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PAGE 2 | HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE | FRIDAY, DECEMBER 9, 2011

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Holiday Gift Guide Page 4. Bright and shiny After a few seasons of sack cloth and ashes, where practicality trumped indulgence, jewelry, the quintessential gift of luxury, love and passion, has come roaring back as the season’s best gift. Page 7. Youth movement Give youth in a jar. Or tube. Or bottle, box, vial, stick or compact. Wildly popular, anti-aging products make perfect gifts. Page 9. I can haz prezents?! Yeah, we know who’s been naughty. And they’ll get gifts for Christmas and Hanukkah anyway, the little darlings. Page 11. Holiday PJs on parade So much for mamma in her kerchief and dad in his cap. Today, goofy holiday pajamas are what we love, and the whole family gets in on the act. Page 13. Ready to go retro? Old stuff is cool again. Gifting old stuff is even cooler. Page 15. It’s all good Dutiful but dull, toys intended to enrich a child once sat at the top of adults’ shopping lists – and the bottom of the toy box. No more. Creativity, play value and green credentials combine in some of the season’s best bets.

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Page 16. Taste the season It’s time to eat, drink and be merrily generous. Page 17. TV guide Hit TV series such as “Glee,” “The Walking Dead” and “Mad Men” have cult followings – and a wide range of merchandise to gift faithful fans. Page 19. Take 10: Top DVDs for the cable-free Don’t let those who’ve cut the cable miss out on their favorite shows. Page 20. Take 10: The year’s best children’s books 2011 award-winning and honor books for young readers. Page 21. Take 10: Chart-busting albums Old-school vinyl spins again Page 22. Holiday tips

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PAGE 4 | HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE | FRIDAY, DECEMBER 9, 2011

Bright and shiny After a few seasons of sack cloth and ashes, where practicality trumped indulgence, jewelry, the quintessential gift of luxury, love and passion, has come roaring back as the season’s best gift. By Nola Sarkisian-Miller CTW Features

Whimsical patisserie necklace from Paris-based N2

Another approachable line is New Yorkbased Erica Weiner Jewelry, whose vintage-inspired creations conjure up whimsy Gold may be hovering at stratospheric and nostalgia with prices averaging under levels and the economy is still seesawing, $300. At the company’s store in New York but that’s not stopping well-heeled shop- City, manager Emily Ruane steers clients pers from indulging their jewelry habits. away from solitaire diamonds unless the Retailers and designers say they’ve noticed present is supposed to be the real deal – a an uptick in interest and sales for baubles, proposal or anniversary gift. which bodes well for the holiday season. “It’s just not appropriate to give big dia“There’s a demand for statement pieces, monds unless you’re engaged or married,” whether it’s an oversized cocktail ring or a Ruane says. dramatic cuff bracelet,” says Los Angeles Instead, for the holidays, she suggests jewelry designer, C.C. Skye, whose showy the double letterpress necklace, which accessories have curried favor with actually incorporates old moveable boldfaced names like Halle type as the pendants and is perPhillips Berry, Gwen Stefani and sonalized with initials, or the Frankelin Kristin Cavallari. “They feel Civil War-era tintype neckInfinity that we’ve been through laces, which feature photoPendant the recession. We’ve lived graphs printed on iron it. We don’t want to live sheets hanging from that lifestyle anymore. brass chains. Men may There’s still room for appreciate the penknife more celebration.” necklace on a brass Customers may also chain or a cast fossil justify the expense nautilus necklace, since jewelry can be items that aren’t highly reworked with a variembellished or too ety of wardrobe pieces, overwrought. say retailers. Los Angeles-based “People may not be in Lord Griffon, known for the mood to buy shoes or its chunky oxidized silclothes, but they know a ver jewelry and a fan base fun piece of jewelry can that includes Randy make an outfit pop and can Jackson from “American be worn again and again,” says Idol,” has also noticed a shift in Melissa Akkaway, owner of male tastes to less in-your-face Beckley Boutique, which has locaskull ware. What’s more in demand tions in Los Angeles and Las Vegas. these days are sleeker looks, such as ID When it comes to fashion jewelry, which bracelets and fleur-de-lis necklaces, says usually tops out at $1,000, clean and spare Suzie Lederer, founder and creative direcnecklaces sporting initials and quirky pen- tor of Lord Griffon. dants are a key trend for the holidays. Alex “More than something really hardWoo’s dainty charms, such as initials and edged, they want something they can wear zodiac signs, can sell for $148 in sterling sil- not when they’re just going to the club or ver, $548 in 14 karat gold and $798 with riding motorcycles on weekends,” Lederer pavé diamonds. A new holiday addition to says. Beckley is Maya Brenner’s pendants in the C.C. Skye also projects a heavy metal holshape of states (seen on the likes of Katy iday of sorts, glittering with multiple diaPerry, Eva Longoria and Jessica Simpson) monds, such as the Wish List Necklace, in gold and silver, with easy-on-the-wallet prices of $130 to $300. Those rimmed with SEE JEWELRY, PAGE 5 diamonds will fetch $1,040.


HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE | FRIDAY, DECEMBER 9, 2011 | PAGE 5

JEWELRY: Popular choice again » FROM PAGE 4

comprising of heavy bronze chains woven with white stones. Her retailers are also beginning to stock the pavé punk princess bracelet in gun metal for the holidays. Skye says it caters to that “luxe, funk princess” trend. “It’s got an edge with elegance,” she says. “There’s irony and balance. Women of all ages are wearing pavé, not just younger girls.” Fine jewelry is also in demand for those aspirational buyers, according to Janet Goldman, founder and chief executive officer of Fragments showroom in New York, which represents about 35 fashion and fine jewelry collections. Her suggestions for holiday gifts include layered looks, such as necklaces that are “feminine, soft and drapey,” and bracelets that combine textures such as wooden beads paired with a diamond bangle. Long, dramatic earrings are in for those seeking gifts infused with glam and sparkle. The Miguel Ases line features dangling earrings studded with tiny beads that are easy to wear with tank tops or little black dresses and fit the under-$500 budget. Customers who want to splurge may opt for the designs by Phillips Frankel, including the round pendants covered in pavé diamonds at $1,500 or Moritz Glik’s oxidized silver and white gold chains with little box pendants enclosed with rubies, diamonds and sapphires priced around $10,000. “[Jewelry] purchases over $5,000 are what’s trending,” Goldman says. “It’s about finding something that will make us buy, something that ‘I can’t live without.’”

Fashion Pointers Here’s a look at what may please gift recipients this holiday season • Statement pieces – Look for attention-getting cocktail rings, dramatic cuff bracelets or long beaded earrings to help your loved one strut her stuff. “It’s all about wanting that great, luxurious accessory,” says Janet Goldman, founder and creative director of Fragments. • Metallics – Metals will shine this holiday season. Rose gold’s popularity continues along with edgier styles crafted in gunmetal, oxidized silver, bronze and mixed metallics. • Pavé diamonds – These little gems that dot pendants, bracelets and more are catering to the luxe trend and elevating fashion jewelry to a new level. • Whimsical pendants – Fun never goes out of style, and there’s lots to choose from this season, from initials, to vintage charms or to costume sparklers. The startling whimsy of the French line N2, with characters from fairy tales and children’s stories, are youthful and distinctive (from $25, jewelry and gift stores). There’s no need to settle on size or fit, making them perfect, no-fuss gifts. “Men feel good buying things that don’t pose issues,” Goldman says.

Stackable pearl wrap bracelets by Jordan Alexander, a favorite of first lady Michelle Obama’s


PAGE 6 | HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE | FRIDAY, DECEMBER 9, 2011


HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE | FRIDAY, DECEMBER 9, 2011 | PAGE 7

Youth movement

Give Youth in a Jar. Or tube. Or bottle, box, vial, stick or compact. Wildly popular, anti-aging products make a perfect gift.

By Lauren Parran CTW Features This season, select a gift that will make your friend or loved one glow with more than gratitude. Feel-good creams, serums, lotions and toners that promise to soften the ravages of time are hot, not just for women of a certain age (Hi, Grammie!) but for the younger set, men and women alike. Anti-aging products once purchased and used discreetly now sit boldly atop many gift lists. “These products have become really eloquently packaged and extremely desirable. Like It handbags, there are It creams,” says Erin Flaherty, executive beauty editor at Marie Claire. “You can even call some of these status symbols.” Baby boomers account for some of the surge. “The boomers are much more embracing of

spending,” Begoun says, “and anti-aging products, especially the pricier ones, make ideal gifts.” Prices for anti-aging concoctions can be sky high. But the lineup of moderately priced treatment products is growing rapidly at drugstores and mass merchants. Bethenny Frankel, of “Real Housewives of New York” and low-calorie margarita fame, is launching Skinnygirl Face & Body solutions in select Walmarts this fall. Prices will be less than $15. “A $150 eye cream is ridiculous and absurd,” Frankel told Women’s Wear Daily.

No-fuss beauty boosters: Clarisonic’s battery-driven cleansing system

health and extending their youth and being very upfront about wanting to stay young and younglooking,” says Mark Lees, skin care specialist and author of “Skin

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aging, says Paula Begoun, author and creator of The Cosmetics Cop line of skin care products. “Couple this with an economy where we’re more cautious about

Wrinkle-busters No one wants wrinkles, so give the gift of wrinkle prevention. Seeping deep into the skin and high in vitamin C, Ole Henriksen Truth Serum Collagen Booster SEE BEAUTY, PAGE 8

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PAGE 8 | HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE | FRIDAY, DECEMBER 9, 2011

BEAUTY: Anti-aging products make great gifts this holiday season » FROM PAGE 7

($48, department and specialty stores) purports to prevent aging and brighten, firm and smooth the skin. “It’s a safe bet for someone special regardless of their skin type,” says Dr. Debra Jaliman, a board-certified dermatologist in New York City. Give a face mask product for spa day at home. It’s an especially nice gift if a special occasion is coming up, Lees says. “It really does perk up your skin for about 12 hours,” he says. New Black Rose Cream Mask is Sisley’s first anti-aging mask (price pending, department stores). “It’s supposed to instantly smooth and plump and brighten,” says Marie Claire’s Flaherty. Moisturizers Olay’s first daily, nighttime moisturizer works while you sleep to accelerate exfoliation and hydrate for smoother skin. Olay Regenerist Night Resurfacing Elixir contains glycolic acid that is designed to smooth skin in one

