All posts tagged: Gifts

11 Gift Guides From a Few of Our Favorite Women Bloggers

(Photo collage: Erica Hornung/TueNight) We are smack in the middle of the alleged most wonderful time of the year, and I have one question: Are you still shopping? Because I am. And when I’m in this kind of cyber-December-retail mode, there is no enabler like the internet, home of gift roundups of every size and focus. Some of our favorite women online have made lists of the best gift ideas for anyone on your list. If you’re still out in the internet streets looking for the as-yet elusive perfect gift for anyone or everyone, I can help. Read on: 1. The gift guides at Petit Elefant include this one with great ideas for women. The Complete Works of Jane Austen in a beautiful hardcover boxed set and a blanket scarf from ModCloth are just two of the picks your sister, your mom, or your best friend are likely to love. 2. The gift guides at Girl of a Certain Age are a double treat—packed with cool presents, and fun to read. I’m loving her list …

Midlife Mixtape: Albums, Books and Other Music-Inspired Gifts

(Photo: sharonjonesandthedapkings.bandcamp.com) O Holy Night, it’s already end of November and I’ve done zero holiday shopping so far this year – whoops. Normally all that’s left for me buy by December 1 are the tangerines for the toe of the Christmas stocking (that go uneaten in favor of the chocolate, but at least I try for the healthy option.) Not this year –  2016 kept knocking me down every time I got up. Suck it, 2016. No tangerine for you. I do, however, have lots of ideas for Christmahannakwaanzukah gifts for the music lovers, book readers, and sense of humor-havers in your lives. Some caveats: I believe in paying creative people for their work, so I still buy albums and print books (for which the musician/author gets a much higher royalty percentage.) I encourage you to shop locally. And this year in particular, I’m trying to find products that are made in parts of our country where manufacturing jobs have been lost. Maybe if people weren’t so disaffected and hopeless about the economy, they wouldn’t …

Margit’s Note: Wait! One More Thing

(Photo: Stocksy) We are in the 11th hour of 2016 with 11 more days left. (I don’t even want to ask, “Well what else could happen in 2016?” because, heaven knows, a ton.) So what’s left to do? Did you send out your holiday cards yet? Well, DID YOU. No judgment. No panic. They can be New Year’s Cards….again. Look, there’s no shame in waiting until the last minute. This column is usually pieced together the day before or very often the day of. LIKE TODAY. You’d never know, right? Don’t answer that. Panic-induced inspiration can be a beautiful thing. Pondering and meandering left behind, you’re only left with the core task at hand and it must be done. And who cares if you bought those gifts on Christmas Eve; no one’s the wiser and you got it done, didn’t you? Good things can happen at the end of the year: You spend money on your health savings account, you give final donations to worthy causes (a few we might suggest), you tip your mail …

6 Gifts That Give Back — With Style

There’s no denying that the holiday season provides plenty of opportunity for self-defeating habits and thoughts: We eat too much, sleep too little, plan more than could possibly be done and then feel bad about all of the above. Really, though, the holidays are meant to be a time to feel joy and happiness and sweet relief from the daily grind. Fortunately, there is gift giving to help us correct the balance. There’s a particular thrill to getting just the right gift for a friend or family member you love—and we all know the simple trick of doubling your pleasure with a gift that “gives back” (with a portion of the proceeds supporting a cause you care about). But let me propose a third dimension of uplift and awesome: By buying one of these gifts that give back, we are also funding the thriving American ecosystem of idealistic entrepreneurs, the believers and doers who literally can’t sleep at night because someone is hurting, hungry or in need. Each of the below organizations is about helping …

8 Seriously Cool Subscription Services to Give This Year

In 2015, as Facebook algorithms remind us to ping each other with birthday e-cards and Amazon gets closer to making deliveries by drone, the idea of gifting someone a jelly of the month — an anything of the month — feels quaintly retro. Strike that: It feels right. Send your favorite humans some good-old-fashioned, curated-and-dispatched-by-real-people, recurring snail-mail love. (It doesn’t have to be jelly.) 1. Vinyl Me, Please The “best damn record club today” kicks off your recipient’s new bespoke music library with one of their special-edition color LPs (think Wilco’s AM in swirling marigold, or a limited-edition clear pressing of Father John Misty’s I Love You, Honeybear). Each month thereafter, they’ll send a new album, a 12”x12” art print inspired by the album and a custom cocktail recipe pairing. Starts at $99 for 3 months + 1 bonus album, vinylmeplease.com   2. One Story Your favorite bookworm might now prefer an e-reader to full-sized tomes — I get it, I nearly dislocated my shoulder trying to read War and Peace on the subway a few years ago …

