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Posted: 12:00 a.m. Sunday, Nov. 18, 2012

Gift ideas for everyone on your list



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Gift Guide for foodies photo
Special to the AJC
The entertainer on your list is going to love this clever bread warmer from France called Basket Gourmand. On the bottom of the fabric basket there’s a pad filled with cherry stones, which gets a brief warming in the microwave.
Last-minute gift guide 2012 photo
Special
The easy to use ContourROAM2 video camera features HD action video, a lightweight design and a 270-degree rotating lens.

By Sabine Morrow

The reason for the season means trying your best to please everyone around you. But if choosing the perfect gift is a bit challenging for you, relax and take a look at these selections. You’ll find a little something for just about everyone on your list, even those who haven’t even made the list, yet.

For techies

I’ll bet that there isn’t a single shopper out there who doesn’t have at least one techie on his or her list. And if you’re not tech inclined, then buying the perfect present can be a pretty daunting proposition. Here are a few suggestions that should bring a smile to any geeky recipient, and relief to the giver.

1. TelyHD Skype Camera

With friends and family scattered to the four winds , keeping in touch is more important than ever. Without a computer, and using Wi-Fi, telyHD lets those you care about make high-definition Skype video calls from the comfort of their living rooms. A snap to set up, the conferencing device sits on top of any TV with an HDMI port and includes a wide-angle camera that zooms, pans and tilts, allowing Skype users to interact in a more natural way on a large screen rather than on a computer monitor. You also can spring for the new Entertainment Suite that allows for web browsing, and the AirPlay compatibility lets iPhone and iPad users wirelessly stream pictures to their TV. Retails for $249. Available through www.amazon.com, www.walmart.com with free site to store pickup and bestbuy.com with free ship to store pickup.

2. Disco 2 Supertooth Stereo Speaker

The Disco2, an updated version of SuperTooth’s popular Bluetooth speaker, features a vertical design that bangs out the same stellar sound quality but with a smaller footprint. You can take this cordless speaker anywhere and stream music wirelessly from all of your Bluetooth devices, including mp3 players, iPads and iPhones. With a charging time of two hours, Disco2 plays for up to four hours at high volume and 10 hours at medium. Available for $99 at www.SuperTooth.net.

3. Swann mp3 DJ Doorbell

When someone comes to call, this wireless doorbell announces guest by playing up to 10,000 different tracks, which are stored on a removable 32 GB SD card. Press the doorbell and a wireless signal is sent to the speaker — up to 165 feet away — and the music begins. This handsome doorbell unit comes in a clean, white high gloss design that fits with any home or office decor. Available for $49.99 at most Radio Shack stores and through www.amazon.com.

4. Pyle IOS Soundbar Docking System

Pyle, a leading manufacturer of audio equipment and outdoor sports gear, offers this sleek, piano-black, 300-watt docking solution for iPhone, iPad and iPod that delivers big sound with a blue backlight LCD display while charging your device. It includes an FM stereo with auto-search and 20 presets, plus a remote for additional control. Priced at $119.06 through www.amazon.com.

5. Striiv Smart Pedometer

It might look like a mini cell phone, but Striiv Smart Pedometer is designed to get the wearer moving. Think of it as an activity motivation system that encourages people to become more active throughout the day by creating games, personal goals and charity donations powered by physical activity. With Striiv, it’s easy to fit in activity wherever possible – and however brief – to achieve big results. Priced at $99, available at Best Buy and www.amazon.com.

6. ECBC Javelin Daypack

ECBC designs functional bags and cases that offer comfort, style and convenience when it comes to transporting the myriad electronics most of us can’t get through the day without. The Javelin Daypack comes crafted with a tough, water repelling ballistic nylon and clever features, including a slim design and a padded TSA-compliant laptop compartment that unzips and lays flat, allowing your device to slide through security intact. It’s roomy enough for a 17-inch laptop, and comes with tablet, water bottle and accessories pockets. Available in gray and black. Sells for $129 through www.ec-bc.com.

Unexpected gifts for men and women

Tired of being the predictable gift giver? Check out these ideas, and this season you can be the one who surprises and delights the hard-to-buy-for crew on your list.

1. T3 Source Shower Filter Showerhead

Seriously, a shower head as a gift? Absolutely. This is no ordinary shower head, and I’m not even talking about the pretty purple gem that’s attached. The T3 Source Shower Filter showerhead gives you more beautiful hair. Yes, you read that correctly. It’s clinically proven to dramatically improve hair health, body and shine by removing up to 95-percent of the chlorine in tap water. Chlorine is often the culprit when it comes to affecting the color of your hair and even drying out your skin. Filtered water will leave your your hair more shine and less frizz. $130 at Sephora.