Old-fashioned scrub: the classic Bass facial brush

week ($24 for 1.4 ounces, drugstores). Nivea, the iconic skin care company that celebrates its 100th anniversary this year, is reaching out to the next generation of customers, signing the singer Rihanna as the face and voice of its year-long 100 Years of Skin Care global party. Fans can win tickets to Rihanna’s LOUD concert tour and a chance to meet the star. Her face is on a limited edition tin bestowed only on lucky winners of online promotions. A classic blue jar of Nivea Crème, for use all over the body, is easy enough to pick up just about everywhere ($6, drugstores). Facial cleansing brush systems Soft-bristled, handheld facial

brushes powered by rechargeable batteries have become an essential part of many morning beauty routines. The Cadillac of the brush bunch is the Clarisonic ($195, department and specialty stores), which claims to clean deep into pores, reduce pore size, improve skin tone and help other skin care products be more effective. Modestly priced options are widely available, including the Olay Pro-X Advanced Cleansing System ($30, drugstores), with a rotating brush. The Pretika SonicDermabrasion Facial Brush uses micro-pulsating technology to exfoliate and claims to reduce fine lines ($50, drugstores.) A deluge of cleansers, toners and creams accompany the systems, so if you’re inclined to assemble a gift basket, this area is a happy hunting ground. If a friend or loved one is eco-minded, consider the old-school model. Facial cleansing brushes polish away makeup, dead cells and excess oils by hand, no batteries needed. The classic Bass has natural bristles and an acrylic handle.

($9.95, spas and specialty stores). Sunscreens year-round Sunscreen should be worn throughout the entire year to prevent skin damage from the sun. “If you’re going to use anti-aging products, please use sunscreen every day,” Dr. Jaliman says. Sunscreen pads make it quick and easy to apply sunscreen to the face and would be a great addition to other spa and skin care gifts. Dermalogica Solar Defense Wipes contain SPF 15 with no fragrance in an easy-to-tote package ($21 for 15 wipes, spas and salons, check dermalogica.com for locations). Men’s products There’s plenty of skin care gifts to go around for both sexes. “Men are increasingly getting cosmetic procedures done, and there’s certainly more products that are specifically for men,” Flaherty says. From cleanser to aftershave and even whisker lifters, Anthony Logistics for Men has solutions

for every step in the shaving process ($10 - $80, department and specialty stores). Neutrogena’s Triple Protect Face Lotion SPF 20 offers men a three-in-one Swiss Army Knife type of product. The lotion soothes razor irritation, heals dry skin and defends the skin with antioxidants. The soy combats wrinkles and SPF protects skin from damaging rays ($6.99, drugstores). Treatment gift certificates Anti-aging and skin care gifts don’t just come in bottles. Turn to local spas and salons for gift certificates for popular skin care treatments. They are easy to purchase and, along with indulgence, provide the ultimate luxury: choice. The top two non-surgical cosmetic procedures for men are Botox and laser hair removal, “particularly for ears and back,” Dr. Melanie Grossman, a New York dermatologist, says. “For women I would say Botox and cosmetic consultations.”


HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE | FRIDAY, DECEMBER 9, 2011 | PAGE 9

I can has prezents?!

Econap dog bed

By Danielle Cadet CTW Features With waggly tails and rumbly purrs, they relentlessly show their love every day. What better time of year than the holidays to delight a four-legged family member with a special gift? “Pets get so much joy out of toys,” says Lorrie Shaw, a Chelsea, Mich., pet owner and pet blogger for annarbor.com. “They get to use all of their senses and identify something as theirs.”

Pet ownership is at an all-time high. Sixty-two percent of U.S. households own a pet – some 72.9 million homes, according to the 2011-2012 annual survey by the American Pet Products Association. And we’re loving – and giving – to our animals like never before. In 2010, dog owners increased spending on their pooches more than 30 percent, and dogs and cats are among the small pets that are most likely to get gifts at

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Christmas time, according to the APPA survey. Nine percent of dog owners say they’ve held a holiday or birthday party for their dog, and 4 percent say they’ve done so for their cat. Pet owners’ emotional ties with dogs and cats run deep. “A lot of baby boomers become empty nesters and still have that nurturing need,” says Kristen Levine, founder of Tarpon Springs, Fla.-based Fetching Communications, a marketer serving the pet industry. “A lot of millennials get pets before starting a family to fulfill that same need.” While most pet owners won’t hesitate to purchase a little something special for their pets this holiday season, the boom in products at retail means there’s more to choose from. Think before you shop, says Shaw. “Pay attention to what your pet likes to do. Does he run and play, or is he more cognitive?” Gaga for green Natural, nontoxic, sustainable, recycled and locally produced products are hot for pets. Brentwood, Tenn.-based

Earth Dog offers hemp dog collars, leashes, beds and toys, all made in the U.S. The Leaf green adjustable hemp collar has quickrelease hardware ($18 to

Yeah, we know who’s been naughty. And they’ll get gifts for Christmas and Hanukkah anyway, the little darlings. $20, specialty stores). Dog and cat beds made of soybased material and recycled content are widely available. Many suppliers offer organic catnip. The Purr

Highness cat scratcher from Worldwise is made of recycled corrugated cardSEE PETS, PAGE 10


PAGE 10 | HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE | FRIDAY, DECEMBER 9, 2011

PETS: Get them a gift as well » FROM PAGE 9

board and doubles as a lounger ($20, specialty stores). Doggles Plush Bottle Toys come in the shape of animals and have two squeakers. Stuff a used plastic water bottle inside and the toy provides instant crinkly chewing fun. ($13 and up, specialty stores). Cognitive play Products that appeal to an animal’s intuitive side, engaging them and encouraging natural activity, also are trendy. “Foraging toys are hot,” says Levine. They give owners a chance to do other things while their pet is occupied, she says. Shaw suggests the treatdispensing Busy Buddy Kibble Nibble by Premier Pet (two sizes, $10 to $20, specialty stores). This activity ball stimulates pups mentally and physically by making them work for their food. Levine is a fan of the Physipet, a line of exercise and entertainment prod-

