No Time Like The Present!
It’s that time of the year again, a time to brightly tolerate and dish out chirpy greetings, warm hugs and hot mugs, little somethings and big surprises. ‘Tis the season for repeating scenes; Sparkles and cranberries followed by cranky elves with papercuts stealing late night catnaps on the couch. Yes Virginia, the season of giving is filled with clichés and white elephants, but don’t be a Scrooge! Make like the Grinch and adopt these clichés as tradition!
There is no time like the present to start thinking about holiday shopping. Christmas will be here in two shakes of a reindeer’s tail so strike while the hot toys are still in stock! Lucky for you, I’ve already made my list and checked it twice, and yes your name is at the very top. I wrote this gift guide just for you, to help you make holiday wishes come true. So please enjoy my cliché filled guide to cliché free holiday gift giving.
All That Glitters Isn’t Gold
Except for Zombies, everybody loves a shiny object. Zombies fear the glint of serrated steel. Vigilant friends will feel prepared with the “Walking Dead” endorsed Gerber Machete. While others will prefer the glow of pretty lights, liquid gold or glitter. Actual glitter.
- Gerber Gator Machete ($29.95, Excalibur Cutlery, Bellevue Square)
- Viz Coloriscape Glass Solar Spirals ($39.99, Gray Barn Nursery, Redmond)
- Djeco Glitter Art Kit ($22.99 Bellevue Art & Frame and The Toy Place)
- Reed’s Ginger Beer (Non-Alcoholic) 4-pack ($4.99, Total Wine and More, Bellevue)
- Berry’s Islay Reserve Scotch Whiskey ($79.99, Total Wine and More, Bellevue)
Hold Your Nose and Pay!
The key to surviving holiday gift-giving for kids is to balance the icky things they ask for with some picky things you want them to have. Act fast, get those giant hunks of magical plastic in the bag, and then find something wholesome, classic, active or eco-friendly to help keep the stench of Justin Bieber perfume and bloody virtual war games from staining your conscience.
- Icky: Justin Bieber ‘Girlfriend’ Perfume Collection (From $20, Macy’s Redmond Town Center)
- Picky: The Complete Little House Nine-Book Set By Laura Ingalls Wilder ($37.47, Amazon.com)
- Icky: Call of Duty Black Ops 2 by Activision ($59.99, GameStop)
- Picky: Nerf N-Strike Elite Hail-Fire ($34.99, Target)
- Icky: Fisher-Price Little People Disney Princess Songs Palace or Fisher-Price Jake and The Neverland Pirates – Musical Pirate Ship Bucky ($39.99, Toys R Us)
- Picky: Jellycat Plush Animals ($14-$26, Whitehorse Toys, Gilman Village, Issaquah) or Uncle Goose International Wooden Blocks ($39.99, CF Kids, Crossroads Mall.)
Everything But The Kitchen Sink
I ruin Jello, but I can fake my way through entertaining with good serving pieces and shortcuts; I am actually obsessed with my lovely Laguiole bread knife ($32). Pasta & Co. Truffle Cookie Dough is a delicious bargain arranged on pretty vintage plates and platters to give to the neighbors. (P.S. Santa, Wouldn’t that espresso maker look fab in my kitchen?)
- Signature Mints 8oz. Bag ($9.99, Common Folk Co., Crossroads Mall)
- Laguiole Boxed Serving Pieces ($11.50-$88.50, Terra Bella, Old Main Bellevue)
- Nespresso Citiz Espresso Maker with Aeroccino Frother ($299, Sur La Table, Kirkland-The Bravern)
- Truffle Cookie Dough ($8.50, Pasta & Co., Bellevue)
- Vintage plates and Platters (Goodwill, Bellevue)
What Comes Around Goes Around
Give a gift with your purchase of cause merchandise. There’s nothing gimmicky about quality merchandise that can also help restore eyesight, feed the hungry and keep kids healthy. It’s a GOOD thing!
- jcoco Chocolate ($6.99, PCC Natural Market, Redmond )
- Skyline Socks ($11.99, Medina Market, Medina)
- TOMS Sunglasses ($98-$169, Nordstrom, Bellevue Square)
- Fair Trade Ornament Sets ($24.95-$29.95, Crate & Barrel, Bellevue Square)
- Velveteen Rabbit or Night Before Christmas Picture Book and Plush Toy ($5 each, Kohl’s, Redmond)
Get in the Game!
