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SPECIAL SECTION, THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 22, 2012


By MICHELE AED and SARA POKORNY maed@timesleader.com and spokorny@timesleader.com

W

hen it comes to fashion, it’s right on trend that the boys should look as good as the girls these days. (Yes, men, the scruffy-messy look has gone by the wayside.) That’s why this year, we’ve included menswear in this mix of fine-looking women’s wear. Sweaters, scarves and fashionable apparel for one and all are under the same trendy roof.

Michele Aed loves being creative beyond Photoshop. She makes it a point to clean out her closet every few months and scour fashion blogs daily. Sara Pokorny has an eye for men’s fashion and once owned a snapback baseball hat (though hers was a Beauty & the Beast variety).

CREAM DRESS WITH PETER PAN COLLAR: Collars, collars, collars! We are obsessed with collars! (Button that top button on your shirt or blouse!) This cream-colored dress with mesh top and a beaded pearl Peter Pan collar is one of many dresses at Showroom 56. For a more casual look, pair it with a leather or faux leather moto jacket. $120 at Showroom 56 in the United Penn Plaza in Kingston.

SEQUIN SKIRT: Don’t be afraid to wear shorts or skirts in the winter. Wear them with a pair of black tights. This shimmery sequin skirt from Francesca’s in the Shoppes at Montage is $38. Tuck in a neutral blouse and wear a blazer for a nice duo.

JOSEPH ABOUD SPORTCOAT: This updated sportcoat look is a male must-have, and, yes, it has elbow patches. Add to this a herringbone style and a trim cut, and you have a fashionable and timeless piece. $150 at Kranson’s, 145 Mundy St., Wilkes Barre.

BLACK STUDDED SWEATER: A nice heavy sweater you can throw on over any top is a great convenience. With studs all the rage (we personally fancy them on boots or flats), why not combine the two? This black studded sweater, available at Tallulah, 651 Wyoming Ave., Kingston, is by Alberto Makali for $225 and is a great piece for women of any age.

SNAPBACK BASEBALL HAT: This is the most fashionable item for the sports fan in your life. Yes, they’ve made a comeback and made shopping easier. With snapback hats from companies such as New Era and Mitchell and Ness, representing all different teams, no sizing guesswork is involved; let the wearer adjust it. Starts at $27 at Schuylkill Valley Sports in the Wyoming Valley Mall.

VERA BRADLEY PURSE: Local gift shops as well as candy shops stock this famous name in colorful as well as demure baggage in abundance. Cross-body purses are convenient for any outing and can be worn hanging over one shoulder or across the body. A little black bag like this round one by Vera Bradley is timeless. Retail price is $47. Check out Blue Hydrangea, 201 Memorial Highway, Dallas, Jon L. Stopay in the Plains Plaza or Dundee Gardens on the Sans Souci Parkway.


BULOVA PRECISIONIST WATCH: There’s telling time, and then there’s telling time. This watch ensures the wearer is right on time, all the time, and is termed “the world’s most accurate watch.” Plus, it has a great design. $419 at Dunay Jewelers, 428 Hazle St., Wilkes-Barre.

COVINGTON STRIPED SCARF: He might think he can brave the cold with just a jacket, but why not top it off and make it fashionable (and warmer) with a scarf? This lightweight neck piece will leave him feeling toasty. $17.50 at Sears, Wyoming Valley Mall.

TORY BURCH SLIPPERS: If you want to give a name-brand gift that carries tons of cache, try this warm pair of Tory Burch slippers. They come in camel and charcoal. $178 at Shooze, 634 Market St., Kingston.

RAILROAD SOCKS: Call this a hidden piece of fashion. Whether he’s a hunter or not, any guy can appreciate the warmth and comfort of Railroad Socks. $5.99 per pair at J.S. Sporting Goods, 254 Wilkes-Barre Township Blvd., Wilkes-Barre Township.

MERCHANT’S PICK ACCESSORIZE ON THE CHEAP: Mix-and-match handbags, headbands, scarves and more – many brand-new – for $50 and under at Consign It, Women’s Apparel and Accessories, 801 Wyoming Ave., West Pittston.

MERCHANT’S PICK - HUNTER BOOTS: One of the newest fashion statements, Hunter Rainboots look great while keeping feet dry in winter. Available in a wide range of styles and colors and great paired with novelty socks. $115-$225 at Shooze, 634 East Market St., Kingston.

MERCHANT’S PICK SHEEPSKIN SLIPPERS: The natural, breathable insulator in these “indoor shoes” eliminates the need for socks and keeps feet dry and warm while providing more stability, a better fit and pressure relief. Soft suede uppers are lined in 100 percent wool. $49 at Esposito’s Shoes, 1054 Wyoming Ave., Exeter.

MERCHANT’S PICK - TOMS SHOES: Give the gift that keeps giving. For every pair of these shoes purchased, Toms donates a pair to a child in need. Available in a variety of colors and styles starting at $44 at Arch Comfort, 355 Market St., Kingston.


SPECIAL SECTION, THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 22, 201

PAGE 6

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By MICHELE AED maed@timesleader.com

D

iamonds are forever and a perfect present, of course, but fortunately for those on a lower budget there are plenty of other options for giving the gift of adornment.

PENDANT NECKLACE: Long necklaces are long on fashion. This black basin pendant necklace goes with just about any piece of clothing in any color. $14.99 at Target, Wilkes-Barre Township or Dickson City.

Michele Aed has always had a love/hate relationship with jewelry. Rings and bracelets never fit her fingers or wrists. That is all. Please carry on.

LOVE-STONE NECKLACE: Chunky necklaces are high on style and right on trend, and this one pairs nicely with a simple dress or sweater. $25 at JCPenney in the Wyoming Valley Mall.

OUTRAGEOUS RINGS: Truly cute accessories can be found at affordable prices. (The fun downtown shop called Outrageous also carries scarves and headbands with flowers and bow.) Some whimsical rings are three for $10 or $4 each, including this mini mustache ring that’s adorable whether you’re down with the ’stache trend or not. Outrageous is at 41 S. Main Street in downtown Wilkes-Barre.

OUTRAGEOUS EARRINGS: Certain earrings also sell three for $10 at Outrageous. For those who enjoy danglers, the silver earrings are perfect for winter and can easily dress up or down. These would look equally lovely with daytime jeans or an evening party dress, we think.

STACKING BRACELETS: Ever heard of them? You can mix and match all the way up to your elbows if you please. A large variety of bracelets helps you start your collection and display your personality. Sideways crosses, evil eyes, infinity designs, multicolored leather versions and gems are just some of your choices. They start at $8 and up depending on size and stones at 3 Sisters, 182 United Penn Plaza, Kingston.

GENUINE TURQUOISE AND ONYX PENDANT NECKLACE: Cultures around the globe revere turquoise as a mystical and holy gemstone. Its color represents a balance between the clear blue sky above and the ocean depths below. $99 at Iorio’s Jeweler’s, 67-69 Public Square, Suite 902, Wilkes-Barre.

PEARL BRACELET: Here’s one more splurge item for that lovely woman in your life. Pearls are classy and timeless. Tovon & Company carries Akoya cultured-pearl bracelets starting at $733 for this 18K white-gold bracelet. Tovon & Company, 3560 Wilkes Barre Township Commons, Wilkes-Barre Township.