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ucts for cats and dogs. The toys react to the pet, pulling back when the pet pulls, incorporating exercise with play and reducing boredom and separation anxiety, says company founder and inventor Jude Waddy ($70 and up, physipet.com). Interactive games from the Swedish company Nina Ottosson are designed to stimulate a dog’s brain and reinforce people-

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friendly behavior. “Puzzle toys provide the mental stimulation many dogs lack in their everyday life,” says owner Nina Ottosson. Fill the new treat Maze and a pet will happily work away to “solve” the puzzle and get the treat. There are versions for cats and dogs (starting at $15, specialty stores.) Self-grooming products that keep cats happy and entertained

are on the rise. The Worldwise Smartykat Brushup self-grooming post was voted one of the Top 10 products at the 2011 Global Pet Expo by veterinarian Dr. Marty Becker of TV’s “Good Morning America” fame. Hundreds of flexible silicone bristles provide a feel-good massage while pulling away loose fur ($20, specialty stores.) Chewers “If you have a chewer, it’s integral that you find the type of toy that can withstand that kind of abuse,” says Shaw. Don’t skimp on cheap toys that can easily tear apart. Instead, buy a heavy-duty toy that can endure tough teeth. California animal trainer and pet expert Diana L. Guerrero recommends the Kong Co.’s super-duty hollow rubber toys. The Kong Extreme toy, used by police and drug enforcement and specially made for aggressive chewers, can be filled with treats to help reduce boredom (available in five sizes, $5 and up, specialty stores). Brightly colored twists, flyers, hurleys and hucks from West Paw Design are made of Zogoflex, a durable, pliable material that’s easy for a pet to pick up and won’t hurt teeth ($9 to $17, specialty stores). Other toys for chew-happy canines: bones and tugs made of tightly twisted cotton threads, which clean teeth while the pup chews and plush toys for dogs who like to “mother” a toy. Nylabone hard nylon dog chews in a range of shapes and flavors

last longer than rawhide bones and promote tooth health. A bacon-flavored DuraChew comes in the shape of a hollow stick ($12, specialty stores). Life on the road “More people travel with their pets nowadays,” says Levine. She stresses the importance of pet restraint while driving. “Just like texting and driving, a loose pet in the vehicle can be dangerous,” she says. Kurgo makes a variety of pet-carrying products. A Skybox Booster seat for puppies and small dogs up to 30 pounds lifts them up to provide them with a window view ($60, specialty stores); the Kurgo Auto Zip-Line tethers a dog safely, with a harness attached to a zip-line that runs between any two fixed points in the vehicle and allows a dog to walk back and forth, sit and stand ($38, specialty stores). Car carriers are especially important for cats, who often are not fond of travel. Levine suggests that animal lovers bring water for their pets during trips. Pawgua makes a portable, BPA-free plastic dog bowl for thirsty, out-and-about pups ($15, specialty stores). The bowl keeps water cool and the top twists off. The best gift for a pet is simple and free: Stop, drop and play. “The best thing is for you to interact with your pets,” says Shaw. “It helps them hang on to their cognitive skills and reinforces that connection owners are seeking when they get pets in the first place.”


HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE | FRIDAY, DECEMBER 9, 2011 | PAGE 11

Holiday PJs on parade

Picture of happiness: forging holiday memories, in flannel Footsteps Clothing

So much for mamma in her kerchief and dad in his cap. Today, goofy holiday pajamas are what we love, and the whole family gets in on the act.

Ever since she can remember, 26-yearold Lauren Cowart has received the same gift every year on Christmas Eve: a new pair of pajamas. “Each year after our traditional Christmas Eve dinner, we go under the tree and pick up on box that says ‘Open Christmas Eve.’ It’s always the pajamas,” Cowart says. “We put them on immediately, then eat our dessert and open some pres-

ents. Then on Christmas morning, we gather on the front stairs in our Christmas pajamas and make a video of us reading Santa’s letter about how we’ve grown and changed that year as a family.” Legions of families purchase matching pajamas as a special gift to every family member on or before Christmas. Some distribute them in early December so they can enjoy them all month long; others, like SEE PJs, PAGE 12

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PAGE 12 | HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE | FRIDAY, DECEMBER 9, 2011

PJs: Goofy pajamas are what we love » FROM PAGE 11

Cowart’s family, open the expected package on Christmas Eve to wear for present-opening and picturetaking. Families often take an annual holiday group picture in matching PJs to capture the memory and share the fun with friends and extended family. It’s easy to understand the popularity of the fuzzy novelty items. Pajamas are relatively inexpensive, fit all shapes and sizes and can be easily constructed by hand. They’re practical yet fun and cater to many personalities and tastes. Amber Lipson, co-founder of Footsteps Clothing, Morrisville, N.C., specializes in selling matching clothing to families. Holiday and Christmas PJ sets are the top seller. “Everyone wants to bring their families close together during the holiday season,” Lipson says. “I’ve talked to customers who tell me their grandparents bought matching PJs seventy-some years ago. It’s an easy way for families to enjoy each other and be together.” Lipson’s bestselling “A Very Merry Snowman” set consisting of red plaid flannel bottoms and a long-sleeved red shirt emblazoned

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with the cheerful face of a snowman in a stovepipe hat. The whole collection includes A Very Merry Me, A Very Merry Mommy, A Very Merry Daddy and a Very Merry Baby matching pajamas. Many families call Footsteps each year to continue a tradition, but others call because they’re ready to start one. The occasions vary. Some occasions are happy, like when one family bought 40 pairs to wear for a polar express ride. Others are difficult, such as


HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE | FRIDAY, DECEMBER 9, 2011 | PAGE 13

Ready to go retro?

