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HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE

L ‘Observateur

WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 24, 2010

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Find the right gift for everyone on your list (MS) — With the holidays upon us, shoppers across the country are once again agonizing over what to get their family and friends. While holiday shopping once consisted of a necktie for Dad, a comfy robe for Mom and some toys for the kids, today’s holiday shopping list is much more complicated than that. Each and every family or circle of friends has its own unique identity, and each member within those groups is his or her own individual. For those with a holiday shopping list on which no two people are the same, consider the following gift ideas to ensure everyone on your list enjoys a happy holiday season.

have now infiltrated families across the country. This holiday season, shoppers can give the wine lover on their list the latest innovative solution to wine storage. Vynebar (www.vynebar.com) is ideal for anyone who loves great wine and appreciates sleek, modern design. Crafted from a solid sheet of anodized aluminum, the Vynebar vertical wine storage system can be engraved with images, monograms or company logos and provides a great opportunity for wine enthusiasts to turn their wine collection into a stunning work of art, all without taking up much space. “I wanted to show off my favorite wines in a fairly limited space,” says creator Jason Bevis. “It also turned out to be a great conversation piece.”

The Techie What do you get your gadget-obsessed friend or relative this year? Oftentimes, when it comes to gifting a tech-savvy relative, it helps to go with something new. This holiday season, SANYO’s Full HD Pocket-size Dual Camera, VPC-PD2, complete with embedded software for easy use and sharing on social networks, figures to be the talk of the town among techies. The only camera of its kind to offer full HD video, 10 MP photos and 3x optical zoom, the new Pocket Dual Camera (www.us.sanyo.com/DualCameras) makes it a snap to shoot, connect, view, and share both videos and photos on popular social networking sites, including YouTube, Facebook and Picassa. The camera’s dual microphones record stereo sound with the same technology found in SANYO’s professional sound

The Environmentalist recorders. The Busy Woman Today’s woman is busier and more on-the-go than ever before. LJE Designs’ Lauren Joy Handbags (www.laurenjoyhandbags.com) help fashion forward women save time with an interchangeable handbag system that enables them to transform one bag into many looks to match any outfit. “Every woman has left the house with a bag that didn’t match her outfit because she didn’t have the extra 10 minutes — or has swapped bags only to realize she left her wallet or something else she needed in the other purse,” says Didem Ellermeyer, founder and creative director of LJE Designs, LLC.

“With Lauren Joy Handbags, you never have to sacrifice time for fashion, or fashion for time. It’s the best of both worlds.” With Lauren Joy Handbags, women can transform a bag’s entire look in a matter of seconds, without ever having to transfer purse contents from one bag to another. Women simply use one high-quality core bag, then mix, match and play by adding, removing or combining attractive accessories to create an unlimited number of different looks. The Wine Lover Few hobbies taste as good as developing an affinity and knowledge of the wines of the world. With their masses growing, wine connoisseurs

Speaking of popular trends, arguably nothing is growing as fast as the go green movement. This year, shoppers can put a smile on their favorite environmentalist’s face with Xoopii’s eco-fashionable, reusable totes and bags, available in two unique styles and roomy and durable enough to carry groceries and stylish enough to take along to the beach. Xoopii’s Yorkii bags are extra-large reusable tote bags that fold up so small they fit inside pockets, purses, glove compartments, and, of course, Christmas stockings. Xoopii’s (www.xoopii.com) freestanding RPET bags are made from used plastic bottles and sure to please the environmentalist who no longer has to sacrifice style and function for the sake of

