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EDGE Holiday Gift Guide :: For the person who has everything

by Jason Salzenstein

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Tuesday December 30, 2008

If you thought trying to find a gift for your mom or dad was difficult, just wait until you have to find something for "the person who has everything." Of course most people don't actually have everything, but we all know those people who are impossible to shop for because they either don't really like anything, already have everything they could possibly need or want, or (like yours truly) they're so damn picky that you know that no matter how hard you try, it's not going to be the "right" thing.

Rather than saying "screw them!" and giving them a Starbuck's gift card (which isn't actually a bad idea...) however, take a few minutes to peruse the suggestions we've come up with below. We think that EDGE Style Editor Jason Salzenstein and his team of EDGEY Elves has come up with a nice selections of gifts that are unique, fun, unusual and/or useful, and that work for nearly everyone.

Check it out-

Perfect for everyone

If you’re not familiar with Candela, you need to be. In the past few years, EDGE Style editor Jason Salzenstein has become their unofficial spokesperson, and believes that everyone should own at least one set of these ingenious rechargeable lights- and we agree.

Candela lamps are available in a bunch of shapes and sizes, and are more versatile than anyone on Manhunt. They have tall shapes for dramatic dining, shorties to "toss about" your boudoir (to set the mood for your next rendezvous), and even fabulous outdoor lanterns for your next big barbeque or wedding. The soft glow they produce is sexy, intimate, fun, and festive- basically perfect. And unlike candles, you don’t risk burning down your house or giving your date any ideas about hot wax. (Ouch!)

Candela lights recharge quickly on included bases, feature long-life LEDs that provide up to eight hours of eco-friendly light, and are absolute necessities for everyone who’s anyone. Available from $18-70 at www.KimptonStyle.com

No more stealing earphones from the planes you guys

Don’t act like you don’t know what I’m talking about; you may drive a Mercedes, have an iPhone, and dress in Armani, but take a look at your earphones- tacky, gross, cheap, not OK. As a wise little ginger girl once said, "... though you may wear the best, you’re never fully dressed without quality earphones."

OK, so that may be a bit of a stretch, but if Annie were around today she’d definitely agree; if you’re over 30 your earphones should be presentable; sexy even. Like the A8 by Bang & Olufsen. Definitely not your father’s earphones, these babies are ergonomically designed and adjustable to fit each individual ear. Plus, they’re sexy! Whether you’re walking, jogging, working the Stairmaster, lifting weights, or sitting on a plane, you can bet that they’ll remain firmly- and comfortably- in place.

And did I mention they look good?

Of course it goes without saying that sound quality is fabulous- they’re Bang & Olufsen after all. And at just $160, they make a big impression for a small investment. Available at B&O stores nationwide and online at www.Bang-Olufsen.com

11 Oscar Winning Films in one (star-studded) box!

What if I told you that you could give someone the gift of magic, the gift of beauty, the gift of adventure, and the gift of laughs, for about the cost of a pair of Puma sneaks? It’s true; with the Columbia Best Pictures Collection, you can give someone more than 50-hours of award winning films, spanning six decades, with more than five-dozen Oscars in total.

From Clark Gable to Meryl Streep, Frank Sinatra to Peter O’Toole, and dozens more, the Best Picture Collection is a study in talent, a conglomerate of creativity, a basket of brilliance, and many more phrases that I could throw your way. Instead, I’ll save you the cheese and tell you that the set features 11 iconic films, comes packaged in an great box, and makes for a fabulous- and easy- gift for entertainment and history buffs, or anyone who likes movies. The set includes a synopsis of each film, details on Oscar wins, artwork from memorable scenes, and extras galore. What movies does it include? From Here to Eternity, You Can’t Take It With You, All the King’s Men, Lawrence of Arabia, Gandhi, and a handful of other classics that make up the foundation of the film industry. And all this for about $100!

Available where DVDs are sold and online at Amazon.com"".

So unnecessary...

If you’re looking for a gift for the fashion queen who has everything- and you also happen to have an extra $1500 lying around- why not give them Karl Lagerfeld... as a teddy bear?

