It’s that time of year again when you wait until the last minute to buy all your Solstice gifts, and then all the Rite Aid has left is shampoo coupons and decks of playing cards. WE ALREADY HAVE A DECK OF PLAYING CARDS. This year, why not consult in advance our handy guide to gift giving, including something for every type of Brooklynite on your list: the bearded, the blotto, the bibliophilic, and more.
Biodegradable Trash Bags
I guess plastic bags aren’t the sort of thing anyone needs, but this is an effective way to tell the dog owners in your life that they’re not green enough.
30 for $4.99, PS9 Pet Supplies, 169 N. 9th Street, Williamsburg
Buy a cat owner a catnip plant and... wait, but teach him how to grow a catnip plant and... ah, screw it.
Kings County Nurseries, 625 New York Avenue, Prospect Lefferts Gardens
Evermore Dog Food
You might think it’s weird to give someone dog food as a present, but honestly that shit gets expensive, and it would really help us out. This stuff, produced in Red Hook, is so good that the company’s owners ate it for 30 days to illustrate that fact.
Woofs ‘n Whiskers, 59 Summit Street, Columbia Street Waterfront District
Brooklyn-born artist James Flames’s Brooklyn poster, designed for this past Renegade Craft Festival, captures life in the borough as we know it: rooftops, romance, and dogs.
Gifts for Music Lovers
How Music Works by David Byrne
Byrne broke ground in rock for intelligent whimsy, so it’s not surprising that his book isn’t the typical chronicle of a band’s debauched rise and fall. Talking Heads-heads get a few CBGBs-era tidbits, but nestled alongside arcane historical observations, droll pie-charts, and 16 pages on running a swinging nightclub.
Long has man sought to control the time and manner in which bitching guitar riffs occur to him; long has he failed. While swiping your finger over an iPhone guitar rig may not be quite as thrilling as stomping a stompbox, plugging in and ripping on the go is still a nifty advance.
Sufjan Stevens’s Silver and Gold: Songs for Christmas
Songs for Christmas, yes, this five EP box set is that, but it’s also songs not for Christmas and songs that could be for Christmas if Sufjan’s feelings weren’t so split on what the holiday means in a 21st-century consumerist setting. It’s also a sticker collection, a bundle of temporary tattoos, a DIY paper ornament, an 80-page booklet featuring an intense Sufjan-penned essay on our relationship with Christmas trees, and much (much) more.
Tickets to Morrissey at BAM
There’s that one elevator scene in (500) Days of Summer in which Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s character is surprised to learn that Zooey Deschanel’s character is a fan of The Smiths. If you are dating Zooey Deschanel, or a Zooey Deschanel-like person, you should get her (or him) tickets to see Morrissey when he plays BAM this January.
Song Lyric Tattoo
For the people in your life who have been debating whether or not they should get that life-altering lyric permanently inked on their body, encourage them with a gift certificate to Williamsburg tattoo parlor Flyrite… ESPECIALLY if the lyric in question is from a Belle & Sebastian song, BUT NOT if it’s from an Interpol song. “The subway is a porno” would soil any perfectly good body part.
Minimum $100, Flyrite Tattoo, 492 Metropolitan Avenue, Williamsburg
Duh! The DUMBO-based custom clothier got its start printing up sweatshirts with your favorite neighborhood’s name printed on the front. How else to show your love for Old Mill Basin?
Neighborhood History Guides
We used to just assume that Robert Gair made his fortune off of quirky media companies and tech start-ups ‘til we picked up one of these handy booklets and got us some knowledge.
The Brooklyn Historical Society, 128 Pierrepont Street, Brooklyn Heights
Subway Line T-Shirts
Nothing identifies a Brooklyn community quite like its major subway line, from Greenpoint’s reviled G to Bay Ridge’s loathed R.
$20, Transit Museum Store, 130 Livingston Street, Downtown Brooklyn
Several different publishers offer glimpses into the borough’s pre-gentrified history, community by community.
