas shape, in a range of finish combinations, rather than a seasonally-themed finish dressing a range of shapes. While it makes said pipe particularly distinct to the given year it was fashioned, it also makes for a briar that can be enjoyed year-round, as it would look just as natural adjacent to a cold glass in August as it does next to a warm mug in December.
This year's Christmas pipe is an affable, charming take on the bent Apple, imbued with the high-set beadline of a Rhodesian, and lent a tapering, oval shank, which leads the eye to a slightly downward-turned saddle stem, inset with Tinsky's own star logo. It's found rendered in everything from smooth-polished morta, to warm, tanblasted briar, to an elegant, dark walnut contrast stain.
Presenting a hand selected vintage of ripe Virginias every year, McClelland's Christmas Cheer is a limited edition blend that showcases the best of McClelland's storied VA blends. Meanwhile, their aromatic Holiday Spirit blend provides the comforting decadence of dark rum, pecan, and cocoa over a bed of Virginias, Burleys, and black Cavendish.
Okay, so you've gotten a big gift, but now the space under the tree is still looking somewhat bare. Pipe cleaners, tampers, lighters, and cork knockers... these are all things pipe smokers need, and they make a great way to pad out your Christmas offerings.
We've put together a holiday gift guide page that, as well as going through a lot of what we've covered here, has a bunch of great ideas for stocking stuffers.
Well, I hope this guide helped you find something for Christmas (either for yourself or for your pipe-smoking loved ones). If you're still feeling a little overwhelmed, don't hesitate to drop our customer service team a line; they're always happy to help out.
Oh, and don't forget that until December 31st our free shipping kicks in at $50, instead of the usual $95, so take advantage of those stocking stuffers to bump up your total if need be.