Many times the most difficult part of holiday shopping is struggling to find the time it takes to fight the crowds and browse local stores. In the past years there has been a huge movement towards offering great shopping experiences online or through mailing systems. We had countless submissions from online and mail-order retailers, but here are some of the staff favorites from this year’s submissions: M
While our Gift Guide this year is all about the Locavore, we received a lot of interesting items in the mail and it would be remiss of us to ignore them. Clever Hen, for example, distributes artisanal gift baskets around the country, and they sent us the “Sweet & Savory” basket. The YS staff very much enjoyed the Divine Bovine jerky, the Squirrel Brand peppercorn cashews, and the delicious Lake Champlain chocolates. The basket was beautifully presented, and the products carefully selected.
Kollar Chocolates sent us four incredibly rich chocolates that, perhaps appropriately for the holidays, resembled lumps of coal. Eaten in small pieces though, and they were delicious.
We received a few holiday books for children. My Snowman and Me by Leann Smith tells the sweet tale of a boy and his snowman friend, and comes complete with a soft toy. Similarly, The Magic Christmas Key by the same author comes with a replica key and is a beautiful, traditional-style Christmas story.
Classic Bedtime Stories, illustrated by Scott Gustafson, includes nine classic stories (Sleeping Beauty, The Tortoise & the Hare), refreshed by the beautiful pictures. Sometimes, the classics are the best.
Still with the kids, Wuzz Its is a game from Blue Orange games that basically involves matching monster heads with monster torsos. It’s a typical match-up card game, but the quality of the illustrations makes it a bit different and a lot of fun.
The Little Can of Bows is exactly that – a little can containing three pretty hair flowers and two stretch headbands. Cute packaging, and a sweet gift for a little girl. The Abbyjac peg doll that we received, meanwhile, is a very etsy little thing but a nice stocking filler. And then there are Rolli Stamps, a mess-free craft toy for kids – stamps that don’t need an ink pad.
NIV Live: A Bible Experience is basically the Bible on many CD’s, all in a fancy pleather case. It only seems right to include Christ around Christmas so, if you know somebody who this would appeal to, more power to you.
On the techy side, Une Bobine from [Fuse] Chicken is a useful bit of ingenuity. A stand/charger for iPhones, the device was funded by Kickstarter and it is perhaps the best use for that fund-raising website that we have heard of.
Peanut Hottie is a company that makes powdered peanut flavored hot drinks. It comes in two flavors – peanut butter & chocolate, and peanut butter. Both are surprisingly delicious and perfect for fall. Oddly enough, there are also seductive messages on the packaging, like “You make me hot” and “Take me home.” We’ve never thought of peanuts as sexy, but whatever floats your boat.
On the other end of the beverage scale, California-based Sonama Cider sent us three varieties of their hard cider, including The Pitchfork (pear cider), The Anvil (bourbon cider) and The Hatchet (classic apple). They look great, and taste better. Again, a perfect fall drink, albeit for a different time of day.
Mercer wines sent us a bottle of Chardonnay (2013) and a Red Blend (2012). Both of them went down nicely on a Thursday afternoon. Wine snobs might find fault, but we certainly didn’t and the label designs are very artsy.
The child in the editor was ecstatic about the toys that came in from Monster 500 including a zombie in a hotrod hearse-looking vehicle, and Frankenstein in a jeep. The detail on these things is spectacular. In the same package was two great items from a company called Seedling (Make Your Own Mermaid, and a pirate bones excavation kit), and four books from the DK publishing house, aimed at teens. Do You Know Who You Are is a journal style journey of self-discovery. Fill in your favorite songs, what you want from a relationship, career aspirations and a ton more, and you’ll know yourself better than you ever did. Much can be learned (albeit on a basic level) from Heads Up Psychology and Heads Up Philosophy, and The Fashion Book offers style guides from medieval times through Madonna and right up to Katy Perry.
We received a heart-shaped gift box from Chiara that contains hair-care products under the name Cure. Replenishing spray, recover shampoo and double body serum, all guaranteed to add texture to your hair. We can guarantee that it’s beautifully presented.
There’s no better cause than Headbands of Hope (headbandsofhope.org), who sent us a child’s pink bandana and bejeweled band. They say that, “For every headband purchased, one is given to a girl with cancer and $1 is donated to the St. Baldrick’s foundation to fund life-saving childhood cancer research.” Admit it – you want one.
We received some great slogan shirts from 3rd Cuture Style – plain black tees decorated with slogans like “Try and Keep Up” and “Too Much Ego Kills Talent.” Very true, t-shirt Gods. Very true.
Red Bubble sent us a very arty canvas bag and a print of an inoffensive painting. They have a lot more of that stuff all over their website, so check them out.
The Loop is locally-made product designed to keep your ear bud wires untangled. Made in Colorado Springs and packaged in Westminster, it’s a clever device particularly for those who like to listen to music while working out.
Perhaps best of all is My Mini Golf’s starter kit, a mini-golf set for your home. A couple of balls, a putter and a few plastic parts, and you’re ready to play mini-golf in the office or your living room. Deadline day at Yellow Scene will never be the same again.