P.S. Bookshop, 76 Front Street, DUMBO
We always feel super cool on the subway when we open our book and take out our Greenlight Bookstore bookmark, flashing it for all to see. Imagine how mega awesome someone would be with a fucking notebook!
$10.95, Greenlight Bookstore, 686 Fulton Street, Fort Greene
Walt Whitman Jersey
One of our favorite booths at the Brooklyn Book Festival every year is Novel-T’s, which makes jerseys with famous writer’s names on them, including Brooklynites like Jonathan Ames and Walt Whitman.
One Story Subscription
Every three weeks or so, this Gowanus-based mag sends a short story to your mailbox. Could there be a simpler way to keep up with contemporary fiction?
$21 for 15 issues, one-story.com
Books by Brooklynites
Just off the tops of our heads, we can think of, like, a dozen notable books by Brooklynites that came out this year, from both new voices and established writers like Kathleen Alcott, Paul Auster, Kurt Andersen, Lauren Belski, Pete Hamill, Helen Phillips, Emma Straub, Adrian Tomine, Karen Thompson Walker...
YOUR LOCAL BOOKSTORE
Like we said, we love showing off our love of Brooklyn bookstores with bookmarks. Usually, they’re free and made of paper. But WORD makes a badass metal one, y’all.
$10, WORD Bookstore, 126 Franklin Street, Greenpoint
Soapwalla Soap Bars
Depending on how well you know your boyfriend or girlfriend’s parents, it’s probably best to play it safe. Everyone loves—and will eventually use—nice, locally made soap.
We have yet to meet a parent that doesn’t love and actively seek out fancy tea. There’s no way to lose here.
Met HD Broadcast Tickets at BAM
These high-definition theater broadcasts of Met performances are a genius idea and a perfect parent-date. Also, even people who don’t like or care about opera love Aida.
Plants are so lovely, and hey, did you know terrariums had a big moment in the 70s, too? Why not have a nice, innocuous chat with your boyfriend’s mom about it? Perfect.
Fancy Olive Oil
Again, there isn’t anyone who doesn’t love and use fancy olive oil. Plus, this store just opened up, so this buys you at least five minutes of a set, pre-determined conversation topic.
O Live Brooklyn, 60 Broadway, Williamsburg
Gifts for Your Roomate, From Which You Will Also Benefit
Everyone loves puppies, and we can’t say enough good things about the work they do at Sean Casey. Once the puppy is actually in your home, no one will be able to say no to this. Just be ready to do most of the walking.
Sean Casey Animal Rescue, 153 E. 3rd Street, Windsor Terrace
Should be self-explanatory, but essentially, you can arrange to have cheese sent to yourself every month and still look generous.
Bedford Cheese Shop, 229 Bedford Avenue, Williamsburg
Portable Ping-Pong Set
Oh, what a fun, carefree addition to the house! And it’s portable, so you can easily take it with you when you move out.
In case you feel like making the leap from stolen bar glasses into a (slightly) more specific decorating scheme.
$11 each, By Brooklyn, 261 Smith Street, South Brooklyn
There is no more important item in a tasteful home than a record player. It’s a little embarrassing that you guys don’t already have one.
$150, Crosley portable turntable
Anything From Jimmyjane
Jimmyjane is kind of the industry standard for vibes. Their “form” series is beautiful, waterproof, rechargeable, hypoallergenic, and made from food-grade silicone. Each form is a different shape, optimized for a different use. Yes, they’re spendy, but if you’re at “vibrator holiday gift” level of intimacy with someone, drop a few bucks, why don’t you?
Depending on your genital configuration, gender identification and relationship, this gift will have different resonances for different people, but I suspect most people could find a use for an extra dick. And as sex educator Charlie Glickman says, “The world would be a better place if more men took it up the ass.”
A Subscription to a For-Pay Porn Site
I know. There’s so much free porn. But so much of the good porn isn’t free, and plus, performers need to get paid. Sorry, I could recommend a specific one, but with taste and orientation varying so widely, there’s no good universal choice. Shop around!
D’awwww, sappy. But in the long, often-stressful, over-fed and over-boozed and over-socialized slog that is Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day, I bet many people would choose a few hours of good solid fucking over a cross-stitched octopus from Etsy or whatever.
