Tick, tick, tick: Christmas is two weeks away and you're running low on holiday gift ideas for many of the people on your list.
What does Aunt Sally want? And what about Grandpa Ralph? He’s always a tough one.
Mother Nature Network is here to give you a hand with innovative holiday gift ideas for men, women, children, even cats (or should we say, the people who love cats). And many of the ideas are eco-friendly.
So here’s a list of holiday gift ideas for everyone on your list:
Many of us can remember posters for a favorite movie from childhood. Others have fantasies about traveling abroad in the Titanic-era. And anyone who’s been to a chic wine bar has seen vintage foreign advertising posters, frequently for foreign liqueurs or coffee service.
These posters can now be part of your living room décor, thanks to eBay, where thousands of vintage travel promotions, movie posters and other frameable items are available.
Consider this reproduction of a vintage Italian travel poster.
With its image of a carefree woman on a Vespa motorbike, this holiday gift idea will bring a touch of 1950s Italy to your home or office. You can either frame it yourself or have it framed. Many framers now use a special laminate technology that obviates the need for an actual frame.
Eco holiday stocking – for the cat (lover)
Aunt Sally loves her little Fifi even if the rest of us think she’s one spoiled, aloof feline. And guess what? Aunt Sally doesn’t need anything for Christmas. But Fifi would sure like a holiday stocking that’s made of 100 percent reclaimed natural fibers. How about this holiday stocking?
This holiday gift idea is actually made of discarded jeans and wool sweaters. How’s that for green? And yes, we know it’s a doggie-dog world: Purrfectplay also has gift ideas for the dog lover in your life.
Many adults, as they reach middle age and beyond, no longer need things. What they want, and truly need are meaningful experiences. And what’s more meaningful than an afternoon spent at a museum?
How about a free afternoon spent at a museum?
Most museums around the country offer yearly memberships, and often the perks are considerable. Typically the cornerstone of any museum membership is unlimited free admission. But many museums also provide a pair of free guest passes for when friends visit; a discount at the museum shop; and in some cases free or discounted admission to film series and events. The High Museum in Atlanta, for example, provides members with free admission to its wildly popular monthly jazz concerts.
A membership to a botanical garden is also a great idea. Most museums and gardens allow you to buy a gift membership online. What’s more, it’s not an unneeded tchotchke that’s going to end up in a landfill.
Okay, a gift card is not innovative, unless you choose an offbeat spot. How about a gift card to the local cinema? Your cousin, Joe, loves to take in a movie from time to time but thinks $10 a ticket is a bit much. He’ll go, though, if he has a gift card.
Retailers of all kinds now offer gift cards. You may be able to buy a gift card to the hairdresser so your mom can finally get a professional dye job, for example (no offense, Mom). And this holiday gift idea is a green one because it pays for either a service, or an item the recipient actually wants.
If you’re a foodie, a gift basket is always a great present – that is, for you to give to someone else.
Why? Because if everyone considers you a foodie, friends and family already appreciate your culinary sense.
Recycle a wicker basket or buy one at a discount store, and select a fine French brie or an English stilton, a sausage roll, a piece of fruit or two, a bar or two of refined chocolate, and some water crackers or biscuits. Then wrap it with holiday ribbon and voila! You have a gift that required your time and imagination, and your recipient has the makings for a great picnic or holiday spread.
The holidays are about eating and drinking for most us, so it’s a gift that’s perfect for just about anyone. Or if you’re pressed for time, a higher-end supermarket like Wegmans sells ready-made baskets.
Case of wine
I consider a case of wine a rim-shot for a wedding gift, so why not for the holidays? Obviously you need to know if the recipient imbibes before purchasing but once you’ve cleared that hurdle, the possibilities are endless.
You can buy a mixed case. You can buy a case of wine from the year your best friend got married. Whatever you choose, it will be better than the box wine Grandpa Ralph insists on buying because he formed his shopping habits at the tail-end of the Depression.
You can try your local wine shop or order online. The Wine Library in New Jersey has become known as a resource for wine lovers, thanks in part to the zany videos owner Gary Vaynerchuk has produced (If you don’t already know him, picture, if you can, a rabid Jets fan with your classic New Jersey patois who took over the business from his Russian-immigrant father).
For more information, visit the Wine Library website.
Magazine subscriptions for children (of all ages)
Last but not least, we have a great holiday gift idea for a child (Christmas is about children, after all). How about a magazine subscription to a publication such as Muse? The magazine publishes nine issues a year for children between the ages of 9 and 14 who want to know about rain forests, earth sciences, space, visual arts and just about everything else under the sun. Muse is sponsored by the Smithsonian and published by the folks who bring us Cricket.
A magazine subscription is the perfect gift because it’s not forever – in every sense. The recipient can try it out for a year. And when the issues have been read, they can be recycled.
Amazon.com makes giving magazine subscriptions easy. It has a huge inventory of publications, including French shelter magazines, car enthusiast monthlies and even titles that are published on recycled paper such as MAKE magazine.
For more information, visit Amazon's magazine section.
Have other holiday gift ideas? Leave us a note in the comments below.