2. Tomboy Tools Pink Diamond Tool Kit

If you have a fashionista on your list who loves a good DIY project, then the Pink Diamond Tool Kit from Tomboy Tools could be the perfect fit. This heavy duty, lipstick- pink, hinged tool box features a chrome lid with a diamond pattern and a removable carrying tray. Don’t let the girlie look fool you, the kit comes packed with 17 ergonomically designed, heavy duty tools, accessories and safety items, including a pink suede tool belt, 13-ounce magnetic hammer, safety glasses, gloves, 25-foot tape measure and knee pads. Available for $129 at www.tomboytools.com.

3. Jo Malone Pine-and-Eucalyptus Scent Surround Diffuser

Let the discriminating the man or woman on your list revel in the fragrance of the season with this bracing eucalyptus-and-pine-scented diffuser. The handsome glass-and-steel decanter and black diffusing rods easily function as a decorative item and a gift that lingers long after the holidays have come and gone. Sells for $75 at select Nordstrom stores and www.jomalone.com.

4. Dyson DC44 Animal Cordless Vacuum

A cordless vacuum that can skim across multiple floor surfaces, including carpet, is a dream come true. The DC44 Animal features a run time of 20 minutes in regular mode, and 8 minutes on Boost. Weighing in at a just over 5 pounds, this little Animal packs a big suction punch powered by the Dyson digital motor. It comes with a mini motorized tool designed to remove pet hair and dirt from upholstery and tight spaces. The wall- mounted docking station stashes the slim vacuum and attachments when they’re not in use. And the battery can be charged while the vacuum is in the docking station or separately. Priced at $399.99 at major retailers, including Target, and through www.dyson.com.

5. Keurig Vue V700 Brewing System

The newest Keurig brews up even more options than the original. For instance, cup sizes range from a 4-ounce demitasse to an 18-ounce travel mug. It promises to brew your beverages stronger, bigger, hotter, with more flavor choices . The handsome unit features an easy-to-use interactive touch screen and, along with coffee, tea, hot cocoa and iced drinks, Vue brews cafe and specialty beverages. Vue doesn’t use K-Cups, instead the brewer uses larger Vue packs which, unlike K-Cups, are recyclable. Priced at $229 and available online at www.keurig.com, www.amazon.com and at major retailers, including Macy’s and Bed Bath and Beyond.

6. Husqvarna 356BT Quiet Blower

Not only will the recipient with a large yard filled with trees be grateful for Husqvarna 356BT’s low-noise technology, but so will the neighbors. Noise dampening material within the housing and an innovative exhaust tube dramatically reduce the decibel rating on this blower. It’s designed with a powerful and easy to start engine combined with an efficient fan to deliver high air speed and air flow. And this blower can brag lower emissions as well as a comfortable, ventilated and load-reducing harness with hip belt and wide shoulder straps. Priced at $479.95 and available exclusively at Lowe’s and authorized Husqvarna dealers.

Exclusive to Atlanta

Gift giving from shops and artisans with deep-rooted connections to the area is a thoughtful way to benefit all involved. Take a look at these ideas and you’ll see that buying locally doesn’t mean you can’t shop around the world.

1. Taste of Britain

Give the Brit or Anglophile on your list a real taste of Britain with a beautifully wrapped gift package that includes festive glass tableware and assorted foodstuffs. Prices start at $40. And for those who take their tea seriously, consider this lovely Royal Albert-style tea pot by Royal Doulton, $29.95. The matching cream and sugar set is available for $19.95. Don’t forget some biscuits, chocolates and teas.

73 South Peachtree Street, Norcross, 770-242-8585.

2. Bonsai From Monastery of the Holy Spirit

Sure, the monks at the Monastery of the Holy Spirit in Conyers enjoy a reputation for smooth fudge and festive fruitcakes, but if you’re looking for a gift that will last a lifetime, consider a bonsai. An integral part of the monastery’s culture and daily routine, the ancient Japanese art form of sculpting bonsai generates revenue for the community and spectacular beauty for all who come to visit. The monks sculpt their own miniature trees and are happy to lend their expertise to visitors. The bonsai nursery offers many types of trees, including ginkgo, ficus, juniper, maple and Elm. Prices start at $25, and if you’re feeling particularly generous, you can select an older, larger bonsai for up to $1,000. The Abbey Garden Center offers bonsai pottery, tools and accessories, as well as nature-inspired gifts, local folk art and garden supplies. 2625 Hwy. 212 SW, Conyers, 770-388-0531.