MERCHANT’S PICK - NAVAJO JEWELRY: Hand-selected on the Navajo reservation in New Mexico, each piece of this sterling-silver jewelry is a handmade treasure. Pendants, bracelets, earrings and cufflinks start at $11.95 at Ye Olde Clock & Gift Shoppe in the Dallas Shopping Center.

COLLAR NECKLACES: It’s all about the collar this year, and Charming Charlie in the Shoppes at Montage carries plenty of collar necklaces. They pair perfectly with a solid-color sweater or dress. $13 to $20 at Charming Charlie.

GREEN GEMSTONE EARRINGS: Remember the cream dress with Peter Pan collar from our Stylish and Sophisticated pages? Complete the look with these $34 earrings. Showroom 56, United Penn Plaza, Kingston.

DIAMOND NECKLACE: If you really want to impress a lady, why not splurge on some diamonds? Rainbow Jewelers carries a selection of Diamond Journey necklaces. This white-gold diamond-pendant necklace starts at $479. Rainbow Jewelers, 789 Wyoming Ave., Kingston.

MERCHANT’S PICK CITIZEN WATCHES: From the solar-powered Echo Drive to battery-run models, Citizen Watches run the gamut and come with free engraving, link removal and battery for $175 (men’s) and $295 (women’s). Ochman’s Coin and Jewelry, 18 Church St., Dallas.


By MARY THERESE BIEBEL mbiebel@timesleader.com

T

he outdoors-lover in your life could be a gardener who longs for spring or a snowboarder who revels in winter. It could be your cousin who goes backpacking for weeks at a time or your grandmother who ventures into the backyard to feed her beloved birds. Whoever your naturelover is, here are some gifts we hope he or she will appreciate.

Mary Therese Biebel is a lifelong outdoorsy type who still enjoys s’mores around the campfire, though her tastes have graduated to garlic bread and hemlock (no, it’s not poison) tea made over the glowing embers.

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A THERM-IC BOOT DRYER: Doesn’t everybody dread soggy feet, especially in winter? Whether snow falls into your footgear, or your feet simply sweat, or, like me, you sometimes step onto ice that breaks and find yourself standing ankle-deep (or thrashing about waist-deep) in a pond of some sort, you’ll be hoping for dry boots, the sooner the better. The Therm-Ic boot dryer will circulate air and speed the drying process. $70 at Country Ski & Sports, 1080 Wilkes-Barre Township Blvd., Wilkes-Barre Township.

SPECTRE GLOVES BY BURTON: With their colorful images of the comic-book character Spectre, these gloves demand notice. Their synthetic suede palms and microfiber lining protect your hands while you’re snowboarding. $44.95 at Top of the Slope.

VIBRAM FIVEFINGERS FOOTWEAR: These lightweight shoes with five pockets for your five toes were designed to give better grip and control to people involved in water sports, from kayakers and sailors to fishermen and stand-up paddleboarders. Then some runners started to use them for a feeling of barefoot freedom. If you suspect your outdoorsy person would enjoy them, you can check them out at Top of the Slope, 100 South Main St., Wilkes-Barre, where we spotted a pair for $140.

ATLAS GLOVES: The designers of these gloves say they’re durable, allow a great deal of dexterity and prevent hand fatigue. That all sounds ideal for the gardener who will transplant flowers and veggies in just a few months. $7.99 at Wild Birds Unlimited in the Dallas Shopping Center.


TOMORROW’S TREASURES BIRDHOUSE: Your bird-loving buddies may want to shelter their feathered friends and beautify their backyards at the same time. You’ll find eye-catching birdhouses, made in America from recycled materials, here – $48.99 at Wild Birds Unlimited.

HOOT THE OWL BY MR. BIRD: If you want to feed the birds as well as house them – and please your eyes at the same time – whimsical Hoot will make you smile with his dried apricot eyes and sunflower-seed skin. $9.99 at Wild Birds Unlimited.

MASON BEE NEST KITS: Maybe a friend has fruit trees he’d like bees to help pollinate. Or maybe he’d just like to encourage the Mason bee, which is native to North America. A bee-nest kit contains a series of tubes that attract bees to lay their eggs inside. A starter kit is $14.99 at Wild Birds Unlimited.

“HUNT, GATHER, COOK.” Even the most outdoorsy person sometimes wants to curl up at home with a good book. This one, written in conversational style by outdoorsman and journalist Hank Shaw, might inspire you to gather chestnuts and nettles, fish for shad or hunt for rabbit so your next adventure can put some tasty edibles into your stewpot. $14.99 at Barnes & Noble.

LEVEL 3 JACKET BY KILLTEC: Among the many colorful and functional jackets we’ve spotted, this technical outerwear has plenty of options to keep you warm, dry and happy, from a powder skirt to a little hole in a pocket through which you can thread a wire so you can listen to music while you enjoy the great outdoors. $189 at Country Ski and Sports.

PINK RIBBON JACKET BY NORTH FACE: You can keep your favorite outdoorswoman warm this winter and draw attention to breast-cancer awareness by purchasing this white jacket of silky-soft fleece with a pink ribbon embroidered on the left sleeve. $99 at Top of the Slope.

MRCHANT’S PICK - THE NORTHFACE OSITO JACKET: This full-zip jacket in lavish silken fleece fabric is designed to be worn as an outer layer in cold conditions. $99 at Bear Creek Ski Shack, 200 Montage Mountain Road, Scranton.

MERCHANT’S PICK - MS211 16-INCH STIHL CHAINSAW: Lightweight, economical and fuel-efficient, this packs lots of power for a lightweight saw. $279.95 at Hilbert’s Equipment & Welding Inc., 2965 Memorial Highway, Dallas.

MERCHANT’S PICK - MS25C STIHL CHAINSAW: Meanwhile, this offering from the Stihl line boasts the Easy2Start System and a quick chain adjuster. Cut his workload down to size and give the gift of reliability, durability and ease of use. $349 at Valley Power Equipment & Rental, 710 WilkesBarre Township Blvd., WilkesBarre Township.

MERCHANT’S PICK PERSONAL SAFETY DISABLER PEPPER SPRAY: This keychain-size protective device can spray approximately 8 to 12 feet and is easy to carry and use. Help your loved one stay safe while jogging, hiking or shopping. $9.99 at JS Sporting Goods, 254 Wilkes-Barre Township Blvd., Wilkes-Barre Township.

MERCHANT’S PICK - HOOT BUTTONS SNOWMAN: Introduce your beloved birds to some holiday treats. The WBU Owl, Snowman and Penguin seed cylinders dress up any yard and are an easy way to attract and offer birds a variety of food. Set one out and watch! $9.99 to $19.99 at Wild Birds Unlimited, Dallas Shopping Center.

MERCHANT’S PICK - CARHARTT QUICKDUCK WOODWARD TRADITIONAL JACKET: This newest jacket from the respected Carhartt line is true performance apparel for workers who have no season off. It’s 30 percent lighter than prior offerings and available in three colors. Starting at $109.95 at Keefer’s Army, 270 Wyoming Ave., Kingston.


