The best gifts can be designer, charitable, one-of-a-kind, homemade or luxurious, but are always thoughtful. Every year, loved ones gather to exchange tokens or stand in long post office lines to send warm wishes to distant relations.
But, the art of gift giving can be difficult, even for those born with the shopping gene.
That’s why the elves at SheWired’s workshop have come to the rescue with our handpicked, awesome-approved gift ideas specially designed to be surefire hits with the lucky people on your list, mainly since all of the items are on our personal holiday wish list! Plucked from our own letters to the North Pole, we guarantee these will make at least one person happy.
Ranging from $10 or less, to a dream Roman holiday getaway, you are one click away from amazing stocking stuffers and big ticket presents to fit a wide range of budgets. We’ve compiled over 50 gift ideas on the following pages, complete with easy links to purchase each of the presents.
Whether you’re looking for the perfect gift for someone glamorous, geeky, gay, naughty, nice, or just your average complex, amazing woman, the Ladies of SheWired have the perfect present idea.
Puss in Boots for Xbox 360 Kinect
First, like any good lesbian, I can’t resist a cute kitten (if you haven’t seen the Puss in Boots movie, go do so now). Last year I asked for an Xbox 360 so I would be able to watch Hulu and Netflix on my TV and didn’t really plan on using it for games very often. This item is on my list because now I can at least get a work out while repeatedly going “awwww” every time I see Puss’ big eyes, rather than just sitting on my couch watching little Puss do his suave sword fighting in the movie. ($49.99, Amazon)
If you don't already have an Xbox 360 or the Kinect motion sensor, they can be purchased in a bundle for $297 from Amazon.
Impurrial Scratch Post
I love my cats, and I love when they do cute things. So, a gift that my kitties can play with will keep me entertained for hours, and is thus a gift for me. The best part about these particular pieces of cat furniture is that they are just black and white (to match my color palette at home… and the colors of my cats). I always hated the odd muted colors of pet furniture. ($40, AlphaPooch)
Way Basics Madison Bookcases
This bookcase, along with other items from Way Basics, combines functionality with fresh design (with awesome color options). Sustainably made from zBoard recycled paper, the item itself is completely recyclable as well as water resistant. This model comes in black, white and expresso. The bookcase uses paper dowels, so putting it together is easy – though I do really love Ikea-type furniture that requires sometimes-awkward assembly. ($89, Way Basics)
Billy Joel The Complete Albums Collection
It is no secret that I am a complete Billy Joel fan. So, when I opened a recent Billy Joel newsletter email announcing the release of The Complete Albums Collection I was almost as excited as I would be if he were going back on tour. The collection has 14 remastered classic BJ albums in replica cardboard jacket and sleeves of the original LPs, a bonus disc with 17 non-album recordings, complete printed lyrics to every composition, a new interview with BJ, new liner notes and more. Not to mention that if ordered before December 31, 2011, you could get one of the randomly autographed copies. ($199, Billy Joel Music Store)
New Snow Blades
Skiing and snowboarding make me happy, but boarding is way hard on my poor knees and I hate dealing with ski poles and carrying around long skis that rarely stay together in transit (and usually end up hitting a random stranger when they fall off my shoulder). As an amazing in-between, there are these amazing things called skiboards. They are a very happy mix of the best parts of both skiing and boarding. While your feet are separated like on skis, you don’t have to carry poles, can use them on all kinds of runs – including in the terrain parks, even upstaging some of those boarders, and they are really great for skiers of all levels. I have a pair of Solomon SnowBlades from years ago, and am totally addicted. However, I want ones that actually have some personality and design flair. Thus, I totally want either the Summit Jade Skiboards (bottom pair pictured below) or the Joy Ride Flow Skiboards (top pair pictured below). (Joy Ride: $147 with bindings, SkiBoards ; Jade: $338 without bindings, SkiBoards)
Vespa S 50 4V
