NYC Gift Guide by Sam Sumpter, Founder of Bands do BK

Sam Sumpter
Founder/Editor/Everything at Bands do BK
Brooklyn, NY

I’m keeping it local this year with a selection of gifts that serve as experiences from NYC artists and entrepreneurs I’m seriously stoked on.

Bad & Boozy cocktails

Think bright and perfectly packaged small-batch cocktails that make for an absolutely delicious (and very Instagrammable) way to forget this year… and maybe the last four… ever happened.

Get yours in a plastic pouch or opt for a fish bowl, mason jar, milk carton or disco ball—most of which can be custom-branded, making for a gift that will last long after they’ve sucked down the last of their Fo’ Fizzle ( that’s OJ, orange blossom water, St. Germain elderflower liquer, prosecco and premium gin, baby!).

Order up to drink up at

Music and merch

Give the gift of good music + give back to artists you love.

Musicians are currently fighting to get paid one penny per stream by Spotify. In other words, they currently make less than that, which means putting their music on our personal playlists isn’t a good enough way to show support.

This season, I propose showing appreciation for the artists whose songs helped us get out of bed in 2020—or at least made staying in bed sound a hell of a lot better—by putting our money where the music is. (Plus, it’s the gift that keeps on giving—and bands can focus way more on making art when they aren’t worrying about how to pay rent.)

Here are a few incredibly talented local acts that I love—ones I’m confident you and your lucky giftees will too: Elizabeth Wyld, Lizzie No, Oceanator, New Myths, Moon Kissed, THICK, Pom Pom Squad.

Breakfast at Seitan Rising, lunch at Greedi Vegan and dinner at Modern Love

Being vegan in Brooklyn is a big problem—but only because there are way, way too many delicious options to choose from (I’m a Libra #HELP). This holiday season, I suggest satisfy your pals’ palates with kick-ass, cruelty-free cuisine from these stand-out spots.

(Friendly reminder that vegan definitely isn’t synonymous with salad, so be sure to wear your stretchy pants.)

Start drooling—then get to ordering: @seitanrising // @greedikitchen // @modernlovebrooklyn.

A birth chart or tarot reading from Mindful Michael (they/them)

Over the last couple years, Michael has been my go-to astrologer, yoga teacher, spin instructor and internet presence, and their flows, forecasts and Zoom full-moon parties have given me LIFE in the strangest (sometimes saddest) of times.

I suggest giving someone the invaluable gift of learning more about themselves in the form of a session with this remarkable human, which in my experience is equal parts enlightening, emotional and hilarious—like astrology, therapy and happy hour, all rolled into one.

Follow them at @mindfulmichael; find info and book a session at

A subscription to Literary Swag Book Club

One of my New Year’s resolutions (for real this time) is to emerge from the fetal position and read more, scroll less. One of the ways I plan on committing to this goal is by joining “Brooklyn’s best-dressed book club,” founded, run and curated by Yahdon Israel.

Membership is $50/month, and financing someone’s subscription (though they’d have to sign up themselves) means giving the ongoing gift of art, education and community.

Bonus: Meetings are currently taking place over Zoom, so members no longer need to live in NYC to participate (and now you only have to be “best dressed” from the waist up).

Follow along at @literaryswagbookclub; learn more and sign up at



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