gift guides 2010: the animal lover

pet gifts!

I consider myself a comrade to all ani-pals. From tiny and scaly to huge and slobbery, I love all my four-legged friends. If it squeaks, sheds, or slithers, I want to cuddle it. Everyone has at least one cat-hair-covered animal lover on their Christmas list and, just in the nick of time, here are all my picks for them. Read on and set your phasers to cute! –Katie D.

cat bank

From the nerds at ThinkGeek comes the Mechanical Kitty Coin Bank ($30). Probably inspired by everyone’s favorite boxhab (rehab for cardboard box addicted cats) frequenter Maru, the Kitty Coin Bank features a thrifty tabby who nabs the coins left on her box top with a heart-melting “mew”.

seed bomb

If the animal lover in your life has a green thumb, kill two (proverbial) birds with one stone by stuffing their stocking with Dog and Cat Friendly Seed Bombs ($7) by visualingual via etsy. Each bag contains five seed balls specially picked to appeal to your furry companions including cat grass, wheat, oats, and rye.

ferret bowtie

Some people say it’s the clothes that make the man- so how does that apply to man’s best friend? Loyal Luxe wants to make your doggie dapper with their Pedigree Bowtie Collars ($18). Prefer pocket pets? Get your ferret a bow tie ($5) from etsy user iamjewel.

contemp cat corner

Upgrade your kitty’s scratching post with a Catemporary Car Corner ($249) from The Refined Feline. Ditch the ugly, rope-covered variety of cat furniture for the sleek, sculptural look of this modern cat tower. The shelves’ cushions Velcro to the platforms and unzip for easy cleaning and the tower itself comes in four different finishes to match your kitty-friendly home.

best friends

If there is only one present you can afford to get that animal lover in your life, I guarantee they will adore my last pick! Consider sponsoring one of the animals from Best Friends Animal Society – a no kill shelter in southern Utah that on any given day is home to over 2,000 cute creatures. Choose from hundreds of ani-pals including cats, dogs, bunnies, pigs, birds, wildlife, or barnyard pals. Opt for a one-time donation (starting at $25) or be a guardian angel with a monthly recurring donation (starting at $5 a month). Once you pick out a lucky pet to sponsor, Best Friends will email you a downloadable photo and story from the animal who’s life your gift helped change.

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post off: whaddya want for christmas (or the holiday of your choice)?



It’s so very unsexy, but for the longest time I have wanted a garment steamer — maybe this one from Jiffy. Or perhaps the commercial version. Or should I say, I wanted a steamer until I started reading about the Xbox Kinect, and now I have the overpowering urge to revel in controller-free gaming — and I have never owned any kind of gaming console or device, ever. (Hmm, which photo above looks like more fun? Hmmm…) Maybe all this seems a bit crass — I do think the holidays are about giving, not getting. But that doesn’t mean I don’t think about it. Anything on your wish list yet? — Mary T.

From our partners

gift guides 2010: the foodie

As a certified foodie extraordinaire, this list is essentially comprised of things I either own and love, or are coveting. All of these culinary-oriented duos would be great on their own or in conjunction with each other — all at around $100 or less! And, yes, you can get them all in time for Christmas! — Megan B.


Fresh herbs are key for effortlessly flavorful cooking, and these Edward Scissorhands-esque 5 blade herb snips ($9.95 at, make quick work for fine chives. How about throwing in a wooly pocket ($49), planted with herbs? I love the peacock blue number, BTW.


A good pepper mill is a beautiful thing. Even more beautiful in lime green lacquer, by Peugeot ($33) — pair it with a stunning wood salt cellar like this french olive wood model, by Berard $48.95, both available at Amazon.


For the home cook who loves to entertain, one of these gorgeous, raw, organic handmade cutting boards from Gray Works on Etsy would make great serving pieces. With boards ranging from $30-200+, (with custom engraving for an extra $15) — gift certificates in $50, $75, $100, or $150 increments, there’s something for any budget. And it’d be extra awesome when gifted along side a charcuterie class (check for a local farm near you) — or perhaps a cheese making or knife skills class at Sur la Table.


Cozy up to the fire and gift a cast iron pie iron, $18 at Amazon,
and a jar of Chukar Cherry pie filling, $14.95 for guaranteed hand pie goodness.

sipping chocolate

For the chocolate lover, may I suggest a pair of brightly-hued French latte bowls ($30 for 6 at Anthropologie), and a container of Organic, Fair Trade Chipotle Spice Sipping Chocolate by Theo ($10).

From our partners

gift guides 2010: the diy’er


Are you buying a gift for your favorite DIY’er this holiday? Here are some ideas to keep them inspired and well-stocked for the next year! –Rebecca F.

Rotary cutter – Rotary cutters are excellent to cut through several layers of fabric and paper. Also makes quick work of strip cutting.

Self-healing cutting mat – Great for using with a rotary cutter or Xacto knives. No more shredding magazines!

Sharp craft scissors or a gift of scissor sharpening – You don’t know what sharp scissors are until you have new ones! Or, for more experienced DIY’ers, a gift of scissor sharpening from a local fabric/craft store is also a great and unexpected treat.

Steel ruler – Wooden rulers get nicked and can cause rough edges when used with a cutting blade. A steel or metal ruler guarantees a nice crisp edge.

Sharpie fine point pen sets – Great for customized projects like labels, cards and coding systems, these come in handy often, and this pack includes almost any color one could ask for.

Durable plastic or vinyl tablecloth – For those of us that don’t have a dedicated project space, a plastic table cover is indispensible for protecting that kitchen table from crafting mishaps!

A label maker – Help your favorite DIYer stay organized!

Task lamp – Great for shedding light on projects that involve detailed beading, sewing, etc.

Personalized labels – A beautiful touch to add that special final sentiment to handmade gifts!

Have ideas for specialized craft categories? Share in comments!

From our partners

elf on the shelf: a christmas tradition

elf on the shelf copy

Mr. Claus is a busy guy. He’s making a list, and then meticulously checking it over more than once. Take the global population into account, do some quick math and you’re realizing he must be running that tight schedule on some pretty calculated military time. So how does he also have time to see us when we’re sleeping and know when we’re awake? Easy. He sends scout elves. This week I was introduced Elf on the Shelf, a concept that is apparently a very popular Christmas tradition. The book, written by Carol V. Aebersold and Chanda A. Bell, explains how Santa resolves his logistical issue by sending elves that watch children by day and report back to him at night. The elves return to their assigned houses by morning and assume a different hiding spot each day to keep kids guessing while on their best behavior. Crafty and effective! Reviews seem to show that many families love the tradition; others think it’s silly, while still others ask the tough questions, like, why doesn’t the elf have feet? What do you think readers? Do you have an elf on your shelf? –Sarah C.

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