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Gift Guide 2016

Bah Humbug.

No one will blame you if 2016 has put you in a less than jolly mood. No matter how much eggnog you pound, there is no changing this steaming pile of ... coal that we call 2016 into a diamond.

So embrace it, spike your cocoa and hit the local stores of Eugene to bring a little holiday spirit to your loved ones this season.

 

Parental Pampering

Day and night, they care for the next generation. They wipe noses, teach them to share and encourage them to be kind and stand up to the playground bully.

If you have a parent on your holiday list this year, acknowledge the bags under their eyes and begin the pampering process.

A charming house tucked next to Vero Espresso beckons the weak and weary to their massage table. For $70, you can treat your favorite parent to an hour of relaxation and help them get rid of that pain in their neck for at least an hour. Stop by Pearl Day Spa at 1375 Pearl Street in Eugene or call 541-214-2166 to pick up a gift certificate.

Parents adore their children. If they didn’t, there is no way they would take care of the double slugs that appear during a cold. If you don’t know what those are, count yourself lucky and pick up a New School gift card for the parents that do. New School offers a date night every first Friday of the month. From 6 to 9 pm, potty-trained kiddos between the ages of 2 and 12 can make crafts and play games with the crew at New School. Give your weary friends the gift of being able to go to dinner at a restaurant that doesn’t have a kids menu or crayons on the table. Call New School at ‚Äč541-650-7887 or find them at 207 E. 5th Avenue, Ste. 120, in Eugene.

Perhaps a little magic is in order. Keven Craft Rituals at 268 W. 7th Avenue has a miracle elixir to erase the weeks of sleepless nights your favorite parent has suffered or make their skin glow. Their Raw Cacao body scrub is made by hand, with premium ingredients including raw cacao, organic coconut oil, vanilla, Dead Sea salt, Himalayan and epsom salts to increase their ability to ease sore muscles, mineralize and soften skin. $14. A bathtub surrounded with candles and foam bath letters, a lock on the door and a stereo blasting tranquil music to cover the jingling door handles might be exactly what your loved one needs.

 

Memorable Experiences

If last year’s “perfect gift” collects dust in their closet and they are just impossible to buy for because they own everything you think of, give them the gift of experience. 

At Bounce Gymnastics they can twirl and glide through the air like graceful acrobats during Bounce’s Aerial Yoga classes. Instructor Naja Rossoff says the classes are welcome to all ages (18-plus) and all athletic abilities, but suggests this not be your first workout class. Rossoff says that Aerial Yoga is a great way to stretch and reduce stress. Each yoga class’ shavasana (final pose) is in a hammock — seriously, the workout ends with a catnap in a hammock. Purchase a single class for $15 or $72 for a six-class punch card; see bouncegymnastics.com.

For $50, you can snag a gift card to some of Eugene’s finest restaurants. They’ll say, “Oh, how sweet.” Or you can take that same amount to Pepperberries, 2538 Willakenzie Road, and sign them up for a cooking class (or let them choose their own class with a gift card). There is an old saying that goes something like, “Buy a friend dinner, and they’ll eat for a night. Give a friend cooking classes, and they’ll invite you over for dinner again and again.”

Teach that same friend to dance and they’ll never be at a loss for what to do on a Saturday night. Track Town Swing Club offers an eight-week Lindy hop class for $40. Classes progress from week to week, taking a novice dancer to a bonafide swing dancer. In no time, they’ll be doing the “sugar push” and you’ll be left wondering what that even means. For more info, visit tracktownswing.com or call 541-238-5592. 

 

Kiddos

The world is only as small as a child’s imagination. If we want to build a bigger world, we start with the children.

Building blocks like the Tegu magnetic blocks found at Dancing Weasel (30 E. 17th Avenue; 541-246-8781) are perfect for constructing fanciful cityscapes. Tegu’s simple magnetic blocks were created to foster curiosity and imagination. The 14-piece “Sunset Set” runs $37.95, and the 24-piece “Tint Set” will set you back $68.95. According to the company, the blocks are made from responsibly harvested wood by Hondurans who receive a living wage and career development, ensuring a brighter future for both your little builder and the creator of his or her toy.

Making memories is half the fun of hanging out with kids. Splash! at Lively Park gives children the opportunity to do that all year long, regardless of the weather. If the kid in your life is missing summer at the pool, snag them a Splash! Fun Pack, which will give them 10 trips to the waterpark. $47 for in-district or $60 for out-of-district. Both Willamalane and the YMCA offer gift certificates and lots of activities for kiddos, so if you’re stumped, give them the choice to pick what course is best for them.