Yes, it’s true. And as much as I want to hate the bear- and the designer for inspiring it- I can’t. It’s ridiculous, it’s unnecessary, it’s obscene considering the number of people starving around the world (and the fact that I can’t afford my current favorite Louis Vuitton bag), but it’s available nonetheless.

The first ever "couture" teddy bear, the Karl Lagerfeld by Steiff is dressed in the d-bag designer’s famous black suit, sunglasses, and disgustingly irritating high-collared shirt; a physical manifestation of all that’s wrong with high fashion (i.e., we still love it). The bear is 14" tall, made of "the finest alpaca wool," and features a Swarovski crystal-studded silken tie. Of course it comes in a gift box, with a "scribble of the bear, drawn and signed by Karl Lagerfeld." Need I mention that it’s highly limited?

Available at Neiman Marcus and www.NeimanMarcus.com

The gayest trash in the neighborhood

While we’re on the subject of unnecessary but totally fabulous, we absolutely LOVE the combination art/social commentary called TRASH anycoloryoulike by Adrian. As part of an ongoing series, Adrian began transforming trash this summer, replacing standard piles of rubbish throughout New York with a vivid- and fabulously designed- sack that both beautifies the city while calling attention to waste, and Americans’ incessant consumption.

For the person who has everything, you can either donate money to commission a street installation, sponsor a public school, or simply give him or her a TRASH bag, which both helps support the project and allows them to make a personal statement of their own.

TRASH anycoloryoulike bags are available in a standard edition (pictured) for $10 each or $30 for 10, or the limited edition Oriyomi Gold, $25 for a single bag or 10 bags for $215. Available at www.anycoloryoulike.biz

Color Me Fierce!

&lSticking with the high fashion and fabulous theme, Color Me Fierce! is an activity book that’s definitely not for kids! It comes with Six Glamorous Crayons, and fun activities for fabulous adults.

Drawing on skills you learned as a child- and bad habits you’ve picked up as an adult- you can tackle things like Hangover cures! Connect the dots from last night! The book skewers the world of fashion with satirical challenges from tame (Dress Tatiana using the colors of seduction!) to foul (something I won’t mention, but which involves coloring a certain model’s "va-jay-jay"), and of course comes with six glamorous crayons in the seasons hottest colors- Nightmare Blue, Red Haute, Chartreuse, "Black Is the New Black," Gold-Digger Yellow, and Positively Pink.

Color Me Fierce! is the perfect gift for anyone who loves the world of fashion... and everyone who loathes it. Available at bookstores and Amazon.com"" for about $13.

SERVICES, NOT "STUFF"

Massage :: everyone needs one

If there’s one thing that everyone needs- and can never get enough of- it’s massage. Massage is beneficial for a dozen reasons, whether it’s to treat an "issue," increase general well being, reduce stress, or just make you feel good. From decreasing muscle pain, increasing flexibility, and reducing stress, blood pressure, tension, and anxiety, to easing the pain and stiffness of longstanding injuries, massage is the answer. Aside from all this, getting a massage means you get a nice chunk of time to relax, let go of daily stress, and retreat within yourself- if only for an hour- to reconnect and unwind. If that’s not a great gift, I don’t know what is.

For the holidays, consider giving the gift of massage; find a great spa (check high end hotels) or private practice near your intended recipient, and get them a gift certificate for an hour, 90 minutes, or if you’re feeling uber-generous, a series of sessions, and wait for the thanks to come in!

If you’re in the Boston area, there’s one practice I can’t recommend highly enough: Moore Massage. Michael Moore and his team of therapists are some of the best in the business- and the only people in Boston I trust my body to. For more info, call 800.495.1850 or go to www.MooreMassage.com

The gift of history

How many times have you wondered about where your ancestors came from? Sure, you’ve probably heard stories from your grandparents, but how accurate are they, and what about the people that came three, four, five, or more generations before them? I don’t know about you, but every time I go to a museum or exhibit on the way people lived in the past, my curiosity is piqued- especially around the holidays (when you can’t get away from your family!).

