Stumped when it comes to wrapping up your holiday shopping? Not to worry; Jackalope Ranch has amassed a list of the top gifts for your friends and fam, from the fashion fanatic to the fitness buff. Here's our ultimate guide to getting your gift on this season.
By Katrina Montgomery
Art lovers are notoriously pretentious, which can make gift-giving extra stressful. Stress no more. We've got some ideas that will elicit that Mona Lisa smile from even the snobbiest critic.
Canvas Shoes by Joseph "Sentrock" Perez at bucketfeet.com
Joseph "Sentrock" Perez has been living in Chicago for a while now, but we've still got some hometown love for the artist who remains active in the Phoenix art scene. This summer, we found out that Sentrock won Bucketfeet's next artist contest, but we were even more excited last week to hear that the shoes would be available just in time for the holidays. Wearable art? Yes please. The shoes are $68 and available in men's and women's sizes.
Museum membership at Phoenix Art Museum
Think of it this way: Gifting a museum membership is like buying someone thousands of pieces of art that they don't have to find space for in their home. Membership to PAM comes with unlimited free admission and invitations to members-only exhibition previews, among other things. This is a must-have for any art enthusiast in the Valley. General membership is $75 and valid for two adults and any children or grandchildren under the age of 17. Visit www.phxart.org or call 602-257-2124.
Pottery by Annette Weaver at Practical Art
We've been lusting over Annette Weaver's pottery for a while now. The ceramic artist creates a wide assortment of functional pieces with amazing textures and bright colors -- we're fond of the luminarias, personally. You really can't go wrong with something so well-crafted and detailed. Pieces range from $89 to $325.
Small work by Laura Spalding Best at MADE Art Boutique
This may sound like a novel concept, but if you know someone who loves art, you might consider buying them... art. MADE Art Boutique showcases smaller works from local artists on its mantel every month, and the smaller size means the pieces are affordable without sacrificing quality. Through Friday, December 13, you can pick up a piece by Laura Spalding Best. Her paintings of cityscapes on metal platters are dreamy. The works range in price from $80 to $200.
Julianne Swartz: How Deep is Your catalog at Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art
It might sound weird to buy someone an exhibition catalog, but you're just gonna have to trust us on this one. The catalog for Julianna Swart's current exhibition at SMoCA is a work of art in itself.
If you want to be an extra awesome gift-giver, reserve spots for you and your gift-givee at Swartz's free artist talk on Tuesday, January 7, to go along with the catalog. Her show is not to be missed. The catalog is available in the SMoCA gift shop for $29.95.
By Becky Bartkowski
Shopping for the fashionable among us is never an easy task. Taste, after all, is subjective. Instead of taking a risk on this season's "it" bag or playing it safe with a gift card, shop for the serial shopper with confidence this holiday season. These gifts will leave the slickest, pickiest prima donna uncharacteristically giddy. Pinky swear.
ACI Nouveau Membership at Phoenix Art Museum Are you shopping for someone younger than 35 who would die for a group of gal pals to pour over the latest Vogue? Get your giftee a membership to PAM's Arizona Costume Institute Nouveau. The group works with the 35-and-overs of the Arizona Costume Institute to support the museum's fashion programming through style-savvy fundraisers. In the past, they've hosted Sylvia Plath biographer Elizabeth Winder and screened iconic films, including Blow Up. ACI Nouveau membership is $25 per year, and being a member of PAM is a requirement that'll cost $40 for students and $75 for adults. Call 602-257-2124 or visit www.arizonacostumeinstitute.com/ACI/Nouveau.
Turquoise Thunderbird Necklace from Against The Grain This handmade necklace from jeweler Ashley Weber's Against The Grain is a statement piece that'll transcend seasonal trends. The mythological creature is rendered in sterling silver and turquoise on a 30-inch chain, and it's sure to elevate any wardrobe.
Life of Pi T-Shirt from Urban Outfitters Greg Kerr's Phoenix-based literature-inspired T-shirt company Miles to Go has officially hit the big time.
Urban Outfitters picked up Kerr's Life of Pi crew-neck and the hip-kid retailer is currently carrying it online for $24. UO is the shirt's exclusive seller, and Kerr, a 2012 Big Brain finalist, notes that, just like all the MTG shirts folks buy directly from his site, all the shirts purchased through UO were printed locally at Acme.
It's the perfect present for the bookish type who has an eye for strong graphics and a knack for dressing up casual pieces. See more from Kerr at www.milestogoclothing.com.
