Your guide to Holiday gifts


Published: Friday, January 8, 2010 at 10:42 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, January 8, 2010 at 10:42 p.m.

Baffled by the task of holiday gift giving?Luckily, this area is blessed with creative offerings.Here are just a few of the unusual giftsfor everyone on your list.

For a parent

Whether it's mom or dad, grandma or grandpa, give a uniquely Gainesville gift to that person-who-has-everything in your life. Some stores, like Alternatives Global Marketplace, offer small note cards with details about the origins of the item to make the present extra special.

1. Miya stoneware dishes, Kanapaha Botanical Gardens ($4-$27)

Every family needs a beautiful set of dishes. For a more unusual look than traditional china, pick up a set of stoneware glazed dishes from Japan. With plates and bowls available in several sizes and colors, you could grab one set for your parents and another for the in-laws.

2. Pottery of San Juan De Oriente, Alternatives Global Marketplace ($23-$225)

Alternatives Global Marketplace, a local store featuring fairly traded goods from craftspeople around the world, has a variety of beautiful pottery. This handmade black butterfly piece is house décor with personality. The pottery of San Juan De Oriente is hand-thrown and etched in Nicaragua, and prices start at $23.

3. Silk scarf, Harn Museum store ($34.50)

Decorative scarves never go out of style, especially ones as beautiful and soft as this silk scarf made in India.

4. Spa gift certificate focused on healing, Floating Lotus ($25-$100)

Spa visits can be relaxing and rejuvenating, but a visit to a wellness spa like Floating Lotus can also heal those decade-old aches and pains. The recipient of your gift certificate can try a session of reflexology, which applies gentle pressure to normalize function and increase circulation. Or perhaps they would benefit more from a Lotus Signature Rejuvena Facial, a non-surgical facelift that uses negative ions and ultrasonic vibrations to minimize signs of aging, reduce age spots and stimulate collagen.

5. Slippers, Gabbriella's Bath and Body Shop ($25 a pair)

Most slippers are soft, but few also have microwavable inserts to keep your feet toasty. Gabbriella's offers these year-round necessities (the inserts can be removed) in a variety of adorable animals. (Polar bears, anyone?)

6. Talavera plant pot, Kanapaha Botanical Gardens ($83)

Is your mom or dad an avid gardener? Give them beauty in their yard or home with this colorful and fun plant holder. Sweeten the deal: add a plant or a gift certificate and go pick one out together.

7. Box of chocolates, Thornebrook Chocolates(various prices)

Nothing says Gainesville like a box of delicious Thornebrook Chocolates. Try a chocolate-dipped strawberry, potato chip or Oreo cookie! Or get your mom or dad a Gator-themed gift box.

For a friend

You've known them for years, but you can't remember what they already have.. Here are gifts any friend can enjoy from new hobbies to old and items they can use around the house.

1. Wooden wall hanging, Kanapaha Botanical Gardens ($315)

Give this wall hanging to a fish-loving friend (Koi?) or someone who appreciates intricate woodwork. this simple yet beautiful rosewood piece will blend into any home's décor.

2. Intro to Knitting Class, Hanks Yarn and Fiber ($100)

Have a friend with a little extra time on their hands, or a desire to learn something new? Give them the gift of knitting! An introductory class at Hanks Yarn and Fiber includes four weeks of classes, needles, yarn and an instructional book. Introductory classes are usually held once a month; call Hanks (352-338-7222) to find out the next class date.

3. Amethyst and garnet necklace, Harn Museum store ($190)

Handmade by local artist Linda Arbuckle, this amethyst-and-garnet beaded necklace will be simple and stunning on your dearest friend's neck.

4. Indigo Gift Card to get startedon a much-wanted house project,Indigo (any price)

Give your pal the gift of eco-friendly remodeling! With everything from recycled floor materials to 94-percent recycled cast-iron sinks, Indigo could be your friend's one-stop-shop for that new bathroom or hardwood flooring. Give a gift card that can really go the distance, or one that's small on funds but big on project assistance.

5. Doodlebook picture frame, Paddiwhack ($17)

Give your friend the gift of creativity with a picture frame they can redesign each day! The frame is made of a pad of paper, allowing a person to decorate it, enjoy, then rip it off and start again. Add a picture of you and your friend to make the gift extra special.