7 Handmade Gifts for Your Girlfriends

Here at TueNight we love to think of ourselves as crafty and creative, but the fact is we’re busy and distracted and still haven’t quite finished that scarf we started knitting in 2007. That’s why we’re grateful for our relationship with Great.ly and the textile designers, artists, jewelry makers, knitters and carpenters who actually put their tremendous skills to use. There’s no better way to say “I care” than by giving something handmade while supporting a true artisan. You can finish that scarf next year. 1. Flower Designs Coloring Book For your work friend who knows more about your daily life struggles than your mom does. These grown-up coloring books are ravishingly pretty yet inexpensive enough to justify as a sweet treat. And there’s a reason these books are trendy among stressed-out adults; they’re highly meditative. $15, great.ly 2. Gold foil lip print There’s something so Debbie Harry about these luxe gold lips. Remind your old college pal of your youthful indiscretions with this fabulous minimalist print. $43, great.ly 3. Leather and copper air plant …

10 Hostess Gifts They’ll Actually Want to Use

Our household throws a lot of parties. And although I’ve never expected a hostess gift for our efforts, it’s always lovely to receive something thoughtful. Host gifts are tricky gifting — you don’t want to clutter up someone’s home, but you also don’t want to be the odd guest out who arrives empty-handed. With those caveats in mind, I’ve pulled together my dream list of host gifts — all for less than $50. 1. Linen Dish Towels I love receiving gifts that are a luxurious upgrade to life’s regular, cruddy routines. These natural linen hand towels are the luxurious upgrade you didn’t know your dishes wanted. $32, Etsy.com 2. Footed Aeirum Upgrade your host’s desktop with this adorably footed container for some sweet little plants. Moss, lichens and Tillandsia will change as they grow, or you can add an air plant (starting at $14) for even more magic. $32, floragrubb.com 3. Multi-function Cake Stand Responsible for bringing a dessert? Leave behind this multipurpose cake stand, which also becomes a chip-and-dip platter, punch bowl and salad …

Gift Wrapping Tips For Every Type of Gift (You’re Welcome)

Growing up, my mom and I had the best agreement a person with a love for wrapping could hope for: I wrapped ALL the presents and, in return, not only did I get to know what everyone was getting but my mom would also indulge my every wrapping-supply whim.  For me, wrapping presents always starts with the theme. Yes, that’s right…THE THEME. I’m pretty sure it all started when I was about 13 when she dared to suggest I use the — gasp — leftover paper that had been sitting in the wrapping bin for, like, the last 100 years. And, in true teenage fashion, I’m sure I gave her that look that only teens can give that said, No Way. Mom then decided my wrapping skills were worth a few extra rolls of new paper. Each year, I chose a set of colors and/or design attributes — a theme. Some years, it would be the classic red and green or silver and gold or a delightful plaid. I would gather my supplies, turn on a …

12 Gifts for Aspiring Bartenders & Drink Lovers

Craft cocktails have skyrocketed in popularity over the last decade, moving some to try their hand at making these drinks at home for gatherings or for themselves; avoiding the $15 per drink cost. For those who want to revive the lost art of home hospitality and entertaining, or for those who just love the art of drinks, here’s a list of gifts that any expert or novice would love. 1. Tovolo Sphere Ice Molds  Ice is one of the most important things for bartenders to consider. If a stirred drink calls for a cube of ice or someone requests a whiskey on the rocks, a good bartender will reach for one solid hunk of clear ice both for appearance and to provide the slowest dilution rate possible — no one wants a watered down drink. Though bartenders in Japan will hand carve these spheres, these silicone molds are the easiest way to make them at home. $10, amazon.com 2. Cocktail Kit with Canvas and Leather Tote For those who love to travel and show off their …