SPECIAL SECTION, THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 22, 201

PAGE 10

Gifts For Everyone On Your List • Di Discount B Books! k! • Gift Cards! • Calendars! • Clothing Sales! • Much More

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JS Sporting Goods 254 W-B Twp Blvd, Route 309, W-B 824-4610

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SPECIAL SECTION, THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 22, 2012

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With gingerbread men-shaped pineapple and strawberries dipped in gourmet chocolate in a holiday house ceramic container *Offer valid at participating locations. Valid on arrangements and dipped fruit boxes. Offer expires 1/15/13. Cannot be combined with any other offers. Offer code must be used when placing order. Containers may vary. Arrangements available in a variety of sizes. Delivery not available inall areas. EDIBLE ARRANGEMENTS & Design and all other marks noted are trademarks of Edible Arrangements, LLC. ©2012 Edible Arrangements, LLC. All rights reserv ed.

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By SANDRA SNYDER ssnyder@timesleader.com

B

ig-kid toys. Sometimes they’re the heretoday-gone-tomorrow kind of flashes in the pan we love to hate. And laugh at as they get mocked in late-night comedy sketches. (Poor Roomba.) And sometimes they’re coveted but classic items guaranteed to last for years. (Think Kitchen-Aid stand mixer.) And still other times they’re somewhere in between, meaning we so badly want to try them, but we need someone to tell us go ahead; it’s OK. That’s pretty much the theme of this year’s house picks, but we’ve made sure to throw in a few low-risk but still perky, punchy items for givers on considerably lower budgets. Sandra Snyder is a homebody at heart with a nonetheless incurable case of wanderlust. She specializes in cheap chic but does fancy the occasional big-ticket splurge.

HAAN SLIM & LIGHT SI-35: Korean-engineered but Lancaster-bred, this happily hued, and featherweight, steam-mopping machine is called a customer favorite in the Haan line but might be hard to get your hands on in a brick-and-mortar store. Sears is your best bet for this or others like it in the revered Haan line. Bonus points for simple assembly and a water tank you can detach and refill right from the tap. Oh – and for the nifty carpet-glide attachment. $100 and up at Sears, Wyoming Valley Mall, Wilkes-Barre, or sears.com.

OXO STEEL 5-PIECE PRESSTOP CANISTER SET: Anyone who doesn’t get the value of PressTop doesn’t bake very much. And hasn’t had flour shoot all over the countertops and floor thanks to sticky, tricky lids. But these sleek-looking canisters can hold lots more than flour, and, best of all, they nest inside each other when not in use. $99.99 at Macy’s and Bed, Bath & Beyond, Wilkes-Barre Township.

LITTLE BLACK APRON: Surely someone on your holiday shopping list would look adorable in this, right? $19.99 at Bed, Bath & Beyond, Wilkes-Barre Township.

KEURIG VUE BREWING SYSTEM. If you know someone who’s not yet crossed over, this is the latest and fanciest in the line, so you can take him or her from newbie to certified pro in a flash. The keywords are Olympiclike: bigger, stronger, hotter. Key selling points are a touch screen, brewing-temp choices and earth-friendly recyclable cups. $229.99 at Bed, Bath & Beyond.

ACTIFRY BY T-FAL: Two pounds of french fries “deep-fried” in only a tablespoon of oil? Believe it. The stouthearted, as in unafraid of scorching high heat inside such a small appliance, can cook all kinds of not-so-atrocious-healthwise items in this baby, sold, albeit, at a premium. $249.99 at Bed, Bath & Beyond. (Don’t forget your 20 percent coupon!)

BELLA DOTS CROCK-POTS OR TOASTERS: She comes in cool colors! Who wouldn’t appreciate a hot-pink toaster, metallic-purple Crockpot or lime-green coffeemaker? Those with tamer tastes might like the shiny red or even ordinary white. With touches of hammered stainless steel, these are too cute to overlook. $24.99 to $39.99 at Target.


FRIDGE BINZ: For water bottles, yogurt containers, eggs and, best of all, those pesky white-wine bottles that need to be stored on their sides but are never cold when you need them most. Make your uberorganized giftee’s heart go pitterpatter with these nifty gifts for a neater fridge. They’re better than the flimsy stuff you have to "build" and assemble and better-looking in the clear hue. $7.99 to $14.99 at Bed, Bath & Beyond.

MR. LID: Speaking of organized, have you heard about Mr. Lid? Extra storage may not be a glitzy gift, but it’s certainly a handy one, and these container sets are the first ones with lids actually attached. Forget ever having to match individual pieces up again, and, yes, you can toss the whole thing in the dishwasher. $19.95 for an 11-piece set at Wal-Mart, CVS, Bed, Bath & Beyond and, soon, Walgreen’s.

HAND-HELD JUICER: Used one once. Fell in love. From freshsqueezed orange juice to no-waste limes for – what else? – margaritas, tiny, simple juicers are handydandy gems that don’t eat up counter space. $6.99-$19.99 at Kitchen Collection 67 Wyoming Valley Mall, Wilkes-Barre Township.

PUT YOUR FEET UP: “No more stuffed animals!” is the battle cry of many a parent. But here’s a “stuffed” animal a parent might want for himself or herself. These dog- or pig-shaped ottomans are big enough to use as a footrest and made with a polyester faux-leather exterior with a slightly distressed finish. $99.95 at Plow & Hearth, Shoppes at Montage, Moosic.

MERCHANT’S PICK - GATSBY PRINT: This 47-by-47 Giclee print speaks to a throwback time that’s more popular than ever right now: the roaring ’20s. $495 at Embellish Home Accents, 12 Main St., Dallas.

MERCHANT’S PICK - SCENTSUAL SUPPLIES: Check out this holiday collection of organic hand and body lotion, foaming hand soap and candle. The set is available in a variety of popular seasonal scents and can make a home festive, decorative and scentsational. $49.99 at www.DanielleandCompany.com.

MERCHANT’S PICK - WINWARE STAINLESS-STEEL STOCK POT WITH COVER: This premiumquality pot from the Master Cook collection is a heavy-duty, commercial-quality offering with a tri-ply, heavy-duty bottom for efficient heat distribution and extra-sturdy 6-point welding on the handles. $49.95 at Keyco in Forty Fort, Hanover Township and Stroudsburg.

MERCHANT’S PICK - PRIDE MOBILITY LIFT CHAIR: Give a loved one the boost he or she needs this holiday season. Pride Mobility lift chairs are available starting at $344 (with Medicare) and $699 without at Flexible Mobility in Plains Township. Layaway is available with $100 down, and delivery is free.


SPECIAL SECTION, THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 22, 201

PAGE 14

Locally y Made Organic g Gift Baskets

New Holiday Scent Collection Our Holiday Collection includes organic hand and body lotions, foaming hand soaps and candles; perfect for decorating your home during the holidays!

www.DanielleandCompany.com Find Us at these Local Merchants:

Amendolaro 410 Spruce Street Scranton, PA 18503 570.871.4636

Waverly General Store 1201 North Abington Road Waverly, PA 18471 570.586.1821

Art Strands 5 Park Place Carbondale, PA 18407 570.282.4096

Why Not Designs 1827 Sanderson Avenue Scranton, PA 18509 570.342.6161

The Crossings Premium Outlets 1000 Premium Outlets Drive Tannersville, PA 18372 Find our kiosk near Ralph Lauren

The Lands at Hillside Farms 65 Hillside Road Shavertown, PA 18708 888-887-7811


By SARA POKORNY spokorny@timesleader.com

N

obody wants socks (unless they’re the built-in footie kind), CDs are so yesterday (though retro vinyl will do), and zombie apocalypse preparedness is key (just ask the CDC). The gift landscape for young ones certainly has taken some twists and turns over the year, but we have the picks to keep you right on track this holiday season.