Old stuff is cool again. Gifting old stuff is even cooler.

By Lindsey Romain CTW Features Retro style is in, and kids can’t get enough of it, from cuttingedge clothing and accessories that recall the classics to thrift-shop home goods straight from grandma’s attic. A quest for individuality in a homogenized world is behind the vintage juggernaut, say trend watchers. So is a treacherous economy. “I think the resurgence started with kids rummaging through thrift stores,” says Bonnie VanKeersblick of Blue Flower Vintage, an online shop run through Etsy that specializes in vintage items. “Old movies help fuel the trend, and then the economic downturn and people wanting to be green justified it.” Stephanie Press, who runs the online store Hold Vintage, says the same. “I believe there is a desire to

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escape from mass manufacturing to things that are unique,” she says. “The fashion industry has caught on to this and are making efforts to include vintage in their styling and editorials.” Whether you’re shopping for a curious teen or a nostalgic grownup, having an eye for the old this season will come in handy. Retro-

Men looking for fashion inspiration will enjoy “Icons of Men’s Style” by Josh Sims (Laurence King Publishers, 2011), a guide to iconic menswear. The British fashion writer chronicles prominent garments of the past and the men who made them notable, including stars like Gregory Peck and classic characters like James

themed products make for great gifts and fun shopping. For him Thank Don Draper from AMC’s popular series “Mad Men” for the resurgence in dapper formal wear for men. Draper’s crisp suits and affinity for good whiskey ignited craving for both.

Bond. Another way to bring a retro edge to men’s formalwear is with pocket squares. “[Pocket squares] are understated but stylish and not too far out of a guy’s comfort zone,” says SEE RETRO, PAGE 14


PAGE 14 | HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE | FRIDAY, DECEMBER 9, 2011

RETRO: Give a cool retro gift for the holidays » FROM PAGE 13

Press. “You can go utilitarian with cotton or bold and bright in silk.” Club Room, a Macy’s clothing brand, sells pocket squares in everything from paisley to polka dot, and in colors like red, blue and black ($15, Macy’s). No man who carries a smart phone needs a watch – but many of them want one anyway. The Timex Digital watch ($40, department and specialty stores), boasts an INDIGLO night-light feature and digital number display, but a shiny stainless steel expansion band and water-resistance gives it contemporary utility. For her Classic style for women is about finding the perfect statement piece. Think bold jewelry or anything with an Art Deco edge. “I love the idea of a great retroprint scarf,” says Press. “Not only can you wear it in a myriad of ways, but they are being used in interior design as framed art or for custom pillows.” Look for scarf designs with blocky shapes and heavy colors with a sharp contrast (like black, lime green and red) to achieve a polished Art Deco look. Vintage glass, tableware and cookware have great legs in the gift-giving world. VanKeersblick, a lifelong fan of vintage style, showcases a 1950s line of striped and lotus-patterned bowls designed by Grete Prytz Kittelsen for the Cathrineholm factory in Norway. Fresh contemporary takes on Scandinavian tableware abound, from Marimekko’s bright

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Vintage Norwegian bowls and kitchenware - Etsy.com/Blue Flower Vintage classics to the retro retakes from bracelet ($85) or custom key earSagaform, created by a platoon of rings ($58). young Swedish designers. For teens Typewriters have seized the Young people questing for imagination of the Facebook generation. Search local antique fresh, individual style have led the stores and thrift shops for antique way in refining the vintage aesbrands and restored classics. thetic. To please a 20-something, Women with a penchant for the though, a vintage gift must possound of keystroke may enjoy a sess retro flair along with techno 1950s Royal portable typewriter geewhizery. Old-fashioned vinyl records in bright pink ($595, mytypewriter.com) or typewriter- are on a tear. A turntable would be inspired jewelry like a key a great gift for a young music fan

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fascinated by the crackling sounds of a spinning record. Crosley Radio, a classic brand dating to the earliest days of radio, offers a variety of models, including the Memory Master II ($400, department and specialty stores). This turntable, in black or paprika, plays vinyl, CDs and cassettes, has an AM/FM radio and a USB feature compatible with PCs and Macs for ripping and editing audio content. Retro-style headphones also appeal to young music fans who appreciate both 1970s design and contemporary high fidelity. Eskuché’s Control, an on-ear style

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HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE | FRIDAY, DECEMBER 9, 2011 | PAGE 15

It’s all good Dutiful but dull, toys intended to enrich a child once sat at the top of adults’ shopping lists – and the bottom of the toy box. No more. Creativity, play value and green credentials combine in some of the season’s best bets. By Taniesha Robinson CTW Features Somewhere on the spectrum between techno-dazzle (iPad apps for toddlers, anyone?) and fuzzy-wuzzy bears there’s a sweet spot: toys that inspire kids to have fun, stretch their creativity and learn while they play. With a little effort – and some guidance from savvy toy shop owners – any attentive shopper can hit the mark. Toys that encourage the most beneficial play may not be the biggest spotlightgrabbers. Their attractions are often more subtle and require a shopper to search past the dancing dolls massed out in aisle one. “Toys today, especially toys in the mass market, you push a button and it does something – it lights up or it sings or it turns around and does all kinds of things. But they’re not toys that allow a child to be imaginative and creative,” says Jennic Law, owner of KangarooBoo toy store, West Des Moines, Iowa. “The child is playing and having a good time, but the toy is doing most of the actions or thinking for him or her.” Law says classic problem-solving toys like puzzles and blocks are much better for children. She likes boldly colored Green Toys Blocks ($25, 6 months and up), which are made from recycled plastic milk containers and come in many shapes. Wendy Lippman, owner of Tlaquepaque Toy Town in Sedona, Ariz., seeks out toys that spur open-ended play. “I like toys where kids are encouraged to use their imagination,” she says.