Anything Edited by Rachel Kramer Bussel
Rachel has edited a million erotica anthologies, and they are all excellent. She is the perfect antidote to Fifty Shades. Her newest, Anything for You, is focused on kinky couples-stories. Gift city.
Gifts for the Bearded, Mustachioed, or Otherwise Hairy
The Facial Hair Handbook
Whether your friend sports a pencil-thin Dali ‘stache or a jungle-dense Frank Beard number, they should learn how to style and properly care for their face ‘do. By the former Natural Beard champion of the world, Jack Passion, this book is “for the man who is ready to look like one.”
With this gift, your hairy loved one won’t ever have to buy blades again! And he’ll look like a bad ass alone in the bathroom. Every man’s-man ever has wanted one of these. These beautiful Black Straight Razors from New York Shaving Company, as well as its other assorted shaving tools, are made right here in Brooklyn.
The New York Shaving Company, 202B Elizabeth Street, Manhattan
Dubbed “the scent of Brooklyn” for good reason. Make sure your pals smell right with the Williamsburg Mustache Wax or Red Hook Beard Oil or Greenpoint Tattoo Balm. This BK original also does pomade and “Gentlemen’s Facial Serum,” to sooth the mustachioed dudes’ winter skin and hair.
Traditional barbershops abound all over Brooklyn. Here’s a few great straight-razor deals across the hairiest borough: Pearl Street Barbers in DUMBO; Gasper Como in Williamsburg comes with many recommendations; and Benny’s in the Slope does great work. Don’t let those ‘staches go unkempt this holiday season.
Like an afro-pick for his face. Kitschy, sure. But this pragmatic man-brush easily slips into even the skinniest jeans and is sure to keep the crumbs and critters out of particularly bushy beards. Also, if you’re feeling like splurging, a limited edition gilded stainless steel comb is available.
Grado PS1000 Professional Headphones
From endless, tinny Christmas music needling out of every speaker everywhere in the whole world to bafflingly inane office conversations about the Star Wars Christmas special, this is a horrible time of year to have functioning auditory receptors, particularly if you hate the holidays (and you do). Cancel out the torture with these ridiculously awesome headphones (we recommend Nick Cave for anti-Xmas music).
Dijital Fix, 218 Bedford Avenue, Williamsburg
The “You Think You’re Sad Now?” Gift Basket
So, you’re a mopey bastard, good for you. If you really want to be sad, why not dive into the bleak and brutal cinematic world of Michael Haneke (The Michael Haneke Collection is 10 discs of pure sorrow), or the blankly libidinous, self-loathing novels of Michel Houellbecq, or the truly disturbing child-monster idylls of Agota Kristof’s The Notebook (or, frankly, the American Notebook is just as horrifying); and make sure to listen to Gorecki’s “Symphony of Sorrowful Songs,” while surrounded by the holiday paintings of Thomas Kinkade. Only then will you understand true despair.
Membership to the Coney Island Polar Bear Club
Yes, misery truly loves company. And what’s not to love about a group of people who get together regularly and swim in the freezing cold Atlantic Ocean? Membership is $25 and clubmembers have to commit to monthly dips into frigid water—the perfect pastime for the happiness averse (though we imagine the resultant endorphins create a hell of a high).
Full-Body Spa Treatment
It’s hard to maintain an air of grumpiness when you’re supremely relaxed; the full treatment at Tres Belle is enough to drain the bile from the sourest Scrooge.
Tres Belle Spa, 105 Bond Street, Boerum Hill
Pre-Buy a Tab at Your Giftee’s Local Bar
Note to friends, family and acquaintences: we’ve always wanted this gift, a nice little note in a card that says, “Hey Jerkface, drinks are on me this Boxing Day. Go ahead, just try to drown your sorrows. Love, Mom.” Bonus: goes very well after the above option.