Familiarity can easily breed contempt, so prevent the fallout of too much “quality time” by keeping the conversation and competitive spirit focused on the game table. If you haven’t seen an all ages HexBugs Warriors battle you’re just not livin’ right.
- Wits and Wagers ($29.99, Uncle’s Games, Crossroads Mall-Redmond Town Center.)
- Husky Loyal DVD ($19.99 University Bookstore, Bellevue)
- Hexbug Warriors ($7.99-$29.99, Target)
- Cards Against Humanity ($25, Amazon.com)
- Hover Soccer ($19.99, Bellevue Art and Frame and the Toy Place)
Over The Top
A gift that feels luxurious doesn’t have to be expensive. To an artist a stack of canvasses is a delight, to a kid twenty Hot Wheels at one time is crazy cool. Spoil someone you love with an exquisitely wrapped gift from their favorite brand. Note: the car might need more than one stick on bow.
- Yard of Bubblegum ($9.99, Cost Plus, Bellevue-Redmond)
- PJ Salvage Throw Blanket ($42, Hepburn, Kirkland)
- Tory Burch Collection (From $45, Tory Burch, The Bravern)
- Fiat Pop ($15,500 Rairdon Fiat of Kirkland)
- Porsche Turbo S 911 Convertible ($185,000 Barrier Motors, Bellevue)
Young @ Heart
It’s hard to act surprised or grateful for the usual gifts if all you can think about is where to store it or how long you have to wait before you can give it back or pass it on. Offer your elders something edible, returnable, and desirable, in case you get it back down the line. Dig up and frame a flattering vintage photo, pot a Lemon Cypress in a cool antique or give them the gift that keeps on giving; something new to do with the grandkids.
- KidsQuest Children’s Museum Membership ($88, Factoria Mall, Bellevue)
- Antiques and collectibles (Haystack Antiques, Bellevue)
- Lemon Cypress Tree ($7.97-$29.97, Home Depot, Issaquah)
- Bradford Photo Frame ($14.99-19.99, Aaron Bros, Bellevue-Issaquah-Redmond)
- Five Guys Restaurant Gift Card (Bellevue-Renton- Issaquah), Kanishka Indian Restaurant Gift Certificate (Redmond)
We Have The Technology
It’s not a surprise that electronics are on your shopping list. Touchscreens don’t mix well with northwest mists so a full function waterproof cover could become your teen’s really real BFF. While they’re still grateful for their new toys, sneak a Sonicare AirFloss into their bathroom—one handed flossing will make it feel like Christmas all over again.
- Apple Nano, Seventh Generation ($149.99, Best Buy)
- Microsoft Surface (From $499, Microsoft Store, Bellevue Square)*
- Seal Line e-Series Cases ($19.99-$24.99, Container Store, Bellevue Square)
- Philips Sonicare AirFloss Set of 2 ($119, Costco Warehouse, Kirkland-Issaquah)
All Over The Map
Get a taste of the exotic and travel a new path without the awkward pat-down. I love-love SAFARI, a Photicular book, it’s a perfect gift for families or curious little minds. Wrapping the Paris style book with Chanel cosmetics is a sure thing, and Bartell’s Drugstore is a clever one-stop shop for something Northwest-y to go with tickets to new Seattle attractions; The Great Wheel or the Chihuly Garden and Glass.
- SAFARI, A Photicular Book by Dan Kainen, Carol Kaufmann ($24.95, Island Books, Mercer Island)
- Northwest Gifts ($2.99-$29.99, Bartell’s Drugs) Great Wheel Admission ($8.50-$13) Chihuly Garden and Glass Admission ($12-$19)
- Macklemore & Ryan Lewis CD, “The Heist” ($10.00, Silver Platters, Crossroads Mall)
- “Lessons From Madame Chic: 20 Stylish Secrets I learned While Living In Paris,”($23, Barnes and Noble, Bellevue)
- Chanel Cosmetics (From $26 Neiman Marcus, The Bravern)
That’s A Wrap
Now that your shopping is all wrapped up, it’s time to do the same for your gifts. Forget the mismatched box or crumpled gift bag. Head over to PS Store in Redmond where they will kit you out with lovely calligraphy tags, cello bags, simple giftwrap, tissue and easy to tie tulle ribbon that will make you look like a gift-wrapping genius in the same time it takes to get a bad wrap.
- Gift Wrap Supplies (.25 – $20 Packaging Specialties, Redmond)