Margit’s Note: I’ll Be Home For Christmas

  Last weekend, I stood in front of a slew of bulb-emblazoned items and felt the rush of retail — I wanted it all. A tinsel pig. A glowing paper lantern. A stormtrooper tree skirt! (Seriously, so cool and actually quite tasteful.) I purchased the latter two, though I still covet the pig. Turns out my brother who lives in Philly bought two tinsel pigs. Weird sibling serendipity. I can’t remember the last time I stayed put for Christmas. Maybe never? My husband and I are usually on the road to one of our family homes. Our own apartment decorations have only ever been teensy little Charlie Brown table trees and holiday cards on the fridge. This year, however, because of some unforeseen, aforementioned health-related snafus, I’ll be Brooklyn-based. And I figure if I’m going to feel like crap, I might as well Santa-up my surroundings. This means, finally, a real TREE. The hubs and I nabbed the biggest we could find from one of those French Canadian guys who sell them on the sidewalk …

9 Passive Aggressive Gifts They’ll Love. I Guess…

Ah, the holidays. ‘Tis the season to rejoice, make merry, listen to Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas” and bite one’s tongue when one’s confronted with the time-tested barrage of unsubtle passive aggressive comments from friends and family. Well, two can play that game. In the name of holiday harmony (and your sanity), why not bite your tongue as you wrap the world’s most passive aggressive gift ever? Why say it when you can pay it forward with a gift that does the indirect communicating for you? Why not give something that says you care enough not to say exactly how you feel but not enough to not be somewhat passive aggressive about it in your gift-giving? What? I was only joking! God. You don’t have to get so upset. 1. Fiberglass Confetti Eiffel Chair The gift that passive aggressively says “your taste in housewares is beyond basic.” $395, Modernica.com 2. Basic Repellant Phone Case For your “friend” who IS basic. $38, Valfre.com 3. Shut Up Cards The gift that passively aggressively says, “Literally …

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6 Gifts for Your Urban Outdoorsman

Does your man like to hit the trail, or just to look like he does? These gifts range from practical to elegant, inexpensive to extravagant, but each would get real use in either the mountains or the city.   1. The Cinder Cone Some books are better as hard copies. Designer and surfer Foster Huntington, best known for his A Restless Transplant hit-the-road project, documented the building of a treehouse and skate park complex located in the mountains of Washington State. The Kickstarter-funded book shows that the 1970’s luxury hippy aesthetic lives on. $35 A Restless Transplant Store 2. Backcountry Navigation with Map and Compass Class GPS batteries die and cell phone signals fade, so knowing how to read a map with a compass might help your guy get back on the trail. REI offers a range of orienteering and backcountry navigation classes at locations across the US. $50–80 REI 3. Light Up Dog Collar There is no motivation like a dog to go hiking, whether it’s on the trail or through city streets and …

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Books and Bookish Gifts for Your Well-Read Friends

Each year I try to solve your book-gifting problems by choosing a handful of titles you can present to the, shall we say, “particular” people on your list. This year, I’m adding a bonus round: A few waggish book-related items for the reader who has everything — or to bundle up along with a carefully selected tome. (And I take care in selection so you don’t have to!) 1. For Your Fiercest Kitchen Queen: My Pantry: Homemade Ingredients that Make Simple Meals Your Own by Alice Waters First, she’s Alice Waters, founder of Chez Panisse. Second, this book, written with her daughter Fanny (Fanny’s Granola namesake), is beautifully produced and has an internal spiral binding so the book will lay flat as you gather your amateur “mise en place,” meaning you can try Alice’s chicken stock, or tomato sauce, or… 2. For Your Hard-to-Impress Aesthete: The Master of the Prado by Javier Sierra Is it a novel? A manifesto? A museum tour? A mystery? The answer is all of the above. Sierra, whose last big …

Margit’s Note: Let’s Go Shopping!

