I haven't set foot in a shopping mall--except to go see a movie--in years. I am in walking distance of two excellent bookstores--one an indie, another a Bookstar--and for everything else, there's online. and I do mean EVERYTHING else. Last year I bought almost all my Christmas presents online. This year, the figure is 100 percent. (And don't hate me, but I'm already done.) In addition to picking just the perfect gift for friends, I also usually pick up half a dozen gift cards for stocking stuffers, and last-minute presents. Gift cards have a bad rap, but honestly, I'm always thrilled to get one. (I don't drink coffee, for instance, but a Starbucks gift card will buy a lot of oatmeal cookies and/or hot chocolate.) Amazon gift cards can be redeemed for pretty much anything you can think of. You can even get them in a box if you want to put them under a tree or in a stocking instead of just mailing them.
Practically every supermarket and drug store now has a display of gift cards you can buy for everything from movies to iTunes, but you can also buy gift cards to use on Etsy, eBay,Redbubble, Zazzle, ans SpaFinders. (right bow they're running a deal for two $50 gift cards for $80.) Not feeling the gift cards? Well, here are some other suggestions, arranged by category.
S is for Shakespeare, Science, Star Trek, Star Wars, and Scents
I admit it. When it comes to Shakespeare, I am a fan girl. If you know a like-minded person, there are a lot of terrific presents that celebrate the bard, items that go far beyond the ubiquitous quotation t-shirts and mugs. (Not that you can't always use another t-shirt or
mug.) My favorite Shakespeare-themed gift this season is the Shakespeare
flash drive ($25) available on theBroadway Cares site. This fundraising organization now funds more than 450 groups and has raised $225 million to fight AIDS. So you can give a double gift when you buy anything from their online store.
The Folger Shakespeare Library's "Luminary Shakespeare apps" for Macbeth, Othello and Romeo & Juliet are downloadable from iTunes. From solitary reading to generative thinking, from the classroom
to the theater, Folger Luminary Shakespeare apps offer an interactive
reading experience to enhance our pleasure and understanding of
Shakespeare's extraordinary works. ($11.99)
Verily, a New Hope...Yes, now you can buy the story of Star Wars as originally written by William Shakespeare. In iambic pentameter, with illustrations! Buy it for $14.95 from Think Geek. And while you're at the Think Geek site, pick up a Star Trek transporter room shower curtain and bath mat set. It's $50 but worth twice that in geeky goodness.
here for $17.99.) Other great stocking stuffers for the kitchen nerd include Death Star ice sphere makers ($7.49 here) and Dr. Who ice trays (Currently $9.09 here.)
Get a piece of the rock...Mars that is.
We've been able to buy moon rocks for awhile--how very 20th century, but now you can purchase a piece of Mars. Prices vary from $25 to $161, and the rocks come with authentication letting your giftee know where the specimens were collected. Buy them here.
The National Geographic Store is filled with gifts in a dozen categories including gear and gadgets, books, dvds, clothing, and maps. One of their best-sellers is a hadnsome atlas of the world ($185) that comes personalized.) At the opposite end of the price spectrum is the "My Town" custom jigsaw map puzzle at $39.95. (Buy it here.)
for space-themed gifts, try the L.A. Observatory gift shop. Stocking stuffers from the online store include a $9.99 cosmic energy kinetic sculpture.
If you're looking for space art notecards, Cafe Press is a source for items like these. And yes, you can buy Cafe Press gift cards. And of course you can go right to the source, with gifts from NASA's Kennedy Space Center gift shop. Models, mission patches, meteorites, and more! They even have a full range of NASA Christmas tree ornaments, including Santa holding a shuttle and Santa in the Apollo capsule. I'm particularly fond of the brass, 3-D shuttle ornament, available for $15.99.
Who doesn't want a signature scent?
Anyone can smell like Chanel No. 5 or Joy (although honestly, I never understood the appeal of Joy, it smells way too "old lady" for me). At Tsi-La Perfumery, you can choose from among all-organic and cruelty-free scents like Fiori D'Arancio ($95 for 50 ML, with its notes of orange, tangerine and caramelized vanilla. All organic perfumes from the Strange Invisibles Perfume Company include "Black Rosette" with its rose, black tea, spearmint and leather notes ($220 for 1.7 ounce) and "Lyric Rain" (jasmine, blue lotus, pink pepper, patchouli and lavender, $350. for 1.7 ounces). If you just want to smell like honey--Burt's Bees products are all made with honey and are super-affordable. You can stuff a stocking full of balms and lotions and still have money leftover for a coffee.
T is for Thrones...
If you're like me, you're counting the days until the new season of Game of Thrones appears. Now is a good time to catch up on the books if you don't like surprises like "the Red Wedding."
The wine of Westeros...You can also buy a set of Game of Thrones house sigil wine charms. ($14.99 for six charms here.)
More to come...