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Introducing... The Holiday Must-Haves

  • Najib Benouar

In our ongoing campaign to help you win the holidays, we’ve come up with a list of eight integral items you’ll want handy for the upcoming season.

Some are things you can wear, some are calls to action, and some are just a state of mind. But they all add up to one hell of a festive menagerie, bound to get you in the holiday spirit. We’ve got the entire list below, but as always, you can find them anytime you’re in need of inspiration on the left side of the Kempt home page.

Let the happy holidaying begin.»

Dusting Off: The Rocking Chair

As connoisseurs of history, we sometimes find styles, habits and turns of phrase from the past that we wouldn’t mind bringing back to the present, Doc Brown-style. This time around, we’re dusting off the rocking chair.

Chairs just aren’t fun anymore.

Sure, if you want to sit in front of a computer all day, modern furniture design has your back completely—but if you’re going to spend the next two hours leisurely sipping a mint julep (possibly on a veranda), it can be hard to find an appropriately relaxing place to sit. Which is why we’d like to dust off the easygoing fixture known as the rocking chair.

Lean back; we’ll take it from here...

A paean to the forgotten charms of the rocking chair»

The Conceptual Clog


As per usual, Maison Martin Margiela have managed to make us do a double take. These wood effect laceless oxfords have made their debut for spring, complete with a cap toe and an actual wooden stacked heel. And, since they’re made of napa leather, the breaking in process will be less daunting than it appears. Now, onto the plexiglass wingtips…

The Woodgrain


Count on the Northwest to make us nostalgic for summer. Oregon’s Shwood just released a new set of shades, the Ashland, and as handsome as they are, we suspect we won't be needing them for at least a six months.

The frames take after a classic 80s aviator not too different from the kind Kanye’s favoring these days, carved out of East Indian rosewood. It’s a kind of texture you don’t get the chance to wear very often, and it's strange and handsome enough to turn a standard pair of aviators into something that's almost avant garde.

And yes, they'll be even better once the sun comes out.



Textured plastic has taken over almost all of our work-based accoutrements, so it’s nice when we can take on back. Think of a metal fountain pen, a canvas notebook—or an optical mouse carved entirely out of wood, right down to the USB plug. Of course, you won’t be able to pick it up for less than a thousand dollars…but it’s a fair price for spending all day handling ebony.

Into the Woods


Vinyl obsessives tend to be pretty retro-minded, but going back to our lumberjack ancestors may be pushing it. Then again, maybe not.

Audiowood (via NotCot) specializes in turntables made from raw slices of wood. You don’t see much bark outside of ski lodges, but given that you probably had to dig up most of your records from inclement conditions, it’s only fitting that your player get a little rustic.

So far they’re all one-of-a-kind…but let us know if you see them in any DJ booths.

See more Audiowoods»



You’re looking at the Splinter, the brainchild of a team of NC State students. The goal was to make a sports car made almost entirely of wood, including the suspension and wheel wells, and by the looks of things, they’re pretty close to having a supercar on their hands.

We aren’t sure how it drives, but it’s a lot lighter, cheaper, and generally cooler looking than what Detroit’s turning out these days. The creator, Joe Harmon, says he has no interest in selling the cars, but we’re sure he could be persuaded if enough loudmouth bloggers got together.

In the meantime, someone get this man a bucket of VC money.

See Harmon in action»

A Series of Pipes


If you’re still flirting with tobacco, a pipe can add a Hefner-esque touch to your homecoming routine. And while you probably weren’t hurting for a place to stash them, it’s always nice to have a bit of niche furniture.

This pipe cabinet from Palo Samko has two distinct advantages over setting aside a spot in your desk. First, the whole thing looks like a barely-finished log, meaning it’ll add a touch of mountain-man style to even the most urbane space. And second, those circular drawers won’t get old any time soon.

Well played, Palo. Well played.

Radio, Radio


Unlike a lot of modern gadgets, radio isn’t such a complicated technology. Not that long ago, people were building them in their attics for fun. But it probably never occurred to them to turn to carpentry.

This refreshingly crafty version comes from an Indonesian designer, who harnesses local materials and labor to make a two-tone radio that runs on AAs. It may look like a cutting board, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.