The new Vespa S has retro styling and newly engineered four-stroke, four-valve SOHC engine, making it the most powerful 50cc four-stroke Vespa on the market today. While it tops out at 39 miles an hour, I don’t know that I would want to ride much faster than that – I just want to leisurely ride around looking cute. Plus, this Vespa gets 85-90 mpg. Now I just need to find a helmet that is equally stylish. ($3,199, Vespa)
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Bossypants by Tina Fey and Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling
I'm treating this one like a two-pack -- kind of like when you buy a double mouthwash because CVS is having a sale. I love funny, smart women. It's kind of my weakness. So two -- count 'em, two! -- books by two of the funniest women currently making television? Come on. Also, yes, I know I promised to read Bossypants after the summer was over, but I just didn't. Don't judge me. (Bossypants: $15.99, Amazon; Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?: $12.50, Amazon)
Registration to the Army Ten-Miler
Two years ago, I ran the Army Ten-Miler with my dad, wearing an anti-"don't ask, don't tell" t-shirt. If I start training for it now, by the time October rolls around I can wear a "Yay, (sort of) Equality!" (Army Ten Miler)
A Stupid iPad
I'm an Apple user for life, but I gag a little when I think about the ridiculous consumerism that Apple products encourage. But still, you can't ignore amazing technology. ($499 and up, Apple)
Freaks & Geeks, The Complete Series, Yearbook Edition
Confession Time: I've never seen a full episode of Freaks & Geeks. I hate myself for saying that, only because I know I would love the show, and it's people like me who caused the show to be canceled after only 17 episodes. Anyway, if there's one good way for me to atone, this is it. ($69.99, Amazon)
Canon Vixia HG20
For capturing all of my hilarious hi-jinx in high-definition. ($1,199, Amazon)
In the winter of 2005, I had a dream. A dream where I walked down the street in chocolate brown, suede, round-toe wedge boots. No crazy stitching. No frills, patches, or other ridiculous embellishments. In those years, I've not been able to find the exact version of those boots in a store or online. Everyone one in my family, and many of my friends know about the Dream Boots. Even my sister-in-law, the best shopper in all the land, went on an Internet quest for the boots to no avail. So, six years later, I'm conceding. I saw these at the mall a couple of days ago, and I just might go buy them...if I can muster the courage to do so, without worrying that I'll only bump into the real Dream Boots on the clearance rack at Macys. ($150, ALDO)
An Italian Vacation
Yeah, that's a lot to ask, but in 12th grade, my English teacher told us that if we went to Italy at any point in that school year, we would get an automatic A in the class. Since then I've been intrigued by Italy -- the food, the art, the architecture, the people, the politics, the language, the cinema. While my sister and I plan a cheap trip to celebrate her finishing her master's degree, I'll be here, dreaming of my own Roman Holiday.
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Sweets From Sweet Miss Giving’s - Chicago House and Social Service Agency
Chicago House and Social Service Agency, which provides supportive housing and case management for formerly homeless people with HIV (and, in some cases, their families), has adapted its services as the epidemic has changed. With people living longer, staying healthier, and returning to the work force, Chicago House created the Sweet Miss Giving’s bakery to provide job training for clients, and its products raise money for the agency (full disclosure: I was once a volunteer, then a paid staff member at Chicago House —many years ago, before Sweet Miss Giving’s was established). Brownies, cookies, muffins, pound cakes, and other goodies make wonderful edible gifts. A basket of renowned chef Art Smith’s favorites goes for $150, and there are many other choices. (Sweet Miss Givings for orders to be shipped nationally; Sweet Miss Givings - Chicago for delivery within Chicago)
West Side Story 50th Anniversary Edition Blu-ray Box
West Side Story’s gritty subject matter and streetwise choreography were groundbreaking in the world of musicals, and its creative team, which included Leonard Bernstein, Stephen Sondheim, Arthur Laurents, and Jerome Robbins, shows how much the genre relies on gay genius. Amazingly, the original Broadway production lost the Tony Award for Best Musical, but the 1961 film version took home the Best Picture Oscar and nine others. The film’s 50th anniversary Blu-ray four-disc boxed set offers song-specific commentary by Sondheim and many other bonuses. ($69.99, but many online retailers offer discounts; try TCM)
