Friday, December 9, 2011

CorpGoth Sort-of-Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Admittedly, I'm a bit of a planny-pants & tend to get my holiday gifting done within the first week after Thanksgiving. I do a little online shopping for my sweetie, then I craft gifts for the family. That's it, no crazy mall-shopping, no Black Friday madness, no piles of presents under the xmas tree. Just a modest assortment of treasures for our loved ones.

That said, I know certain people (ehem, like my own husband!) are quite the last-minute shoppers. So here are some suggestions that I find charming (& I wouldn't mind getting myself, they're that good). Note that I'm not big on giving plastic stuff (an ecological nightmare), & I also like things that have some vague hint of being practical. I also tried to keep this list somewhat gender-neutral & full of things that are $30 or less per item.

10 quirky & affordable holiday gifts for most anyone:

Redwork Tin, FabulousPants
Redwork Embroidered Tin by FabulousPants on Etsy, $15 -- One of the prettiest altered-Altoids-tins I've seen, this one is topped with redwork embroidery (this seller also makes ones in the more commonly seen blackwork). A lovely way to carry stuff in your purse or a make a sewing kit.

Alice in Wonderland Cloth Cocktail Napkins by Tartx on Etsy, $30 -- Fanciful set of six crisp white napkins printed in black with the classic illustrations from Lewis Carroll's books. Perfect for a party!

Cookie Cutters by Foose Cookie Cutters -- This company handcrafts over 700 designs of cookie cutters in a wide range of sizes, including nearly 50 awesome Halloween shapes (three different bats!). Buy bird shapes for your cousin the birder or hairdryer & hairbrush shapes for your hair stylist. Have fun creating an assortment for your favorite baker.

Every Litter Bit Counts Journal by Global Girlfriend, $20 -- These beautiful journals are handmade from nature's 'litter' -- they're decorated with the twigs & leaves & bark Balinese women find.

Cute Overload Calendar by, $12 -- 365 days of impossibly cute animal photos. OMG, need I say more? Redonkulous.

Kleen Kanteen from Greenfeet, $25 -- I love my Kleen Kanteen like crazy. This is the most eco-friendly, durable, & practical water bottle around. Comes in black, sleek stainless, & other colors. Also, Greenfeet has fantastic customer service, so buy the bottle from them.

Adopt-a-Bat from Bat Conservation International, $25 -- Support one of the few nonprofits dedicated to helping bats & preserving their habitats around the planet with a small donation. The recipient also gets a cute stuffed toy bat.

Skeleton Key Bottle Opener by Urban Outfitters, $12 -- Everyone needs another bottle opener around (in my opinion!), so why not one that looks like a key to a spooky old house?

Anne Taintor Emery Board Packs by Anne Taintor, $5 -- Useful & snarky, just what every girl needs in her purse.

Around the World in 12 Months Calendar by T&T's Real Travels (aka yours truly), $20 -- Yeah, pimping my own wares, but aren't the pictures pretty? I make this calendar for our family, & we sell it thru our CafePress shop. It showcases travel photos from this & past years.

Looking for more specifically gothy & spooky gift shopping? Check out the Gothic Charm School Holiday Gift Guide. I'll be wish-listing some of those things for myself for apres-xmas ;-)

Six holiday gifts you can make (no really, it's not that hard):

Because I'm a big fan of DIY gifts, next are a few projects that anyone with the bare minimum of crafting skills could whip up in an afternoon as a gift. I *big puffy heart* any hand-crafted gift I get, that means so much to me that someone took a little time & glued stuff together on my account, honest!

Coasters via Instructables -- Use travel or family photos or cutouts from old cards, magazines, calendars, or fancy paper. A nice way to keep drinks from messing up wood tabletops, & people need more coasters at parties.

Stamped Candles, Gothic Martha Stewart
Gardener's Hand Scrub via Northern Cottage -- A non-girly alternative to bath bombs & suchlike. Don't know any gardeners? It's still great for everyone with hands in need of soothing. Label it "Exfoliating Scrub" or "Rockstar Hand Scrub" or something clever & put it in nifty thrift-store jars.

Wine Glass Charms via Not Martha -- As she says, these are ridiculously easy to make, & you'll be aghast at how much stores charge for them. This tutorial uses simple beads, but I've gone crazy & added silver charms in spooky shapes. Do whatever fits your gift recipient.

Etched Glassware via Instructables -- Buy some thrift-store wine glasses or tumblers, get a pot of glass-etching creme, & go to town. You can design your own stencils (that adhesive, plastic-topped paper used to line kitchen drawers is ideal for making stencils) or buy ones at craft stores. I have a bat hole-punch that made stencils with to decorate goblets, & I used computer fonts to personalize a shotglass for a friend.

Stamp-Decorated Candles via Gothic Martha Stewart (aka yours truly) -- Ok, this does require one special (tho' not expensive) heat tool, but the effect is pretty awesome, if I do say so myself.

Decorated Office Supplies via Goth It Yourself -- Bane's charmingly gothed-up desk set is a great example of how you could brighten a co-worker or friend's cubicle. Take ordinary cups, boxes, etc., & paint them in designs that would appeal to the recipient. You could also recycle items found at a thrift-store.

Don't overlook the value of regifting & swapping:

Regifting Done Right via Yahoo! Shine -- Sometimes a great gift is already sitting in your closet. There's no shame in regifting, just make sure you follow these wise rules.

Swap Till Ya Drop via Yahoo! Green -- Cut down on the craziness of holiday shopping by arranging with your family to have everyone buy one good gift & do a 'yankee swap' on the holiday. It can be cheaper & more fun for groups.

Happy holidays & don't put the shopping or crafting off too late :-)


  1. Cute guide! :) Thank you!
    As always, I'm late with xmas gifts and will probably end up getting gift certificates for everyone...

  2. Sal Kaye - Thanks! Hope this inspires you to get started sooner ;-)