Gifted Giver: Brad Ralph

We’re counting down the crucial pre-Christmas shopping days with a series called Gifted Givers, in which friends old and new share their thoughts on stylishly spirited giving and receiving.

We’ve made all kinds of cool Calgarian friends since opening Canada’s first Nordstrom in the summer of 2014. One such citizen is Brad Ralph. He cofounded iStockphoto.com, and continues to help photographers and videographers produce and sell fresh content with that company as well as with Getty Images. In his off time, Ralph rides bicycles, takes photos (check his IG for serious adventuring) and wrangles three Chihuahuas with his significant other, Allison. We’re guessing you can either relate to his aesthetically savvy, business-in-the-front/backroads-in-the-back kinda lifestyle—or that there’s someone in your life who can.

The Thread: What would you love to give your girlfriend this year?
Ralph: Allison is the type of lady that can rock a great pair of pumps. She loves her fancy shoes, and the taller the heel, the better. I have a feeling that opening a box with these strappy, open-toe Christian Louboutin’s inside would make her squee with joy. It’s something she’d never splurge on for herself, but would truly appreciate.

What would you love to unwrap for yourself?
I have a thing for bags; it’s kind of a problem. Whether it’s messenger bags, camera packs, laptop cases or luggage, a great quality, well-designed bag will always get me. This Ferragamo bag spawns some serious accessory lust.

What kinds of things do people tend to give you? Why do you suppose that is? What does no one ever give you or what do you never indulge in for yourself?
I tend to get electronic gadgets, photography-related items or the obvious cycling-related gear. I guess because I work with photos and computers, it’s a natural for people to assume I’m into the techy stuff, but I love to get back in touch with analogue wherever I can. Film cameras, records… I may be one of the few that still prefers magazines over iPads. I rarely ever get clothes or accessories as gifts. I am definitely particular about clothing, so I guess most of my friends and family would have a hard time knowing what I’d like. The exception is my friend Carl. He’s one of Calgary’s top stylists and a personal shopper, and when I get a gift from him I know it’s going to be something to wear, and it’s going to be perfect. I’d pay him to do all my clothes shopping if I could afford it!

What’s your go-to host or hostess gift, either for a party or for a weekend or extended stay?
For the casual acquaintance, a great coffee-table book of photography or art—as long as its subject matter is nothing too risqué—along with a quality bottle of wine. If it’s a long-time friend or someone I have some history with, then adding a personal or interactive element is always fun. A small, well-framed photo of some event in the past is a nice surprise—especially if it’s of a moment they may not have realized was captured. For friends who I know are music lovers, especially those who still regard vinyl as their go-to medium, I’ll try to find a recording that brings up some specific memory of the past, along with an appropriate alcohol and the instruction that they must both be enjoyed together. What friends wouldn’t want to relive the moments of that early ’90s Dinosaur Jr show, where you had too many vodka Paralyzers and vomited behind the venue’s arcade machines?

SHOP: Holiday Gifts | Nordstrom Chinook Centre

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