A Six-Pack of the Finest Local Seasonal AlesIt’s always a pleasure to dip into the latest seasonals from New York’s many great breweries... Allow us to recommend the following beers, in aid of maxium cheer: Blue Point’s Winter Ale, the Sixpoint Diesel (an IPA stout?), Brooklyn Winter Ale, Ommegang’s Adoration Special Winter Ale, Southern Tier’s Old Man Winter Ale, and Smuttynose’s Winter Ale.
Brooklyn Pint Glasses
All households should have at least six pint glasses in which to pour beer for guests—we’re not savages, right? Adam Suerte’s Brooklyn pint glasses might be a little cheesy, adorned as they are by the borough’s landmarks, but that’s a small price to pay to be drinking out of a glass upon which is pictured the Brooklyn Detention Center.
By Brooklyn, 261 Smith Street, South Brooklyn
The Perfect Flask
Here’s the thing: there are a lot of kitschy, seemingly cool flasks in Brooklyn (featuring maps and coffins and etchings of Edie Sedwick’s face), but you really need to keep it classic with a plain, brushed stainless steel job.
Whisk, 231 Bedford Avenue, Williamsburg
A Big-Ass Bottle of Breuckelen Distilling’s Rye 77 Whiskey
Because one of the only things that gets us through Christmas Eve is a good rye and ginger.
You know where everybody knows your name? At your house! Red Hook’s Fort Standard design studio makes a beautiful, beautiful stool, an ideal companion for alone time, drinking rye and ginger (because it’s impossible to fall asleep on).
If biographical information of your gift recipient is limited to their first name (Kevin, is it?) and that you once heard them mention hockey/BCS standings/Derek Jeter at a water cooler powwow, ESPN’s web magazine Grantland has you covered. They’ve bundled some of the site’s finest writing from their all-star writing gang (Bill Simmons, Chuck Klosterman, Colson Whitehead, et al.), added in a few print exclusives, and put them into books.
Small Piggy Bank
A handmade ceramic piggy bank will provide an air of childhood whimsy to an office desk otherwise dedicated to spreadsheets. Before you know it, your office will be a 24-hour partytown.
Vintage Monster Prints
Under her Leroy’s Place banner, NYC-based artist Serene Bacigalupi integrates a cast of quirky monsters and other fanciful figures into found flea market landscape prints via the power of a paint pen. So instead of Jesus being surrounded by a herd of sheep, he’s now a surrounded by a herd of unicorns with bulging eyeballs. That sort of thing.
Predator vs. Prey Mittens
The Fort Greene-based company Hooray Hoopla does cute and cozy but with a wink, designating each hand a natural enemy in their line of Vs. Mittens. Not only can knitted cats and dogs, owls and mice, or frogs and flies fight it out as your office mate waits for the bus, but there is also photographic evidence of Anne Hathaway’s hands wrapped in a wolf-sheep combo, which said officemate might be interested to know.
Terrarium from Sprout Home
It turns out that jars, moss and miniature plastic people can put you far overbudget (see: gifts for significant others’ parents!), but among the spread of gardening and decor knickknacks at Williamsburg’s Sprout Home can be found all the elements for an ever-trendy terrarium at a bargain price. Bonus: the salespeople there are happy to help. Extra bonus: small glass worlds look great on office desks.
$6 jar, $12 basic materials, Sprout Home, 44 Grand Street, Williamsburg
Coasters by Chen Chen and Kai Williams
These are really cool art objects, but also functional. I like the way these designers use unexpected materials.
Sylvia Foled Stacking Bowls, by Eric Bonnin
I have lots of sizes of this bowl and also have it in black and white. Bonnin’s work is beautiful, simple and very functional; it’s lovely on its own but pairs well with other ceramic and kitchen objects. They’re great additions to any home/kitchen.
Robert Blue Mug
Perfect for a big cup of tea or coffee on a cold day. It fits perfectly in the cradle of your hands to warm them up while you sip your warm beverage. And the glaze is beautiful on these mugs, as well as the other pieces of his that we carry.
Aleksandra Pollnar Porcelain Fortune Cookies
These are the best gifts. Each one has a different fortune inside it; they’re fun to break open and are beautiful little objects.
