In the wake of a year most of us would prefer to forget comes an opportunity to at least make Christmas a memorable event.
In most parts of the country (at the time of writing) borders are open and long-awaited family reunions are possible.
And whilst your presence is likely to be the greatest present of all, an exchange of meaningful and heartfelt gifts is a further balm to soothe the emotional bruises that 2020 has left most of us with.
Typically you can rely on us for some sweet recommendations to the latest and greatest travel-related accessories.
But 2020 has been far from typcial, so we’ve set our sights a little closer to home and think about the things that make us feel happy – whether that’s guilty pleasures, experiences to share with others, or things that just remind us of the need to feel pampered every once in a while.
The best present of all will be a resumption in 2021 of a somewhat-normal life and realistic travel aspirations!
In the meantime, we wish you a happy holiday season from the Executive Traveller team and hope you can find a way to spoil yourself and those around you.
Jabra Elite 85t wireless earbuds
Sometimes you just need to tune out from the world. When it comes to lightweight wireless earbuds you can wear for working around the house, during the workday commute, or even to withstand the sweat and movement of heavy exercise, Jabra is always near the top of the experts’ lists.
While slightly larger than the highly regarded 75t model, the new 85t earbuds add improved bass response, and include both two-way noise cancellation and a wireless charging case for the first time.
They’re still lightweight, comfortable over extended periods, and fully featured for listening to music or podcasts on the run (literally) in conjunction with a paired device. $349 from jabra.com.au
Hugo Boss, BOSS BOTTLED Eau de Parfum 100ml
Remember what it feels like to strut into an evening soirée, dressed to the nines and accompanied by your signature scent? Not in the modern era of social distancing, alas.
At the end of a year that has been anything but normal, turn to a classic scent from a trusted name in luxury goods to rekindle that confident feeling of refined masculinity.
BOSS BOTTLED Eau de Parfum contrasts the freshness of apple and bergamot with addictive cardamom and elegant vetiver for an intensely woody, spicy finish that’ll herald your entrance at even socially distanced gatherings. $135 RRP from myer.com.au
Pumphouse Point, Tasmania
‘Unique’ is a term that gets bandied about quite a bit in tourism, but few can live up to the promise like Pumphouse Point, a hydro-electric pumping station-turned luxurious lodge on the shores of Lake St Clair, Australia’s deepest lake surrounded by pristine Tasmanian wilderness.
The two buildings that face each other at either end of a 300-metre jetty are retro-fitted with bright and elegant accommodation, complete with killer views and access to a variety of experiences.
And if you want to make it feel really special, you can even opt to fly in from Hobart via seaplane or helicopter. Standard rooms (no water view) start from $350 per night, at pumphousepoint.com.au
Seiko Lukia SPB135J
Seiko’s latest Lukia collection celebrates the style and attitude of Tokyo’s metropolitan Ginza district.
On this watch, that celebration involves a truly ravishing red mother-of-pearl dial, with a subtle flower motif and slightly less subtle diamond hour markers.
The design of the dial manages to be bold and distinctive, while still be full of delicate details, ensuring you’ll never be bored checking the time.
The 34.8mm steel case is paired with a glossy red leather strap and Seiko’s latest automatic movement inside, which is visible through the display back. $1995 from seikoboutique.com.au
Spirited: Cocktails From Around The world
Described by Forbes as “around the world in 600 recipes”, the array of cocktails featured by author Adrienne Stillman spans six continents, 60 countries and 500 years.
Renowned iconic classics, lesser-known regional specialties and influential bespoke drinks all get a look-in, and many comprise only three or four ingredients, making this an accessible how-to guide for novices and gun bartenders alike.
Drinks are arranged by style and there’s plenty of historical and cultural information to pad out your banter as you whip up the classics for thirsty friends. $69.95 from phaidon.com
DJI Mini 2 compact drone
There really is nothing to match the wow factor of videos or photos shot from your very own drone – but drone are big, expensive and noisy, right? DJI's Mini 2 is here to change your mind.
The DJI Mini 2 is fully-featured with a 4K video and 12MP stills camera on a tri-axis gimbal, 31 minutes of battery life, a transmission distance of up to 10 kilometres, and most importantly of all – it’s only 249 grams and folds to easily fit inside a standard-sized backpack.
