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You could book it to Starbucks on Christmas Eve to stock up on gift cards—and you wouldn't be alone, the mega-chain sells $2 million worth of them on December 24th—or you could take a slightly more thoughtful approach to vouchers-as-presents. Here, we've rounded up New York City's best, most hyper-specific gift cards to give (or start dropping serious hints about) this holiday season. From nail art for beauty snobs to neon-sign-making lessons for DIY types, check off those gift list stragglers and give them something experiential, this way.
Cooking Classes at Brooklyn Kitchen
Photo: The Brooklyn Kitchen
Williamsburg's Brooklyn Kitchen—a culinary-school-slash-cooking-gear-shop just off the BQE—offers classes that go way beyond basic knife skills (although, if that's what your amateur chef pal wants to brush up on, BK's course is top notch). While you can purchase gift cards in $25 increments, most classes fall in the $85 to $95 range, meaning your recipient may end up with a little extra cash to spend on Brooklyn Kitchen's spicy honey or splatter paint mugs. On January's cooking class calendar: bagel making, spicy Sichuan cooking, homemade pizza with Roberta's, and a crash course in fried chicken and waffles.
Grown-Up Nail Art at Paintbox
We thought statement manicures had nowhere left to go (3D flowers? Tiny unicorns galloping across nail-spanning rainbows? We'd seen it all.) until Paintbox introduced us to the concept of minimal nail art. The Soho salon, which opened this May, doesn't have a polish wall—instead, customers pick a design and colorway from a seasonal lookbook (holiday options include tinsel stripes and glittery reverse French manis). Pick up a gift card for $65—the cost of a gel manicure with nail art—for your friend who knows the layout of every Sephora nail polish aisle in the city.
A MoMA Membership
Cross off the art history major on your list with a 2015 membership to the Museum of Modern Art. $85 buys you unlimited free visits, $5 guest tickets, free films, and special access to members-only talks and exhibition previews.
Unlimited Monthly Makeup Lessons at Rouge
Rouge has made it easier than ever to live life like a Kardashian. Earlier this year, the makeup-only salon introduced for a $250 unlimited monthly pass for everything they offer—that's makeup services, facial waxing, and brow shaping and tinting. Buy one for your fanciest friend.
Wine Classes at Corkbuzz
Knowing when to skip the $35 Riesling and go for the $11 bottle instead is a fantastic life skill to have. Arm your friends with this valuable knowledge by treating them to a wine tasting session at Corkbuzz. A $75 gift card covers one class.
A Neon-Sign-Making Course at Urban Glass
Photo: Urban Glass
Encourage your friend to get in touch with her inner Tracey Emin at Brooklyn's Urban Glass studio. For $350, students can spend a weekend flameworking their own neon signs.
A Trapeze Lesson at Trapeze School of New York
Photo: Gilt City
After one $50 session at the Trapeze School of New York your adventurous pal may not be able to fly through the air with the greatest of ease, but she will be able to show off photos of herself dangling upside down above the West Side Highway (safety nets conveniently cropped out).
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· A Living Barneys Window Installation on Fake Ice, Baz Luhrmann [Racked NY]
· Bergdorf Goodman's Holiday Windows: An Ode to the Arts [Racked NY]