3. Heidi’s Heavenly Cookies

Ten years ago, Heidi Nel started a small cookie business out of her Alpharetta home and began shipping Heidi’s Heavenly Cookies nationwide. Five years ago, she moved her sweet operation out of her basement and opened a larger commercial bakery, where she and her staff continue to ship her cookies near and far. Whether you order online, or come in to pick up a custom selection, you’ll have an array of elegantly packaged goodies from which to choose. Sea salt caramel bar is Heidi’s newest cookie, but long-time favorites include Rock-A-Mallow, classic chocolate chip and, toffee chocolate chip. Imagine a chewy cookie with a fat slab of nutty, chocolate-covered toffee on top. You’ll also find a couple of gluten-free options. The Heavenly Woodlands (pictured) is packed with 24 favorites and sells for $47.50. You can have your gift delivered by ordering through www.heidisheavenlycookies.com, or call 1-877-434-3472 and stop by the bakery to pick up your order. 355 Curie Drive, Alpharetta.

4. Mingei World Arts

Mindful of fair trade practices, the owners of Mingei World Arts directly import antiques, eclectic items and folk art made by artisans and small family businesses from many parts of the world, with an emphasis on Asia. Among the books, art and jewelry, you can find beautiful hand-spun and woven silk scarves highly saturated with vivid colors from Thailand. They measure 14 inches by 62 inches and are priced at $30. 427 Church Street, Decatur, 404-371-0101.

5. Lee Thomas Putters

These hand-crafted putters by Lee Thomas, a native of Woodstock, transcend a work of functional art and border on historical significance. The Thomas Jefferson Foundation has given Thomas wood from Monticello’s Tulip Poplar trees, believed to have been planted by Thomas Jefferson in 1807, to be turned into putters. Each putter comes with a serial number and a letter of authenticity ensuring that they were created using the Tulip Poplar from Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello. A portion of the proceeds directly benefits Thomas Jefferson Foundation’s educational programs. Historical wood putters are priced from $1,050 to $1,550, but custom putters start at $650. Thomas makes putters from any woods, including those from living trees. Check out www.leethomasputters.com or call 770-373-4501 to order.

6. Boxwoods Gardens and Gifts

Dan Belman and Randy Korando have created a little sliver of paradise in their Buckhead digs, where orchids are grown locally and hydrangeas bloom year round. Sure, you can find gifts, including vintage pieces, women’s accessories, scented candles, furniture and tableware, but don’t miss the custom made plant compositions for the person on your list with a green thumb. Prices start at $35. 100 E. Andrews Drive, Atlanta, 404-233-3400.

For foodies

Those who love to cook and entertain can sometimes be the fussiest on your gift list. But they’re often the most fun to shop for. Here are some ideas to keep them happy in and out of the kitchen.

1. Oster Versa Performance Blender

This commercially-inspired blender can effortlessly produce perfectly smooth nut butters, crush ice and grind coffee beans as easily as it blends your morning smoothie, or purees that piping hot potato and leek soup for supper. Thank the 1400-watt motor for providing all of that muscle. The Oster Versa features electronic pre-programmed settings for convenient one-touch operation, and separate speed dial and pulse button offer up total control at your fingertips. The tall, 64-ounce BPA-free jar boasts serrated stainless steel blades that can gnash through the toughest job. It’s backed up by a 7-year warranty and priced at $299.99. Available at major retailers and through www.amazon.com.

2. KitchenAid Glass Bowl For Stand Mixer

Anyone with a KitchenAid tilt-stand mixer will appreciate an extra bowl, but when that mixing bowl is made of glass, then functional also becomes stylish. KitchenAid makes three 5-quart glass bowls: clear, frosted and hammered. Designed to fit on all KitchenAid tilt-head mixers, the glass bowls include a comfort handle, pour spout and a lid for easy storage. Both the frosted and clear glass bowls have markings for precise measurement. All styles are available through www.kitchenaid.com for $79.99, but the clear glass bowl is available for $69.95 at Sur la Table, 4400 Ashford Dunwoody Road, Atlanta, 678-441-9120.

3. Cuisinart SmartStick Immersion Blender

If there is anyone are those on your list who still does notan immersion blender, then do them a big favor and buy this handy kitchen tool. Notice that I didn’t call it a gadget because that would somehow diminish this kitchen essential. Whether it’s transforming chopped vegetables into fresh salsa or mixing the perfect vinaigrette, Cuisinart SmartStick hand-held blender makes itself indispensible. Equipped with a 200-watt motor, the blender comes with a 2-cup plastic beaker and comes in a selection of wild colors such as soft butter yellow and parsley green, as well as a luscious apricot and even raspberry. Priced at $34.32 and available through www.amazon.com.