It’s our third annual, two-week extravaganza called the TueNight Gift Guide! Hard to believe we’ve hit year three. Whee! As per usual, our quirky little gift guide is different in that it’s personality-driven. Our contributors select the gifts of a particular type (books, home, beauty) or for a finicky recipient (the urban outdoorsman and even well, um, a few passive aggressive suggestions). We know how to please. Speaking of giving, today, December 1, is still #GivingTuesday. Consider this your friendly evening reminder that there’s still time to give to the charities that are important to you — and maybe even break a world record for gratitude. Here are just a handful of our favorite charities. You could: Save the lives of refugees at sea [Moas.eu] Plant a virtual tree in Paris [1heart1tree.org] Support girls’ education in Sierra Leone [ShesTheFirst.org] Help NYC students become better writers [826NYC.org] Feed children, the homeless and seniors [FoodBankNYC.org] Help fight for laws and policies to protect women’s rights and health [PlannedParenthood.org] There are so many ways to help — think …

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The TueDo List: Movies, Shopping and Holiday Cheer

Hanukkah is happening. Christmas is nearly here. And the crush is almost over — as well as the chance to order anything in time for, well, anything. I’m not sure I can take one more bold type e-mail from a retailer, telling me that “THERE’S STILL TIME,” which of course implies the opposite. (There is still time for stocking stuffers, and there are some fun ones all day today on Amazon Prime.) Here’s how to catch up on some last-minute odds and ends for the people in your life. You can buy most of them from home, so you’ll also have time to relax and enjoy the weekend, holiday-style. Movies and TV I already told you I love my Roku, and I can’t stop talking about it. I’ve already got a Netflix membership, but I only have Hulu free for three months, so I’d love to get that picked up for me by someone who loves me. Sometimes, it’s the coolest thing to have someone else spring for a relatively small splurge item like that. If someone cares about my media, they care …

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Tue Do List: Holiday Lights, Cheryl Strayed, and Quality Time

At this point in December, gifts are on everyone’s mind. If you’re shopping this weekend, at home or outside, godspeed. And may you subscribe healthily to my favorite gifting philosophy: for every one for them, at least the dream of one for me. Cool Gifts at Pop-ups and holiday markets Refinery 29 pointed readers to the holiday pop-up shops at 73 Spring Shop, Tictail at 90 Orchard Street, and Cuyana at 311 West Broadway, plus its own Tinseltown brick-and-mortar pop-up bazaar, open through Sunday at Nolita’s open house at 200 Mulberry Street. If you’re not in New York, their online Tinseltown holiday guide is a fun read with lots of ideas for gifts, parties, style–all the seasonal fun stuff. DC’s Brightest Young Things has the most comprehensive holiday market and pop-up shop guide I’ve seen for this city. My picks this weekend would be the Del Ray Artisans Holiday Market in Arlington, and Georgetown Glow, with a focus on local stores including the actual Moleskine store–a pop-up that will remain in place, selling the best little …

6 Cool, Handmade Gifts For Your Bestie

This past week we’ve been celebrating our very best buds — the people who will lend a hand, an ear, or that long-coveted halter top. If you want to surprise your gal pals with unique gift options, our BFF collection on GREAT.LY is just the ticket. We’ve gathered handmade goods by artists dedicated to finding the beauty in the everyday.     Simple Dot Necklace Peggy Li is a San Francisco-based artist whose jewelry line is both feminine and whimsical. We love this simple, tasteful dot necklace. Surprise your pal with this elegant, everyday bauble (and buy yourself a matching one while you’re at it).   Hello Friend Tote Bag Why, hello friend. Here’s an easy, breezy tote bag your bestie can lug anywhere. Reasonably priced and adorable, these bags and other printed goodies are made by New Zealand’s Liora Saad and her company Toodles Noodles. She describes her items as “colorful and cheeky” and we’re inclined to nod our heads.   March — Original Mixed Media LA-based artist and illustrator Shelley Kommers describes her artwork as “collage-based, textured, and …

Gifts that Scream “I’m Ready for Action” (Like, Now?)