Sara Pokorny will always be a young’n at heart and treasures her collection of Wonder Woman comics and her very own zombie survival kit. (You know, just in case.)

80s EAR WARMERS: Cheeks are already rosy upon walking in from the winter cold, so why sport a messed-up hairdo to match? Worry no more with these wrap-around ear warmers that sit along the back of the head, keeping ponies in place and lobes wrapped tight. $24.99 at Macy’s at the Wyoming Valley Mall.

SOUNDLOGIC RETROPHONE HANDSET: Each year, the cell phone gets tinier and tinier – and easier to let slip out of your grasp. Well, get a grip with this retro-looking handset that plugs into the headphone jack of most any phone, eliminating the need for Bluetooth and keeping you talking on through the night. $9.99 at Target in Wilkes-Barre Township.

MADPAX BACKPACK: Funk up your trunk with these one-of-a-kind carriers that sport a novel style of soft, plushy spikes or bubbles. Available in three sizes for $29.99, $45.99 and $59.99 at Dundee Gardens, Sans Souci Parkway, Hanover Township.

VINYL ALBUMS: Music-lovers rejoice – a ton of new stuff is coming out on vinyl, a music medium that’s growing in popularity among the music set. Consider 10-inch colored vinyls from Gaslight Anthem and Primus and a 12-inch colored vinyl from Coheed and Cambria, both new releases. Want to get even more nostalgic? Every single Beatles album is being released on vinyl for $18 a pop at Joe Nardone’s Gallery of Sound locations.

COMIC-BOOK STORE GIFT CARD: Comic books aren’t just for kiddos, or boys, anymore. In fact, this type of artistic storytelling is reaching out to all ages and sexes, finding a fan base through the various genres available. Give your geeky giftee the best option for walking into a comic store – the ability to browse, and buy, at will. Gift cards, Rubber Mallet Comics, 802 Wyoming Ave., West Pittston.

ANGRY BIRDS KNOCK ON WOOD GAME: They’re so much fun on the little screen, imagine if these crazy characters jumped right out and into your hands for some play? Well, they have in this game, which lets you fling birds at the unsuspecting porkers. $19.99 at Macy’s at the Wyoming Valley Mall, Wilkes-Barre.

HOODIE BUDDIE: Some young folk make a habit of chewing on their hoodie strings when they’re bored, but with this comfy piece of clothing they wouldn’t dare. Headphones are built into the drawstrings and are attached to a headphone jack that sits inside the hoodie pocket, for entertainment with ease. $25 at JCPenney at the Wyoming Valley Mall.

FUNKO POP FIGURES: Action figures are a thing of the past, especially when vinyl figures are around. These toys have a distinct style and come in many different characters, from Star Wars and Disney, to Pocket God and Plants vs. Zombies. Start at $8.95 at Barnes & Noble.

FOOTSY THROW BLANKET: Concentration of warmth has now moved from the arms to the feet. Forget the Snuggie, because this throw blanket has built-in plush socks to cover the tootsies in a stylish way. $19.99 at Bed Bath and Beyond in Wilkes-Barre Township.

ZOMBIE SURVIVAL KIT: This is a do-it-yourselfer that not only looks cool but – Gasp! Don’t tell the kids! – serves a purpose. A zombie survival kit is simply made up of a messenger bag stuffed with various supplies – bandages, antiseptic, flashlights, batteries – that can double as a handy first-aid kit for the new college dormer. Utility bag, $15 at Keefer’s Army Navy, 270 Wyoming Ave., Kingston. Various other supplies from CVS, Walgreen’s and Rite Aid.


By IRENE KOVALESKI ikovaleski@timesleader.com

I

t’s the most wonderful time of the year indeed, especially when you have children. Whether you are shopping for an educational toy or one that is just entertaining, there are many to choose from, including some great blasts from the past.

Irene Kovaleski has double duty this holiday season. Her little one was born three days after Christmas so she needs to get double the presents.

MINNIE’S BOW-TIQUE KITCHEN: This has the perfect ingredients for fun for any little girl. It contains a play stove with assorted cooking sounds, a special frying pan that “flips” a Mickey-shaped pancake and a “secret” milkshake maker in addition to many other adorable appliances and accessories. Ages 3 and older. $59.99, Toys R Us, Wilkes-Barre; $59.99, Target, Wilkes-Barre Township or Dickson City.

PEEK-A-SHOE TALKING OCTOPUS: I absolutely love this toy! My son received it for his first birthday last year, and it is so cute. It offers ball-drop play with peek-a-boo shoe surprises, helps teach lessons in counting and colors and plays music for added stimulation. Made by Leap Frog for ages 9 months and older. $29.99, Toys R Us, 620 Kidder St., Wilkes-Barre; $34.99, Target, 3400 Wilkes-Barre Township Commons Wilkes-Barre Township, or 1140 Commerce Blvd., Dickson City.

STRIDE-TO-RIDE PUPPY BY FISHER PRICE: Wee folks will have a doggone good time on this puppy that provides interactive play and physical and cognitive developmental benefits. It includes 50 educational songs, tunes and phrases as well as fun colored sorting blocks. It converts from a walking toy to a sturdy ride-on. Ages 9 months and older. $49.99, Toys R Us, Wilkes-Barre; $49.99, Target, Wilkes-Barre Township or Dickson City; $44.99, Boscov’s, South Main Street, Wilkes-Barre; The Mall at Steamtown, Scranton; or Laurel Mall, Airport Road, Hazleton.

FURBY: This little bundle of fur is back and better than ever. Talk to it, tickle it, play music for it, or even feed it. It will develop its own personality based on how you treat it. Because Furby speaks both English and Furbish, a free downloadable app is available that will help you translate Furbish. It’s made by Hasbro and comes in cute colors such as cotton candy and raincloud. Ages 6 and older. $54, Toys R Us, Wilkes-Barre, or $54, Target, Wilkes-Barre Township or Dickson City.

LEGO SUPER HEROES BATWING BATTLE OVER GOTHAM CITY: Stop the Joker from dropping toxic laughing gas on Gotham City. Includes three minifigures: Batman, the Joker and a henchman. Vehicles include the Joker’s helicopter and the Batwing. Comic book is also included. Ages 8 and older. $34.99, Target, Wilkes-Barre Township or Dickson City.


LOL ELMO: Kiddos will get a kick out of this latest Elmo edition. He laughs up a storm, tells jokes and comes with a Dorothy fishbowl squeaker toy for even more silly fun. The more he laughs, the more he rolls and shakes. This is sure to be one of those red-hot toys of the holiday season. Made by Sesame Street for ages 18 months and older. $39.99, Toys R Us, Wilkes-Barre; $34.99, Target, Wilkes-Barre Township or Dickson City; $39.99, Boscov’s, WilkesBarre, Scranton or Hazleton.