4. Basket Gourmand Bread Warmer

The entertainer on your list is going to love this clever bread warmer from France called Basket Gourmand. On the bottom of the fabric basket there’s a pad filled with cherry stones, which gets a brief warming in the microwave. Replace the hot pad on the bottom of the basket, place warm rolls or bread on top, tighten the drawstring to close, and your bread stays warm throughout the meal. Priced at $36, available through www.quelobjet.com.

5. Mackenzie-Childs Parchment Check Enamelware

If you’re searching for a hostess gift with both whimsy and elegance, then look no further than Mackenzie-Childs Parchment Check enamelware. The pretty pale taupe-and-white checks, set off by a bit of gold and a touch of aqua, adorn a variety of pieces from tea pots and kitchen canisters to upscale pet bowls and candle holders. Prices start at $28, and Mackenzie-Childs is available at Neiman Marcus, 3393 Peachtree Road, Atlanta, 404-266-8200.

6. Cuisipro Roast and Serve Rack

Now it’s possible to easily get that turkey or prime rib from the pan to the serving platter or cutting board without the struggle of first removing it from the roasting rack. The generous handles on the Cuisipro Roast and Serve rack allow for easy lifting, but the genius comes in the removable pin that disassembles the rack with one easy motion. It features a non-stick surface and holds up to a 25-pound turkey or roast. Priced at $19.99 and available at Cook’s Warehouse stores. Check out the website at www.cookswarehouse.com or call 404-815-4993 for the nearest store.

Last-minute Gifts

You just realized that you still have a few names to cross off your list, and time is ticking away. Or maybe your neat dozen at the holiday table turned into 13, with only hours to go. No problem. We’ve got a gift for that.

1. iTunes Gift Cards

Who can’t use a little music or a good read? That’s where an iTunes gift card comes in handy. You can get them at just about any grocery store, mass merchandiser, and even the corner gas station and convenience store stocks them. Keep a few on hand when unexpected guests come knocking. They’re priced from $10 to $100, and another plus is that they’re suitable for all age ranges.

2. John B. Stetson Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

You just found out that your extra holiday guest is a bourbon drinker with a cowboy flair. Lucky you. Luckier cowboy. Launched earlier this year, John B. Stetson Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey is distilled from native American corn, locally sourced barley, rye and wheat, and boasts an oaky aroma layered with woody flavors. Tie a bow around it and present it with pride. A 750ml bottle sells for $27 and is available at Elite Package, 7855 Roswell Road, Atlanta, 770-351-0307.

3. The Vice Eye Shadow Palette from Urban Decay

She loves makeup and never leaves the house without eye shadow. That much you do know about her. You stumbled on a terrific last-minute gift idea. But what color do you get? The latest, of course. The Vice Palette from Urban Decay is filled with 20 brand spanking new tints ranging from the light metallic mauve of Provocateur to the electric turquoise of Unhinged. The shadows come in a gorgeous soft-touch, purple case outfitted with a generous mirror and a double-ended brush. Available for $59 at Sephora, Ulta and select Macy’s stores.

4. Scrabble Electronic CatchPhrase Game

It really doesn’t matter if you need a last-minute gift for a youngster or adult because this high-speed word game crosses the age gap and provides tremendous fun for all. Trust me, if you play it before giving CatchPhrase away, you’ll end up keeping this game. Think of CatchPhrase as an electronic hot potato with words. The hand-held game displays words or phrases to your teammates, who then give you clues. Then it’s up to you to come up with the correct answer before time runs out, then quickly pass it on. When the buzzer sounds, whoever is left holding CatchPhrase loses a point to the other team. For four or more players, ages 12 and up. Priced at $22.99, and available at major toy retailers.

5. ContourROAM2 Action HD Video Camera

Just because someone landed on your last-minute list doesn’t mean that they don’t deserve a fantastic gift. The easy to use ContourROAM2 video camera features HD action video, a lightweight design and a 270-degree rotating lens. Built for sports, the camera is waterproof and includes a still photo mode. While it comes in basic black, vivid colors like red and blue are also available. Available at Best Buy for $199.

6. Vince Camuto Men’s Fragrance

I know it’s a bit risky to buy a guy a fragrance if you’re not sure what he likes. But fashion designer Vince Camuto recently launched his first scent for men called Man, and you won’t go wrong with this clean, leathery combination of spicy black pepper, lavender, precious woods, patchouli and just a touch of musk. The Vince Camuto fragrance collection consists of 3.4-ounce EDT spray, $70, 1.7-ounce EDT spray, $57, and an alcohol-free deodorant stick, $17. Available at Macy’s and Nordstrom.

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