The last-minute Indy gift guide 

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Welcome to the Indy's third and final gift guide for the 2006 holiday season, annually organized as our last-minute manual. It's for all you folks who we tried to motivate three weeks ago, yet who seem intent on spending ridiculous, next-day-air shipping rates on all your gifts or taking a whirlwind tour around town this year instead of planning early for shame.

Our guide's format is simple: Everything goes (we even threw in some press releases). We figure by rambling on about what we hope to get, what we aim to give, what ridiculous things we've found online, maybe you'll get some good ideas for presents.

Most of our staff contributed. Some people just threw out a couple ideas and others became prolific (highly verbose, even). We just decided to bold the key words for all you skimmers out there. After all, we're already workin' against the clock here, so hurry up!

Matthew Schniper

Calendars editor

When in doubt, I go graphic novel. They're like comic books for big kids. Check out darkhorse.com for a plethora of titles. I'm still behind the times on reading Serenity: Those Left Behind.

Also worth a read: Curses by Kevin Huizenga (one story features a really crazy monkey!) and who knew a graphic adaptation of The 9/11 Report by Sid Jacobson and Ernie Col'n. It's probably the only way you'll get through what's otherwise a 568-page read. I enjoyed reading the administration's D-grade report card. Stan Lee, the godfather of the comic world, thinks it should be canonized.

For music, if you haven't already done so, pick up Tom Waits' new three-disc album, Orphans; it hasn't left my stereo spindle in weeks. Also, for Radiohead fans who can never get enough, check out Radiodread, a reggae tribute to OK Computer that's surprisingly awesome in a sacrilegious way.

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For art film heads, a year's membership to the local Altarnet Film Society (altarnet.net) would probably go over well.

Otherwise, it's chocolate, wine or Heifer International contributions (heifer.org) for me.

Kirsten Akens

Copy editor

Uni-ball Vision Elite pens: They're the best writing utensils ever, and one can never have too many pens (particularly in blue-black). Tea. Frango Mints: With Macy's coming to town, and having bought out Marshall Field's, we can now purchase the yummiest, smoothest, melt-in-your-mouth chocolate without having to travel to Chicago. Gift certificate for a restorative yoga class with Marlene at Luminous Lotus Yoga on Bijou Street perfect for eliminating holiday stress. And the ultimate for me right now? I'd REALLY like a purse from 1154 Lill (1154lill.com). A gift-giver can design one specifically for the gift-givee and then it's one-of-a-kind! Kind of pricey, but very cool.

Via press release

Visit nolashop.com. Purchase at least one gift this holiday season from small businesses in New Orleans owned by people directly affected by Hurricane Katrina.

Fran Zankowski


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The new Sony portable reader for books and newspapers. It's available at Borders for under $400. I read the first 16 pages of 1984 on it. Works great. Simple to use. No more recycling paper, no more wondering what to do with books you've read. Download a book, read it, then download another. Waaay cool like an iPod for the literati.

Andrea Janssen & Suzie Broshous

Classified account executive & advertising director

Gift Certificates: Coloradoeats.com because it is last-minute, and they have a wide selection of restaurants all over town. Oscar's Tejon Street because the food is great and the staff is really friendly. Amanda's Fonda because the food is great and so are the margs! Ten Spot in Manitou all gifts in the store are $10. Toccare a great massage place, great relaxation for after-holiday stress. My Menagerie and eSensuals because of the "fun" factor. Keep the love alive.

Jamie Romero

Sales assistant

Flight lessons or a flight in a fighter plane. Locally, there's Peak Aviation Center (cospilot.com) and A-Cent Aviation (a-centaviation.com). You can also fly in a warbird and do aerobatics and combat maneuvers when North American Top-Gun (natg.com) comes through town. (Give a certificate to fly between Sept. 15-22.)

And GlowFur: I'd like a hat, pimp-style, of course.

J. Kelly

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A personal favorite is the "inner child bag." As adults, we tend to take ourselves too seriously and forget how to play. I fill a bag with all the stuff I loved as a kid: crayons, coloring books, bubbles, Play-Doh, balloons, animal crackers, etc. Just go down the kids' aisle at Target and grab what looks good. Every time I give one of these, I always get a full report from the recipient on how much she enjoyed coloring, or how he had forgotten about Shrinky Dinks, etc. Plus, with a bag full of stuff you can tailor it to your budget just pick out a smaller bag.

Gift certificates to Independent Records another good one. Not only are you supporting a local business, but any music-, game- or movie-lover can find something.

What I call "the day-out gift" a slew of gift certificates in small increments, perfect for people new to town ... you get $5 gift certificates at a few different places like The Leechpit, Josh & John's, Poor Richard's, The Book Broker and Pikes Perk. That way, your friends can have a taste of a couple different places and treat themselves to a day out.

There are also a few stand-bys depending on the person: Candles, a journal and a nice pen, photo albums, bath stuff or a magazine subscription.

Becky Tillett

Graphic designer

I suggest uncommongoods.com. I love the selection of truly unique gifts, and I've happily purchased from the site many times in the past. Also etsy.com. Everything on the site is handmade. There's some incredible stuff on there.

