Monday, December 15, 2008

Christmas is coming, the budget's getting tight!

Last year I posted a run-down of my favorite books to give as Christmas gifts. This year I've been posting book reviews on a fairly regular basis (though I have been sluggish as of late - there will be some to come!), not to mention doing almost daily holiday shopping recommendations over at The BookKids Blog. To avoid major redundancy, her comes a post highlighting some of my favorite cheap-o stocking stuffers.

As a huge fan of Etsy, I can't help but troll their website for trinkets, even though the only stocking I'm stuffing belongs to my grumpy boyfriend. However, there ARE dudely gifts on there, for example these geeky cufflinks. They're legos, for crying out loud! Mark is always rambling about wanting fancy cuff links (God knows why, he never dresses up), and while I hardly think this is what he has in mind, but I think they'll tickle his fancy. This seller also has cuff links featuring Darth Vader, Batman, D20s, scrabble tiles, and typewriter keys. Geek heaven!

Okay, I said I wouldn't mention any books, but I lied. I can't help it - I work at a book store, I write, I live and breathe books. Everyone loves Mr. Men and Little Miss books, though, right? These titles by Roger Hargreaves seem to multiply like rabbits every year, but titles like Mr. Grumpy, Mr. Bump, and Little Miss Bossy are a great way of teasing your loved one on Christmas morning. Mean? Sort of. Hilarious? Definitely. Plus, the retro-factor will get you points with any 20-something. Just don't get Little Miss Plump for your wife or girlfriend - that's a really, truly terrible idea.

Every lady loves jewelry - and Etsy is once again to the rescue! For the literati on your list, many sellers including this one offer Scrabble-tile jewelry. The necklace pictured is just $5, and comes in a little gift bag. You can also build your own Scrabble charm bracelet or pick from several other varieties of Scrabble charms. Other sellers, such as this one re-fashion old jewelry, junk, and eclectica into beautiful new fashion pieces. At a range of prices from budget-savvy to splurge-worthy, any hip fashionista would love one of these unique pieces in her stocking.

Tote bags are really hip right now, and everyone can use one. They also fit into stockings if you roll them up tight (and take up a lot of space, too, for a more "full" look to the final product, you sneaky sneak!) - so why not find one for your giftee? There are tons of awesome ones out there, naturally I'm a huge fan of this giant-cassette shaped tote I found on Amazon. Most grocery stores carry a recyleable tote, too, that would be perfect for the environmentalist in your life, and they tend not to cost more than a couple bucks. Again, Etsy is rife with stocking inspiration, offering tons of screenprinted totes, such as this one, which declares "Make tea, not war." Everyone carries stuff, right?

Now I know a lot of geeks, and has LOTS of solutions to this, er, problem. Whether or not you buy from the website, it's definitely full of ideas. Like astronaut ice-cream, which I've loved since the first time I visited the Boston Science Museum - I think I was eight or so. And what geek hasn't fantasized about being a space cadet? I'm also a huge fan of giant microbes - plush toys shaped like germs and other sick-making miscreants. I've given my mother gonorrhea and my sister cyphillis, and how is that not fun to say? Plus, any hypochondriac deserves to face their fears. And of course, these stickers will make any inanimate object instantaneously awesome. Seriously - grinning stapler? Can of soda with eyeballs? Yes, it's a winner.

Who doesn't love a t-shirt? Companies like offer tons of quirky shirts in sizes for girls and guys (kids, too!), most less than $20. On, you can custom-print your own t-shirt, or look for something wacky & fun already available. Thanks to the internet, there's no shirt that isn't available. For example, my boyfriend's favorite shirt, pictured at left, with the slogan "We do things my way or the Hemingway." He's already worn one into oblivion, so if he's lucky, there'll be a new one in his stocking this year.

There's plenty of stuff to make, too. Every baker needs a few dozen more potholders (seriously!), every music nerd loves mix tapes/cds, every glasses-wearer needs polishing wipes. Worst case scenario, do what my dad does when he's in charge of stockings: run down to the drug store on Christmas eve and just buy everything. It works for him.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Mimesis 5: Best Mimesis Evar

That's right, the new issue is out, and I've gotta say it's pretty impressive. Sure, it DOES have a couple of my pieces in it, but there's a lot of other stuff worth reading in there. Contributors include Brent Fisk, Jeff Calhoun, Aditi Machado, Ian McLachlan and Carolyn Srygley-Moore. There's also a really smart essay by Luke Kennard. I highly suggest you plunk down some cash for a copy - it's super cheap for a lit mag, and there's free shipping in the UK and the US (enter me, the new US distributor).

And, in case you don't know what to get the curmudgenly poet type on your holiday shopping list, you can't go wrong with a Mimesis subscription! Seriously, a great gift!

Go now!