Although there are other genealogy sites out there, no one makes researching your family history easier than Ancestry.com. Their easy-to-use website and step-by-step process makes finding out about your history as easy as entering a little bit of information, and verifying a few connections. In as little as half an hour your recipient can be reading about long distance relatives that came over on the first ships from Europe, where his or her ancestors settled in "The New World," and much, much more. The best thing about Ancestry.com is that you can get as much information as you want- including birth and death records, tax information, where your family went to church, and more- or you can simply assemble a basic family tree and see whom you’re descended from.

Ancestry.com has access to billions of records, adds millions of names every week, and helps you every step of the way. They offer a 14-day free trial, but for the holidays we suggest giving someone a year’s membership. Rates start at $12.95/month, and an annual subscription allows your recipient to search, learn, and explore all year round! Available at www.Ancestry.com

Let’s Go Flying!

As we grow up, we have to give up a lot of the plans and dreams we had from childhood. Not many of us actually become a fireman, a professional baseball player, a rock star, or a pilot. Luckily it’s possible to recapture at least some childhood wishes- in fact, that last one isn’t so difficult.

Let’s Go Flying has been training everyday people how to fly small planes for years, and their intro to flying program makes it easy to take a flight lesson- not to mention incredibly exciting! For just $99 you can give someone an hour in an airplane with an FAA-licensed instructor, who’ll guide your recipient as he or she taxis, takes off, and flies the plane for a while, before assisting with the landing. I took a lesson outside of Boston, and it was one of the most thrilling, fun, and exciting things I’ve done this year!

If they like their experience, Let’s Go Flying can help them sign up for more classes, and guide them along the road to getting their small plane license. Of course there are no strings attached, so they can also just do it once, have a great time, and tell everyone about it.

For more info and to find one of the more than 3,500 schools taking part in the program, go to www.LetsGoFlying.com (EDGE readers will also be happy to know that there are plenty of LGBT pilots participating in the program, and should feel free to ask for more information on them when signing up.)

ORGANIZATION IS NEAR SAINTHOOD

Lose the receipts

As the perfect example of a type A personality- who also happens to have a lot of "stuff," NeatReceipts has made a huge difference in my life. If you know someone who has everything, chances are that they also have a million little pieces of paper on their desk, in their office, in files, and around their house. Personally, I must have thousands of receipts, business cards, and invoices from the last year alone. And while I’d love to simply recycle them all- and not have to keep track of or store them- I need a record of expenditures, purchases, and whom I’ve met when, so I don’t go crazy. NeatReceipts was the answer?

The machine itself is simple- an extremely portable mobile scanner that’s easy-to-use, fast, and efficient (it’s not bad looking either...). The secret however, is the software. Working in tandem with the scanner is a digital filing system that lets you scan receipts and other documents so that you can organize, store, secure, and search all your important information without having to go through boxes of paperwork. What used to take hours can take seconds once you scan everything into your system.

The software identifies and extracts important info, and automatically organizes it for you. You can make expense reports, searchable PDF files, editable text, and even IRS-accepted copies of receipts, turning a library of paperwork into a file you can keep on your computer or a flash drive.

NeatReceipts is available for Mac and PC, starting around $180, at www.NeatCo.com

Move on to your other files

Once your receipts and paperwork are under control, it’s time to move on to your computer- and clean that baby up! Bento 2, the new personal database from FileMaker, is as easy to use as your Mac- and stylish too.

No more endless searches across multiple programs for bits of information that should be in one place already; Bento brings it all together. The software allows you to manage contacts, track projects, coordinate events, prioritize tasks, and more- faster and more easily than ever. To start with, everything’s in one place, which is a blessing on its own. Add to that the connectivity between addresses, (multiple) calendars, and mail- and the fact that there’s absolutely no learning curve- and you’ve got a win-win situation that’s going to turn you into the master of your life!