the environment. Both styles come adorned with limited-edition art crafted by today’s hottest street, pop, anime, and urban artists. Once a design is sold out, it’s gone — soon to be replaced by another musthave design trendsters will love to tote around town. Customers and Clients Of course, no holiday shopping list is complete without customers and clients. The holiday season is a time for businesses to show just how much they appreciate their customers and clients, and how much they look forward to working with them in the year ahead. Branded gifts from The Brandmarket (www.thebrandmarket.com) are bought in bulk and allow businesses to carry goodwill with their clients, customers and colleagues into the New Year. Messages expressing holiday goodwill and appreciation can be laser-engraved on a host of products ranging from versatile kitchenware to relaxing spa products tailor-made to relieve the stress of the holiday season — and everything in between. What’s more, no gift idea is too intricate or creative, including a toaster that can emblazon a corporate logo on toast, waffles and pancakes, epitomizing The Brandmarket’s “You Name it, We Brand It” mantra. When it comes to holiday shopping, finding the right fit is never as easy as it should be. But when steered in the right direction, holiday shoppers can ensure the important people in their lives remember this holiday season for years to come.


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WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 24, 2010

Great gift ideas for $25 or less (ARA) - The ever-growing holiday gift list can be overwhelming. The amount of time you need to spend thinking of - and then finding - gifts can be daunting. And then there’s the cost. If you’re on a budget this holiday season, don’t turn into a Scrooge - here are some fabulous gift ideas that will keep your family members and friends happy for less than $25. • Keep your loved one’s drinks hot, and hands and laps dry, with the Contigo Stainless Steel Travel Mug perfect for the coffee lover or the hard-to-shop-for person. Its patented Autoseal technology offers convenient one-handed drinking, allow-

ing users to drink with a quick push of a button, and automatically seals when not in use. And it’s vacuum-insulated, which means it keeps hot beverages hot for four hours and cold drinks cold for 12 hours. Visit www.GoContigo.com for more information. • If the youngsters or young at heart on your list are fans of Sesame Street, they’re going to love the new video game accessories from dreamGEAR decorated in popular characters from the show. Items include the Sesame Street Mini Game Packs, the iPod Touch Elmo Silicone Cases and the Elmo Character Stylus for the Nintendo DS. Visit www.dreamgear.net/sesame

street for more ideas. • Logitech has a great gift idea for all the music-lovers on your list — the Ultimate Ears 100 Noise-Isolating Earphones. Available in five music-genre-inspired designs, it allows the recipient to express his/her personal music preference - no

matter if the MP3 player is filled with holiday tunes or electro beats. Visit www.logitech.com/ultimateears to learn more. • Laptop users are often troubled by the heat from their computers, and now a great product is available to cool their machines and fend

that heat away from them. ThermaPAK’s mobile cooling pads use eco-friendly cooling crystals to absorb the heat from laptop computers, and they require no power or refrigeration and make no noise. Best yet, a variety of colors and sizes are available at www.thermapak.com. • Those tech savvy people on your list probably have smart phones and gadgets everywhere, and they’re quickly getting scratched up. Help them keep their technology in pristine condition with BodyGuardz Dry Apply, a liquid-free scratch-proof transparent skin that helps safeguard devices from nicks and scratches. Learn more about how this works at www.bodyguardz.com.


HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE

L ‘Observateur

WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 24, 2010

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Great ‘green’ gifts for all types of guys (ARA) - Reusable shopping bag for mom, recycled glass earrings for your best friend and an iTunes gift card for your 12-year-old niece - when it comes to generating green gift ideas for the females on your holiday shopping list, you just zip along. Then there are the guys ... We may never know why it’s more difficult to shop for men. Whether they’re car guys, sports fanatics or techies, coming up with just the right gift for the men in our lives can stymie even the most creative shopper, especially if you’re trying to put a little “green” under the tree. If it’s the thought that counts, buying green is the way to go; and with more quality green gift options, it’s never been easier. So if you want the men in your life to be a little greener, without sacrificing features, quality or style, here are some green gift ideas, categorized by types of guys: The gadget guru Tech guys love to get their hands on every cool new gadget as soon as it hits the market. Your chances of getting him something major