My Own Stacked Sapphire Ring!
This is an older style but something I love and wear most days, so I can’t help but recommend it...
Fork Bracelets by Fork Art
We hesitate to give out info on these, considering they’ve been our signature, most oft complimented accessory ever since we first spotted craftsman Matthew Batik twisting his stainless steel utensils in front of the Metropolitan Museum of Art five years ago. Besides being seriously stylish, these bad-ass bracelets also come in handy on picnics, camping trips, or at restaurants, in case a scatterbrained waiter forgets to change out your silverware.
Immigrant Foodways Tour by Urban Oyster
Ever wondered what they eat all the way over in East Williamsburg? Here’s a hint: it’s probably not seasonal, local, pasture-raised, heritage, or biodynamic. No matter—your food-historian friend will appreciate this old-school walking and tasting tour—which winds through Brooklyn’s Avenue of Puerto Rico (formerly a Jewish stronghold) and takes an in-depth look at the Moore Street Market, built in 1941 to mark the end of the pushcart era.
From $42 per person, urbanoyster.com/immigrant-foodways-tour.html
Grilled-Cheese Board by Gowanus Furniture
Your foodie friend is bound to have a kitchen stocked with fragrant loaves of artisan bread and rounds of small batch, farmstead cheese—so why should they cut their ensuing ooey gooey creations on anything less a streamlined, mixed-wood grilled cheese board? Just don’t even think about chopping garlic, halving apples, or slicing tomatoes on one of these babies. Don’t even think about it.
$34, By Brooklyn, 261 Smith Street, South Brooklyn
Giant Gummy Bear on a Stick by FredFlare
Even the most hardened food snob can appreciate the pleasure of obscenely large, mammal-shaped gummies (88 times the size of your average candy bear!), especially one that can be nibbled off a stick. It’s a scientifically proven fact that people like to eat things off of sticks.
Molecular Cocktail Kit by Cocktail R-Evolution
Playing on the popularity of both molecular gastronomy and hoity toity tipples, this all-in-one kit contains everything your friend will need to shake up some seriously cutting edge drinks. Use the included pipettes to make spherical vodka gimlets, the cold soluble gelatin to add grenadine “caviar” to a tequila sunrise, or the packets of soy lecithin to whip up a lighter-than-air foam for the top of a Blue Curacao-laced concoction.
$59.99, The Brooklyn Kitchen, 100 Frost Street, Williamsburg
Everyone I know has been giving extra this year to help with hurricane relief, either to big guys like Red Cross, little guys like Red Hook Initiative, or just volunteering with Occupy Sandy. Keep giving to those places! But here are five not-strictly-hurricane-related awesome nonprofits that I know could use some year-end cash, if you want to change it up a little.
Ali Forney Center
The Ali Forney Center is a drop-in center for homeless LGBTQ youth. That’s a population that is so incredibly vulnerable, and AFC does an amazing job providing a warm and welcoming spot. Unfortunately, they’re far on the west side and their space and equipment were destroyed by Sandy. AFC provides a desperately-needed service to an underserved population.
Sean Casey Animal Rescue
For the animal-lover in your life, consider a donation to SCAR. They’re a no-kill shelter that goes out of its way to take in the most hopeless cases and rehabilitate them. Plus, they’re the only rescue in the city that takes exotic animals. If you’re not convinced, here iis a profile of the eponymous Mr. Casey that will make you tear up for sure.
Have you heard of the Rolling Jubilee? This idea is the best idea. They are buying up distressed consumer debt for pennies on the dollar and forgiving it. So your gift will not only go to your lucky friend, but to the anonymous people who are no longer being crushed by debt.
WFMU, if you don’t know it, which you should, is a New Jersey listener-supported freeform station that brings joy all across the tri-state area. A lot of their equipment was damaged in the hurricane, and they had to cancel their record fair, an annual fund-raiser. Help ‘em out.
Masbia provided thousands of meals to people in shelters, displaced by the storm. But even during non-disasters, Masbia provides hot meals and a food pantry for hungry New Yorkers.
