Week Fifty Two

2009 Holiday Gift Guide

Posted in general interest by sarahbakerhansen on 23 November 2009

Last year, I wrote a gift guide about local artists who make the kind of things that are perfect when it comes time for holiday gift-giving. I decided to do one again this year – albeit a bit earlier in the holiday season – because with Thanksgiving right around the corner, I’ve already got Christmas gifts on the brain.

I do the bulk of my shopping, for myself or others, online. I avoid the mall and its cacophony of christmas tunes and crowds at all costs, unless I’m absolutely forced to visit. I think I spent enough time at malls during my teenage years to suppliment the rest of my life.

In the first gift guide I featured local artists (all from the Omaha and Lincoln areas) who sell on the online commerce Web site Etsy, which is basically eBay for the crafty set. I still love this site, and I’ve already made a few holiday purchases from artists this year. I can’t wait to get the handmade christmas stockings I ordered from one seller, complete with monograms, for me and my hubby. A lot of my friends have cut back on spending this year, and I have too.  While some of the gifts I’ve highlighted below are a bit pricier, there are many that come in under $50, and some for much less than that. I decided to do the gift guide this year in terms of the gift recipient, because God knows, everybody has someone in their life who “has everything.” All the sellers featured are locals again this year, just to show you don’t have to go far from Omaha to find a great artist, or a great gift.

The Fashionista

I love, love, love Lincoln artist Mary Pattavina and the hats and fascinators and head adornments of all kinds in her shop, Pretty Good Things. What’s great about her is that she’s also on point with what’s so right now. Her whole series of “bun bun” headbands and hair pieces play off of all the celebrities (Madonna and the Olsen Twins, natch) seen in versons of the bunny ears Marc Jacobs designed for Louis Vuitton. Mary’s version comes in a wearable, approachable way. The pair at left is one of the most understated, but others perch ears on the top of the head, and a pair of black ears on a tiny black hat are a showstoper. Any fashionista would love to wear one of these out dancing on New Year’s Eve. Trust.  

The Home Design Nut

How cute is it that Jill, who runs the Etsy shop le Vintage Maison, scours thrift stores and antique shops with her five-year-old daughter in tow? Pretty cute, I think. And the goods in her carefully edited store are great for that person on your list who has a home full of the “dream” finds. You know the ones: amazing vintage record player, mid century modern furniture she found for a steal, a vast collection of thrift store art that looks just right next to a vintage bureau topped with good smelling candles. The vintage clear and silver apple shaped serving tray, at right, would fit right in at her next party, and it’s priced right at $18. Lots of other things in the shop would work, too: vintage milk glass vases and candy dishes, fun vintage coffee cups and glasses and a number of vintage countertop canister sets are particularly swell for the hipster who also likes to bake.

The Burgeoning Art Collector

Omaha artist William Holland is a great self-promoter. Add him as a friend on Facebook and expect regular updates on his shop, which is constantly being re-stocked with affordable art prints, most coming in at a cool $25. Most of his signed prints are of the same genre: cute but infused with a twist of the dark side. His series of animals in very un-animal situations (hello, drunk panda) are funny and there’s one to suit any person’s taste. My favorite of the pieces currently listed is a print titled “Omaha” that would look awesome hanging above my desk, even without a frame.

The Newlyweds

Being a newlywed myself, I feel I have some authority in this category. I’m expecting to receive at least – at least – one “our first Christmas” themed ornament. Sigh. It’s probably going to go near the back of the tree, or at the very least, on the side near the bottom and never see the light of day after year one. It’s too bad that most “newlywed” themed gifts are pretty lame, and though I appreciate the sentiment of such an item, I’d much rather have something that’s cool and celebrates my newfound wedded bliss. That’s why I love this hand embroidered monogram snowflake ornament at Corinne’s etsy shop, September House. It’s simple but sweet and it would become a holiday heirloom, appearing on the tree year after year. It’s also an affordable option, at $25. Corinne also creates ornaments for a child’s first Christmas that are equally as charming, so this gift could also translate to new parents. She also makes embroidered calendars and in the shop now has a beautiful piece of embroidered, pieced wall art in the shape of a hydrangea, my favorite flower. She also keeps a blog, which is worth a look.

The Man in Your Life

Can I say how excited I was when I found etsy seller TheFellow? No, I cannot. This is an actual boy who is selling things that actual boys would love to have! For affordable prices! Kudos to you, TheFellow. Kudos. If I knew your real name, I would certainly share it with the world. Your shop solves the problem of what to buy for the single man friend, the gay man who has it all, the cool cousin, the funky uncle, the picky husband, the indie boyfriend and even the cool dad. Vintage striped suspenders? Check. Cowhide briefcase? Check. Cocktail shaker, vintage books and a tie rack? Check, check and check. My favorite item? The piece of prison art for only $8. Check it out at left. It even has the inmate number of the unfortunate soul who created it written on the back. Men are some of the hardest people to shop for, in my opinion, and a well-edited selection of man-appropros gifts is, seriously, every girl’s dream (at least around holidays and birthdays.) I’ve got my eye on this shop, waiting for more as the holidays approach.

The Gregarious Child (or its parents)

I’m not a parent (and don’t plan to be one any time soon) but I have lots of friends who are parents or soon-to-be moms and pops. Finding a gift for a child can be just as tough as finding a gift for an adult, because really, it’s more of a gift for the parents until the child reaches a certain age and asks for barbies or trucks (or both.) I love these little leather shoes created by Connie at her etsy store Scandeez, full of lots of cute kid stuff. They come in sizes starting for newborns and going all the way up to 24 months, so they’re a great gift for a toddler, too. Lots and lots of critters adorn the soles of the booties; the skull happens to be my favorite. There’s also a ladybug, a football and ones with holiday-themes, like a reindeer or Santa. At under $30 a pair, it doesn’t matter that the child will outgrow them quickly. The cute-factor for just a few months is definitely worth it.

 A few years back, I used to work as a nanny, and the little girl I took care of would have absolutely loved a tutu from Piccolina Designs. And can’t you understand why? Swirling and twirling around the backyard in one of these would be absolute perfecton for most little girls. Designer Mia creates these tutus in three sizes – small, medium and large – and in an array of colors, including black, for the more subversive little munchkins.

Images courtesy of each artist’s etsy store, www.etsy.com. All items featured were available as of Nov. 23, 2009. Contact the sellers directly for more information.

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