6. Ornaments, Florida Museumof Natural History's Collector's Shop ($12 each)

These beautiful Tropical Jungle ornaments will make a great gift for a Christmas décor fanatic or a friend who has everything. (Everyone could use a few more ornaments.)

7. The Stick, Lloyd Clarke Sports ($32-$48)

If your friend is an athlete, there's nothing like the newest gizmos and gadgets to keep him or her strong. The Stick is a massage device to relieve muscle stiffness, prevent injury and help with recovery training.

Co-worker/professionalassociate

Whether it's the boss or the newest member of the office, it can be hard to pick employee-appropriate goodies. Aim for gifts that are universally usable and appreciated. (What could you always use more of?) Or, if they are new to the area, pick something that represents Gainesville.

1. Wind-up toys, Paddiwhack ($10-$25)

Keep your co-worker entertained during phone calls or brainstorming sessions with these fun desk toppers from Kikkerland.

2. Votivo Candle, Dahlia ($28)

Everyone wants a beautiful candle that will burn for hours. How about one that burns for more than 60? Votivo candles will leave a co-worker's office fragrant, fresh and calm (also available in aromatherapy scents).

3. Treat them to lunch at your favorite place

Some one-on-one time can be a great gift for a new office-mate or your oldest work friend. Try a new place together or return to an old favorite.

4. Bag of Sweetwater Organic Coffee, (about $8- $10 per bag)

Nothing welcomes a co-worker to work in the morning better than fresh-brewed coffee. This holiday season, try some organic coffee from Sweetwater Organic Coffee Co. Available at various retailers around town, visit www.sweetwaterorganiccoffee.com to find out where you can buy roasts like Gator Glory or Rise and Shine.

5. Gator bracelet, Harn Museum store ($7)

Orange-and-blue jewelry may not be unique in Gainesville, but these simple sea bead alligator-shaped bracelets are. Also available as key-chains, these beaded beauties are great for the newest Gainesville resident or the Gator fanatic of the office.

6. Cup 3-in-1 for tea, Alternatives Global Marketplace ($12)

Who doesn't love a hot cup of fresh tea in the morning, or as a pick-me-up in the afternoon? Give your favorite work buddy the Cup 3-in-1, a perfect way to steep fresh tea leaves or a tea bag in a simple but beautiful mug.

Significant other

You've shopped 'til you've dropped three weekends in a row and still one person remains on your list: your husband/wife/girlfriend/boyfriend. Surprise your honey with items from local boutiques. Remember, the key isn't necessarily money spent or a mountain of gifts, but something that only someone who shares your life could think of.

1. Hand-screened crepe silk jacket, Kanapaha Botanical Gardens ($123)

Pamper your wife or girlfriend with a luxurious and unique piece of clothing, like this 100-percent silk, hand-screened jacket.

2. Handmade jewelry, Gifts of Avalon (hammered sterling silver and howlite, $75; turquoise and coral, $42)

You'll find a truly unique piece of jewelry for your sweetheart at Avalon. With classy Gator gear, turquoise, coral, amethyst and other gems, there's sure to be something she'll love.

3. Vintage kimono jackets,Harn Museum GIFT SHOP ($124)

Inspired by the Harn Museum's recent exhibit of Japanese kimonos, these colorful jackets, at $124, add elegance and fun, whether going out or staying in.

4. VINTAGE COSTUME JEWELRY, PINNER'S FINE SHOES, SIGNED GREEN RHINESTONE & ENAMEL FLOWER PENDANT OR PIN, ($125), ASSORTED FLOWER PINS, (FROM $25)

Kathy Pinner has long been interested in antiques and now searches for estate and vintage costume jewelry, such as these pieces, now available at Pinner's Fine Shoes. A colorful delight for any woman in your life.

5. Heart-shaped baking dish by Barbara Knutson, Artisans' Guild Gallery ($28)

If your honey loves baking, pick up a handmade heart-shaped baking dish at the Artisans' Guild Gallery. Artist Barbara Knutson has created lovely dishes that are dishwasher-safe, etched and glazed with intricate detail, and come with three delicious bread recipes.

6. Silk tie-dye scarf, Dahlia ($36)

These not-so-70's tie-dye scarves are a best seller at Dahlia, and will make a gorgeous statement around your loved one's neck.

7. Romantic weekend in St. Augustine, (price varies)

A romantic get-away is the perfect gift for two to enjoy together, and a quick jaunt to nearby St. Augustine gives you a taste of old school romantic charm. Try a local bed and breakfast, and don't forget to ask about romantic weekend specials. The Gatsby Getaway package at the Alexander Homestead, for example, is $583-$703 per weekend.