Sure, if you are a knitter, DIY gifts are a gimme. You can crap out a beautiful scarf in an afternoon. But even the non-crafty among us can gift homemade stuff. Here are some easy-ish options.
People are always so excited to get jam, and it is very simple to make. All of the summer fruits are gone, but apple jam is lovely and you don’t even need pectin. Or a canner, if you make freezer jam. Try this apple cranberry.
Anyone can make vanilla. If you know bakers, they will love getting good vanilla. Cut open vanilla beans, put them in booze (I prefer rum), and wait six weeks. But beans are so expensive! Wrong. They’re cheap as hell on ebay, ya dummy.
I know electricity seems complicated, but making a lamp is as easy as buying a socket and cord (any hardware store will have them) and wiring it. Basically wrapping two wires around two nuts. And choosing an object to lampify. If I can do this, you can do this.
Though it seems fancier than infused liquor, making bitters is essentially dumping things into booze. This general recipe should get you started, but bitters are endlessly variable and hard to mess up. Save dasher-top bottles or buy apothecary eye dropper ones.
David Lebovits calls is “chocolate-covered caramelized matzoh crunch.” Growing up we made it with saltines and called it “hillbilly crack” (sorry. but true). I have never seen anyone eat only one piece of this stuff, the ingredients are pretty cheap, it keeps well, and the “cooking” is mostly “melting.”
Felt and Leather Bicycle Bags - Flux Productions
Ryan Greer of Flux Productions crafts all his bags in his Fort Greene studio, hand-cutting each piece of leather, and often pairing it with felt or cork. Designed with the weekend rider in mind, these totes attach to the bike frame with leather belt straps: the smaller saddle bag is ideal for carrying a phone and keys to brunch in Cobble Hill, or bring the larger bag for a sweater and an iPad to Prospect Park.
$160- $180. FluxProductions.net
Metropolitan Bike - Affinity Cycles
In the five years since Affinity Cycles opened in Williamsburg, owner Jason Gallacher’s bike frames have been on a steady climb, now selling out on both coasts almost as quickly as they are produced. Affinity’s single-speed Metropolitan was just featured as the ride of choice for Joseph Gordon-Levitt in bike messenger-action flick Premium Rush—it’s available in pure white and bowling ball blue.
As a cyclist, the most important element is safety, especially here in Brooklyn where cars fill the roads at all hours. Stay safe in Nutcase’s “Super Solid” helmets—they are simple and well-designed, and can withstand a tough beating. How could you go wrong with a company whose motto is, “We love your brain”?
Suli Bicycle Seat covers – Eleanor’s NYC
The whole idea behind Eleanor’s is fashionable but functional bike accessories. Owner Alison Lucien was looking for a way to spruce up her vintage Schwinn while commuting to work by bike every day, so she opened her own shop. These Suli covers are kitschy and also waterproof, saving your bike seat (and your backside) from the elements.
Gifts for the Online Thrifter, from Nifty Thrifty
For The Intern at Work
She puts in a lot of time for very little cash, so this sparkly number which she wouldn't normally buy for herself will be a welcome treat!
For the special gal in your life, age 17-97
This adorable bow-tied Rykiel sweater in universally flattering red would look great and put a smile on anyone of any age!
While we haven't rolled out our menswear items just yet, we still sell plenty of unisex items, like this beautiful vintage Pendleton scarf. Your sweetie keeps you warm, so make sure he is too.
For the Boss Lady
Everyone needs a little comfort, even the woman in your life cracking the whip. Especially the woman in your life cracking the whip. Make her downtime that much better with these snuggly accessories.
Nifty Thrifty has a vast archive of Hermes scarves in great condition. The ultimate timeless classic, perfect for Mom, Granny, or the Uptown Girl in your life.
Gifts for Stoners
Heavily scented candle
Should they ever need a classy way to cover up the smell of smoke, this would be it.
It seems to us that there's no better audience for an advice book written by high people than... high people.
Bourbon Coffee Bacon Caramel Popcorn
A crunchy, salty-but-sweet all-star team of every single trend flavor, other than pumpkin. You know, in case someone gets hungry or something.
