DEAR READER –
You started early. You were organized. And here you are days—hours—before Christmas with names left on your to-buy gift list. Never mind how it happened. You need help. That’s why we’re here.
Whatever you do, do NOT get in your car.
Much as we like to support local businesses, the roads are dangerous thanks to all those polar vortexes on the East Coast and in America’s heartland (the latter which some now affectionately refer to as Trump Territory). If you happen to live in the multi-cultural center of the country—otherwise known as the Left Coast—you would be fighting more than Christmas crowds if you ventured out. The Golden State’s December holiday schedule is as packed as the LA freeways: Jews are celebrating Chanukah, African-Americans Kwanza, Muslims Mewled un Nabi, Hindus Pancha Ganapati, Buddhists Bodhi Day, Filipinos Rizal Day, the British Boxing Day, and Latinos at least a dozen December celebrations.
With all those crowds in the stores looking for gifts and stocking up on last-minute party supplies, you’ll be far more efficient—and safer—if you shop online. If you know what you want to buy, online shopping is a breeze. If you aren’t sure what you want, the volume of possibilities can be overwhelming. Rather than waste time mindlessly wandering in cyberspace, pick something from the list of Some of Our Favorite Online Gifts and Gift Shops below. Even if you have finished your holiday shopping, you might want to bookmark these suggestions because, before you know it, you are going to need to start looking for birthday, graduation, wedding, and anniversary gifts.
Face it, gift giving is a year-round activity.
TICKETS TO AN EVENT: A GIFT OF CULTURE
GOLD STAR EVENTS – What better gift than tickets to the theater, concert, dance performance, film screening, or sporting event? One of many online event locators, this Pasadena, CA company is worth checking because the tickets it sells are often discounted. Available for performances in San Diego; Los Angeles; San Francisco; Las Vegas; Chicago; Washington, D.C.; New York City, Boston, Seattle, Minneapolis, Saint Paul, Sacramento, Portland, Houston, Dallas, Philadelphia, and Miami. Open an account for yourself and keep up with cultural events you might otherwise miss.
MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTIONS: GIFTS THAT KEEP GIVING
The Gourmand – An award-winning food and culture journal features 120 pages of commissioned articles and photographs biannually. Printed on high-quality paper by specialist art book printers in England.
Lapham’s Quarterly –A journal established in 2007 by former Harper’s Magazine editor Lewis H. Lapham. Each issue examines through the lens of history issues of current interest and concern—crime, religion, foreigners, fashion, spies, fraud, philanthropy. The inaugural issue focused on war; the current issue looks at what home means to us and has meant to different cultures throughout history. Both subscriptions and back issues are available for purchase.
Pacific Standard – Articles in this award-winning bimonthly print magazine (along with a companion website, PSmag.com) examine how social and behavioral science research data can “inform and promote forward-thinking actions in public policy.” Recent issues have focused on water problems that extend beyond Flint, reasons for the government’s failure to track arrest deaths, how wealthy individuals are convinced to donate money, and what the real history of fake news is. The magazine operates under a nonprofit parent organization, Miller-McCune Center for Research, Media, and Public Policy in Santa Barbara, CA.
Texture – A subscription-based app provides monthly, quarterly, and yearly access to 200 + magazines, including the New Yorker, National Geographic, Rolling Stone, Real Simple, Sports Illustrated, Readers Digest, Consumer Reports, Fast Company, Mother Jones, Architectural Digest.
FOR KIDS: IMAGINATION IN A BOX
KIWI CRATE – Developed to inspire the next generation of scientists, artists, and inventors, boxes with materials and instructions for research-based, age-appropriate exploration, design, engineering, and art projects are mailed monthly to subscribers. One-month, six-month, and full-year subscriptions are available based children’s ages: 0-2 years; 3 and 4 years; 5 to 8 years, and 9 to 16+. Toddlers and teens learn how to create costumes, turning themselves into bears and butterflies. They build volcanos that erupt, make tornadoes inside jars. They learn to sew art, create parachutes, make molecules from marshmallows, and see what soda does to their teeth. Award-winning designs reviewed by pediatric researchers; tested by children.
BEYOND ORDINARY GIFT SITES
THE GROMMET – Unusual, innovative, artistic, practical and whimsical gifts from unknown and newly launched businesses. Everything from portable wood-fired pizza ovens and long-handled insect grabbers to leak-proof underwear for women and front-pocket wallets for men, the site’s products reflect one or more of the values of the company founders: innovation; tech-orientation; hand-crafted; crowdfunded; made in the USA by underrepresented and/or philanthropically-minded entrepreneurs.
UNCOMMONGOODS.COM – Gifts for geeks, gardeners, readers, home improvers, hosts & hostesses, sports fans, music lovers, artists & art lovers, travelers, and pets. Check out the glass water faucet, a gag that is also a work of art; personalized family sign posts and latitude-longitude house signs. Personalized gifts won’t be ready for the holidays, but the company will send a card telling the recipient something wonderful is in the works.
PERSONALIZED GREETING CARDS
While we’re on the subject, you’d probably be wise to send your own electronic cards to the people on your last-minute shopping list. Start the cards with wishes for a good holiday, and then tell your family member, friend or colleague not to despair, you didn’t forget them this holiday season. Something special is on it’s way. If you don’t have a favorite electronic card site already, try this.
CA & AC
P.S. Please send us YOUR favorite gift ideas and sites so we can include them in our next shopping roundup.