And via a live feed to your mobile, share anything you capture to social media in just seconds. Its drone ownership made easy. $749 from dji.com/au
Sullivans Cove XO Single Cask Brandy
Tassie whisky producer Sullivans Cove sets the benchmark in this corner of the world for top-shelf, single-malt goodness.
Now we discover they’ve been running a delicious side project, maturing brandy from local reserves of chardonnay and pinot noir, two varietals at which Tassie also excels.
The latter has 10 years in French Oak under its belt, is bottled at 51% ABV and described as “a beautifully rich and savoury spirit that defies its definition as a brandy”.
The perfect accompaniment for the Christmas pud, in other words. $275 from sullivanscove.com
COMO Treasury Hotel Perth ‘Suite Celebration’
For eastern seaboard dwellers, Western Australia could be our ‘long-haul’ destination du jour for a while – the furthest outpost we’re legally able to travel to.
Make it sweet indeed with COMO Treasury Hotel Perth’s Suite Celebration, a luxurious overnight stay at one of the COMO’s renowned suites (it was voted the second-best hotel in the world in 2016 by Conde Nast Traveller) with a few perks thrown in.
That includes $100 to spend on food and beverages across bars and restaurants including rooftop restaurant Wildflower, or the award-winning Long Chim.
A bottle of Taittinger Champagne and a box of macarons will be waiting upon check-in. How suite it will be. From $1145 for a Studio Suite to $2045 for a COMO Suite, from comohotels.com
Longines Legend Diver
The Longines Legend Diver has everything you could possibly want in a festive, summery watch. It’s a knockabout dive watch packed with vintage charm.
The green dial has some serious depth to it. And when you add the warm tones of the 42mm bronze case to that mysterious green dial, you get some real magic happening.
And the best thing about bronze is that very soon your watch will be unique to you, as the ancient alloy will develop a subtle but unique patina over time, giving your new watch a very careworn flavour. $4475 from longines.com
Dinosaur Designs Medium Resin Flat Rock Hoop Earrings
In 2020, we learned a few things – never take anything for granted, always wash your hands and keep a few extra loo rolls on hand, just in case.
We also became experts in finding retail therapy online, locating quality things that put the smile back on our faces.
These Aussie-made earrings from Dinosaur Designs add sunshine to your day with cobalt-coloured resin beads hung on a classic brass hoop.
The beads are removable and interchangeable for other coloured beads sold separately. Cute, but also clever. $250 from dinosaurdesigns.com.au
Oscar Razor gift box
We're emerging from the solitude of isolation and frankly, the unkempt beard just isn't a good look.
Get back to your clean-cut self with a gift box from Oscar Razor, the Australian-owned subscription service featuring high-quality disposable five-blade razors for an incredibly close shave.
You also get a handle and masculine-scented shaving gel. It's the image reboot that Aussie fellas desperately need as they file back into office life.
If you like it, you can keep the clean-cut look by signing up for a subscription. $49 from oscarrazor.com.au
Porsche Track Experience
There are some things money can’t buy, but fortunately the opportunity to pilot a certified Porsche 911 racing car around a pukka racetrack isn’t one of them.
Porsche Cars Australia runs a series of one-day training programs that begin with the basics of car control in a road-going 911 sport car.
Earn your stripes by progressively acquiring skills across a number of sessions and you can qualify to step into a GT3 Cup racing car to complete a day of tuition under the guidance of your own driving coach and data engineer. It’s as genuine as it gets. One-day sessions start from $1595 at porscheevents.com.au
Dyson Cool desk fan
More of us are working from home than ever, and some blazing hot days are ahead this summer.
Traditional desk fans are all function and no form, which is why the elegant and slender Dyson Cool desk fan is, quite literally, a breath of fresh air.
With no blades and patented Dyson technology, it blows a smooth and steady stream of air around the room, with 10 settings controlled by a remote, and even a sleep timer. How cool is that? $399 from dyson.com.au
Musto Sardinia BR1 lightweight sailing jacket
Getting back out into the fresh air feels more paramount than ever this summer, and sailing perfectly fits the bill for socially distanced recreation.
Musto is the apparel brand for serious sailors and this Sardinia BR1 Jacket is perfect for an afternoon on the Harbour or the Bay.
Spray proof, windproof but still lightweight, it's ideal as a standalone or as part of a layering system as the weather closes in. $299.95 from musto.com.au