Hollywood, by the Puppini Sisters
The fourth album by this wonderful close-harmony vocal trio is an 11-song homage to the movies that displays the Puppinis’ retro yet innovative sensibility to great effect. These devoted “sisters” — Stephanie O’Brien, Marcella Puppini and Kate Mullins — discover new shadings in upbeat numbers such as “Good Morning” and “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend,” and they’ll break your heart with bittersweet renditions of“September Song” and “Moon River.” Puppinis fans old and new will be saying hooray for Hollywood. ($13.95 CD, $9.49 MP3 download; Amazon)
Windy City Queer: LGBTQ Dispatches From the Third Coast, edited by Kathie Bergquist
This anthology, which comprises fiction, poetry, memoirs, and essays, portrays the vibrant gay life of Chicago in all its facets. Well-known writers such as Edmund White and Achy Obejas join emerging voices in telling tales of work, play, and love in the great Midwestern metropolis. It’s a toddlin’ town indeed. ($24.95 paperback, $16.95 e-book, University of Wisconsin Press, or visit your local bookstore)
Flowerbomb by Viktor & Rolf
This fragrance isn’t cheap, but it’s so heavenly, it’s well worth the price. It’s a mix of bergamot, tea, freesia, jasmine, orange blossom, orchid, rose, and patchouli, and just a dab of it will dazzle your senses and lift your spirits for hours — and likely attract many admirers. The large sizes and gift sets will set you back upward of $100, but if you’re on a limited budget, a roll-on perfume can be had for much less. ($25 and up, Viktor-Rolf-Parfums)
These bracelets, necklaces, and other gorgeous gewgaws are made of distinctive Italian Murano glass beads, sterling silver, 18-karat gold, natural pearls, and precious stones. You can build a custom creation or select a ready-made one on the Trollbeads website or at authorized retailers, and there’s even a design to benefit breast cancer research. (Prices range from the hundreds to the thousands, Trollbeads Universe)
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Tracy E. Gilchrist:
Electra Ticino 8D Ladies 8-Speed Bicycle
If I were flush with cash the only really fancy wheels I would want would be vehicles of the two-wheeled variety. As a cycling enthusiast who’s participated in the 545-mile AIDS LifeCycle twice, I already have three bicycles – a road bike, a hybrid and a beach cruiser. Still, for the better part of two years, I’ve lusted after the Electra Ladies’ Ticino in Wintermint, a retro-style 8-speed with fenders and super cool “center pull” brakes.
While Electra makes terrific Ticino men’s models, I just love the slanted bar that is a throwback to the “girl’s” bikes of the sixties and early seventies. I can just picture zipping around Santa Monica loaded up with goodies from the farmer’s market, or with my yoga mat strapped to the rack. ($750-$800, Elektra)
Yogitoes Skidless Mat
It’s been just over a year since I began practicing power yoga, and it took only one 90-minute session in a 95-degree room for me to realize that my yoga mat was transformed into a Slip N’ Slide from all of the “cleansing” sweat pouring off of me, making it nearly impossible for me to avoid falling on my ass. Disgusting I know! But that’s when I fell in love with the Yogitoes Skidless. It’s a yoga mat-sized towel with silicone nubs on the underside that adhere to the yoga mat. It’s also compact, so yogis who are traveling – and who are germaphobes like me –- can carry it in a suitcase and toss it over a rented mat at a studio far from home. My first Yogitoes mat has gotten a lot of wear over the past year so I’m hoping for one in my stocking! ($64, Yogitoes)
The Good Wife Season 2
Arguably the best show on television, I’d love to be have the entire second season of The Good Wife to marvel in the talent and hotness that are Julianna Margulies and Archie Panjabi without the interruption of pesky commercials. While I adore both of those Emmy winning actresses the entire cast is terrific and the writing is cracker jack. Not to mention -- Panjabi’s Kalinda gets into several dalliances with the ladies in the second season, so it’s an excellent show that also happens to be pretty queer. ($39, Amazon)
In 2008 and 2011 I pedaled from San Francisco to Los Angeles over seven days in the AIDS/LifeCycle to raise awareness about and funds for people living with HIV / AIDS. A transformative experience that does so much to help fund programs at the San Francisco AIDS Foundation and the LA Gay and Lesbian Center, I rode in to our destination on the seventh day this year and immediately headed to the registration booth to sign up for 2012.
