How To Gift Well According To Kerry Diamond and Claudia Wu

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The duo behind the biannual foodie mag Cherry Bombe shares how to gift well—and handle sticky holiday situations in good taste.

With a combined résumé of four restaurants, two PR teams, one design agency and over five magazines between them, Kerry Diamond and Claudia Wu have perfected the successful indie food mag recipe: one part expertise, one part network of brilliant women, one part undeterred ambition, sprinkled with good old-fashioned charm. We asked the pair how they navigate the busy, sometimes tricky holiday season.

What’s the best gift you’ve ever given someone?

Claudia (right): Back in high school, I woke up at 5am to fill my boyfriend’s car with balloons and a journal because he was a writer. I’d drawn or written something different on every page. It took months to finish!

Kerry (left): One year, for my coworkers, I made beautiful cookies, like chocolate-dipped Florentines and oatmeal cherry chocolate chip cookies, and tied them up in boxes with a ribbon.

What do you think about when picking out a gift for someone?

Claudia: I try to remember things they say in passing and make mental notes throughout the year.

Kerry: The first thing is not to overthink it. If you’re stumped, pick something you love. You can never go wrong by setting a gift up with, “This is my favorite candle, notebook, book, etc.”

And what’s one type of gift you should steer clear of?

Kerry: Anything that reflects a desire on your part for that person to change.

You’re at a holiday party you know certain people have not been invited to. Is it rude to post Instagram photos?

Claudia: Yes. Plus, if you’re not posting all night, you can actually enjoy the company.

Sometimes you simply can’t make a friend’s party. How do you politely decline?

Claudia: Remember that people understand the holidays are a crazy time and that it’s impossible to go to everything.

Kerry: Sometimes honesty is the best policy. Sometimes you just need a day (or night) in.

You need to take a holiday moment for yourself—how do you de-stress?

Claudia: I unwind on free evenings by staying in, not drinking, eating healthy foods and watching something on TV while catching up on work and emails.

Kerry: I like to stay in, cook, open a nice bottle of wine, set the table, play some of my favorite albums and hang out with my boyfriend.

Can you return a gift you don’t want to keep?

Claudia: I think it’s perfectly acceptable to exchange gifts that aren’t right for you. If the giver checks in, just tell them the truth—in a nice way, of course.

Kerry: Yes, go ahead and return it. Life is too short to be stuck with things you don’t like.

And can regifting be done in good taste?

Claudia: It definitely depends, mostly on how personal and specific to you the gift is.

Kerry: I always regift, but only to my family. It’s kind of a joke at this point. But I always fess up to the regifting.

What’s the statute of limitations on thank-you notes?

Claudia: If you’re bad at correspondence, like me, send it via email and usually within a few days.

Kerry: I would say a week at the absolute most. I love a handwritten thank-you note, but sometimes an email is the best way to get the note out quickly. If you are sending an email, include a photo of the gift. It’s fun for the recipient to see that you received it and love it.

What’s your favorite way to give back?

Kerry: Citymeals-on-Wheels is an important organization that provides meals to housebound individuals in New York. It was founded by Gael Greene, the former restaurant critic of New York Magazine and someone we admire a lot at Cherry Bombe. It’s nice to receive, but it’s even nicer to give this time of year!

Kerry (left) is wearing a Madewell Flannel Cargo Workshirt in Buffalo Check and Skinny Skinny Jeans in Waterfall Wash. Claudia (right) is wearing a Marled Turtleneck and High Riser Skinny Skinny Jeans in Lunar.

Shop Kerry and Claudia’s gift guide picks here.

Photography by Angi Welsch.