Technically, these are meant to be used as part of a larger garden display, but crystals are a dazzling feat of nature meant to be appreciated on their own. When baked.
Mugwort dream pillow
"Mugwort is long known as a magical dream and intuition herb, associated with the moon," according to the makers of this dream-enhancing sachet. No one will appreciate this information more than the stoner in your life.
Gifts for Writers
Midnight Swimming Detective shirts
There's not faster way to look smart than wearing shirts featuring detective novel covers, translated into German, as interpreted by artist Karl Mullen. Triple threat. Plus, writers are allowed to wear t-shirts all day every day.
Scrabble fridge magnets
What writer doesn't want to be writing and/or competing at literally all times? Don't answer that. But also, these are an easy way to justify the working-from-home "snack breaks" they take every 30 minutes.
home state charm necklace/bracelet
Because virtually no New York writers are actually from New York, and jewelry is a way more relaxed way to show off your home state pride than a tattoo. Those are forever.
Greenlight First editions club
Every month Greenlight offers up signed first editions of new releases to club members. Better known as literary bragging rights.
Ever hear that old chestnut about writers being too poor to eat? Hilarious! Seriously, though, sustenance will be appreciated.
Gifts for Cinephiles
This limited-edition poster, still available more than a year after its release, is an attractively illustrated celebration of classic Brooklyn movies: Moonstruck, The Warriors, Saturday Night Fever, and all the rest.
Cobble Hill Cinema Gift Certificates
Because nobody wants to have to go over a bridge to see an art-house movie!
265 Court Street, South Brooklyn
Godard Tote Bags
Fifteen French New Wave classics are illustrated on its front, from Contempt to 2 or 3 Things I Know About Her. THERE IS LITERALLY NOTHING MORE PRETENTIOUS ON EARTH.
$25, IFC Center, 323 Sixth Avenue, Manhattan
MoMA Membership to see The Clock
Christian Marclay's mash-up is the best movie ever made: it's full of stars, has no plot, and goes on forever. Any movie-lover is going to spend most of Dec. 21-Jan. 21 at MoMA watching it.
$85, 11 W. 53rd Street, Manhattan
Girls Season One on DVD
One day they'll be illustrating Lena Dunham on a poster celebrating classic Brooklyn movies (and TV shows).
DOES ANYBODY SELL DVDS IN BROOKLYN?
Gifts For Children, Chosen by Norman & Jules
Maybe you have a child in your life. Maybe it's your own. Maybe it belongs to someone else. Maybe you just have an inner child. Which, no. That is weird. Don't buy your inner child a toy. Take your inner child to therapy. If you do have to buy a present for an actual child though, it can be hard. There's so much crap out there. Lucky for you, Avi Kravitz and Courtney Ebner, the lovely couple behind new Park Slope toy shop Norman & Jules, have selected some perfect gifts for the children you need to shop for. All of these items can be purchased in their brick-and-mortar shop, but, if you absolutely MUST, you can also order them online.
The Super Adventures of Sophie In the City by Kelly Florio Kasouf
5 Gifts of Personal Betterment
Do you have someone on your list who styles themselves as a bit of a singer? Do they get drunk and pull out the guitar and warble out the first half of two or three Neutral Milk Hotel songs? Give them (and yourself) the gift of song: Brooklyn Voice Lessons, in Boerum Hill, is a good place to start...
Ice Skating at Aviator Arena
Ice skating is great. It's fun, it's great exercise (particularly for THE ASS AREA OF THE BODY), and now that Brooklyn is going to have an NHL hockey team, it is most assuredly the new hotness. Give the gift of lessons this year at Aviator Arena in Mill Basin, and your giftee will be ready to debut his or her moves at the new outdoor rinks in the fancy McCarren Park and Prospect Park next winter.
3rd Ward Lessons in Everything
We love the good people of 3rd Ward, and all the awesome classes they offer. We recently took a perfume-blending class (true story) and it was a heady trip into a world of patchouli and sandalwood, jasmine and orange flower absolute. Sure, some things (mushroom essence) smelled like a mixture of soy sauce and a dirty toilet, but most of the fragrant essential oils we sampled smelled amazing... And if perfume isn't your thing, than metal-working most likely is; and that's why we love 3rd Ward, because they offer both.
