Tag Archives: holiday gift guide twin cities

Xciting Xmas Gift Guide 2011, Part I

Yes, it’s Cyber Monday! Woot. I just bought some throw pillows online that are totally for me.

This is how I feel:

santa bear with gift

Like a cute but also 1980s-esque bear wearing a Santa hat.

I realized something today. I like to shop for stuff. Not in a Black Friday kind of way. I will never push anyone down or pepper spray them for cheap electronics. [Keith said we should be thankful to the woman who pepper sprayed other shoppers at Walmart on Friday for providing us all with a new standard for what it means to suck – as long as you are behaving better than that woman, you aren’t completely failing as a human being.]

No, I like quirky, weird, arty, thrilling stuff. I like antiques. I like musty books. I like things made out of other things. I like to have a comfy home environment. I don’t do a lot of holiday shopping because my family gave up on that whole gifting thing a few years ago. Now we assemble in Florida and spend time together playing shuffle board.

It’s been very liberating.

However, I like the idea of holiday shopping on a small scale. Safe and sane, that’s my holiday shopping motto. So I’ve decided to put that energy into an Xciting Xmas Gift Guide for 2011 that focuses mostly on stuff you can buy in independent stores in the Twin Cities. Because I like stores and I don’t want them to go away. However, a lot of times you can also find the same items online or in stores in your own city/town because this is The World 2.0.

I’m kicking off the Guide today with a few Xciting Hostess Gifts.

Weiner Dog Waxed Cheddar Cheese

At the Mall of America there is a shop called Rybicki Cheese Ltd. and it sells all things Wisconsin cheese and Packer fan-related. Basically, it’s a pocket of Wisconsin goodness at the mall. Recently, I took part in a scavenger hunt at the Mall of America (OK, I made up the scavenger hunt and then also participated in it) and found out about Rybicki. These are nice people. They were very tolerant of our hunt and also helped us figure out how to get to our next destination. Anyway, what we got from Rybicki was the Weiner Dog Waxed Cheddar Cheese, retailing for $4.79 and worth every penny.  Sorry for this rather poor photo in which the dog is encased in plastic.

Here are the winning features of the  Weiner Dog Waxed Cheddar Cheese:

1. Unbelievably cute.
2. Super fun to peel the wax off the cheddar dog.
3. Yummy cheese.

If you are going to a holiday open house or party and the host is a dog-lover, they will appreciate this tribute in cheese. You can also order this cheese gem online.

BTW, if you’re more into weiner dogs and cupcakes, instead of cheese, here is a very cute idea from the blog I Hart Cupcakes.

Soy Vey Candles

Soy candles in wine bottles by Soy Vey Candles.
Photo by The Vintage Home

Have you ever bought a bottle of wine mainly because you liked its label? And then when you’re done drinking it you want to save the bottle but you think maybe that’s odd, to have bottles lined up on your windowsill like you live in a studio apartment and finish out your liberal arts degree? Well, problem solved with Soy Vey Candles.

I first saw these candles when they were selling at GUILD in St. Louis Park and I should have nabbed one then. The images on the website don’t really do them the full justice they deserve because the photos don’t  show off the variety of wine bottles and even beer bottles  the candles are housed in – some very cool and beautiful bottles. Yes, they are soy, which is all the rage now and they have that little bit of raffia wrapped around them, which I could take or leave, but the main point is that they allow the buyer to choose something customized to the tastes of the receiver. For example, if someone gave me one in the bottle of a good German Riesling, I would be so touched. Knowing someone’s preferred wine says that you care about them.

Of course, the best way to present this would be along with a full bottle of wine.

The candles sell at various stores throughout the country but in the Twin Cities area we have several options because they are made in MN. Find your shopping options here.

Primitive Skeletons With Bouncing Necks

Primitive Day of the Dead Skeletons with Bouncing Heads
Photo by Zinnia Folk Arts

I think the title here says it all. These are sold by Zinnia Folk Arts, a business that sells Mexican folk art brought here from Mexico by Anne, a dedicated seller with a great eye. I first found Zinnia on a snowy winter day in 2010, when a snowstorm was bearing down on Minneapolis and I got to leave work early. I wasn’t so afraid of the snow that I couldn’t stop off and look at Mexican folk art.

That should give you some level of understanding about my relationship to shopping.

Zinnia used to do pop-up shops in South Minneapolis, then they lost the use of the space they were using and moved to GUILD in St. Louis Park. Zinnia also sells beautiful silver jewelry, if you’re looking for something special for someone in your life who is closer to you than a hostess. You can read the full Zinnia FAQ here.

You can buy these sweet, Day of the Dead skeletons at GUILD (4414 Excelsior Blvd in St Louis Park, MN—between Trader Joe’s and Optiz, on the same side of the block), which I highly encourage because then you can look at all the other stuff at GUILD and what was supposed to be a quick stop will turn into an hour of browsing. You can also buy them online. They are $15.

Not recommended for the boring hostess. Or for someone you really don’t know all that well.