RAINBOW COLOR CONES BY LEARNING RESOURCES: Here’s the scoop: This toy contains two cones and eight scoops in different colors, each labeled with the color underneath. It helps children with color identification, fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination. How cool is that? Ages 2 and older. $18. Humphreys’ Apparel & Toys, 160 N. Memorial Highway, Shavertown.

THE BIG PIANO DANCE MAT BY FAO SCHWARZ: Youngsters can feel like Tom Hanks in “Big” as they create sweet music with just the tap of their toes. The huge 24-key piano pad delivers eight instrument sounds, 10 pre-recorded songs, and record and playback modes. Each giant key is numbered, allowing users to compose their own tunes or play one of the three songs included in the instruction booklet. Ages 3 and older. $79.99 at Toys R Us, Wilkes-Barre.

KENDAMA: This classic Japanese skill toy is the talk of the Back Mountain and beyond. Youngsters are actually ditching their video games to try their hand at this wooden toy, which strengthens handeye coordination, balance and reflexes. And the owner of Humphreys’ Apparel & Toys says she has a two-page waiting list. Trick possibilities are endless for both the beginner and the experienced. Prices range from $20-$30 depending on color. Ages 9 and older. Humphreys’ Apparel & Toys, Shavertown.

LOOPDEDOO: This will help your child to create fab and funky bracelets in minutes. It comes with one spinning tool (complete with drawer for storing your gear), 18 different colored skeins of embroidery floss and detailed instructions. You also can make necklaces, anklets, belts and more. Kid-powered (no batteries, no electricity). Ages 8 and older. $35, Humphreys’ Apparel & Toys, Shavertown.

MERCHANT’S PICK - THE CHAMP: This ready-to-fly remotecontrolled airplane is a perennially popular pick. It’s lightweight yet durable and so easy to control your little one (or big one) can be an aviation pro in no time. $89.99 at Walters Hardware, 57 North Welles St., Wilkes-Barre.


PAGE 18

SPECIAL SECTION, THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 22, 201


By NICK DeLORENZO ndelorenzo@timesleader.com

A

s ever, there are countless new gadgets and gizmos out there this holiday season. We’ve tried to narrow the field of choices by recommending products based on our own research. From computer equipment to televisions and even software, it’s important to stay up-to-date on technology to keep your equipment in top form. Tech gifts can be some of the most rewarding presents your loved ones receive, so making the right choices is key. Here are our Top 10.

SAMSUNG ATIV SMARTPC 500T TABLET: Windows 8 is the latest operating system from Microsoft, and Samsung is known for its high-quality products. With an 11.6-inch HD screen, an Intel Atom Processor and an 8megapixel camera, plus full USB capabilities, the Samsung ATIV Smart PC 500T is ready for serious productivity that will make an iPad green with envy. $699 at Best Buy.

SAMSUNG SERIES 7 GAMER LAPTOP: If you have a high-end gamer in the house or are into photo or video editing and processing, the Series 7 Gamer has an awesome screen, blazingly fast processor and great graphics card. The extra-large keyboard contains a full numeric keypad, and the screen is large enough to be useful. For gaming on the go, you can’t do better. $1699.

LENOVO 23-INCH TOUCH SCREEN ALLIN ONE COMPUTER: With Microsoft’s latest Operating system, Windows 8, the Lenovo 23-inch all-in-one PC provides functionality, power and style at a reasonable price. With a large 1 TB drive and 4 gigs of RAM, this Lenovo offers a touch screen so you can use Windows 8 as it was designed – with the tap of a finger. Of course, you can (and should) plug a keyboard or mouse in as well. $899.99.

Nick DeLorenzo is a gadget guru who never likes to get behind the tech curve.

LG 47LS500 HDTV: This LG 47-inch LED boasts a crystal-clear 1080p HD display and a 4,000,000:1 dynamic contrast ratio, along with Dolby Digital and Virtual surround sound. It offers USB ports for cameras and other devices, two HDMI inputs and an ultraslim 1 1/2-inch design. If you’re not looking for a SmartTV, just a crystal-clear one, or want an extra-large monitor, this is a great choice. $599.

SONOS PLAY 3 WIRELESS HIFI SYSTEM: This system is designed to integrate with Smartphones, including your iPhone, iPad or Android. Instead of listening to music on headphones or having your phone stuck in a dock all day, the Sonos lets you shed the wires. The Sonos App lets you control your listening system from your phone. The unit has three integrated speakers and amplifiers and can stream music. $299.

LG INTUITION FROM VERIZON WIRELESS: The LG intuition is half phone, half tablet. Or all phone, all tablet, depending on how you look at it. Packing an extra-large screen, a stylus, high-end camera and processor, along with Google’s Android Operating System and Verizon’s 4G network, the LG Intuition makes getting things done on the go a portable proposition. $149.99

SUPERSHELL IPAD HOLDER FOR KIDS: Kids today pick up new technology amazingly fast. They also seem to drop it just as quickly. The SuperShell iPad holder protects a precious iPad from bumps and drops while still allowing game play and use of educational apps. It offers access to all buttons and ports, is compatible with the iPad 2 and 3 and protects the iPad from every angle. It also will protect your iPad from clumsy adults. $30.

ADOBE PREMIERE ELEMENTS: Adobe Premiere Elements is to videos what Photoshop Elements is to Photos. People frequently just shoot and upload video. They often forget or are unaware it’s possible to edit, clean up and organize videos just like photos. Premiere Elements allows users to edit, cut and insert effects into videos without spending huge money. Photoshop Elements and Premiere Elements are available as a combined package for $150 (or $99 for Premiere Elements alone).

ADOBE PHOTOSHOP ELEMENTS: Just about any computer or smartphone packs a pretty good camera these days, but digital cameras remain popular gifts. One thing people always seem to forget is software to edit the photos. Adobe, a leading name in editing and design, is known for its Photoshop line of software, and Photoshop Elements distills and simplifies that high-end software down to the essentials needed to touch up, edit, and sort. $99.

THE BARNES & NOBLE NOOK HD: For avid readers and families wanting an easy-to-use, inexpensive tablet device, the Nook HD is a great choice. With access to more than 3 million books, tons of magazines, movies and apps, a stunning HD screen and an ultra-light case, the Nook HD is powerful, affordable, and useful. It’s one of the most powerful tablets for the price. $199.99


By SANDRA SNYDER ssnyder@timesleader.com

W

hat’s better than a gift that won’t take up space, except in

the gullet? Edible and sippable gifts, some say, are the best kind of all, and all the better when they look especially cool. Sandra Snyder has achieved a balance of cheap and expensive tastes. She buys herself plenty of the budgetpriced stuff but has, gratefully, been on the receiving end of several gifts of the better stuff and therefore feels qualified to recommend both.

1. WINE IN A PURSE! First boxes, then barrels (paper ones) and, if you can find them, even paint cans. What will they think of next for wine vessels? Purses, of course. How cute are these? And how perfect for a winter picnic? OK, so maybe they’re a bit girly. (Give them to a girl then.) In red, white or rosé. You’ll even get a cute shoulder strap. And you won’t break the bank. $14.99 at local Wine & Spirits stores.