Schnulli are green-striped monsters who, when snuggled with children at night, eat all your little’s worries away so that their dream world isn’t invaded by something ominous — at least, according to Schnulli creator Sorgenfresser. This plush lovey with a zipper mouth encourages kiddos to write down their worries and fears and then feed them to Schnulli, so that the pair can get through things together. You can find Schnulli at Bambini, 205 W. 5th Avenue, for $26.99.

 

Personalized Presents

Perhaps you cringe at the thought of anything that lacks a personalized touch or maybe you spend too many hours scrolling through Pinterest — or know someone who does. You want this season to scream Pinterest-y perfection, but you and your glue gun are not seeing eye to eye.

A quick trip to Down to Earth (532 Olive Street) will hook you up with an adorable Kitsch’n Glam coffee mug at $10.39. A gnome mug or simple adorable fox coffee mug will warm the cockles of your friend’s heart. Pair that with any selection of Yogi teas and you have a winner. You can pick the Cold Season sampler for the friend who catches every bug, Sweet Tangerine Positive Energy for someone who’s had a rough year or Woman’s Mother-to-Be for that soon-to-be momma you know who is tossing her cookies. The Yogi teas have supportive sayings and they are sure to add a personalized touch to a cute mug. 

Soft Star makes a deliciously soft and comfy handmade sheepskin slipper. The lightweight but impossibly cozy slipper is the perfect thing to slip over tired holiday toes. Soft Star Shoes are handcrafted in Corvallis, Oregon, and can be purchased at softstarshoes.com for $120. Fill with foot cream, nail clippers and some nail polish and you have the perfect slipper to encourage relaxation.

A recipe card and a quick stop at Sundance Natural Foods, 748 E. 24th Avenue, can make short work of your Christmas list. Write down the best recipe you know, then go to the store and snag all the odds and ends to make it. Place it in a nice basket and, voilà — a simple gift for anyone on your list.

 

Foodie

If Folgers coffee is to be believed, Christmas cannot start without a beloved relative brewing a fresh pot of Folgers coffee. After a life spent in the Pacific Northwest, you know calling a cup of Folgers “coffee” is akin to blasphemy. However, if a coffee montage is what spells holiday for you, check out Eugene’s own Red Ape Cinnamon coffee (redapecinnamon.com). A certified organic blend of Sumatran medium-roast coffee and Red Ape cinnamon will give your holiday morning a festive zip. For $11.99, you can snag your javaholic a 10-ounce bag of ground coffee.

Perhaps your list includes an 80-something-year-old who could use a superfood boost. Show them some love with Genesis Juice’s Superfood Smoothie. Organic apples, organic bananas and organic spirulina combine to create a great meal on the go, chockfull of nutrients and antioxidants. Sure, chocolate may be the way to say “I love your taste buds,” but superfoods are the way to say, “I just can’t imagine my world without you, so never die.” Check out genesisorganicjuice.com.

There is no such thing as a magic wand, but there are HoneyStix and they might as well be magic wands. With a quick pop to release their gooey, yummy treat, HoneyStix have a way of making you feel 6 years old again. You can find four classic GloryBee HoneyStix flavors packed in a canister for easy storage for $31.75 at glorybee.com. Foodie mouths will salivate at the lemon, lime, cinnamon and mint HoneyStix.

 

Artsy Fartsy

Do you have budding Picassos on your list or people who just enjoy looking at art? A membership to the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art ($45) will give them unlimited admission to the museum for the year. They will receive invitations to the opening receptions for major exhibitions and to the members’ season preview party, as well as advance notice about upcoming special events including lectures, films, workshops and more. Call the museum at 541-346-0974.

Steal their phone, snoop, send yourself their favorite photo and take it to Dot Dotson’s at 1668 Willamette in Eugene. The staff at Dot Dotson’s will take that photo and in about a week return it to you printed on metal. That’s right: a beautiful metal slab for their wall. Photo gurus will ensure that the photo you selected will look great by helping you pick the perfect size and making sure the photo will print exactly the way you envisioned it. Prices start at $15 for an aluminum 4x6.

 

Booze

If sugar coating it doesn’t work, pouring copious amounts of hard alcohol all over your soul should do the trick.

