While the words all inclusive may signal a lack of personalization, astute retailers know better: A kit with eye-catching packaging and tidy compartments transforms an otherwise run-of-the-mill gift into a multi-faceted experience.
For The Chef
JB Prince, New York's high-tech cookware emporium, grants Top Chef-level culinary skills to the masses. This 22-piece array of fruit and vegetable scrapers, wedgers, and knives makes food garnishing a snap. ($66, jbprince.com)
For The entertainer
Stelton Cylinda-Line stainless-steel bar set
"It's what we call an icon," says Fitz—the one-name half of retailer Fitzsu—of the Stelton Cylinda-Line bar set. Conceived by Danish architect Arne Jacobsen in 1964 on a cocktail napkin, the set wasn't born until 1967, when technology caught up to create the precision Jacobsen demanded. The engineering makes for immaculate bartending: The strainer pours libations without spilling a drop, and the ice tongs are sharpened to latch onto cubes. ($985, fitzsu.com)
For The gentleman
Crimson Red straight-razor set
Hand-picked items from European shaving brands mean top-notch grooming. U.K.-based Vulfix imports its badger hair for a brush that produces a quick, rich lather; Dovo, in Germany, forges its straight razors from carbon steel so indestructible, they come with a lifetime guarantee. ($243, classicshaving.com)
For The traveler
La Sardina deluxe kit
The La Sardina moniker derives from cans of sardines and rightly so—the deluxe kit from Lomography packs four nautically outfitted cameras, four colored filters, and one mega-wattage flash into a single box. The feather-light weight of the 35-millimeter cameras makes them friendly companions for globe-trotters. ($249, lomography.com)
For The bibliophile
Personal library kit
"As we make the transition to electronic readers, books become even more precious," says Jen Bilik, owner of the Knock Knock gift line. The personal library kit—stocked with adhesive pockets, checkout cards, and a date stamp and ink pad—transforms book-swapping habits while preserving the nostalgia of old-school libraries. ($16, knockknock.biz)
For The kid
Make Your Own Kaleidoscope kit
Here's one way get children to turn off the television. New Zealand-based Seedling designs toys meant to educate kids via colorful hands-on interaction, such as the DIY kaleidoscope kit. The set neatly deconstructs the physics of optical prisms into its most basic elements: confetti and rhinestones. ($34, uncommongoods.com)
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A version of this article appeared in the December 2011/January 2012 issue of Fast Company magazine.