The Ultimate Around Town 2011 Gift Guide

Around Town Laura has the ideas, now you've just got to get out there and shop.

I've spent the last six weeks telling you about great gift ideas from around town.

But let's face it, if you still need to shop at this point, there's no way you can read through all those columns.

Never fear; I'm here to help.

I've summed it up for you by gift recipient. The only way I could make it any easier is if I did the shopping for you (and as much as I love you, dear reader, that isn't happening).

For her

  • Porcelain pendants by Marilyn Appleman: These beautiful pieces are $20 each at
  • Mariposa napkin holder with weight and wine stopper: Made from recycled aluminum, this napkin set for $44 makes a great hostess gift. The weight can be switched out for the seasons. Additional weights cost $14. There are also handsome wine stoppers also made from recycled aluminum for $22-$25 at .
  • Child perfume: Don't let the name fool you: This perfume is made for adults. But the scent is one that will take you back in time to when you were a child. Talulah Belle is the only boutique in Michigan to sell this cult favorite. Prices range from $53 to $98.
  • Denise Ilitch Detroit Graffiti shirt: Black, long-sleeved and designed to show hometown pride, this shirt is $45 at Talulah Belle.
  • Pretty Tools: Look no further for stocking stuffers for the ladies in your life. These are tools "designed with a woman in mind." From scissors and tape dispensers to the prettiest hammer you've ever seen (with a screwdriver built into the handle!), this line makes the most practical gift perfect. Prices range from $5.95 to $9.95 at .
  • Scarves: Stylish, warm and lightweight, what's not to love about this collection of wool-blend scarves? Each is $39.95 at The Silk Worm.
  • Habersham candle: These amazing made-in-the-USA candles are wickless, flameless and last more than a year. There are more than a dozen scents to choose from, including many Christmas aromas. They cost $26.95 at The Silk Worm.
  • Anne Griffin tote: This beautiful blue double laminate tote is just right for the mom who no longer needs a diaper bag but still has a lot to carry around. It's $65 at The Silk Worm. Also available are a matching cosmetic bag ($19) and journal ($13).

 For him

  • "Just the Ticket" book: For that guy who has a pile of concert tickets, this 20-page book fits 80 ticket stubs with room for notes. It's $15.99 at
  • Detroit sign: Every picture tells a story. But in this case, every picture makes a letter and the letters spell "Detroit." The art comes with paperwork on what each letter is and where it's located. They also come in Rochester, U-M and MSU. It's $84.95 at Catching Fireflies.
  • Buckyballs: Here's a desk toy for the grown-ups that's hard to put down. Buckyballs are 216 powerful magnets that you can build with or just squeeze tight into a stress ball. It's $34.95 at Catching Fireflies.
  • Thinking putty: Here's a gift you can bounce, knead, tear, pop, stretch and create with. It's thinking putty and it's available in three different forms: magnetic ($15.95), hyper-color ($11.95) and creatures ($12.95) at Catching Fireflies.
  • Glass cuff links by Shelly Williams: offers a beautiful selection of cuff links for men at $30 a pair.
  • Duo swizzle sticks by Erin Autsterberry: A great gift for the person who has everything, these hand-blown holiday swizzle sticks make any drink a celebration. They're $15 each at Firebrick.
  • Stainless Steel Wallet: Did you know that credit cards and passports have chips that transmit private information with minimum protection? Stewart/Stand offers a line of stainless steel wallets that protect credit cards from unauthorized access. Costs range from $46.50 to $72 at Talulah Belle.
  • Nest candle: Nest is offering a special Sir Elton John holiday candle with a portion of its $38 price going to his AIDS foundation. It’s at Talulah Belle.

For teens and tweens

  • Legwarmers and fingerless gloves: Great for teens and tweens on your list. The Nordic print is most popular style this year at
  • Nepal bag: A huge seller at Simply the Best for high school and college students, the brightly colored Nepal bag is $30. And check out the strap— it has a special pocket for a cell phone.
  • Touch gloves: Anyone on your list who cannot put their smart phone down? Here's a great gift for them: gloves that you can keep on and use with any touch device. A pair is $10 at Simply the Best.
  • Books: A variety of new books, mostly teen and tween titles, are available in hardcover and paperback at The Funky Frog. The books are from a liquidation and start at $2.
  • Watches: It's a rainbow of watches! Every color, every style for women and men for $10 at Simply the Best.
  • Fargo hat: Whether someone on your list loves to snowboard, or just gets stuck shoveling the driveway, this Fargo hat will keep them warm in whatever winter adventure they have. They're $10 at Simply the Best.

