All I want for Christmas is ...

... a strap-on harness made of recycled rubber; and other helpful holiday gift ideas
By DEIRDRE FULTON  |  November 20, 2007

"Shopping advice from the star: The Marden’s lady lets you in on her secrets of surviving Black Friday." By Jeff Inglis.
True story: My grandma sent me my Christmas check in mid-October this year.

When I called to thank her, I expressed some amount of surprise at what I perceived as premature gifting. I hate to be crass, but did she not think she’ll be around by the time we get to December 25?

“I always sends them out early,” she told me, “so that people can get what they want.” Ah, I see.

Now, I’m all for pre-planning, not saving everything for the last minute. But October? That check is long since spent, and let me tell you, it wasn’t on Christmas gifts. (Though my generous grandma probably saved me from bouncing a check to Time Warner Cable, which in some ways is a present in itself. I don’t want to seem ungrateful, just incredulous.)

Anyway, this gift guide is for all you grandmas — and grandma-like — shoppers out there, who like to get your holiday gift-selection out of the way early. (Warning: gifting of a leather harness by — or to — the elderly may cause fainting or vomiting.) How about a compromise: Buy now, give later?

Cheesy friend
Hypothesis: A direct correlation exists between questionable taste and enjoyment of Christmas/holiday tunes performed by contemporary artists. (Exception: Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas Is You,” possibly my favorite feature of the holiday season.) For the tacky-yet-loveable friend that all of us know and love, consider these seasonal selections: THE KT TUNSTALL HOLIDAY COLLECTION (Capitol Music Group, only at Target, $6.99), HEAR SOMETHING COUNTRY: CHRISTMAS 2007 (RCA, $18.97), or RICK SPRINGFIELD’SCHRISTMAS WITH YOU (Gomer Records, $9.99). There are even options for the guy who’s tough on the outside but a softie on the inside: HELL’S BELLS OF CHRISTMAS: THE AC/DC TRIBUTE (Cro, $16.98) or, unbelievably, AND CHRISTMAS FOR ALL! THE HOLIDAY TRIBUTE TO METALLICA (Cro, $16.98).

Planning to pop the question this holiday season? If so, visit WWW.SIMPLYWOODRINGS.COM, where you can find unique, simple, natural rings made mostly from salvaged wood. Not only will your beloved wood nymph appreciate your originality, but with the rings usually running between $150 and $300, you’ll still have some money leftover for a celebratory beer — assuming your beau says yes, that is.

Quirky Friend
Strange little dolls/pieces of art made of "designer vinyl" — need we say more? WWW.UNKLBRAND.COM

Creative Friend
If your crafty comrades are worth their weight in silk-screened tees, they’re already familiar with the wonderful (and addictive) world of WWW.ETSY.COM, where knitters, painters, printers, welders, and other artisans galore showcase and sell their wares. Still, it’s a great place to score handmade gifts that often inspire additional creativity in their recipients.

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  Topics: Lifestyle Features , Culture and Lifestyle, Holidays, Mariah Carey,  More more >
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