As a wee baby lesbian coming out in the late 80’s I was acutely aware of the impact AIDS was having on the LGBT community – having lost friends to the epidemic. The AIDS/LifeCycle is not only one of the largest events to raise funds for people with HIV / AIDS out there, there’s no denying that the sight of thousands of cyclists and roadies making their way down the California coast united in a cause raises visibility and awareness about a disease that continues to affect people daily. To that end, this holiday, I would love to kick start my 2012 fundraising with donations from family and friends. (Any amount, My Fundraising Page)
Kipling Rolling Backpack with Laptop Protection
After years of carrying waitressing trays and messenger bags loaded with my laptop and textbooks all on my left side, I have a bit of a bum back, so I’m one of those nerds who wheels around a backpack loaded with my stuff. I figure if I’m going to be one of those nerds I may as well have the cutest, most durable wheeled backpack available.
A lover of Kipling products from way back, the Alcatraz II wheeled bag offers a smooth ride – like rollerblading for your stuff - durable fabric and a laptop protection compartment. It’s the perfect size for everyday use or for traveling, as long as you’re not one of the people – like me - who needs to pack 15 pairs of boots for a three-day trip.
While the cost is not just pocket change, Kiplings last forever. My best gay David still uses the Kipling backpack I handed down to him in 1998. Dear Santa, I’d like my Kipling rolling backpack in Expresso Brown so it won’t show the dirt from the streets in Los Angeles please. ($228, Kipling)
Steve Madden FACTORYY Boots in Black with Blue Stitching
As a girl who would wear boots throughout the 85-degree LA summers If I could, I feel I simply must add these tough little numbers to my boot collection. Since I’m mostly into brown, I feel that going for black would be expanding my horizons in some way. ($99 - $149, Steve Madden)
Lucky Dog Leather
Lucky Dog Leather owner and artist Lucia Gerbino is a friend who makes killer leather belts, bracelets, cuffs, wrist wraps – you name it. I’ve already got two belts and three cuff / wraps but I just think the braided wrap would look great on its own or stacked with a few of my other Lucky Dog pieces of art. Plus, I love supporting a lesbian-owned business, so I go to Lucky Dog for all of my leather needs. Ha! ($44, Lucky Dog Leather)
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Tees for Tots — and the Rest of Your List
I am in love with TrulySanctuary’s “Not the Black Sheep” and “Don’t Hate” tees in sizes from babies to grandmas. TrulySanctuary was created when the owners decided their daughter Truly-Louise deserved something more than pastel puppies and kitties. Which means I want to give my nieces — the hippest kids in my life — each a tee. ($26, TrulySanctuary’s Etsy)
And for adults, I want to give every Occupier on my list one of Frank and Jan’s awesomely good new tees, Unemployment is the New Black or Gossip is the New Pornography ($24, Frank and Jan).
And each year, I buy myself something from the cool DykeTees; this year I gobbled up their Queer. Here. Get Used to It tee ($25, DykeTees)
Paul Frank Stripe Hard ABS Pilot Case
I love this bright little rolling suitcase that’s small enough to carry everywhere, because it’s cheery enough to make me think of sherbet and hipster girls even when I’m crowded into the back of a puddle jumper flight. ($80, Paul Frank)
The Holy Grail of Lesbianism: The L Word Complete Series DVD Collection
All six season of The L Word is now available together for the first time and whether you loved or hated it, this is admittedly the must-have of the holidays! This fan fave collectible includes the entire exhilarating and frustrating series as well as exclusive behind-the-scenes special features. There’s a never before seen cast reunion (watch it repeatedly just to see Ilene Chaiken admit a failure), inside the wardrobe closet, L Word short videos, rare photos from Jennifer Beals, the Sundance diaries of Leisha Hailey, and much more. ($127, Target)
The Big Lesbian Love Collector’s Set
Four films — Four Faced Liar, Itty Bitty Titty Committee, My Normal, And Then Came Lola— on one disc, makes for easy housewarming gift for new dykey neighbors. ($30, Wolfe Video)
Sugar Skull Dia de los Muertos Headband
This super LGBT-friendly British designer Janine Basil makes headbands, fascinators, tattoo embellished and action girl headbands (with words like Kapow!), head pieces inspired by Lichtenstein art, and tiny burlesque style hats, all of which I can not get enough of. She’s even rolling out some specifically for Pride this year! ($28, Janine Basil’s Etsy)