2. PEANUT BUTTER CHIFFONS: We dare you to call a combination of chocolate and peanut butter better than these babies. A pound of heaven and worth every pound you might gain from eating the whole box. These are a year-round staple, and sorry Reese’s, we love you, too, but you can’t possibly compare. In milk or dark chocolate. $11.95 per pound and available gift-wrapped at Jon L. Stopay, Plains Plaza, 17 North River St., Plains Township.

3. SMIDGENS and REINDEER FOOD: We’d hardly be able to call ourselves candy connoisseurs, however, if we overlooked two of that refined lady Gertrude Hawk’s most popular, pleasant products. The timeless Smidgen and the newer-on-the-scene, but equally addicting, reindeer food, which, for the unawares, is a lighter, less-guilty coated cereal candy. New Smidgen flavors this year are limited, as in limited to mocha, but sometimes less is more. Smidgens: typically $10.49 for a 14.5-ounce pack; Reindeer Food: $8.59 for a 16-ounce tub. At all Gertrude Hawk locations.

4. CH’UP CAKES: They call ’em the cupcake reinvented, which means they’ve piled on the decadent chocolate and replaced the cake – with solid Belgian chocolate. Decadent mix-ins result in five creative varieties: S’mores, Trail Mix, Espresso, Cookies ’n Creme and Banana Caramel. $26 for a four-pack of your choice at Sugar Plum, 88 Dilley St., Forty Fort.


5. MEAT AND CHEESE! For the noncandy fans in our lives, can you beat a gift basket of the best stuff in this category? Check out igourmet.com, headquartered on Delaware Avenue in West Pittston, for an astonishing assortment of all kinds of goodies. One mid-priced example (not shown) contains more than three pounds of cured meats, salamis and pepperonis as well as venison jerky, German mustard, four cheeses and a box of mini toasts. $69.99 at igourmet.com. Or make your own basket for $19.99 for the basket then fill it up with all kinds of igourmet goodies.

6. PREMIUM PEANUTS: Sweet tooths – teeth? – are out in force, especially at the holidays, but let’s not overlook the beloved salty tooths in our lives. How about a 40-ounce tin of Virginia Extra Large Peanuts? Options are Salted, Sea Salt and Pepper, Honey Roasted or Butter Toasted, perfect for the sweet-and-salty tooth. (Or unsalted for the neither here nor there.) $16.95 at Plow & Hearth, Shoppes at Montage, Moosic. (Chocolate-covered Virginia peanuts are another option.)

9. BEER ME – I MEAN BEER THEM: Good old beer, especially specialty beer, is every bit as popular as wine these days, and when you give a good beer, all the better. How about Mean Old Tom from the Maine Beer Company? This warm-you-up stout, aged on pure vanilla beans, is brewed by a tiny and relatively new artisanal brewery in the chilly North. $6.99 for a 16.9-ounce bottle at J&H Beer, 1574 Highway 315, Plains Township.

10. MAPLE SYRUP: Heartwarming and body-warming, maple syrup is a rather useful – and in this case, adorable – gift this time of year. The medium-amber (the best kind, if you ask us) tucked into this sweet, reusable, Penguin-shaped bottle comes straight from Vermont. $19.95 at Plow & Hearth, Shoppes at Montage, Moosic.

7. MARTINI, ANYONE? Who wouldn’t want to throw a martini party with the wild variety of vodkas on the market today? Seems everyone’s getting in on the game, too, as names like Stoli and Pinnacle, Smirnoff and Three Olives continue to come out with flavors galore. How wild can they get? Just check out these from Pinnacle’s “Irresistibly Fun” line: Atomic Hots, Cherry Lemonade, Cookie Dough, Cotton Candy, Orange Whipped, Pumpkin Pie, Tropical Punch, Vanilla, Whipped Cream and Whipped Key Lime. Simple and quick gifts for about $10 at any Wine & Spirits location.

SWIZZLE BERRIES: Elevate your chocolate-covered-strawberry experience with an elegant presentation of 12 juicy chocolate-covered berries swizzled with a decadent white glaze. Available for same-day pickup or delivery. $39 at Edible Arrangements, WalMart Plaza, WilkesBarre Township.

8. NOM-NOMS FROM MOOTZ: The long-beloved local candy purveyor in Hanover Township has a great new showroom to show off this year, and offerings are as good as ever. Give the “bad boy” or “bad girl” in your life a box of candy coal, and choose something pricier for the well-behaved. Perhaps an appreciative teacher? Anthracite Candy is only $5, and a nifty two-pack of bestsellers – chocolate-covered pretzels and nonpareils, a half-pound apiece – is $16.45 at Michael Mootz Candies, 1246 Sans Souci Parkway, Hanover Township.

2. CHOCOLATE COUTURE TRUFFLE GIFT BOX: On trend and simply fantastic, this signature purple gift box comes filled with 11 pieces of favorite chocolate truffle flavors. $29.95 at Sugar Plum, 88 Dilley St., Forty Fort.


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PAGE 22

Keep Your Loved Ones Warm & Cool This Winter!


By BRAD PATTON bpatton@timesleader.com

T

he holidays have always been a bonanza for music-lovers because record companies traditionally release the hottest new albums and coolest greatest-hits compilations just in time for the gift-giving season. This year is no different as new albums from Taylor Swift, Alicia Keys and Aerosmith duke it out with archival releases from Elvis Presley, Creedence Clearwater Revival and The Rolling Stones. Your best bet locally is Gallery of Sound, an honestto-goodness record store that always has the best selection whether your music fan has a hankering for rock, pop, country, rap, blues or authentic Hungarian folk music.

TAYLOR SWIFT – “RED” (released Oct. 22, MSRP $18.97): The singer-songwriter raised in Wyomissing is back with 16 new songs (22 on some special editions). The album sold more copies in its first week of release than any other since 2002, and the lead single, “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together,” was Swift’s first chart-topper on the Billboard Hot 100. Only problem might be finding someone on your list who doesn’t have this by the time the holidays roll around. ALICIA KEYS – “GIRL ON FIRE” (Nov. 27, $12.99): The 14-time Grammy winner on her first album in three years and fifth overall. Perhaps the secondmost hotly anticipated release of the season, after Swift’s lateOctober debut.

AEROSMITH – “MUSIC FROM ANOTHER DIMENSION!” (Nov. 6, $12.96): The first album of new material from the Boston bad boys in 11 years and the first since lead singer Steven Tyler became a mega-star by judging a televised talent contest.

THE ROLLING STONES – “GRRR!” (Nov. 13, $20.92 and up): Another greatesthits package from one of the bands celebrating its 50th anniversary. Available in a multitude of configurations: a three-CD version with 50 tracks; a three-CD deluxe edition with 50 tracks, a 36-page hardback book and tour-poster postcard set; a super deluxe edition with 80 tracks on four CDs, plus the book and postcard set, a bonus CD of previously unreleased first-ever studio recordings, a 7-inch vinyl record of a BBC radio session, a poster and an additional 96-page book; and a vinyl box set. All versions contain two new songs and a goofy cover containing a gorilla with Stones-logo lips.

