Friday, November 30

The Awkward City Holiday Gift Guide For Zooey Deschanel-Types And Other Quirky, Abnormal Girls On Your List

One Hanukkah many moons ago, my parents bought me a Beauty and The Beast VHS and I lost it. I didn't give a fuck about pretty super-femme dresses (not a surprise), hairy beasts (sort of a surprise) or talking housewares (shocker!). A few days later, I opened S'MATH, the Scrabble-Math board game that "makes learning fun!" and officially fell out of love with the table of gifts that appeared every December, and I guess in a larger, more depressing sense, Hanukkah as a whole.

Moral of the story? Don't give shitty gifts. Because even though my mom and dad have since bought me a designer bag covered in bread and, I don't know, a car and college tuition and shit, when I think of presents I only recall crying in that ugly basement in our old house over a Disney movie. And S'MATH. Because really, guys? S'MATH? That's even worse than putting a bow on a gift certificate to Kumon.

On the contrary: any weird, unusual, Awkward girl such as myself would be over the moon for any of these goodies. Ice cream sammich iPhone cases? Life-size animals? Creepy coffee table books?! I feel the Maccabee spirit rising inside of me every time I scroll through this dreamfest of glorious goodies, gift-wrapped wonders and all of things I've wanted for years upon years upon years.

So, consider your holiday shopping for the bombs on your to-buy list done for. Because if this gift guide can't solve your abnormal shopping problems, I don't think anything else will:

clockwise, from top: Eggnog Card, $4; Apple Juice MacBook Decal, $6.50; Moleskin Colour-A-Month Daily Planner in 12 Notebooks, $36; Glass Bubblegum Paperweight, $180; Wacom Bamboo Splash Pen Tablet, $60; Let's All Go And Have Breakfast Laptop Skin, $30; Ice Cream Sandwich iPhone Case, $18

If you're going to be surrounded by sleek, minimalist techy products all day long, you gotta jazz 'em up. Make 'em look like a frosty dessert or a school lunch beverage, that sort of thing. That tablet is a one-way ticket to doing things like this, which in my eyes, is a gateway to killer blogdom. But, unlike everyone else, I manage my appointments on paper sheets and swear by these Moleskine notebooks during the year, which are slim and perfectly segmented to throw in your purse one or two at a time.

And, if you're second-guessing that laptop skin that's reminiscent of my favorite part of going to movies, just know that I've wanted it forever-ever, and my best friend magically had the same one as an iPhone case the last time she visited. It's smack-dab on that odd girl wavelength.

clockwise, from top: Wicked Drip Candles, $18-30; Giant Ice Cream Cone Lamp, $42; Peanut, $40; Peeping Tom, $100; Little Boxes Wall Organizer, $98; Faux Bois Speaker, $128; Umbra Casa Tissue Box Cover, $5; Hansa Giraffe (Extra Large), $850; Window Box Vegetable Screen, $200

Some people buy a garage full of Ferraris when they make it big. Others? A dope ass yacht. I'll be investing all of my currency in an army of FAO Schwartz stuffed animals and making my own personal petting zoo out of the lot of 'em. A room lit by ice cream cones and fresh basil growing in the window would be great, sure, but the ability to scream, "HURRY UP, GIGI" while riding an inanimate giraffe is the only gift I truly want to unwrap this December.

Clockwise from left: Pictoral Websters, $22; What Katie Ate, $22; Victorian Goods and Merchandise, $10;
The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook, $20; Come In, We're Closed, $19; Apartamento subscription, $40; Hello Sandwich Gift Wrapping Zine PDF, $10; What To Cook And How To Cook It, $26

Behold: every book I want in my home that I do not own yet, all perfect for shoving under a tree. What To Cook And How To Cook It, a picture guide for photographic learners could easily make your loved one's home into its own Center For Kids Who Can't Read Or Cook Good. (I own the follow-up version and its recipes are bee-utiful.) Another option: Apartamento, an artsy interiors magazine so steeply priced that I've never brought myself to purchase an issue, though from slowly flipping every page wherever I happen to find one, I know it's destiny. And don't snooze on that Hello Sandwich wrapping guide, either — perfect for the non-Martha Stewarts in all of us.

Clockwise from left: Pink Flamingo Cocktail Stirrers, $5; Gummy Bear Ice Cube Tray, $10; Four Seasons Spice Shakers, $39; Wicker Picnic Basket, $350; Splash Bottle Stoppers, $8; Kai Pure Komachi Knife Set, $71

The holiday season is all about dreaming, which is why a wicker basket that costs the same as a huge chunk of your rent is the only way to go. Do you love your loved ones? Do you want their homemade gazpacho to spill all over the train when a shitty basket's bottom blows out?! Do you dare have them eat off of paper plates with — gasp! — plastic utensils while sitting on the commoner's grass?!?! Man up, people. If paper plates are more their steeze, nab some multi-season spice shakers that'll make masking the flavor of cheap pasta that much snazzier. Better than a snow globe, more useful than the pepper mill they're shilling from every corner in Sur La Table. Bing bang boom.

From left:Pamela Love Talon Cuff, $1150; Venessa Arizaga Pinata Bracelet, $275; Write On Ring, $26; K/LLER Porcupine Quill/Brass Quill Pendant, $131; In God We Trust Sweet Nothing Necklace, $40; K/LLER Brass Engraved Springbok Horn Pendant Necklace, $217; Venessa Arizaga Weiner Dog Bracelet, $95; Unearthen Sphere Oxidized Silver Ring, $280; Madewell Cat Ring, $22; K/LLER Brass 6 Stalactite Cuff, $124

In case you can't tell, I'm currently having a love affair with K/LLER Collection, who specialize in making jewelry that you see other, cooler people wearing and wonder how they do it so god damn well before sulking home, detesting everything around your neck and wrists. I splurged in the nick of Cyber Monday time to nab that porcupine necklace, but the stalactite bracelet is staring right back at me, so if I ever take a "real job" again (thanks, Grandma), I'll be buying that one within seconds.

As for the rest: my hope, my dream, my one and only — the incredibly expensive Pamela Love claw cuff — is rounding year four of my distant ogling, but at this point is sold out nearly everywhere, which makes me think maybe we're not so financially fucked after all. For price ranges, ahem, below the thousands, there's a hot dog bracelet, the In God We Trust necklace I've perma-lost inside my closet (mine said "Eat A Dick", so maybe it's karma for being a wanker), and a cat ring I went through multiple circles of customer service assistance to obtain. Now, of course, it's fully stocked on the website, so snatch it for your favorite feline-obsessive while you still can. It's cheap, it's funny, and if the person you're buying it for is younger than you, odds are it might even make you look hip for a handful of minutes. (Men, note: size 6 is for ring fingers, size 7 is for middle fingers. When in doubt, go 6.)

Well homies, I hope you find what you're looking for this holiday season. And, hopefully what you're looking for isn't true love and happiness, because I definitely can't provide that. Wine corks that look like deep sea divers and gummy bear ice cubes, though? That I got your back on. Happy Holidaze!

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