The sharp dresser Is he convinced that the song “Sharp Dressed Man” was written just for him? Clean shirt, new shoes ... for the well-dressed man, green can be more than just a color. Thanks to clothing made from materials such as recycled water bottles, you’ll be doing good, while making him look good. The well-known men’s apparel brand, Haggar, offers chinos, cargos and dress pants made with Repreve, a recycled fiber made from recycled plastic bottles. Featuring a straight, contemporary fit, these pants look good and feel great. Check them out at retailers across the country, including Macy’s, JCPenney, Kohl’s and Belk. The outdoorsman

that he doesn’t already have are pretty slim, so go the route that has served women well for centuries - accessorize. All those gadgets need power, so consider a USBcompatible solar charging device. These chargers use

solar power to juice up virtually any gadget that has a USB power port. You can find ones made for cell phones, MP3 players and practically any other digital product. Google “solar charger” to start your search.

Does he spend hours, days even, perfecting the landscape at the house? Hardware and home improvement stores can be a great place to find solar powered pathway lights so he can showcase his masterpiece. Or if he likes to garden, consider getting him a composting kit. Compost is

the ultimate act of green gardening, using leftover vegetable scraps and other items to help create a nutrientrich, all-natural fertilizer. If he loves to explore the great outdoors, camping gear such as backpacks that convert solar power into electricity, hand-cranked radios, and flashlights that power up with a few good shakes are all great options. The handyman Sure, he’s gone through the house caulking and sealing every possible crack where heat could escape, and he’s replaced every incandescent bulb in the house with compact fluorescent lights (CFLs). But does he yearn to do even more to conserve energy and reduce your home’s carbon footprint? Buy him his own voltage measuring device. All he has to do is plug an appliance into the device and it will display exactly how much power in kilowatt hours the appliance uses. He’ll be able to tell what items in the house are the surprising power gobblers, and calculate electrical expenses down to the day if he so desires.


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‘Tis the season for giving great play and value (ARA) - When making your child’s holiday gift list this year, check it twice to make sure the toys you buy provide exceptional play value. Nothing offers a child better playtime than a toy that’s age appropriate, fans an interest and provides endless opportunities for imaginative play. Identify the attributes you’d like your child’s toys to have. Remember to keep a variety of toys in the toy box so your child can develop a range of developmental skills and create new adventures every time he or she plays. Consider other siblings in the house and find toys that encourage them to share in the fun. Also, look for toys that can help create a special holiday sentiment for your children so your family

can relive these special memories for many holidays to come. Here are a few gift ideas that are sure to be holiday hits: Super cool device – iXL Learning System: This preschool digital learning device from Fisher-Price packs six different applications into a cool gadget to keep children engaged for hours. With the Digital Reader application, they’ll hear a story read aloud, with interactive animations. Kids can click on words to learn more about them, expanding skills in reading, comprehension, keywords and spelling. The Game Player offers arcade-style games to teach numbers, sequencing and counting. With the MP3

Player, children can collect their own music files and create a personal playlist. The Art Studio has all the tools kids need — including stampers, backgrounds, bucket fills, colors and pen styles - to create beautiful masterpieces. Kids can also practice writing skills with the Notepad, which encourages tracing letters and numbers. Finally, the Photo Viewer lets children add their own photos and draw on them. Exciting vehicle play –Little People Wheelies Stand ‘n Play Rampway: Your children can learn all about the exciting world of cars with the Stand ‘n Play Rampway, which features perfectlysized vehicles for toddlers and preschoolers, dual ramps for spiral speed action and fun lights and sound effects. Stop at the repair shop for a tune-up, park at the meters to visit the shops, fill up at the gas station - kids will love revving up their imaginations. Two-sided play encourages children to play together (a nice way to build their social skills). Classic holiday trains – GeoTrax Christmas in ToyTown RC Set: Children love to experience the magic of the holidays through their imaginative eyes. The

GeoTrax Christmas in ToyTown train set is a great way to start their own tradition, arranging it by the Christmas tree every year. The set includes a remotecontrolled train, 16 pieces of Snap-Lock Track, and three light-up cars that can be pushed along or controlled with an easy-to-use RC controller. Additional features include lighted lamp posts, a station, bridge, skating pond

and holiday decor that easily snaps onto the guard rails. The GeoTrax system all works together so kids can add onto this set for even more fun. Keep your children’s imaginations and interests in mind as you shop this holiday season. Look for ageappropriate toys that are rich in content and play value.