The Fashion Book @ Changing Hands For the aspiring fashion know-it-all, The Fashion Book is required reading. Vogue famously dubbed it "the fashion bible," and, lucky for those who worship the likes of Karl Lagerfeld and Coco Chanel, Phaidon released a new edition in 2013 with an illustrated cover by Mats Gustafson.
It collects 200 years of fashion history, stitching together stories of designers, retailers, photographers, and models. Pick it up at Changing Hands for $59.95.
Made-to-Order Design from Cleo & Clementine If you are terrified of buying your stylish pal an item in the wrong size (which, in all honestly, you probably should be), give the gift of custom clothing this holiday season. Designer Monique Sandoval of Ouma and her C&C team will create a one-of-a-kind piece for your stylish pal who loves being in the know when it comes to the next big designer. All you need to do is decide what kind of item she'd appreciate. The shop's custom options range from a skirt for $120 to a special occasion silk dress for $520. Get the gift card at the shop or online at www.cleoandclementine.com. 5 Gifts for the Tech Geek
By Katrina Montgomery
When we think about shopping for the technology-loving people in our lives, one word comes to mind: expensive. But the truth is, you really don't need to purchase the latest gadget or newest gaming system to make your tech geek happy. Here's what's on our list.
Headphone Stand at hecklerdesign.com
Headphones are one of the more awkward tech accessories to deal with -- it seems they inevitably end up stuffed in drawers, cords tangled. If you know someone who has a really nice pair of headphones, this is the perfect gift. To up the ante a bit, you could also pair this stand with a really nice pair of headphones to make a complete gift set. Either way, we're thrilled by this locally designed display. The stand is $29 and comes in five different colors with a sixth option in stainless steel for $49. Purchase the over-the-ear headphone stand at hecklerdesign.com
Membership at HeatSync Labs
Local hackerspace HeatSync Labs is the perfect place for tech enthusiasts to make connections and gain access to the tools for making things happen. HeatSync Labs is a co-operative run space with everything from a 3D printer to a sewing machine available for use. For a look behind the scenes, check out our video from Best of Phoenix 2012. Membership starts at $25 a month. Visit heatsynclas.org for more information.
Alchemy Goods iPad Case at For the People at UNION at the Biltmore
If your tech geek is also interested in design, For the People is the place to go. Right now, the store is carrying a line of products by Alchemy Goods that are made out of recycled bicycle tire tubes. It might sound weird, but it looks cool in an industrial design kinda way. The iPad cases are $36. Shoulder bags and wallets are also available.
Chisel iDock at customatic.com
The Chisel iDock by customatic.com allows you to keep your iPhone or iPad propped up on a flat service while charging. Handcrafted out of bamboo, the display can be rotated vertically or horizontally depending on need. This would look equally great as a desk accessory or on a night stand. The Chisel iDock is available at $39 for iPhone 4 and 5, $49 for iPad mini, and $65 for iPad. There is a customatic.com store located in the UNION at the Biltmore, but they don't always have all items stocked there. You can order the dock directly online at customatic.com.
Neuromancer at Changing Hands Bookstore
Probably everyone living in the digital age should read this book, but especially people who are super into the Internet.
The 1984 novel by William Gibson has been cited as a possible inspiration for the way that the Internet actually developed, and it's often called the seminal work in the cyberpunk genre.
The story itself stars a hacker who sets out on a mysterious job, which leads him into a tangled world of international intrigue. You can pick up a copy of Neuromancer for $8 at Changing Hands Bookstore. 5 Gifts for the Fitness Buff
By Katie Johnson
Everyone has at least one of these types of friends. The friend who is at the gym before you even have your first cup of coffee. The friend who is already getting a jump start on their New Year's resolution, while the rest of gorge ourselves on holiday sweets and savories.
This holiday season, give your fit friend a helping hand on his or her highroad to self-improvement with these locally sold (or made) athletic gifts from around the Valley.
Fixed gear bike at State Bicycle Co.
For fitness buffs who prefer two wheels over four, State Bicycle Co. in Tempe and Phoenix offers customizable rides that are more than just leg candy. Basic models of the custom fixed gear bikes start at $429, with premium upgraded models available for $649. Visit statebicycle.com or call 1-855-55-STATE to get the full list of bike options and place an order.
Membership at The Madison Improvement Club
Get your endorphin junkie the gift that keeps on giving with a five-class package for $68 or, if you're really feeling generous, a 25-class package for $300. The central Phoenix studio offers a variety of yoga and cycling classes including phenomenal flow, party on a bike, candlelight flow, and the detox practice. For more information, visit themadisonphoenix.com or call 602-296-7118.
