CEO Gift Guide 2014

From becoming a fighter pilot for a day to mingling with Macaroni penguins at the Detroit Zoo, here are a few gift ideas that are sure to get your executive in the holiday spirit.

Thrills and Chills

In this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, your executive will suit up at Oakland County International Airport, climb aboard a current production of the Marchetti SF-260, an Italian-built fighter, and engage in simulated combat. Cloud 9 Living — which packages unique and memorable experiences as gifts — offers a chance to be a “Fighter Pilot for a Day.” Executives take the controls, maneuver the aircraft, and engage the enemy for the ultimate civilian air combat involvement. Reserve your flight mission with Air Combat USA at

Your Mission
  • Arrive “on base” and obtain a flight briefing from your co-captain. You will learn the specifications of the aircraft, how to operate the controls, and how to outmaneuver and outgun your foes in realistic “heart-pumpling, g-pulling battles.” Take off in the Marchetti SF-260 and rise 4,000 feet into the air, warm up with practice runs and then prepare for several dogfights with other fighter pilots. Once airborne, your instructor pilot will hand over the controls as you engage your enemy in combat.
  • Put your shooting skills to the test by utilizing the flight controls, and try to get as many “hits” as possible with mock bullets while eluding your opponent’s fire.
  • All flights are recorded on a disk from three cockpit cameras that document the action with the sights and sounds of every mission to keep the memory alive.

PRICE: $1,395

Back in Time

This Henry Ford Limited Edition Pocket Watch (only 1,000 will be produced) was designed by Shinola, the Detroit-based company dedicated to producing American-made products including watches, bicycles, leather goods, and home furnishings. The company’s first pocket watch was created to honor Henry Ford’s contribution to American innovation and industry. The pocket watch is part of Shinola’s Great Americans Series, which pays tribute to industry icons who changed the world. The pocket watch can be purchased at Shinola’s store in Midtown or at It comes with a leather-bound coffee table book that features rare imagery from the Archive of American Innovation. PRICE: $1,000

Timeless Beauty

David Yurman, a jewelry designer, is a sculptor by trade who creates uniquely distinctive pieces suitable for any style. One of his newest innovations, debuting this holiday season, is a sterling silver chevron band donned with intricately-placed black diamonds. The ring is available at Tapper’s Diamonds and Fine Jewelry stores in West Bloomfield Township, the Somerset Collection in Troy, and Twelve Oaks Mall in Novi. PRICE: $1,650

A Gift that Gives to Others

The Detroit Zoo offers several gift ideas that allow patrons to give twice by getting up close and personal with the animals and, at the same time, supporting the zoo.

  • Enjoy “Breakfast with the Butterflies” ($300 per group of five), “Breakfast with the Giraffes” ($500 per group of six), or “Mingle with the Macaronis” ($750 per group of five). Or, take a guided ZooTour ($250 for two people; $100 for each additional person) that lets you explore the Animal Kingdom before the zoo opens. A knowledgeable docent will be your personal guide, and you will ride on a zero-emission golf cart.
  • A lasting impression can be made at the zoo with a brick tribute paver engraved with the recipient’s name or special message ($100 to $1,000), or a brass-finished, laser-etched butterfly displayed in the Wildlife Interpretive Gallery ($500).
  • An ADOPTS (Animals Depend on People to Survive) gift package includes a plush animal, photo, personalized adoption certificate, and greeting card.

PRICES: $40 to $1,000.

To find out more about these and other ways to support the Detroit Zoo, call 248-336-5836.


The Original Murdick’s Fudge on Mackinac Island has been producing confections with “Pure Michigan” ingredients for more than 125 years. The Original Murdick’s Fudge Holiday Sampler features three different half-pound slices of fudge (choose from 10 flavors), a bag of caramel corn, a box of brittle (peanut, cashew, or pecan), and a box of nut-topped toffee. Sampler boxes and other goodies can be purchased at The Original Murdick’s Fudge on Mackinac Island, in St. Ignace, Mackinac City, Martha’s Vineyard, or online at PRICE: $75


Detroit-based Coffee of Origin is showcasing a limited run of Bourbon bean coffee (it’s a brand, not a flavor). This exclusive blend is sourced from a premium bean that produces a crisp and sweet flavor. The 12-oz. bag of Bourbon coffee is available in a hand-painted, one-of-a-kind, customizable coffee box, and can be purchased online at PRICE: Coffee $40; bag of coffee with a handcrafted coffee box $120.


and Be Merry!

Your special executive and 12 friends will be treated to an amazing and unforgettable  world of wine. Master Sommelier Ronald Edwards, based in Charlevoix, will delve into the regional history and geography of Michigan wines, provide insight on grape varietals via blind tasting techniques, and build a strong foundation so you know what to consider when examining wine. For a “Day with a Master Sommelier,” contact Edwards at, call 231-675-1312, or go online at PRICE: $1,750, plus the cost of wine.

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