The Gift of Not Being So Dumb, at Brooklyn Brainery
Hey dummy! Are you tired of the people in your life being dumb! Give the gift of smartitude with classes at the Brooklyn Brainery. We absolutely love that these guys offer, concurrently, classes in Greek, Making Holiday Cocktails, Medieval Crime and Punishment (not a how-to, btw), and Tree Identification. Basically, taken together, those classes would comprise our ideal mate.
Learn to Cook at Brooklyn Kitchen
This is one of those presents that everyone can enjoy! Does your giftee live in Brooklyn, but not really know how to cook? Sorry, but that just want cut it, not anymore. Brooklyn Kitchen offers some crazy-rad courses: knife skills, sausage-making, brewing, Vietnamese street food, KNIFE SKILLS PEOPLE.
Gifts for the Anti-Consumerist
A donation to Hurricane Sandy clean-up efforts in the giftee's name
This is fairly obvious. Everybody feels good about giving to those in need. Especially those in need. Hope For New York is a good clearing house for volunteering and/or giving.
Anything from Build It Green
Waste is one of the great, ongoing sins of this country: there's enough old clothes and furniture out in the world right now to make us all comfortable for decades. There's no need, really, to ever buy anything new again. We're big fans of salvage and reuse heroes Build It Green, where you never ever know what you'll find (children's billiard table! antique ship's clock!). We highly recommend larking around the Gowanus location, which is open, despite the storm-battering...
Anarchy in a Jar
Smash the system, bring down capitalism, buy some jam made by anarchists. Because revolution is sticky and delicious.
Available in lots of Brooklyn stores
The Cuppow Reusable Canning Jar Coffee Lid
We love this thing. It let's us turn canning jars into reusable coffee cups, because we really, really hate how many disposable coffee cups there are in the world.
Available at Brooklyn Kitchen
Occupy! Scenes from Occupied America
Sure, we love us some Obama, but really, he's basically an old-fashioned Rockefeller Republican. Let's not let our relief cloud the harsh realities of American iniquity; let this n+1-edited, Verso-published account of last year's Occupy movement remind us of how far there is to go.
5 Meaningful IOU Gifts
5 Dog-Run Visits
This is a great gift for the dog lover in your life, the one who's feeling perpetually guilty about not getting their beloved poochie enough exercise (this applies to most dog people in the city). And it's also really good for the giver: fresh air, watching dogs play... and those dog runs are basically just singles bars, outside, with dogs.
A Full-body, 30-Minute Massage (for real, this time)
This one is pretty much reserved for significant others (DO NOT attempt to give this gift in your office's Secret Santa, you will get fired). So, you may have tried to give a gift like this in the past, to your special friend, and nine times out of, well, nine, it ends up being three or four minutes of vigorous kneading that leads pretty directly to sex (which isn't a bad thing!). But in this case, we're talking a real massage, people, with oil and everything. You might even want to check out this video for some tips.
A Five-Course Fancy Meal
This is another gift that is generally reserved for the more romantic giftees in a person's life, but there are situations in which it's appropriate to offer: roommates, siblings, pregnant/new parents, the perpetually sad... We think the key to IOU gifts is being as specific as you possibly can (which makes the IOU seems less like a last-second cop-out and more like something that's actually going to happen). To wit, may we recommend you peruse the Sussman Brothers' new cookbook, Recipes for Real Life? Because, you know, this is real life.
5 Airport Drop-offs and/or Pick-ups
This is an obviously good present if you have a car, but it's a really good present if you don't. How so? Being met at the airport with a sign and a hug is one of the lovelier things that can happen to a person: you feel important, loved, and, most of all, relieve that you don't have to struggle with luggage by yourself, on the subway.
Clean the Motherfucking House
Yeah, some people are squeamish about having other people clean up after them. Well, tough. That's the gift they're getting.