Ashley Boudreaux

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Freelance contributor

First: Frontier Airlines has two cool introductory fares from Denver to Mexico. For a warm, romantic weekend in the middle of winter, the price is right. Personally, I'm leaning toward surprising my husband with Guadalajara. There's more to do, more culture and fewer drunk tourists.

Next up, there's something unique for the couple that loves the great outdoors: a folding loveseat camp chair.

Alcohol is a perennial favorite; ice wine is a class act.

A $200, pink Mundial 5100 10-piece knife set with a lifetime warranty. Damn good knives, and portions of the proceeds go to breast cancer research. Most women would just get completely pissed if they got knives for Christmas though. Ditto the adjustable Klein spud wrench, pink hardhat, propane heater or flexible solar panel that I'd be happy to have Santa leave in my stocking. Nothing says, "I love you" like survival gear.

On the other hand, the Tiffany & Co. 1837 Series ink pen or ring that I've been drooling over, well ... it's Tiffany. It's like chocolate; all women love it. Believe it or not, eBay actually has some inexpensive Tiffany jewelry.

And barring any of that, I'd be thrilled with blank journals and new pens. I love defiling new paper. Love the way it smells. That's always a winner under my tree. People can always use journals and pens.

Kathy Conarro

Art director

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Money: Universally appreciated and accepted. Always a usable size. And readily available.

Teri Homick

Vice president, retail

I'd like food stuff. We're always entertaining for family and friends Christmas week through New Year's, and we all eat more bad stuff then. You can never have enough great things to share.

A pound of good coffee from Raven's Nest or an assortment of cheeses (manchego, please!) from Par Avion with a great loaf of bread. A bottle of Kahlua or Bailey's to go with morning coffee would be nice, as it's the only time you can drink in the morning. Homemade cookies, breads or spiced, candied nuts.

For people who like to cook: whole mixed peppercorns or lovely sea salts. For people who are in the mountains a lot: a strobe flashlight and a reflective blanket that keeps all your body heat in. For anybody: gift cards to Target they have everything anyone could ever want.

Via press release

2007 Colorado Gardener's Calendar by the Colorado State University Cooperative Extension. This sixth-edition, full-size wall calendar is loaded with color photographs and the latest in gardening tips and resources for home gardeners. The monthly checklist and Pest Watch is a gardener's best friend, and an added feature this year is a listing of plants that grow well in full and partial shade and full sun Colorado's challenging growing conditions.

Christina A. Roller

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Freelance contributor

Jewelry from the Crystal Wizard in Manitou Springs: They have nice, high-quality, handcrafted stones that are affordable. I got my favorite pair of labradorite earrings there. They also have posters, incense, Buddha statues and other stuff for decorating. Books and other metaphysical stuff from Whispering Winds in Manitou Springs they have the best selection of spiritual and metaphysical books I've seen. They also have tarot cards, bumper stickers and candles. Something on more of a normal note: Anything from Colorado Kite & Ski it's the ski season, after all.

Chad Lee

Associate business manager

A Slingbox (the device that lets you watch your television from anywhere in the world). A night at The Broadmoor. Any John Fielder book. (He usually takes photographs of certain places around Colorado, and then matches it with a photograph from the 1800s, mostly to see the change in landscape or development over that time period.) A variety of organic teas (cleansing, detoxifying, purifying, etc.). For animal/pet lovers: A Cheyenne Mountain Zoo membership or designer pet carriers, organic treats, designer pet beds or a variety of toys from Le Pooch Connection.

Chris Gorman

Distribution manager

A keepsake box with a "starter" keepsake item already enclosed. A set of picture frames in various sizes and shapes and designs with one or several containing personalized photos. Flea market or Goodwill-type containers, vases or jars of different shapes and types like glass, ceramic or even wood clean them up really well and fill them with their favorite candy, coffee bean or gum ... then when empty, they have a nice container to reuse and refill.

Naomi Zeveloff

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My roommate and I have begun to make an "owl wall" in our kitchen, which consists of mounted '70s-style owl art found at The Arc and Goodwill. Since owl art is very conspicuous in Colorado Springs thrift stores, I recommend an owl wall (or some other animal theme) gift basket: full of decorations, nails and a hammer to start your own shrine.

Carrie Simison-Bitz

Assistant publisher

An iTunes gift card. May seem impersonal, but everyone needs more iPod music, and it's easier to pick out for the buyer than a CD. It's better for the recipient, too, because usually you only like half the songs on a CD, anyway.

Any season of "Bonanza" on DVD. Sure, TV Land runs episodes all the time, but how often do you catch it after Hoss has been injured, or Little Joe has started scheming ...

Flowers! Christmas is all about white snow and green trees and red poinsettias ... A burst of four-color madness on your dining-room table, a simple bud vase with a daisy, a fragrant bouquet of anything to take the place after the turkey is done roasting ... I recommend Gentry's, a local pillar, for beautiful, unique presentation.