LADY ANTEBELLUM – “ON THIS WINTER’S NIGHT” (Oct. 22, $16.97): More holiday cheer, this time courtesy of Lady A on its first holiday collection. One new song (the title track) and great versions of time-tested classics such as “Blue Christmas,” “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home),” “The First Noel” and “A Holly Jolly Christmas.”

LED ZEPPELIN – “CELEBRATION DAY” (Nov. 19, 2 CD + 2 DVD, $39.97): A tribute concert to the band’s dear friend (and Atlantic Records founder) Ahmet Ertegun, recorded at London’s 02 Arena in December 2007. Possibly the last time original members Robert Plant, Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones get together to play, and another one available in a plethora of versions.

Brad Patton has been writing about music and reviewing concerts for The Times Leader for five years and has been collecting all things musical for almost 40. He also hosts a two-hour radio program Tuesdays on 88.5 WRKC (Radio King’s College).

ELVIS PRESLEY – “PRINCE FROM ANOTHER PLANET” (Nov. 13, 2 CD + 1 DVD, $34.97): Just when you think there can’t possibly be any more goodies in the Graceland vaults, something like this comes along. The King of Rock-’n’-Roll in all his early-1970s glory: two complete concerts recorded at Madison Square Garden in June 1972 on the CDs plus never-before-seen video, including 20 minutes of fan-filmed footage, on the DVD. ULTIMATE CREEDENCE CLEARWATER REVIVAL: GREATEST HITS & ALL-TIME CLASSICS (Nov. 6, 3 CD, $24.97): The first two discs contain 40 classics from John Fogerty and company, while the third has 12 legendary live versions of the same CCR staples such as “Proud Mary,” “Down on the Corner” and “Bad Moon Rising.” “A VERY SPECIAL CHRISTMAS - 25 YEARS BRINGING JOY TO THE WORLD” (Oct. 16, $11.92): We could always use some new Christmas music, and this one – like all the others in the best-selling series – benefits the Special Olympics. This year’s release includes Train, Michael Buble, Amy Grant, Dave Matthews Band, The Band Perry, Rascal Flatts, Cheap Trick and others.

THE BEATLES – “MAGICAL MYSTERY TOUR” (Oct. 9, DVD $19.98, Blu-ray $29.98): Many consider this 1967 TV special the Fab Four’s first true flop, but it’s still The Beatles and delivers classics such as “I Am The Walrus,” “The Fool on the Hill” and the title tune.


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By IRENE KOVALESKI ikovaleski@timesleader.com

T

ired of getting the same ordinary bones for your canine companion or the common catnip toy for your frisky feline? If you’re looking for something different this holiday season, take a look at these choices sure to brighten the holidays for your furry or feathered friends.

Irene Kovaleski’s miniature dachshund, Haley, has more squeaky toys than Santa (Paws) has in his workshop.

HOLIDAY DOG COOKIES: Fido will flip over these festive gourmet treats made by Melody Fuller. She uses natural human-grade ingredients that contain a base of whole-wheat flour, rolled oats, flaxseed meal, natural honey, vanilla and rosemary extract in addition to other ingredients based on the cookie. A variety of flavors and cute shapes include: Santas (peanut butter), Christmas trees (French vanilla) and candy canes (gingerbread). Special treat bags and baskets range from $5-$10. Individual cookies range from 25 cents to $1. Available at Jagger’s Doggy Deli in Hair of the Dog, 109 East Broad St., Hazleton, or visit www.jaggersdoggydeli.com. Also available at The Lands at Hillside Farms, 65 Hillside Road, Shavertown; Dundee Gardens, 2407 Sans Souci Parkway, Hanover Township; and Corky’s Garden Path Greenhouses, 729 Justus Blvd., Clarks Summit.

STAR SPINNER DOG TOY PUZZLE: This 10-chamber treat-hiding game is a great brain workout for your dog, especially if he or she loves treats. $19.99 at Petco, 3480 Wilkes-Barre Township Commons, Wilkes-Barre Township, or 41 West Side Mall, Edwardsville.

SPIN CITY HEALTH CLUB: Looking for a healthy habitat for your hamster? This is the perfect place. It includes a digital counter that tallies every revolution of the fun-to-run ball so you can track your pet’s progress. It also sports a spiral slide and teeter totter for added fun. $49.99 at Petco, 3480 WilkesBarre Township Commons, Wilkes-Barre Township, or 41 West Side Mall, Edwardsville.

SASQUATCH PET BED: It’s as comfortable as an old shoe. The fluffy faux fleece liner is removable and machine washable. The slipper styling gives small to medium pets a place to hide and keeps pets cool in summer and warm in winter. Great for dogs and cats. It also contains a built-in roll-bar headrest. Available in black, fawn and pink. $74.95 at Plow & Hearth, Shoppes at Montage, Moosic, or online at plowhearth.com

BIRD PLAYGROUND: Your pet birds are sure to flock to this play area made of wood and rope by All Living Things. It includes two rope toys, a rope swing and a three-sided ladder. Comes in three sizes: $11.69, small birds; $17.99, medium birds; $31.49, large birds. Petsmart, 427 Arena Hub Plaza, Wilkes-Barre Township.

PETSTAGES CHEESE CHASE: Your kitty will have three times the fun with this toy. It contains a translucent ball track that offers hours of chasing fun, a Swisscheese center that offers challenge and interest with another ball to chase and a catnip-filled plush mouse toy with a fun spring motion and crinkle sounds, too. $19.98, Pet Supplies Plus, 55 Scott St., Wilkes-Barre.

HOLIDAY DOG TOYS: These cute stuffed toys made by Petlou come in a variety of shapes such as a gingerbread man, candy cane, bone, ball and dog. They are durable and squeak. $7.99 to $16 at Jagger’s Doggy Deli in Hair of the Dog, 109 East Broad St., Hazleton.

SUET FEEDER: This is perfect for those feathered friends outside your home. You can spread peanut butter in the little holes and sprinkle some seeds on the outside if you like. Birds that enjoy peanut butter include wrens, chickadees, juncos and some woodpeckers. Made by Kettle Moraine Woodworking. $14.99 at Wild Birds Unlimited, Dallas Shopping Center, Dallas.

RATTAN MULTI-TIERED CAT PALACE WITH WASHABLE PILLOWS: Let your kitty or kitties feel like royalty in this cat bed house made of strong rattan woven willow frames. The threetiered cat bed contains machinewashable pillows for easy cleanup of fur and messes. $149.95 at Plow & Hearth, Shoppes at Montage, Moosic, or www.plowhearth.com.

NUT KNOT NIBBLER BY SUPER PET: Your little critters will go nuts over this toy. As they nibble and gnaw, they will eventually come to an allnatural surprise: a real nut. Made from all-natural wood and safe vegetable food colors. For hamsters, rabbits, guinea pigs, rats and other small animals. $5.98 at Pet Supplies Plus, 55 Scott St., Wilkes-Barre.

MERCHANT’S PICK - SAFETY TRACK JACKET FOR DOGS: This reflective safety jacket is great for dog owners who want their pet to be seen at all times because it offers the ultimate visibility during hunting season and in low light. Your adventurous dog will enjoy the fit and lightweight comfort. $34.95 at myoutwardhound.com.