8. Crabtree and Evelyn Shave bowl, Gabbriella's Bath and Body Shop ($19); badger hair shave brush, ($36)

Every man can use a classic shave bowl – why not one with a refillable and great smelling soap? Gabbriella's carries an abundance of Crabtree and Evelyn's shaving and skin products for men.

9. UF vintage posters calendar, Paddiwhack ($18.95)

Got a Gator-loving hubby or wife? They'll adore this 100-percent recycled vintage poster calendar by College Vault. Each month's print is an actual game advertisement from 1931-1971, and the 11-by-14 inch prints are removable and ready to frame at the end of the month.

For a child

For those turning 2, 6 or 16 years old, the holidays are a special time of the year. Give gifts that they'll really enjoy for hours or even years to come. Hint: ask parents for a few ideas from the child's wish list.

1. Twig block set, Harn Museum store ($50)

Constructed of renewable materials, these unique blocks can be stacked on top of or through each other. A Twig block set would make a great gift for toddlers or young children.

2. Guat-a-Bead Key Chain, AlternativesGlobal Marketplace ($12)

Every kid will get truckloads of toys and clothes this holiday season. Give a gift they can use to decorate their space, like a handmade beaded key chain from Guatemala. These one-of-a-kind key chains, which come as hearts, butterflies, cats and more, are great for backpacks or a new driver's keys.

3. Handmade stuffed animal,Artisans' Guild Gallery ($3-$25)

Stuffed animals may be a dime a dozen, but these handmade fiber ones aren't. Created by artist Christa Kallenbach, these animals are simple and soft, and are available in everything from manatees to dinosaurs.

4. Calico Critters kit,The Toy Box ($8-$200)

Every child loves animals, especially a small docile set of them that will sit just so. Consider a set of Calico Critters, families of animals like pandas, squirrels and bunnies, for a young child in your life. You can get them a small box of just two to start a collection or an entire house with working lights.

5. Ladybug umbrella, Florida Museumof Natural History's Collectors Shop ($8.95)

A useful gift in Florida year-round, this adorable ladybug umbrella will make your little one easy to spot and stylish at school.

6. Thames and Kosmos Power House, The Toy Box ($150)

The little science lover in your life will spend hours poring over this solar powered house with 70 experiments and 20 building projects. The Power House is educational, environmentally friendly and fun!

Store Information

Alternatives Global Marketplace, 4203 NW 16th Boulevard, (335-0806), www.alternativesfairtrade.com

Artisans' Guild Gallery, 4201 NW 16th Boulevard, (378-1383), www.artisansguildgallery.com

Dahlia, 2441 NW 43rd Street, Suite 22, (381-0061), www.shopdahlia.com

Floating Lotus Spa, 2441 NW 43rd Street Suite 9, (378-8125), www.thefloatinglotusspa.com

Florida Museum of Natural History's collector's shop, SW 34th Street and Hull Road, (273-2041), www.flmnh.ufl.edu/giftshops

Gabbriella's Bath and Body Shop, 2441 NW 43rd Street, Suite 24B1, (372-6435), www.gabbriellas.com

Gifts of Avalon, 4205 NW 16th Boulevard, (379-1272), www.giftsofavalon.com

Hanks Yarn and Fiber, 2147 NW 16th Boulevard, (338-7222), www.hanksyarn.com

Harn Museum store, SW 34th Street and Hull Road, (392-9826), www.harn.ufl.edu

Indigo, 322 SW 4th Avenue, (378-2285), www.indigogreenstore.com

Kanapaha Botanical Gardens, 4700 SW 58th Drive, (372-4981), www.kanapaha.org

Lloyd Clarke Sports, 1504 NW 13th Street, (372-7836), www.lloydclarkesports.com

Paddiwhack, 4122 NW 16th Boulevard, (336-3175)

Pinner's Fine Shoes, 3411 W. University Avenue , (376-7001), www.pinnersfineshoes.com

Sweetwater Organic Coffee Co., 1331 S. Main Street, (372-8342), www.sweetwaterorganiccoffee.com

Thornebrook Chocolates, 2441 NW 43rd Street, Suite 11B, (371-0800), members.cox.net/cnbaker/thocho2006/

The Toy Box, 5835 SW 75th Street, (372-1088)

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