Yvonne Ramos

Senior classified accounts executive

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When I have people on the last-minute gift list, it is usually because they are difficult to shop for, they already have everything, or the worst I don't know them well enough to know what they'd really like. So I go for: movie passes, a bookstore gift card or a massage gift certificate (who doesn't need a massage?). Most people like candles, especially the ones that smell like mom's baking in the other room; a bottle of wine is always a welcome sight to your over-21s; Mountain Man Nut & Fruit Company has lovely gift baskets ready and waiting; Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory has seasonal offerings as well; a bouquet of flowers can be picked up en route to a party; a box of cookies from Mrs. Field's. Lastly, if you know someone likes a particular sports team, run to the mall and pick up something as cheap as $6 with a favorite team's logo on it.

Jennifer Wyrick

Account executive

Chocolate need I say more? Name a star after someone a framed certificate with the exact location and new name of the star will arrive in the mail. Coin collection starter kit at the Money Museum could create an addiction.

Gift certificates for rounds of golf. Gift certificates for tattoos/piercing. Naughty stuff from Christal's. A bicycle or bike accessories/clothing from Colorado Springs Bike Shop. Dry cleaning for the year from Continental Cleaners. A wine education class from Experience Wine they meet at restaurants and serve wine paired with different foods.

Metaphysical stuff or pretty-smelling handmade soaps, incense, bath stuff and witchy stuff from Faerie Moone. Gift certificates for a trip to Joyful Journey Hot Springs Spa in the San Luis Valley stay in a yurt and soak in the springs.

Jars of green chili from King's Chef it'll burn their tongues off. Jewelry from Luisa Graff they have some really nice things. Custom-designed jewelry from My Jewelry Designers. Accessories from Out of the Box downtown they have all kinds of unique things that you won't see anywhere else around here. Booze from Powers Liquor Mart they have tons of gift-box sets. Unique toys for the young at heart from RetroMoto Toys in Manitou. Sky Sox season tickets for the baseball junkie they're super-cheap. Camera or film accessories from Wolf Camera.

Sally Piette

Graphic designer

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Breakfast in bed is what I will be giving for Christmas. Along with a special poem and a homemade gift.

Via press release

Best Perennials for the Rocky Mountains and High Plains by Celia Tannehill and James E. Klett, Colorado State University Cooperative Extension. This comprehensive perennial guide includes 20 years of performance data from Colorado State University's W.D. Holley Plant Environmental Research Center. An absolute must for Colorado, Rocky Mountain or High Plains gardeners.

Nick Baranek

Graphic designer

The Pop-Up Book of Phobias from Amazon.com: Whether you frantically climb the furniture at the sight of a creepy spider, or simply cringe at the thought of visiting your dentist for your monthly cleaning, this book will allow you to face these unwarranted fears head-on through the highly advanced technology of pop-up.

Yes, friends, by simply turning the pages of this beautiful, hardbound tome, one can, with time, learn to confront debilitating phobias in a fun and educational fashion. With amazingly beautiful illustrations, coupled with witty and innovative pop-ups, this book is sure to be a gift that will be fondly remembered for many psychiatrist visits to come.

A magnetic floating bed (goldarths.com/Regulars/Current_Affairs/Magnetic_Floating_Bed/): Are you tired of desperately searching for the perfect gift for the people on your holiday shopping list who simply refuse to be tied down by gravity or any of the other fundamental laws of nature? If so, may I suggest the Magnetic Floating Bed, which will have them literally floating off to dreamland as they contemplate their next affront to nature's time-honored traditions. Stabilized by thin metal cords attached to the ground below, magnets built into the floor react with the bed's own internal opposing magnet, ensuring that not only will the recipient of this floating horizontal monolith have the most current and fashionable bedroom furnishings, they will also have de-magnetized credit cards and driver's licenses.

A wristwatch from nixonnow.com and a retro arcade machine from (libertygames.co.uk/store/arcades/retro_multiplay_arcades/voyager_digital_cocktail_table/).

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One more thing: Remember the intern

By Steve Kline

I'm a horrible gift-giver. Always have been. This wasn't a problem when I was still sticking crayons up my nose (publicly), since anything works when you're cute enough to get away with it. But way too many things cross that fine line between "cute" and "sad" once you pass age 12. Ask anyone who's been to a comic book convention.

So, I had a lot to learn when embarking on this gift guide. Luckily, the editors of this very paper decided to help me out with what some people call "tough love," and other, more grounded people such as the editors themselves see as "stuff that's unproductive ... but when are we going to be able do this again?"

Without further ado, here are the things I've learned from our little Gift Guide series:

1. People would rather have something fun than something useful. It doesn't matter how depressingly useless a voice-activated freaking remote control might be. Don't even think about how the noise of the television will probably mess with it. If it sounds boss, buy it.

2. Bear suits are like a freaking all-access pass. Want to go behind the counter of a chocolate shop? Sure! Want to get inside an alpaca cage and chase the buggers around for a little while? "It's OK! I'm in a bear suit!" works every time.

As a side note: When I was walking around in that thing, people in Old Colorado City looked at me like I was an amusing leper. People in Manitou Springs looked at me like I was in Manitou Springs.

3. When people say, "Thanks for doing that!" I've really got to stop answering, "Anytime."

You'd think I'd know that by now.


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