As a former Retail Slave for over 20 years people often ask me for advice for what to give for the holidays. That is a very tricky question because I am the kind of person who tries to give personalized gifts. I ask several pointed questions about each person then narrow down personalities or hobbies and try to come up with something at would be appropriate for each individual. I have been making gifts for friends and families for several years, including the t-shirts for my nephews and friends that seem to be very popular. Last year’s tees seemed to be a pretty big hit (pictured right).
But inevitably, there are some items each year that I think can be broadly applied as universal gifts for a large number of people so here are my five suggestions in no particular order:
I.Sound 2 in 1 Back up Battery & Charger for IPhone & IPod – They may be the coolest thing amongst a big circle of people but they also suck power like a starving anteater. If you are like me and have a large circle of friends who are addicted to their IPhones you also know how jittery they get when their phones begin to die from too much Tweeting and they have no power source or way to recharge. Friends have even cut evenings short because their IPhones are dying so this charger that retails for $49.99 on the I.Sound website but can be found on other sites for less, is the perfect gift.
Tumi Money Clip Card Case – When I worked at Dayton’s/Marshall Field’s/Macy’s this was the singular item that we could not keep in stock and the best seller in Men’s Accessories. It holds two cards per slot and upwards of 20 bills in the money clip yet maintains a slim profile in a front pocket. Perfect for the frequent traveler, or any age group, men and women. There is a nylon/leather version available as well as an all-leather version and the Tumi quality is unparalleled. Just remember it is unlucky to give an empty wallet as it means you are wishing poverty on the receiver, so you must put at least a penny inside before it is given away. Available at many department stores, or go see Patrick at the Galleria Tumi Store.
CSA Membership – For those who don’t know CSA is Community Supported Agriculture, and when you purchase a membership you receive a share of a Farm’s harvest. There are dozens of Minnesota Farms for which you can purchase shares. Braucher Sunshine Harvest Farms Eggs and Grass-Fed Beef, Chicken & Lamb is a longtime favorite of mine, but many more CSA’s can be found on the Land Stewardship website. Some may not have updated for the new season yet but if you send an email I am certain most farms will be happy to accommodate an early request for 2010 as a holiday present.
I Heart MPLS T-Shirt – Locally made t-shirts in a variety of colors & sizes for Men & Women. What better way to express your Minneapolitan Pride? Full disclosure: these are available at a client’s store but he was a longtime friend and former coworker for 20 years at Dayton’s before he became a client, so I feel comfortable adding this great product to the list. The tees are available at Elsworth Menswear store in the Downtown Minneapolis skyway and should be online soon as well. They are much better than anything you’ll find on Cafepress. The T-shirts are only $20.00 each so are the perfect present for the Minne-apple in your life.
Wood From The Hood Cutting Boards – If you’re like me and feel like you’ve been kicked in the stomach every time you see the red band of death go up on one of the beautiful ancient elms in your neighborhood you’ll be happy to know that even though the diseased trees must be felled there is a fantastic company that is using the wood. You can select them by zip codes of neighborhoods from where the trees originally grew. The boards which cost $20-$33 are available at numerous local stores including Mother Earth Gardens, Natural Built Home, Seward Coop and CorAzon. A great gift for the foodie or anyone who has a kitchen!
Just five Quick suggestions; affordable universal presents that are sure to please and ones that should be easy to pick up at the last minute.