Like many of us, the Holidays are my favorite time of year. I love the city when it’s all lit up; couples shopping at little indie stores and boutiques; hitting museums or stepping out for dinner, followed by cocktails inside my favorite lounge. And, as Christmas is the holiday I will be celebrating, it is good to remember that Giving is the real gift of the season. The following are a few of my picks to share with friends and family that should go a long way in making spirits bright…

Shinola Den King and Featured image | by Nicole Franzen

Shinola Hotel | Keys to the City Holiday Experience

A great place to begin your Holiday adventure is with your significant other during Shinola Hotel’s “Keys to the City Holiday Experience”. The hotel has carefully crafted an exclusive holiday experience for guests to discover Detroit during the festive season. Book one of their unique and meticulously detailed rooms this holiday and Shinola will include a coveted tour of the brand’s production facility, along with a Shinola journal to log holiday wish lists. Not too bad. In fact, I’ve taken the tour and will include it in an upcoming piece on museums.

Guests can also pick up a complimentary Grinch cone at Parker’s Alley Mister Dips before jetting off with two tickets to ice skate at The Rink at Campus Martius Park, with Detroit’s Christmas tree setting as the perfect backdrop.

As always, coffee service is available in Shinola’s “Living room”, which is beautifully decorated in garland and lights, and the fire will provide a warm glow to make help you and yours feel cozy. If you’re curious to read what an overnight at Shinola Hotel might be please take a look at our story A Tourist in My Own Town.

Reservations phone number: 313-356-1401 

Email: [email protected] 


Two Journals on Leather | AB

Shinola Journal

If an overnight at the hotel is not an option, but you’re still looking to pick up something from Shinola, you might look into their paper goods, including the Medium Linen Journals (seen above in Navy and Cream). This product is American Made and features a smyth-sewn binding, which (Shinola says) provides a high level of durability. I have one myself and can say with approximately 63% accuracy that when in use my writing, in most cases, tends to be about 6% better. Aside from the stats, I personally find pleasure when writing in these notebooks. In my opinion, they make a perfect gift for those who will appreciate an elevated approach to taking notes or outlining their 2023.


Santa’s Sleigh in mid century silver Christmas Tree | AB

Old World Christmas Ornaments

As Ive said, I love Christmas. And, I am of the opinion that giving or receiving Christmas ornaments throughout the season adds to the memories of the collective years of the spirit like no other gift. Who among us does not love getting out the cookies and adult eggnog, putting on Christmas music or your favorite Christmas movie, while decorating the tree? Each and every bulb has a story. And, we feel comfort and joy in sharing them. It’s “tradition”. As children, we learn about family or friends through these items. As adults, we teach our children about those who came before. And, sometimes we try to explain why the T-Rex is not a goof fit for this year’s tree (but, usually lose out to the look in their wide eyes). This fall, my family each selected an ornament from Old World Christmas to replace a few that we had, sadly, lost. And, we were all very pleased when they arrived. Mine is the Santa on Sleigh (pictured above). New ornament memories are now in full effect.

Merry Christmas, all!


AVI-8 Gift Box

AVI-8 Watches

Men like Timepieces. Not all men, of course. Just those who like being on time. And, those who at least want to look good when they’re late. So, if there is a man in your life who falls under either of the aforementioned AVI-8 Watches is delighted to announce the launch of the P-51 Mustang Tuskegee Airmen Chronograph Limited Edition,created in partnership with Tuskegee Airmen Inc. (TAI).

2022 marked the 80th anniversary of the activation of the famed 99th Pursuit Squadron, the first African American flying squadron, part of the collective of African American aviators known as the Tuskegee Airmen and Red Tails. The 332nd Squadron flew P-51 Mustangs to escort the heavy bombers of the 15th Air Force during raids deep into enemy territory. The tails, noses and rudders of their planes were painted red for identification purposes, earning them the enduring nickname ‘Red Tails’.

The timepiece, limited to 300 pieces, is complemented by coloured minute tracks drawn from the nose art on the aircraft and “Tuskegee Airmen” is stamped as a reminder of their legacy. The padded leather strap draws inspiration from the seats inside the P-51 Mustang.

As a man of history, who believes Time is of the Essence, allow me to suggest a Timepiece for the man in your life; be he lover, father, brother, or friend.

To read more on the history of the Tuskegee Airmen please visit


Nomatic on Leather | AB


in addition to wearing timepieces, men also like to pack things. And this Nomatic Lite Pack 15L will be a welcomed gift for anyone who is tripping daily to university, work, or the coffee shop. I’ve also found this pack to be perfect for overnights in the city or day hikes in the woods. Holds my 16″ laptop, cables, cords, bath products, and a change of clothing, with several other features described on their website. Decided to pick one up after using Nomatic’s 32L Travel Backpack throughout the summer. This item is On Sale now through the holidays at $125.99 and, in my opinion, will prove to be a useful carry all for your man on the go.


St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital

And, finally, ladies and gentlemen, just a gentle reminder that while Christmas is a celebration for many there are others who are in need. Of course, you probably already know that. If, however, you are undecided as to where you are going to donate this year I ask you to consider St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. It is my understanding that, “The mission of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is to advance cures, and means of prevention, for pediatric catastrophic diseases through research and treatment. Consistent with the vision of our founder Danny Thomas, no child is denied treatment based on race, religion or a family’s ability to pay.”

Blessed with two healthy little boys, we do our best to support this organization once or twice per year. I’m sure every little bit helps.

Thank you for reading The Metropolitan and Happy Holidays!