Who wouldn’t prefer a sex toy over a sweater? While there are a seemingly infinite number of toys and other erotic gifts out there, I’ve narrowed it down to five I consider top notch, all of which I proudly own, use, read and relax with.   1. Afterglow Natural Massage Oil Candle
 Candles can do more than flicker prettily. This one looks lovely, and is specially designed with your back in mind. It pours into a warm liquid that you can use to give — or get — a sensual massage. Who would say no to that? $29, JimmyJane.com   2. njoy Pure Wand Every time I pick up my njoy Pure Wand, I feel powerful and sexy all at once. Not only will this stainless steel dildo give your kegel muscles a workout, it’s also a beautiful product that is sleek and sensual. Get some tips on using it from sex toy reviewer extraordinaire Hey Epiphora. $100, SheVibe.com   3. Crave Droplet Necklace I’m a huge fan of items that multitask, and Crave’s droplet …

5 Perfect Trips for Everyone on Your List

Here’s the truth: No one needs another sweater, scented candle, novel, or wireless speaker. (They probably haven’t used last year’s yet.) A vacation, on the other hand, is something everyone needs. A vacation that’s been planned for them is even better. Here’s where to send (or bring) everyone on your list.   1. The Mother and Daughter Trip Rome, Italy Rome is a classic. Yes, it’s spaghetti carbonara and gnocchi gorgonzola – heavy, old-fashioned, and delicious. But Rome is also incredibly vibrant and fresh right now, as seen in the new Maxxi Museum of 21st Century Arts and in new juice bars all over town. The old and new coexist harmoniously in Rome, which is a lesson for your intergenerational holiday. And if your mother complains that she feels old, remind her that Rome is almost 3,000 years old and looks pretty great. For ideas and details about historic sites and cool new shops, check out Fathom’s Guide to Rome. Where to Stay Splurge Hotel: J.K. Place Roma. A gorgeous new boutique hotel in the center of town. Affordable Hotel: Buonanotte Garibaldi. A tucked-away, three-room bed and breakfast …

Gadgets and Thingamabobs To Make Life Easier

No, I don’t have a pair of Google Glasses, but I’m a bit of a tech-and-gadget-obsessed gal; mainly for the ways it can make life easier. The gadgets and digital doodads listed here aren’t necessarily new, but they make great gifts and have truly enhanced my life (or family and friends’  lives)  in 2013.   1. Karma Karma — a pay-as-you-go mobile WiFi provider —  has saved my internet-obsessed butt many times when there was no wireless around. (I’m looking at you, high-tech corporation with no wireless for guests.) I recommended it to a friend who has a small apartment in NYC and uses it as her primary service to access the internet — she loves it too. The cool thing is, other people can log in to your Karma signal and when they do, you earn free data — a.k.a. Karma. $99 for 5GB data $50, Karma.com      2. Everpurse I’m certainly not the first one to recommend this product; that’s because it’s simply so problem-solving cool. Designed as a clutch, these purses …

Gifts Under $25 for Secret Santas & Yankee Swaps

The Yankee Swap, White Elephant, Secret Santa or, in my family, we call it Pollyanna (which is apparently a Philly thing? Who knew?) — there are many variations on these crazy reindeer games. Here’s a quick run down on some basic rules. Whether you pick a name from a hat or bring a gift designated for “the pile” (and then mercilessly trade until you get what you want — see Kardashian Christmas), we have five no-fail ideas for your office or family get together. We tried to keep the cost below $25, but we didn’t try very hard.   1. The gift of possibilities: A Mega Millions Lottery Card. Drawing tonight (12/17)! You never know… $1, Various locations   2. The gift that says I have amazing taste: Something local and small-batch, ‘natch. A bottle of Oregon House Wine from Portland; Mast Brothers chocolate from Brooklyn. You get the idea. $9; Mast Brothers chocolate bar from Bklyn Larder $12, 2010 House Red, OriginalHouseWine.com   3. The gift that says I have no taste: Items professing …