Michelle and Katy, the girls behind Twig Terrariums, are brilliant little indoor worlds visionaries. They offer up tiny terrariums that are wholesome (think pastoral gardens) or edgy (think zombies in those gardens) and the usual Zen meets Irish grasses. While we love their Le Petit Vie Kit (a tiny easy-to-build terrarium) they’ll also create something special for their LGBT customers (“Dare we say that we specialize in gay-ariums?” asks Michelle. “Um, we do!”) like this lovely lesbian terrarium. ($25 and up, Twig Terrariums)
Ingenious Inventions = Pivot Power
Quirky, the unique social product development company that has re-engineered the business of innovation, fast-tracking the development cycle to new extremes and making invention accessible to everyone from housewives to, well, forlorn journalists, has great gifts that were essentially developed by online collaborators. This year I picked up Pivot Power, a crazy long and funky power strip that pivots so you can fit tons of those weirdly sized adapters we all have now. ($26, Quirky)
Funky Self Indulgence
I’m old but cool and this great Skateboard Mirror from Suck UK would make my apartment look like the hipster hangout I dream of in my head. ($199, Amazon)
Oster MyBlend Blender
This cute but powerful little blender lets you make a smoothie directly into a sports bottle, which you can take with you and then reuse for a water bottle all day long. Its BPA free and perfect for heading to the gym. ($30, Oster)
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Homemade Baked Goods
Sweet treats for a mentor, boss, or relative are more than enough if they are homemade with love. But, between holiday parties and trimming the tree, I couldn’t find the time to bake everybody something special so I am sending boxes of delicious organic Pumpkin Pie Truffles and Fleur de Sel (Salted) Caramels from Etsy. And of course, a yummy box to me, from Santa. ($10 to $20, Fleur De Jess Sweets’ Etsy)
More Slayer Tales
I have yet to find a TV show that holds a candle to my beloved Buffy The Vampire Slayer. For me and scores of other die hard fans, the Whedon world of Dark Horse graphic novels is perfectly priced for giving. From the complete season 8 collection of comics to The Slayer Tales, an anthology illustrated by the best and written by BTVS core writers and Joss Whedon himself, new adventures of Buffy, Spike, Willow, and the whole Scooby gang are waiting. ($8 to $20 , Overstock)
As soon as I saw the sporty, impressively equipped Swiss Army USB Flash Memory Drive, I knew it had to be mine. I go for the SheWired green hue, but you can also get it in red, blue, silver, etc. Stocking-stuffer sized, the super cool USB drive is waterproof and holds over 1500 photos for portable accessibility that can go anywhere. Oh, and did I forget to mention it boasts serious security features? In addition to a password access system, the Victorinox Slim Flight Alox employs advanced data encryption technology that is virtually impossible to hack into. ($35 , BPH Photo)
When I do bother to go out on the town, getting dressed up to the nines is far more satisfying for me than attending an actual event. I would love to add a unique, non-gaudy, trendy feathered hairpiece to my accessories collection. Preferably one of these, created by a dishy young librarian who’s inspired by the hats her flamboyantly elegant grandmother wore in the 1950s and 1960s. Custom orders are welcome for a one-of-a-kind gal from Nelda Zee’s Etsy ($20).
Since no one really needs an ugly sweater or another shiny trinket less than me, I would be most grateful for donations to RAINN or any other women's support organization. Over 60% of sexual assaults still go unreported and fifteen out of every sixteen rapists will never spend a day behind bars. With the staggering statisics, I can't be the only one who knows too many people who have been victims of assault. Reaching out for help is often the first step toward healing. RAINN provides support at 800.656.HOPE and online. (Any amount you choose, RAINN)
Ingenious BYGEL Cart
I got this as a gift last year and am gifting it to my BFF this Christmas. The multi-functioning Ikea kitchen cart can do almost anything. I call it my cupcake station and it fits perfectly in a corner of my tiny apartment kitchen, housing all my cake decorating utensils and Kerr jars of ingredients. I bring in a chair and my iPad (for Netflix or Pandora streaming) and set up camp for hours, losing myself in the joy of cooking. The incredibly handy, ingenious BYGEL cart just happens to be a steal. ($29, Ikea)