I know that gift giving is not supposed to be competitive, but I still like to win. I love giving a gift that the recipient will love and use for many years. A Japanese kitchen knife is a gift they will use daily and have fond thoughts of you every time.
If you're giving a knife as a gift, you obviously want to give the coolest present ever. Ideally you want the recipient to squeal with delight after opening the box. You want them to shout “Holy bananas! This is the coolest thing I've ever seen!” while doing a victory lap around the room with the knife held high above their head—in a safe manner, of course.
How to get the right response:
You need a knife that has the look. There are tons of average looking knives in the world, but ignore those. Gift knives need to be sexy.
You always want to give a gift that's easy to care for. Giving someone a knife that could rust is like giving them a puppy to look after. Go with stainless steel.
Get something they can use every day. If this is their first Japanese knife, we recommend a multi-purpose knife like a 210mm gyuto. Here are some of our favourites. If it is not their first, a supporting knife like a petty or nakiri is a great option.
Let them know the story of the knife. Each knife from us includes a letter that tells the craftsman's story, along with their picture and vital knife-care instructions. If they learn a bit about the people who made their knife and how to care for it, they will treasure it more. In our documentary Springhammer, we let the blacksmiths speak for themselves.
They need to keep it sharp, store it safely and cut on something. Considering how they will use and store the knife can take your gift from great, to amazing! Think about how they will store the knife, (do they require a blade guard?) how they will keep it sharp (do they have a destructive steel honing rod, or do they have a ceramic honing rod which we recommend?) and consider a knife skills class for them to become super confident with their new life-long tool. If you really want to blow their mind, add a cutting board in with the knife!
Some superstitions say that giving a knife as a gift is bad luck. They say it can 'sever' the relationship. Be heartened, there is is a sneaky loophole if you are superstitious. Include a coin in the box, and the recipient can use the coin to 'buy' the knife from you. It's sneaky, but I've cleared it with our lawyers.
We’ve helped loads of people find the best gifts for weddings, anniversaries, birthdays Mother's Day and Father’s Day. Now Christmas is coming, and we can help.
All of the knives I suggest here have that “wow”-inducing look. They are easy to care for, are something you can use every day, and they all come with a care letter so the person receiving the gift will know the story of their knife. Don’t forget to put a coin in the box and get a blade guard for storage.
Here are some of our top selling gift knives of the year!