You’ll Be Amazed You Can Make These DIY Gifts

If you’re having a tough time finding a distinctive, memorable, and/or cost effective gift this season, you can always rock it DIY style. Thankfully, this is not the kind of DIY that will require standing in a ripe basement for hours on end. Rather, here are five not-too-hard, handmade gifts that will exhibit your personal flair.   1. Cocoa in a Jar Sometimes all you need is a Mason jar and some ingenuity to come up with a heartwarming holiday treat. Grab a handful of ingredients for your favorite cocoa recipe and layer them stylishly. Get the How-To     2. Tile Pendant Necklace Learn how to turn a glass tile into a statement piece with this tile pendant necklace how-to. You can easily pick a featured print from a magazine ad or even scrapbook paper that suggests a friend’s sensibility or celebrates an inside joke. Get the How-To     3. French Press and Coffee Cup Sleeves If you know your way around a sewing machine and want to stitch together something that will …

5 Non-Book Gifts to Get Your Favorite Writer

Writers are not easy to shop for. They’ve usually read every book already known to man (or, they already know all about the book you plan to buy and have no interest in reading it), are very picky about the pens they use (in my experience, at least) and have been receiving journals and notebooks for every birthday and holiday since they day they started writing. So what to do? The following five non-book gifts add a little fun flair to the world of a writer, ones we think they’ll find quite noteworthy.   1. Paddywax Jane Austen Library Candle There’s a whole collection of these fabulous Paddywax author candles (not to mention diffusers and travel tins), which includes literary greats like Emily Dickenson, Oscar Wilde and Leo Tolstoy. Each soy candle is adorned with a quote from the author, which is one of the reasons why I like Ms. Austen’s the best: “There is nothing like staying at home for real comfort,” she said. That’s my kinda gal. I also adore the scent, which is filled …

5 Gems for The Gen-X Audiophile on Your List

Giving the gift of music is a time-honored tradition. But in the post-digital-era, it’s a bit fraught — after all, sticking iTunes gift cards into boxes makes for a less satisfying gift-giving experience, no matter how elaborate the packaging. Here are five physical musical offerings for the person on your list who just wants to stick something new in her ear for Christmas. 1. Various Artists: Atlantic R&B, 1947-1974 Aretha. Ray. Otis. This eight-disc, 203-track box set collects the biggest hits by those one-named lights of R&B and other classics that are identifiable from their opening bars — “This Magic Moment,” “In The Midnight Hour,” “Killing Me Softly With His Song.” A crash course in American pop music that also provides hours of pure listening pleasure. $54, Amazon.com 2. Soundgarden: Screaming Life/Fopp: Loser Edition For the grunge lifer on your list, a handsome reissue of the first two EPs by the Seattle kings — the 1987 EP Screaming Life is pressed onto on blue vinyl, while 1988’s Fopp comes on a clear 12-inch. These two …

Classic, Chic & Covetable — Gifts With Style

The gifts I tend to give most are always on the bold side, color or print-wise — that’s where I have my fun. But the items themselves are always more classic, which makes it more likely they’ll get used and loved. 1. Gold Tote This chic metallic carryall will only get better with age, and — improbable though it may seem — really does go with everything. $160, baggu.com 2. Brightly Colored Gloves I love the hand-knit look of these, and the crazy-bright color combination is like an instant shot of happiness. $55, Jonathanadler.com 3. Neroli Soap Cube I pretty much never stop going on about The Soap & Paper Factory, because they put out such a great looking — and super high-quality — product. Their soaps in particular are packaged so beautifully that they render wrapping paper totally unnecessary. $12, soapandpaperfactory.com 4. C.O. Bigelow Eucalyptus Body Scrub Just exactly the right scent for deep winter cleansing, from the renowned beauty mecca in Greenwich Village, C.O. Bigelow. $15, bigelowchemists.com 5. Snakeskin Print Sweatshirt So much …

Make a Difference in the World — And Give Snazzy Gifts, Too

Good gifting offers a joyful rush, and when those gifts actually give something back? Well, that’s off-the-charts good. Whether you’re interested in helping feed hungry children or keeping the oceans clean, you’ll find a way to spread a little philanthropy around with these charitable selections. 1. Benefits: Survivors of Domestic Violence Me&Ro Fearlessness Sterling Silver Script Pendant The Joyful Heart Foundation, founded by actress Mariska Hargitay, helps heal and empower survivors of domestic violence, child abuse and sexual assault. 100% of the net proceeds of this Me&Ro necklace go towards the cause. I love the idea of giving this to friends who are powering through a rough patch to remind them of their fearlessness. $160, joyfulheartfoundation.org   2. Benefits: Child Hunger Creme de Corps Limited Edition Soy Milk & Honey Whipped Body Butters Just when you thought Kiehl’s’ products couldn’t get any better, it turns out that 100% of net profits (up to $100,000) of two new, limited-edition scents from their indulgently rich Creme de Corps Soy Milk & Honey Whipped Body Butter line (Grapefruit and Coriander) and will help …