L ‘Observateur

HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE

Give that finicky reader a personalized book (ARA) - The holidays have everyone in search of a gift that has a "wow" factor but won't break the bank. Thanks to new print-ondemand technology, anyone can easily create and publish bookstore-quality books at a reasonable cost - even under $20. While you can make your own book at any time of the year, a custom book made by you is a meaningful gift that's sure to delight your friends and family and still be budget friendly. Samira Kordestani, a professional book designer, offers these tips to help you get started on your own masterpiece: • Choose a publishing platform that gives you professional-quality options at a reasonable cost. Blurb.com's free BookSmart app enables anyone to design a beautiful book. Select from many book sizes, small or large, and simply drag and drop your photos into the professionally-designed layouts of your choice. Once you order your book, it takes only one week to publish and deliver it to your doorstep. • Decide on a story or message for your book. Great books tell a story. Whether it's an event or a themed collection of images, think about your vision for the book before you begin and then select your favorite photos to help tell your story. • Remember that you are creating a visual experience, not just a book. Play around with design

options on your first several pages. Try out different backgrounds, photo borders, and page layouts. Once you've discovered the look you like best, keep it consistent throughout your book so that each page has a connection with the next. A few popular book ideas include: • Family photo book. Photos of your family's adventures and special memories are perfect for sharing. Select your favorite family photos from 2010 and create a book that documents your year in images. The grandparents will love it. • Cookbook. Most foodies dream of seeing their recipes in a cookbook. Publish your own and share it with friends and family. • Wedding book. If wedding bells rang for you in 2010, creating a wedding photo book for your extended family is guaranteed to get "oohs" and "aahs." • Travel book. Travel memories are fun to share and make for a colorful photo book. Whether you embarked on a road trip or jetted to an exotic locale, pick out your best vacation photos to create a stunning travel book. • Children's book. Turn your artistic or written talents into something truly special for the little ones in your family. Your niece, nephew or grandchildren are sure to appreciate a story book created just for them.

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Making a list and checking it twice Don’t forget to include yourself when shopping this holiday season (ARA) - The holiday season is a time to enjoy family and friends, but you probably have felt the stress that comes with preparing for guests, planning get-togethers and buying gifts. And in all of that commotion, you tend to forget about some of the most important people in your life – including yourself. When making your holiday shopping list this year, why not reserve a little of the time, money and energy that you put into gift-giving and add yourself to that list? Whether you have a passion for cooking, music or a little bit of everything, you deserve to spoil yourself this year. And you know that quality counts when buying gifts for others, so don't skimp on your self-gifting. Bon appetit Many people enjoy creating and trying new recipes but are hesitant to purchase high-end kitchen appliances. So this holiday season, treat your inner chef to a machine found in professionals' kitchens and restaurants, like a Vitamix 5200. Hailed by professional chefs as a favorite kitchen tool, these machines are widely known for top quality and versatility. A Vitamix is not a typical blender and can prepare a wide variety of foods including juice, ice cream and soup. You'll be giving your body and palate a daily gift with the countless healthful and tasty combinations a Vitamix can create. Listen up Music has greatly influenced people for centuries, and it may affect you more than you realize. To create the best soundtrack for your life, consider a full digital sound system for your home. Digital systems provide lifelike sound whether the tunes are

