“I would describe myself as a maximalist—more is more, but within the confines of good taste,” says event planner Rebecca Gardner, who’s designed fantastical fetes for Carolina Herrera and Moda Operandi, among others. With big events called off, Gardner launched Houses & Parties, an e-commerce site for extravagant entertaining: party hats from Tel Aviv, marbled Italian paper, and ceramics made in Kyoto. She’s one of many online retailers catering to this most unusual holiday season.
Carolina Irving and Daughters, established by the fabric designer and former House & Garden editor with her two adult children, offers painterly serveware made in Portugal, Spain, and India. Elizabeth Lake sources linens from Irish, Italian, and Belgian mills and has Portuguese artisans hand-stitch them into napkins with nature-inspired motifs. Ceramist Frances Palmer refines American craft with her earthenware, which spans from classical forms to ornate whimsy.
For the modernist: Items from Horne include pencil-thin cutlery from Cutipol and stylish kitchen tools from Normann Copenhagen. The Milan-based fashion brand La DoubleJ applies its graphic prints and saturated hues to homewares like aprons, place mats, and dishes. And the colored-glass cake stands and stemware from Estelle take tableware basics up a notch.
Crowd Cow connects you to small farms producing everything from heritage pork-jowl bacon to Japanese Wagyu beef. The Palmaz family (famed for their namesake winery) runs a cattle ranch in Northern California where they raise pampered American Wagyu. The family’s limited-quantity cuts are available when you join their Brasas Food & Wine Society. Snake River Farms, a larger Wagyu operation based in Idaho, supplies its highly marbled beef to chefs like Hugh Acheson and Wolfgang Puck.
Bronx-based Gustiamo imports boutique-brand pasta, pignoli, and other staples from Italy. The Christmas panettone from Padua sells out quickly. Goldbelly collaborates with local restaurants to ship the fixings for making dishes at home, including Daniel Boulud’s bouillabaisse and Stephanie Izard’s goat empanadas.
Reserve Bar has a wide assortment of wines, spirits, and champagnes, including some rarities—like the $4,100 Louis XIII cognac from Rémy Martin—and offers an engraving service for the bottles. J.J. Buckley offers a wine storage program that lets you snag a collectible before it sells out but have it shipped to you only when you need it.
New York’s Michelin-starred restaurant Caviar Russe ramped up its online operation with the Jubilant Collection, which serves up to 15 people its Caspian Platinum osetra and comes with a silver-plated Christofle server. Co-founded by chef Thomas Keller, Regiis Ova sources caviar from sustainable farms and delivers it fresh overnight.
The Cake Bake Shop ships seasonal cakes like its candy cane peppermint chocolate to all 50 states. They include ingredients such as Belgian chocolate, French sea salt, and Madagascar vanilla. For ice cream, the Portland-based Salt & Straw is known for its quirky seasonal flavors, such as the Thanksgiving-inspired sweet-potato casserole with maple pecans and the Christmas-style Gingerbread Cookie Dough.