5 Books to Give Your Trickiest Recipients

When TueNight asked me to provide a list of five gift books, I panicked just a bit. Only five? One of my deeply held beliefs is that there are books for every reader, and readers for (well, almost) every book — when it comes to holiday gifts, it wouldn’t be untoward to have a list of 100 books, or more. But we are busy. We don’t have time during this festive season to peruse long lists. So I’ve done the perusing for you and selected what I hope are five books that will cover five especially difficult recipients. 1. For your “read that, too” friend “The Luminaries” by Eleanor Catton Not only is this a big, fat, glorious novel that any bookworm will love — its author is the youngest ever winner of The Booker Prize, making it one of those titles people will be chatting about at cocktail parties for months to come. Give your know-it-all pal a leg up on the literary competition! 2. For your beloved older male relative “The Great War” …

Festive Food Items To Create, Gift, Devour (In That Order)

If we believe the hype, this is the most wonderful time of the year, but years of fighting the blues has taught me one thing: The only way to keep my head above the proverbial water (and out of the holiday punch bowl) is to keep everything as simple as possible. For this seasonally-affected cranky pants, that means lots of fresh air (versus hot gusts from a wall vent), loading up on vegetables (to offset the eggnog load) and scaling back on conspicuous consumption. These days, the gifts I give (and like to receive) are decidedly DIY, low-tech, with a little mindful tinsel thrown in for good measure. What follows are a few of my favorite things. 1. Chocolate Bark If you can melt chocolate, you can make chocolate bark. Seriously. Here’s what you do: Chop up a handful of your favorite dried fruit and nuts (or throw into the mini chopper), maybe a hint of sea salt and stir into a bowl of melted chocolate (which you can do in the microwave). My secret …

I Used to Buy Booze as a Gift. Now I’m Sober. WTF Do I Do?

It’s funny, I once heard someone say how there are literally hundreds of words for the term “drunk” (smashed, sloshed, over-served, sauced, wasted, tipsy, tanked—you get the idea), but only one word for not being drunk — sober. And that kind of sucks, because the word “sober” doesn’t imply fun and frivolity. Rather, as the dictionary states, its alternative meaning is “having or showing a very serious attitude or quality.” But that’s just NOT true! Of course, getting sober is painful and certainly no walk in the park, but we are NOT a glum lot — people in recovery are funny, silly, clever and full of life. It sounds so incredibly cheesy (and I hate cheesy) but it’s true: the gift of sobriety is the most wonderful gift one could ever receive (in my opinion, at least). Thing is, you can’t give it to someone. As much as you can hope and help and try to point people in the right direction, it’s up the alcoholic to open her eyes, see her situation for what …

What to Get the Dog Who Has Everything

Last week, we shared all the reasons why our furry friends mean so much to us. They’re family, so naturally, they also deserve some holiday cheer (even if they don’t really know what it is they’re getting). Nevertheless, we’re sure your dog will love one (or all!) of these five canine Christmas gifts. 1. Yum Gift Pack I feed my dogs Dailo and Lola mostly raw and all-natural food, so why shouldn’t I wash them the same natural way? Y.U.M.’s Gift pack contains a dog wash made with essential oils such as citronella, lavender and cedarwood, plus a cleansing spray infused with lavender and lemon patchouli. I secretly want to spray this on myself. $24, indigowild.com   2. Filson Dog Shelter Cloth Dog Coat with Wool Lining This dog coat is cozy, warm and reversible! The otter green side is made of water-repellant waxed-canvas, while the classic Filson plaid side is a sporty and hip (a perfect to match for your Filson Double Mackinaw). $75, Filson.com   3. Bark Box Join this subscription service and …