playing from a computer, iPod, CD or radio, and wireless packages give you total control from any room you choose. As any music lover knows, a quality sound system can make all the difference when listening to your favorite song or movie soundtrack. If you'd like to spoil your ears this year, give yourself the gift of crisp, clear, lifelike music with a digital home system. Nightly luxury You pay attention to the quality of your clothes. You spent time searching for a quality car. But what about something else you use every day – your bed sheets? Ask anyone who has upgraded to luxury sheets and you'll likely hear they only wish they had done so sooner. Sleep affects all other aspects of your life, so spending a little extra money on comfortable sheets can have a bigger impact than you might think. Treating yourself to high-thread-count bed linens this holiday season is more than a material present; it is also the gift of restful nights and more positive mornings, and who can put a price on that? Capture the moment Vacations, birthdays, concerts, the list of fun-filled moments you enjoy throughout the year goes on indefinitely. You are constantly making new memories with the people you love, but the pictures you save in your mind can fade over time - and photos taken with old disposable cameras don't fare much better. Keep your special times as clear as ever with a high-quality digital camera. Choose a model with at least 12 megapixels, built-in stabilization technology and HD video recording to capture your personal moments

with professional quality. Also, look for models that feature easy exporting and fun finishing effects, so you can revisit those memories any time

and any way you like. This year, don't forget to show appreciation for yourself with the perfect gift. You've earned it.


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Food fits the bill for affordable luxury gift ideas (ARA) - When you're looking for a gift that's intimate and thoughtful, one that shows a personal touch and is also universally enjoyed, it's hard to top the appeal of food. Even luxury food items like gourmet steaks, fine wine and seafood can be a surprisingly affordable way to delight someone – or yourself – this holiday season. "Food is a popular gift for many reasons," said Gary Schwager, president of the Tender Filet, cataloger of fine dining foods. "You can give food with confidence, because while you may not know the latest electronic gadget on your loved one's wish list, you probably know the kinds of foods he or she enjoys. The Internet has made ordering and sending food gifts easier than ever,

and fast delivery services mean the food will arrive in excellent condition." Most any food gift can be appropriate and easy to give, but several categories stand out for their "luxury" appeal: Filet is a prime choice Though your grandmother didn't need to look farther than the local butcher shop for quality meats, she couldn't share those favorite cuts with far-off friends and family. Thanks to websites like TenderFilet.com and delivery services like FedEx or UPS, it's possible to give your loved ones superior, restaurant-quality steaks that far surpass what they can buy in their local supermarket. Filet mignon is one of the most tender, flavorful and

preferred cuts, and a staple on the menus of most sophisticated restaurants. Even if you can't take your steak-loving friends out for a filet mignon feast, you can send professionally-trimmed filet mignon right to their doorstep. You can choose the simple elegance of filet medallions or something with zest, like baconwrapped filet. Websites like TenderFilet.com make it easy to send a variety of premium choices thanks to the convenience of extended payment plans. Wine lifts spirits Wine is the perfect pairing with virtually any gourmet food, whether it's a robust red sipped with a premium steak, or a rich port savored

with a luscious dessert. It's possible to find a wine to tempt every palate, from discerning connoisseur to beginning enthusiast. With a complex range of flavors in just one glass, wine is a gift that combines luxury and sophistication with fun and adventure. You can send one carefully selected bottle to someone special, or go all out with a wine club membership that will deliver bottles to their door every month.

terms of flavor and appeal. While it may be difficult to give fresh lobster as a gift, preservation processes like flash freezing – which Tender Filet uses to preserve seafood – make it easy to have succulent, fresh-tasting seafood delivered to the door of the lucky recipient. Lobster isn't the only seafood you can send as a gift either. It's possible to ship favorites like shrimp, scallops, salmon, crab cakes and even whole Alaskan King Crab legs.

Seafood’s like butter There's a reason why some variation of surf and turf appears on the menu of many upscale restaurants. When it comes to luxury foods, lobster ranks right up there with filet mignon in

“Food is definitely gaining in popularity as a gift that is sure to please even the hardest-to-buy-for people on one's holiday shopping list," Schwager said. "Giving food means giving with confidence."


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