Eni Puzzle by Eni Puzzles

Lippman recommends toys that can serve as the focus for role-playing, where kids can act as cashiers or shoppers with a toy cash register, for example. Such toys also set up scenarios to educate children, she says. Science-related toys are no longer aimed at little Leonardos and can be packed with fun, says Jim Davis, owner of Kid’s Center toy store in Tucson, Ariz. Toys with magnets easily combine science learning with fun. The popular Discovery Set of magnetic blocks from Tegu ($70, age 3 and up) snap together and hang in balance, a perfect gift to spark the imagination of young children.

Science kits from Thames & Kosmos are perennial award-winners. The Remote-Control Machines set ($70, age 8 and up) lets kids build 10 different motorized vehicles (including bulldozer, crane, Formula One racer, three-blade dozer, robotic arm) and then guide them with a remote control unit. After following the instructions to construct the standard vehicles, kids can invent their own. Try re-imagining books as toys. “There’s a jillion different topics for books,” Davis says. “You just need to know a little bit about the child and then pick out the appropriate story book.” “Press Here” is the title and

also the instruction for the new book by Hervé Tullet that launches young readers on a charming adventure. Watch them blow, tilt, shake, rub and tap colorful dots printed on the page to make them multiply, grow and rearrange themselves (Chronicle, $15, ages 4-8). KangarooBoo’s Law advises avoiding electronic educational and leisure toys for age 5 and under. “If [children] are able to sit down and solve a problem or a puzzle or build something, it makes the foundation for them as a person,” she says. She also says toys that involve physical play help children develop fine motor skills, gross motor skills, patience and other mental capacities. Fastrack, a new board game by Blue Orange, pits opponents who twang elastic cords to send wooden disks shooting across the board and through a narrow slot. The first to get all 10 to the other side wins ($20, age 5 and up). To get kids up off the couch and develop their physical well-being, Davis suggests new classic toys for outdoors, such as jump ropes and sports balls, and new throw toys, including Rhino Toys’ SkyO, a flexible flying ring that’s easy to catch and throw ($8, age 3 and up). The Z-Curve Bow from Zing Toys launches foam arrows a satisfyingly long way ($20, age 8 and up). Whatever route you take to finding the best toy for a special boy or girl, Davis says, stop, think and proceed with inspiration. “You really need to know the child and try to engage the child in the purchase you make.”

Top Picks of Toy Store Gurus Spot It by Blue Orange ($11, ages 6 and up) Kids can spot matching images on the play cards with up to 7 others or have fun on their own. “There are five different ways to play the game, so it has great value.”

- Jim Davis, Kid’s Center Green Toys Flatbed Truck and Race Car ($33, age 1 and up) This 11-inch blue truck hauls a sleek red hot rod on its back, and has a flatbed that tilts up to allow the car to roll off. Eni Puzzle by Eni Puzzles ($12, age 5 and up) “Call it the round jigsaw puzzle or cylinder Rubik’s cube. It pushes problem-solving and brain-teasing to a new level.” Convoi by Haba ($45, 18 months) “Kids can pull it, stack it, sort it, and all the while they’re learning color recognition, counting and patterns.” - Jennic Law, KangarooBoo


PAGE 16 | HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE | FRIDAY, DECEMBER 9, 2011

Taste the season It’s time to eat, drink and be merrily generous. By Mary Connors CTW Features Has anyone ever made a truly grand entrance empty-handed? ’Tis the season to arrive at the homes of friends and family with a smile on your face and a small gift for the hosts. And there’s no better offering than a little somethin’ somethin’. Gifts of food and drink needn’t be costly. A little sweet, a little gourmet treat – the newer and more uncommon, the better – is the perfect holiday calling card. Present it festively wrapped and beribboned and you’re sure to be welcomed back next time. Here are some ideas: Indulge your favorite locavore with a mushroom kit from Back to the Roots. Anyone with a taste for risotto al funghi and a windowsill can grow 1.5 pounds of oyster mushrooms in just ten days, right from the box ($19.95/ grocery and specialty stores). Local craft brews are popping up everywhere – including, with

Holiday lolli kit

Gifts of food and drink needn’t be costly. A little sweet, a little gourmet treat – the newer and more uncommon, the better – is the perfect holiday calling card. Present it festively wrapped and beribboned and you’re sure to be welcomed back next time. any luck at all, a kitchen near you. With a beer-making kit, beer fans can out-micro the microbrewers. A Mr.Beer home brew kit

includes a two-gallon fermenting container in the shape of an beer barrel, 8 plastic bottles, caps and labels, and the ingredients that Bertie Bott’s Every-Flavour Beans

Tea for the Heart collection from TeaForte

will produce two gallons of beer in 14 days. Throw in a six-pack of your favorite local brew to get the brewing party started. Find a store using the locator link at mrbeer.com. ($49.95, specialty and liquor stores). Give ’em a pop and they’ll be happy. Kids decorate their own holiday treats with a do-it-yourself lollipop kit from Kencraft Candy. The pops, decorations and icing are edible. ($9.95, gift shops). Booger. Vomit. Earwax. Earthworm. Chances are, there’s a Harry Potter fan in your life who will fall on the floor laughing, more than once, as he offers you a taste from the Jelly Belly box of Bertie Bott’s Every-Flavour Beans. Insist on a blue one – innocent blueberry – and you may make it to dessert. ($2.25, bookstores, gift stores, toy stores).

