Thursday, December 13, 2007

Everybody's Doing It

The 2007 Watering Place Gift Guide

This gift guide is a little different. I like Design with a capital D mostly when it's on the Internet or in a magazine, not my house. I know nothing about technology. I violently disapprove of whole categories of products--such as scented soap--most of the time. I can't guarantee that you'll be able to find these gifts--some of them are...metonymic, let's say. But here are nine things that I love, and one thing I think would be a good gift.

1. Creeque Alley
This 2-disc greatest hits of The Mamas and the Papas has been in heavy rotation in my car ever since Ergo blogged about "Dream a Little Dream of Me." Disc One has some of their standards--"California Dreamin'," "Monday Monday," "I Saw Her Again"--but I go for Disc Two, and not just because it boasts "Dream a Little Dream"; you also get the shot of music history in "Creeque Alley," a surprisingly sexy "Twist and Shout," a little Rodgers and Hart with "Glad To Be Unhappy," and the mesmerizing 60s drama of "Safe In My Garden." When the band splits up, the great stuff just keeps coming with Cass Elliot's one-two punch of "It's Getting Better," and "Make Your Own Kind of Music," "Sing" for grownups.

2. My Santa Statue
Someone gave me this as a hostess gift at the first Christmas party we had in our new house--eight years ago! It came from a particularly delicious store, so I was excited when I saw the box at the end of the night. When I opened it, I was disappointed. I needed another Christmas knickknack like a hole in the head. But the next year I got the idea to put him on the newel post. One of the children knocked him off and broke his arm, and it's the old story--I cried, and discovered how much he meant to me. Now he is firmly attached with fun-tac, and he makes me happy every time I use the stairs. Don't be afraid to give someone something they won't immediately go crazy over. And don't be so sure you don't like the thing you just got.

3. My Mystery Grandmother Photo

This is someone's Scandinavian great-great-grandmother. It could be mine, but I know for a fact it isn't. Anyway, this picture is a fantastic piece of cultural history, and I see something new every time I look at it. I had it scanned at Kinko's and so far I've made a big framed print which hangs over my desk, and also had it put on the cover of a notebook at, which came out great. Perhaps there is a photo kicking around your place with untapped potential.

4. The Latke Who Couldn't Stop Screaming: A Christmas Story
Run, don't walk, to get this little book into the hands of anyone with a sense of humor.

5. Perlagrigia with Truffles
I had this cheese in March and I have not stopped thinking about it since.

6. German Chicken Games
We love to play a game called "Hick Hack In Gackelwack," now available in an English language edition as "Pick Picnic." Another, dominos-and-dice, chicken game is "Pickomino," which we know as "Heckmeck am Bratwurmeck." And my least favorite, but still worth mentioning, is a concentration-type game called "Au Backe!" Like Candyland, Chutes and Ladders, and Hi-Ho Cherry-O!, these games can be played with the very young; but unlike those games, these games do not make you want to stab yourself in the eye with a fork.

7. Love Actually
Since my husband will be at his office party tonight, which blessedly does not involve spouses, I will be watching this movie, sobbing, and folding laundry. I cannot wait.

8. The Pin
I'm not sure what the message of this one is. Keep reaching out? Appreciate your Peter Gabriel t-shirt? Despite what I said above, good design is paramount to a successful gift?

9. The Fountain Overflows
Perhaps the message of the pin is "read more Rebecca West." I firmly believe the world would be a better place if everyone read this book.

10. McSweeney's Book Release Club
The next ten McSweeney's releases for $100. Book-of-the-month club for the terminally hip. It's the gift that keeps on giving, and other cliches! The Michael Chabon looks particularly good.

1 comment:

C-Belle said...

"Love Actually"

Now I can't stop thinking about it. Will go to iTunes immediately to see if I can buy it and watch it!