 For kids

  • Pengoloo: With Happy Feet 2 in the movie theaters, look for penguins to be all the rage (again). This colorful wooden memory game is good for ages 4 and up and the winner of Oppenheim Best Toy and Dr. Toy Best Game awards. It's $30 at .
  • Playmobile Noah's Ark: Playmobile is known for its outstanding attention to detail in toy-making and its Noah's Ark does not disappoint. The ark floats on water and has a working crane. There are store rooms, a sleeping room, cages and 13 pairs of animals. At $89.99, this set is recommended for children ages 4 and older. Playmobile also offers a take-along set with a handle and bigger pieces for toddlers. It's $29.99 at Froggy's.
  • Electronic Snap Circuits: Is there an engineer-in-the making on your list? This Dr. Toy Best Product Winner contains more than 60 parts to build more than 300 projects, including a siren, motion detector and AM radio. It's $59.95 at Froggy's.
  • "Tickle Monster" and "Boogie Monster" books and accessories: Books always make a great gift and these come with tickle gloves and dancing feet to accompany the stories. Each book is $19.95 and the gloves and feet are $14.95 each at Froggy's.
  • Critter hats: Every kid wants a critter on their head this winter. has a great collection, including the popular Sock Monkey. And while most stores have them marked at $19.95, The Frog sells theirs for $12.
  • Doll clothes: Did you spend a lot of money on a certain 18-inch doll and now need to clothe it? The Funky Frog carries a selection of new, handcrafted doll clothes ranging from $12 to $15.
  • "The Twelve Days of Christmas in Michigan" book: What a great way for kids to learn about our state! From a robin in a white pine tree to 12 cherry sundaes, this book is fun and educational. (And if you have any Rochester third-graders on your list, that is the grade that Michigan is on their social studies curriculum.) The book is $12.95 at Catching Fireflies.
  • Big belly bank: What better way to encourage saving than a coin-gobbling moose? (or dinosaur? or giraffe?). These big wooden banks are made in Massachusetts and cost $39.99 at .
  • Green Toys: Made from 100 percent recycled plastic, these colorful toys were once milk jugs! The selection includes stacking cups, tug boats, race cars, tea sets and, my absolute favorite, the pink dump truck. Prices range from $8 to $28 on these California-made toys.

 For baby

  • HABA blocks: These colorful wooden blocks from Germany offer more than your average square of wood. Adorned with bells, marbles and mirrors, your child will never be bored. A set is $40 at Green Baby.
  • The Jane Goodall Wild Animal Collection: These stuffed animals are 100 percent non-toxic, made of cotton with natural coloring. They're $25 at Green Baby.
  • Plan Toy solid drum: Kids can explore rhythm, develop hand-eye coordination and make music all while having fun with this drum. Different areas of the surface create different sounds giving a fun lesson in cause-and-effect. The drum makes a great gift for the over 18 months set and parents will be happy with the rubber drumstick head to soften the sound. It's $23 at Green Baby.
  • Twilight Sea Turtle: If bedtime is a struggle for someone on your list, the Twilight Sea Turtle might help. This plush turtle with a hard shell projects a starry night sky on the ceiling in your choice of three colors. At Froggy's for $31.95, it's a peaceful ending to any day. 

For anyone

  • Chalkboard sticker: Whether it's for a kids' playroom or a mom's kitchen, this chalkboard sticker is the ticket. Die-cut in an attractive 19-inch-by-24-inch size, the sticker is removable. It's $12.95 with chalk included at Catching Fireflies.
  • Wine stopper with cork screw by Carolyn Johnson: This clever piece opens the wine bottle and then stops it up! No wonder it's a Firebrick favorite. There's a handle in whatever color scheme your heart could desire. They're $48.
  • Menu Wine Breather Carafe: For the red wine lover, the beautiful carafe has a built-in aerator and cap. It's $59 at .
  • Bordeaux 2009 Six-Pack Sampler: This pack offers six different Bordeaux from the Decade's Greatest vintage. It comes with a map and information on each of the six chateaus. It's $70 at Cose di Lusso.
  • Wine Cork Cages: These handsome structures, in globe, bottle or barrels shapes, allow wine lovers to save their corks and memories in style. Prices range from $26-$29 at Cose di Lusso.
  • Ornaments! Ornaments! Ornaments! Ornaments make such a great gift. They guarantee you're thought of at least twice a year— when the tree goes up and when the tree goes down! The Silk Worm has a phenomenal selection, from a giant cupcake to your favorite collegiate team.

Need more? Here's the link to all the columns:

> Complete Top 10 Gift Guides

Anne Mulrenin December 21, 2011 at 12:02 PM
Fieldstone Winery's Chocolate Raspberry Port is a great gift. They also have great wine accessories. All wine cork cages are $25.


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