Here’s a common holiday gifting dilemma: someone in your life loves professional sports, and they’re passionate about a particular team. They also have a good eye and refined tastes. Or a wicked sense of humor. So the usual T-shirt, hat or team sweatshirt is just not going to get the job done. What are the best Christmas gifts for sports fans?
gifts from beyond the sporting goods store
Where can you turn to find upscale – dare we say luxurious – sports apparel and accessories suitable for the elegant precincts of Park Avenue, Miami Beach, or Beverly Hills? Or for the cool-kid streets of Brooklyn, Austin or Atlanta?
Look no further. As part of our holiday gifting series, we’ve rounded up 9 of the best Christmas gifts for sports fans.
We surveyed the members of our Sports Desk and checked in with some of our far-flung correspondents to gather suggestions from people who actually know what they’re talking about. We could go for some of these ourselves, actually (and self-gifting is totally allowed):
1. knitwear from The Elder Statesman x NBA
LA-based knitwear line The Elder Statesman has teamed up Farfetch to blend the worlds of luxury apparel and professional sports. The line includes cashmere sweaters ($1,620-$2,100), cashmere scarves ($600-$725) and knit hats ($420-$480). This year’s lineup includes items from the Dallas Mavericks and the San Antonio Spurs.
2. hand-crafted embroidered cotton and leather belts
These belts would not be out of place at a traditional office, or on the streets of Nantucket. You can find accessories bearing professional and college team logos at Peter Millar ($98), which has every NCAA team. Smathers and Branson ($165) carries belts with the logos of almost every college and professional baseball and football team, packaged in a handsome leather box.
As part of the brand’s Fall-Winter Collection, Gucci and Major League Baseball have partnered on a range of apparel and accessories. Each item features intricate embroidery, jewel trims and premium patch details. Teams featured include the New York Yankees, LA Angels, San Francisco Giants and Pittsburgh Pirates. But the majority of the collection is focused on the Yankees, with items like a Yankees baseball cap ($530), a long navy cardigan ($3,800) and the Dionysus small shoulder bag with NY Yankees patch ($3,690). It won’t make up for the World Series this year, but it cannot hurt.
4. An NBA-inspired leather top-handle bag from 205W39NYC Calvin Klein
For the fashionista who also really loves baseball, Calvin Klein has created the perfect gift. This chic burnt-orange top-handle bag with “regulation NBA stripes” will take anyone from court side to the street in style.
5. designer baseball shoes
If your fashionista is more a baseball type, Calvin Klein 205W39NYC has got you covered with these white leather high-heeled “baseball” pumps. Perfect for the ball park and for the victory party. Surely someone on your list is a Boston Red Sox fan? We’re thinking World Series party, Part 2.
6. A basketball bag
Gucci’s Tifosa basketball-shaped leather shoulder bag is perfect for stylish fans who want to show their sport some love at all times. It’s from the Resort 2019 collection, and it’s selling quickly.
7. fine artwork
You can opt for a work by LeRoy Neiman if that’s your thing. But if you want something that really stands out, try these. On 1st Dibs you can find a vintage photograph of the 1933 Le Mans Alpha Romeo Team ($2,666) that features Tazio Giorgio Nuvolari. He’s an Italian racing driver who was once called “the greatest driver of the past, the present, and the future” by Ferdinand Porsche himself.
8. sports memorabilia
Buyer beware: it is said that only 35% of sports memorabilia is authentic – which means you have to deal with a reputable, seasoned dealer. Here are a few to consider:
Lots of our jet set pals swear by Steiner Sports – they carry memorabilia from every sport. They have game-used jerseys, vintage equipment, baseball cards, game programs and photos. When we last visited, you could purchase a jersey signed by the entire 1980 Miracle on Ice Olympic team ($1,299). They are the exclusive distributor of hand-signed memorabilia from Derek Jeter, Eli Manning, Henrik Lundqvist and Patrick Ewing.
Heritage Auctions has sports jerseys, signed footballs, championship rings, photos, play books and all manner of sports ephemera. Prices start as low as $300 and go into the stratosphere. Many items can be bought online; at last check, we found a 1965 Topps Baseball Complete Card Set ($2,200) that includes Willie Mays, Mickey Mantle and Pete Rose. There are also upcoming live Sports Card Auction taking place in Dallas November 15-16.
Christie’s and Sotheby’s also have sports memorabilia auctions periodically.
9. Tickets to a big game
If your gift recipient is living the mogul life, they probably already have season tickets or a luxury suite at the stadium of their choice. Even so, great seats at a sporting event are highly likely to be welcome – just get them for a game out of town, or for a different sport.
If you want to go for broke, consider gifting a pair of the most sought-after tickets in the upcoming season. In the NBA, for example, you could gift seats to see the match-up between the LA Lakers and Golden State Warriors for Christmas Day. Or on New Years Day, you could take in the NHL Winter Classic between the Boston Bruins and the Chicago Blackhawks at Notre Dame Stadium. You get the idea. Pick a contest that anyone with even a passing interest in sports would want to see. And expect to pay north of $1,000 per ticket.
possibly the best gift of all
Some curmudgeonly types might say that the best gift for a passionate sports fan is being left in peace to watch the game, with no interruptions, impatient sighs, or nagging about chores. We’ll leave that one to you and yours. Those are very delicate negotiations.
Finally, the best gift you could give the dedicated sports fan in your life might be to learn how to talk sports with them. Not for hours. But for, like, 10-15 minutes. If like us, you have very little interest in sports but you have loved ones, friends and family who are deeply invested in it, then why not surprise them by actually being able to talk about The Big Game?
If you’re up for the challenge, just read our This Week In Sports Talk posting every Sunday, and you’ll be able to surprise and delight your gift recipient with a lasting heartfelt gesture.
You’ll actually be able to speak their language. And that might be the best luxury sports fan gift of all.
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And happy gifting!
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