The icing on the cake (as if you needed any) is the fact that Bento comes with more than 20 pre-designed templates, you can easily add themes, and it works with your current programs. Brilliant!

Available wherever software is sold, Apple stores nationwide, and Amazon.com"" for about $50.

Ice cream, ice cream, we all want some ice cream...

Rather than the "traditional" (read: boring) fruit, nut, and cheese baskets that everyone seems to give when they don’t know what else to buy, how about mixing it up a bit this year- and giving someone a treat that they’ll love, rather than just throw in their fridge?

Bostonians love them some ice cream, so when an unofficial panel of 10 "experts" (i.e. the EDGE Boston staff I invited to my social) declared the six flavors of ice cream from Tahoe Creamery some of the best ice cream they’ve ever had and said things like, "I’m taking this tub home with me," you know it’s good.

A nice surprise among the standard cheese balls and fruitcakes, this gourmet all natural ice cream will definitely delight whomever you send it to, and it’s likely to endear you to them for life. Inspired by the infamous Lake Tahoe (known for its purity), flavors include Tahoe Trip Mint, Tahoe Flow Cookie Dough, Tahoe Dream Vanilla Bean, Tahoe Funk Chocolate Hunk, Tahoe Coffee Crunchy Toffee, and (my fave) Tahoe Swell Cinnamel- for which I would gladly knock off a grandmother in exchange for a pint.

Luckily you don’t have to do anything nearly as drastic; just go to www.TahoeCreamery.com and order six pints for $39; they’ll ship it anywhere in the states.

Slightly bizarre, yet endlessly fear allaying...

If you’re like most people, you have a fear of the garbage disposal; specifically when you drop something down it that wasn’t supposed to go down. Not only is it disgustingly foul to think about sticking your hand into a waste-coated, rotten, slimy black hole, but if- like me- you’ve seen a lot of horror movies, you also have a completely unreasonable but overpowering feeling that no matter how far anyone is from the switch, and even if the power is turned off at the circuit breaker, as soon as your hand gets inside the power is going to turn on and you’ll be left to bleed to death after half your arm gets ground-up. (Or maybe that’s just me needing medication...)

Either way, the Alligetter is a new accessory that no modern home should be without. This brilliant little tool combines a long-handled grabber (complete with serrated "mouth") with a miniature flashlight, allowing you to safely- and sanely- extract anything that’s accidentally fallen down the drain- without losing an arm. It’s only about the size of a wooden spoon, the handle folds for easy storage, and it comes with a handy "spreader" for the rubber flaps in the sink, making it even easier to spot and retrieve your wedding ring, espresso spoon, or whatever else you’ve dropped.

The Alligetter is available for $20 at www.alligetter.com

Books, books, books

Let’s face it people- you can never have too many books. (Unless you’re moving, then you should have a giant yard sale.) That said, buying a book for someone- especially if you don’t know them very well- can be a bit of a challenge. Good news: it doesn’t need to be.

Now, I’m not recommending that you "go generic" when buying books as holiday gifts, but I would suggest keeping the topics somewhat broad. Books of art, photography (especially nudes), fashion, design, and architecture are always safe bets for gay men, and interesting reference books work for nearly everyone. Here are a few that we found especially fun this holiday season:

Manufractured: The Conspicuous Transformation of Everyday Objects beautifully reveals a major trend currently taking place in visual and material culture- the often radical use of common consumer goods as raw material for art- and object-making. A (very, very long) zipper becomes a dress, paperclips turn into bowls, and other crazy transformations. This book demonstrates how a lot of artists are turning commercial products into art- in some cases very useful art- and making a statement at the same time. About $28 at bookstores and Amazon.com"".

Whether your intended gift recipient lives in a warm or cold climate, they’ll appreciate one of our favorite new "themed" cookbooks, The Complete Book of Pies. From fresh and fruity summer pies to savory potpies, they’re all here, and they’re all delish. As it turns out, they’re also a lot easier to make than you might think. And with recipes for more than 200 of them, you can have a different one each day and enjoy them for nearly seven months without having the same one twice! Under $25 at bookstores and Amazon.com"".