TeaForte’s Tea for the Heart heart-shaped box contains sachets of green tea rich in antioxidants that benefit heart health. The company is promoting heart health for women in partnership with womenheart.org. ($20 for 12 sachets, specialty stores). The best gifts come wrapped with a story. Théo Chocolate’s new treat is made with “ghost chile,” reputed to be one of the hottest peppers in the world. Who are we to argue? Ghost Chile Salted Caramels are dipped in dark chocolate and sprinkled with organic, Washington stategrown peppers (where Théo Chocolate is based) and Hawaiian red sea salt, a startling combination of sweet and heat. The candy won an award at the summer 2011 Fancy Food Show. ($9 a fourpiece box, gift and food stores).


HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE | FRIDAY, DECEMBER 9, 2011 | PAGE 17

Screen test Where thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a favorite TV show, thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s bound to be a favorite gift in the wings By Daniela Garcia CTW Features Zombies and mad men and superheroes, oh my! No, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not the nightmare before Christmas. The characters and creatures that star in the yearâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s most popular TV shows and movies have inspired T-shirts, toys and all sorts of gifts sure to delight the pop culture aficionado. Thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s great presents out there for everyone influenced by either the small screen or the silver screen. Mad about â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Mad Menâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; The award-winning series about the

lives of Don Draper and company, set in the New York advertising world in the 1960s, has managed to generate a cult following in a handful of seasons. Give the Maddict in your life any of the first three seasons of the hit series ($39.99 DVD/49.99 Blur-ray). Collectors will be charmed with season one packaged in a limited edition case in the shape of a classic Zippo lighter ($59.98, DVD). For the adman, or adwoman, in your life, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Sterlingâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Gold: Wit and Wisdom of an Ad Manâ&#x20AC;? (Grove Press 2010), is filled with witty one-liners from Roger Sterling, the pithy founding partner of the fictional agency. A sample: â&#x20AC;&#x153;Being with a client is like being in a marriage. Sometimes you get into it for the wrong reasons and eventually they hit you in the face.â&#x20AC;? Red for the holidays The undead just wonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t die. In fact, their grip on fans may be getting stronger. In its fourth season, â&#x20AC;&#x153;True Blood,â&#x20AC;? the TV drama about humans and vampires in the heart of Louisiana, is still going strong. Catch up on the latest action and romance with â&#x20AC;&#x153;True Blood: The Complete Third Seasonâ&#x20AC;? ($59.99 DVD/$79.99 Blu ray). For those that wish they could be patrons of Eric Northmanâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s dark vampire club, Fangtasia, a souvenir T-shirt of sorts ought to satisfy ($24.99). Ericâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s stylish, no-nonsense, right-hand woman Pam has shown countless times that even the undead can always look good. Delight a fan whoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d love to replicate her look with the True Blood Collectors Palette by Tarte ($52). The kit (at right) also

includes instructions from the showâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s lead make-up artist, Brigitte Ellis. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The Walking Dead,â&#x20AC;? a gripping TV drama about a group of survivors in the wake of a zombie apocalypse, is based on a graphic novel series. Gift individual print issues (Image Comics, $14.99) or a collection of eight ($59.99). To satisfy a would-be zombie hunter, grab a Walking Dead shooting target poster ($40). Theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll be ready to take on the undead in no time. For the kids Superhero blockbuster movies â&#x20AC;&#x153;Captain Americaâ&#x20AC;? and â&#x20AC;&#x153;Thorâ&#x20AC;? both bowed at No. 1

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PAGE 18 | HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE | FRIDAY, DECEMBER 9, 2011

TV GIFTS: For the fans » FROM PAGE 17

disguised as everyday machines, like trucks and cars. Their transformations look complicated on-screen but the Transformers Rescue Bots from Playskool (ages 3 and up, $11.99) help little kids make the magic in one big, easy step. Tidings of comfort and Glee In “Glee,” the Fox TV hit, a group of high school misfits find common ground (and their voices) by joining the McKinley High School glee club. The show that’s punctuated with spontaneous musical performances has gained a loyal fan following. Share Christmas classics as sung by the Glee cast with “Glee: The Music, The Christmas Album” CD from Columbia Records ($10.98). Hardcore Gleeks who know practically every song sung on the show will love strutting their stuff with “Karaoke Revolution Glee: Volume 2” from Koname ($39.99 for Wii). The Glee-tastic Microphone ($17.99) is the perfect toy for younger fans who enjoy singing their hearts out. The board game contingent can get in on the act with Cranium: Glee Edition ($34)

and Yahtzee: Glee Collector’s Edition ($19.95), both from USAopoly. The Scene It? Glee! DVD game from Screenlife ($29.99) brings the McKinley High high jinks live to a living room near you.


HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE | FRIDAY, DECEMBER 9, 2011 | PAGE 19

Take 10: Top DVDs for the cable-free

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PAGE 20 | HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE | FRIDAY, DECEMBER 9, 2011

Take 10: The year’s best children’s books In this age of digital technology and toy gadgetry, children may be keener to flip on the TV or shuffle their MP3 player than crack open a book. This holiday season, try reigniting their imagination with the gift of words.