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By MARY THERESE BIEBEL mbiebel@timesleader.com

H

ow about an hour of horseback riding? Or a relaxing massage? Maybe a dance lesson? Whether you’re shopping for “the friend who has everything” or someone with a sense of adventure, you might decide the perfect gift is not a tangible object but an experience – perhaps one giver and recipient can share. Here are some ideas for memories in the making.

Times Leader Features Writer Mary Therese Biebel has long been a fan of “experience” gifts. Just ask her husband, who has been agreeing to her “Just take me on a hike” requests for more than 12 years.

Why not try something new? If your friends haven’t gone horseback riding before, consider giving them an hour in the saddle, along a scenic trail. DeerPath Stables on Route 940 near White Haven is open year-round, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily. Cost is $32 cash, or $34 for credit card. It’s a good idea to call 443-4431 first for reservations.

If you were charmed by the mellow voice that sang “The Way You Look Tonight” in Steve Martin’s 1991 remake of “Father of the Bride,” count yourself a fan of Grammy-winning vocalist Steve Tyrell. And consider buying tickets to take your favorite music-lover to the Northeastern Pennsylvania Philharmonic Feb. 8 or Feb. 9, when Tyrell will join the orchestra for an “I’ll Take Romance” concert. $15 to $60 per ticket. www.nepaphil.org.

Want to play penguin? You can slide downhill like an Antarctic bird with a snow-tubing season pass for Sno Mountain in Moosic, where there are 10 chutes, each at least 800 feet long. Regular price for the season pass is $100. www.snomtn.com.

Or would you rather hockey? The WilkesBarre/Scranton Penguins play the Toronto Marlies on Saturday and the Syracuse Crunch on Nov. 30 – if you’d like to give an early gift – and the action continues at the Mohegan Sun Arena through the winter. Individual tickets are $23.50 to $40. www.wbwspenguins.com.

Bah humbug! Surely that is not your sentiment. If you’d like to hear Scrooge repent those curmudgeonly words, why not treat someone who loves Christmas to “A Christmas Carol,” which will be presented by the Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble 26 times between now and Dec. 29? Ticket prices range from $11 to $25. www.bte.org.

You’ll find the dancing snowflakes, flowers and sugar plums of “The Nutcracker” at Wilkes University’s Dorothy Dickson Darte Center, presented by Ballet Northeast, from Dec. 14-16. Tickets are $20 for adults and $15 for students and seniors. Call 821-8525. The Moscow Ballet also will perform the Christmas-time classic on Dec. 3 at the F.M. Kirby Center, where tickets are $27.50 to $68. Call 826-1100.

Now what would be more relaxing than two firm but gentle hands massaging away your aches and cares? How about four hands working in tandem? During a four-handed massage at The Woodhouse Day Spa on Wyoming Avenue in Kingston, two therapists use “choreographed, rhythmic movements” to induce deep relaxation. $175. 763-0063.

Perhaps your friend or partner has always wanted to trip the light fantastic? Raphael Cooper and Lauren Harrington-Cooper at the Cooper Dance Academy in Kingston will be happy to teach ballroom steps to either or both of you. A weekly hour-long group class is $10 per person, and private lessons are $50. 815-4536.

For a more casual, down-home style of dancing, you can round up your entire family and bring them to a Wyoming Valley Contra Dance from 7 to 10 p.m. Dec. 1 or Jan. 5. The dances include old-time, folksy music and a caller who explains what to do. Admission is $9 for adults, $4 for children and $25 for families. 333-4007.

And maybe someone on your gift list would appreciate a health-boosting place to work out every day. Adult membership at the Wilkes-Barre YMCA is $497 per year. Short-term options are $55 per month or a “Fit-to-be-Tried” three months for $100. www.wbymca.org.


SPECIAL SECTION, THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 22, 201

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Selections


TIMES LEADER STAFF

I

f another superstorm hits or you’ve hit up every brick-and-mortar store around and still have a few names left on your list, online can be the way to go. Just don’t forget that plenty of local merchants also have entered the digital age and can sell you their goods over the Interwebs as well. Here are just a handful of our favorite digital finds.

MINI CAMP LANTERN: It’s compact, lightweight and brightens a whole room – or your tent when you’re out camping. Most online reviewers wrote they were very pleased with this popular item from llbean.com. $24.95.

MONKEYS ON A BOTTLE: Wine-bottle stoppers are everywhere, but have you seen any set cuter than this trio? In the charming tradition of “See No Evil, Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil,” these three cuties by Red Vanilla bring a special sort of advice to those enjoying three bottles of wine, no? $39.99 on overstock.com.

CAPRI BLUE CANDLES: Speaking of brightening a whole room, these candles will do one better and brighten a room in shade AND scent. The 20-ounce jar has a burn time of 85 hours and comes in the most amazing scents. Our personal favorite? Volcano – a delicious blend of tropical fruits and sugared citrus. Seriously the best thing you’ve ever smelled … you can thank us later. $29.95 at capribluecandles.com.

PRESENTATION CHEESE KNIFE: It’s useful and local – igourmet.com has its HQ right here in West Pittston (Delaware Avenue) – and it’s inexpensive. The fork at the end of this handy-dandy cheese knife allows you to present, like a true foodie and hostess with the mostess, the chunk of cheese you’ve just sliced. Stainless steel with rivets – always look for the rivets – and dishwasher safe. $9.99 at igourmet.com.

STUFFIES: These novel stuffed animals allow children to hide their most prized possessions. The plush, cuddly critters come in a variety of animals such as a giraffe, dog, pig, monkey and more. They have seven secret pockets and come with a storybook and free surprise. Bonus: They also can be used as overnight bags. Free shipping. $29.95 at stuffies.com or call 1-800-707-5479.

OUR TEAM Editor Sandra Snyder Design Lindsey Jones

GLASS CANDY BAG: Go ahead, reach in. See how the bag doesn’t crinkle? It’ll never be a problem when you go to reach for goodies in this twist on the classic candy bowl. $17.50 at uncommongoods.com.

“MAGIC” RUNNING SHOES: The collection of running shoes known as On has been called “supernatural,” thanks to its CloudTec system, comprising threedimensional elements or “clouds” made of highly flexible circular rubber soles. Explosive push-off is the key selling point, but you can’t overlook the feeling of landing on sand yet pushing off from hard track. On offers four choices: Cloudracer ($129 and the fastest racing shoe); Cloudster ($119 and a walking/everyday shoe); Cloudsurfer ($129 and a racing and speed-training shoe); and Cloudrunner ($139 and with an extra cushion for heavy foot strikers and/or long training runs). Check them all out at www.on-running.com.

Writers Sara Pokorny, Mary Therese Biebel, Sandra Snyder, Irene Kovaleski, Michele Aed, Nick Delorenzo and Brad Patton Imaging Maureen Dessoye


OUR GIFT TO READERS In the holiday hustle and bustle, sometimes you forget an item or two. Wrapping paper? We have you covered. Use either of these two holiday-inspired sheets to wrap a small present for someone on your list.


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SPECIAL SECTION, THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 22, 201


Holiday Gift Guide 2012