Finally, for all the Heebs on your holiday list, there’s one book that we love: From Schlub to Stud: How to Embrace Your Inner Mensch and Conquer the Big City, by Max Gross. If you don’t understand the title, don’t worry- as long as your friends are members of the tribe, they’ll get it- and love it. About $10 at bookstores and Amazon.com"".

The shrunken vacuum

For friends with a lot of electronics (computers, DVD players, Wii, etc.), dust can be a big problem. Not only is it bad for expensive- and delicate- devices, it’s also disgusting. The solution? KWIK.

One of the latest vacuum’s from Dirt Devil, the KWIK is a detailer vac that’s perfect for cleaning keyboards, corners of desk drawers, and all the hard-to-reach crevices and nooks around the house; it’s also great for cars. What’s best? It charges quickly, holds a charge long enough for the task at hand, and it only costs $30. At Target, Bed Bath & Beyond, and online at Amazon.com"".

Transform Your Toilet Lid In Seconds. 


Although clearly no one needs this- and in fact it’s actually a bit scary- we figured that Toilet Tattoos are definitely something that very few people will already have. And yes, they’re exactly what they sound like: temporary "tattoos" for your toilet seat lid.

These interesting accessories are available in a variety of designs, including holiday, classic patterns, wallpaper styles, floral themes, and many, many more. If you’re really feeling creative, they’ll even make your own custom tattoo from an original photograph!

Toilet Tattoos are available for about $10 at www.toilet-tattoos.com

Finding your path

Although never one to give too much weight to psychic, paranormal, or other non-scientific abilities or phenomena, after spending an hour or so with Gahl Sasson in LA recently, I was surprised, moved, and impressed, and have since been recommending his book to everyone close to me. Cosmic Navigator: Design Your Destiny With Astrology and Kabbalah is an easily understandable volume on using astrology and Kabbalah as a roadmap to creating your own destiny and finding true happiness; essentially a GPS for the soul.

A spiritual teacher who’s earned a following in California, Mexico, Israel and Europe, Gahl teaches classes in mythology, Kabbalah, tarot and astrology around the world. This book- his second- brings some of his knowledge to everyone, and allows you to give "Los Angeles’ Best Astrologer" (W Magazine, 1999) to anyone you know- or at lest share with them his wisdom. Cosmic Navigator is available for about $20 at bookstores and Amazon.com"".

If you have plans to be in the LA, you can also setup an appointment for a private, detailed reading with Gahl. He can be reached at Golden Bridge Yoga at 323-936-4172.

Tell someone you hate them... while smiling!

The art of putting someone down while telling them how much you love their house, shoes, or haircut is one that’s been developed by gays throughout history; we’re truly the masters of hidden hatred. Someone at surely understood that, and has added additional tools to our arsenal: Unmentionables and Parking Tickets: for those who have crossed the line.

These miniature booklets of business card sized leave-behind notes are perfect for those times when you want nothing more than to tell someone to f**k off, but simply can’t because of the situation or company you’re keeping. Now, instead of simply suffering in silence, you can either discreetly hand them a card, or leave one for them to find later. Trust us, they’ll get the point.

With messages like "you need a mute button," "you’re #1 in the shitty attitude department," and "if I wanted to hear you talk on the phone I’d give you my number," Unmentionables are endlessly handy for many social situations. Parking Tickets like "your car isn’t nice enough to park in two spots," "is your name Katrina, because this parking job is a disaster," and "hope you’re better between the sheets than you are between the lines" ensure silent revenge on idiots who shouldn’t be behind the wheel.

Available at www.ShineboxPrint.com

If you like what you've seen here, be sure to check out the rest of the EDGE Holiday Gift Guides, and then head over to the EDGE Giveaway Center and enter to win some of these things for yourself!

Twitter :: JasonSalz Jason Salzenstein is a writer and editor; design, image, and marketing consultant; and professional shopper. His work has appeared in numerous national and international publications and he has clients around the world. For more information :: www.JasonSalzenstein.com