It’s a year that has been nothing if not hard ass. Distilled right here in the good ol’ Eug, HardAss Vodka should numb things nicely. Served delightfully over ice or with a bit of tart cranberry, a bottle of vodka is a simple way to let someone you love know you care. $17.95 for a fifth at South Liquor, 2866 Willamette Street. 

Elderberry is an antioxidant, and some say it lowers cholesterol, improves vision, boosts immune systems, improves heart health and helps coughs, colds, flu, bacterial and viral infections and tonsillitis. WildCraft Cider Works’ Elderberry Perry takes elderberries grown in Cottage Grove and ferments them whole in a red Bartlett perry. According to WildCraft, the flavor is “floral, vinous, fruit-forward berries [that] hail from the rugged Oregon wilderness into a rich and full-bodied pear complexity.” Or, think of it as a healthy booze to help the drinker survive catching the ... um ... flu while visiting with family this holiday season. Pick up a bottle of Elderberry Perry at The Ciderhouse at WildCraft, 390 Lincoln Street in Eugene, 541-735-3506, for $17. 

One of Eugene’s newest rising stars in the brewing world is Alesong, which snagged a gold medal in the Brett Beer category for “Touch of Brett” at the 2016 Oregon Great American Beer Festival. Alesong has been making waves with their focus on oak-aging, Belgian-inspired brewing techniques. With no flagship beers, Alesong will give the connoisseur on your list a one-on artisan beer experience. Snag Alesong’s brews at The Bier Stein and include a gift certificate for you and your buddy to head back and have a little talk therapy over a pint of one of The Bier Stein’s constantly evolving kegs on tap.

 

Metaphorical Coal

Santa’s list isn’t the only one that includes someone who deserves coal. You really hate the idea of parting with cold, hard cash to bestow them with any kind of holiday cheer, and like hell you’re breaking out the glue gun to craft for their cold, shrunken hearts.

In the spirit of the generosity of Mike Pence, make a donation in their name. Think — and we mean really think — of the snarkiest thing you could give money to. Planned Parenthood is a great place to start, but the Eugene Mission (eugenemission.org), Greenhill Humane Society (green-hill.org) and Mount Pisgah Arboretum (mountpisgaharboretum.com) are worthy of your generous gift. Perhaps the Eugene Symphony (eugenesymphony.org) for the world’s most hardcore headbanger. Even if the idea of giving a gift to them makes your skin crawl, you know that a deserving nonprofit will have a slightly better 2017 because of your gift. 

Or ship that annoying person a glitter bomb. Pick up glitter and fill your Christmas cards. Punishment to the guilty rendered.

Happy holidays, and enjoy that the end of 2016 is almost here.

May 2017 be better.

 

Christmas Cannabis Contributions

According to Travis McKenzie, one of the owners of TJ Organic Provisions, “a gift of flowers is always a good thing.” If you or your loved one needs a little extra help getting in the holiday spirit, you’re in luck that 2016 ushered in the use of recreational edibles in Oregon. For cannabis noobs, McKenzie recommends a Willamette Valley Gummy at a 15-milligram dose, or Carnivores caramels. He also suggests Durban Poison as a good gift nugget for the holidays. Durban Poison is what you could call a diet weed: Its THCV curbs the appetite and has an energetic, almost coffee-like buzz. Turning down cookies and getting work done while enjoying a relaxed holiday feeling? Groovy. Durban Poison runs $12 a gram before tax. 

Twenty-five different glassblowing artists can be found at Cornerstone Glass at 446 E. 13th Avenue, 541-844-1585. Each has a special twist on the traditional pipe and with prices ranging from $6 to more than $100, the perfect pipe to unwind will be found.

A hand-carved yew wood Nug Jar is the perfect addition to the collection of a cannabis connoisseur. Starting at $80 at Mona Beads, 1712 Willamette Street, this hippie humidor helps to keep weed fresh and uncontaminated as well as classy. 

 

Gardener

Mycobacterium vaccae is a probiotic found in soil that is thought to have the same antidepressant qualities as Prozac. Keep your loved one happy all year long by keeping their hands in the dirt. Johnson Brothers Garden Market at 91444 Coburg Road has the perfect gift to make sure hands get nice and filthy at least once a month. Their plant-of-the-month club will hook your giftee up with the perfect plant surprise every month. Members are encourage to pick up their newest addition the first Thursday of the month from 4 to 6 pm, where they can rub elbows with other gardeners, or they can call to schedule a pick up time. The plant of the month is $80 for six months or $150 for 12 months. It’s a small price to pay to give the gift of happiness all year long.