Here are some of 2011’s award-winning and honor books for young readers. – Lindsey Romain “Moon Over Manifest” by Clare Vanderpool (Delacorte Press, $16.99)

1.

“Dave the Potter: Artist, Poet, Slave” by Laban Carrick, illustrated by Bryan Collier (Little, Brown and Company, $11.95) Caldecott Honor

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“Turtle In Paradise” by Jennifer L. Holm (Random House, $16.99) Newbery Honor

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“Heart of a Samurai” by Margi Preus (Amulet Books, $15.95) Newbery Honor

“Interrupting Chicken” written and illustrated by David Ezra Stein (Candlewick Press, $16.99) Caldecott Honor

8.

“Dark Emperor and Other Poems of the Night” by Joyce Sidman, illustrated by Rick Allen (Houghton Mifflin, $16.99) Newbery Honor “One Crazy Summer” by Rita Williams-Garcia (Amistad, $8.92) Newbery Honor

“Ship Breaker” by Paolo Bacigalupi (Little, Brown and Company, $17.99) Michael L. Printz Medal

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HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE | FRIDAY, DECEMBER 9, 2011 | PAGE 21

Take 10: Chart-busting vinyl albums The music business is hurting, but LP vinyl records are back from the near-dead. Vinyl has captivated a new generation of music enthusiasts. For the third consecutive year, vinyl record sales increased, selling 2.8 million units, the most since 1991, according to Nielsen SoundScan. Introduce the music lover of the family to a whole new way of listening with one of 2010’s top-selling vinyl titles. – Lindsey Romain “Abbey Road,” The Beatles (Apple Records, 1969) $18.99

1. 2. 3. 4.

“The Suburbs,” Arcade Fire (Merge Records, 2010) $25.98, two-record set

“Brothers,” The Black Keys (Nonesuch Records, 2010) $26.98 , two-record set

“Thriller,” Michael Jackson (Epic Records, 1982) $14.99

5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10.

“High Violet,” The National (4AD, 2010) $19.99

“Teen Dream,” Beach House (Sub Pop, 2010) $18 “Valleys of Neptune,” The Jimi Hendrix Experience (Legacy Recordings, 2010) $24.98 “The Dark Side of the Moon,” Pink Floyd (Harvest Records/Capitol Records, 1973) $18.99 “xx” The xx (Young Turks, 2009) $18.99

“Contra,” Vampire Weekend (XL Recordings, 2010) $14.99

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PAGE 22 | HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE | FRIDAY, DECEMBER 9, 2011

If you didn’t line up on Black Friday, and decking the halls is something you typically save for the lastminute, not to worry. Lifestyle expert, celebrity stylist and television personality Robert Verdi shares his tips for putting together a beautiful and low-stress holiday including his picks for great last-minute gifts that can be found at your local big box, grocery or drug store.

Tips for a beautiful holiday - even at the 11th hour (ARA) - As holiday decor springs up and seasonal tunes begin to flood the airwaves, it’s time to embrace the most wonderful time of the year. If you didn’t line up on Black Friday, and decking the halls is something you typically save for the lastminute, not to worry. Lifestyle expert, celebrity stylist and television personality Robert Verdi shares his tips for putting together a beautiful and low-stress holiday - including his picks for great last-minute gifts that can be found at your local big box, grocery or drug store. Set the stage Instead of decorating your home in a sea of red and green, consider using more neutral shades like silver and burgundy. Silver is one of the easiest colors to decorate with for the holiday because it transitions seamlessly into the new year. Use mercury glass balls, silver balls and white for a festive, wintry look that you won’t tire of come Dec. 26. Hostess with the mostess The holidays are the time of year for gatherings. If you’re attending an event, always come prepared with a small gift for your hostess. If you’re hosting, be sure to stock up on extra food and beverages for unexpected guests. To make any spread more stylish, simply arrange meats, cheeses and other small bites on slate tiles from a home store. Not only is a tile attractive and durable, but you can let guests know what delicacies they’re be sampling by writing on the slate with chalk.

Gracious gifting Being a thoughtful gift-giver isn’t necessarily about purchasing lavish, over-thetop gifts. Often, it’s best to give gifts that you know the recipient will actually use. For someone who loves to cook, consider loading a basket with the ingredients for a favorite recipe, pretty hand towels and other kitchen goodies. Or, for the beauty-lover in your life, stock up on P&G Beauty gift sets full of must-have products from Olay, Venus, CoverGirl, Herbal Essences, Pantene and Secret to spread holiday cheer to your children’s teachers and babysitters. Pick up high-tech finds like the Olay Pro-X Advanced Cleansing System or Crest 3D White 2 Hour Express Whitestrips for your beauty-focused friends. Best of all, these gifts are available at the stores you shop at every day, which means one less trip to the mall. The finishing touches You don’t need to spend a fortune to put glamour into your gift wrapping. Brown craft paper makes a great holiday gift wrap because it’s earthy, inexpensive, and can be customized with ribbons, stamps or stickers. Or, add a little touch to any regular gift to make it visually appealing. For example, when you give a candle, present it with long matches and a beautiful bow. Remember, the holiday season should be a time for reconnecting with friends and family, so no gift is complete without a thoughtful hand-written note.


HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE | FRIDAY, DECEMBER 9, 2011 | PAGE 23


PAGE 24 | HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE | FRIDAY, DECEMBER 9, 2011

2011 holiday gift guide  

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