Running shoes at Runner's Den
What better gift to give your cardio sidekick then a new pair of kicks from the Runner's Den? This sales staff at this mom-and-pop running shop know their customers like the back of their, well, feet. They offer all the big-name brands, including Brooks, Asics, Hoka, Mizuno, and Saucony, with prices ranging anywhere from $84 to $160. Visit www.runnersdenaz.com or call 602-277-4333.
Reusable water bottle at Sutra Midtown
Obviously the more you sweat, the more you need to hydrate. Which is why the reusable water bottle is the cheap but essential ingredient to a fitness buff gift basket. Sutra Midtown offers BPA-free insulated thermal tumblers and stainless steel water bottles to keep you cool while you heat things up. Both are available for $10. Visit www.sutramidtown.com or call 602-253-9525.
Travel tote at Frances
Recreation reaches new stylish heights with a tote from Frances. Whether it's Orla Kiley flowers or more unisex prints like a cactus or a bike, these totes are a much appreciated alternative to the rank duffle bag of locker rooms past. Prices range from $70 to $120 with a larger selection found Frances' Medlock Plaza store. Visit www.francesvintage.com or call 602-279-5467.
By Katrina Montgomery
With the DIY movement slowly but surely taking over the world, it's starting to feel like everyone we know is an amateur gardener. Whether you're shopping for a seasoned green thumb or a complete newbie, we promise these gifts will make your gardener friends bloom.
Air plant at Southwest Gardener Tillasandia is a tropical plant variety that grows entirely without soil, earning it the nickname "air plant." When we spotted them sitting in the little bulb pictured above, we immediately thought Christmas ornament, but they make great decorations year-round. Normally, we don't think it's the best idea to buy a gardener a plant (because who knows what they are looking for), but the air plant is as unobtrusive as they come. Oh yeah, did we mention they are $5 each? Air plants for the whole family!
Orla Kiely Gardening Supplies at Frances Frances has a great selection of Orla Kiely gardening gear right now, with a variety of tools for the fashionable gardener. We're particularly fond of the matching apron and gloves. While any of this gear is perfect for a novice, we'd recommend the patterned pots for someone who's been in the gardening game for a while -- chances are, they're already set on spades and hoes at this point. Gloves are $28, the apron is $52, and pots are $28.
Special Topics Classes at Desert Botanical Garden The Desert Botanical Garden offers kind of an insane amount of classes. Seriously, take a look at the class listings. Depending on your gardener's individual interests, you can buy them a class on anything from growing culinary herbs to building a meditation garden. If you like gardening too, take the class together to sweeten the deal. Classes at the Botanical Garden range from $30 to $100 based on topic. Visit www.dbg.org for more info.
Grey Thumb Concrete Cacti at the Hard Goods Official Outpost in Modern Manor Give the gift of snark with grey thumb concrete cacti by Hard Goods. For the gardener with a sense of humor, this gift is spot on. Aside from being admittedly tongue-in-cheek, these cacti are actually incredibly cool and well-crafted. Hard Goods also offers live succulents in handmade concrete pots, if that's a little more your style. Grey thumb concrete cacti come in two shades. One set of three is $124.
Custom Vertical Garden at Flower Street Urban Gardens A custom vertical garden by Flower Street Urban Gardens is the ideal gift for the gardener who just needs more room. When we caught up with Flower Street owner Alex Billingsley earlier this year, he talked to us about how the vertical orientation makes it easier to spend time with your plants without breaking your back. Sounds ideal to us. Prices vary based on a number of factors, but you can get a three-tiered starter kit for $400. 5 Gifts for the Dance Lover
By Lauren Saria
Whether you're shopping for an aspiring prima ballerina or a semi-professional tango artist, we've got plenty of gift ideas that will have the dance lover in your life strut, swing, and sway with joy.
The Red Shoes at Zia Record Exchange
Director Martin Scorsese has called this 1948 film one that "plays in [his] heart." And it's easy to understand why. The film tells the story of an aspiring ballerina torn between love and her need to dance -- and it does so in beautiful fantastical color. You can purchase a used copy at Zia for $15.99 or a new one for $30.99. Call ahead to locate a copy or to have it sent to the store closest to you.
Tickets to a Studio Spotlight at Ballet Arizona
There's no need for ballet to be a stuffy, foreign affair. If you're looking for a more casual and intimate experience, get tickets to one of Ballet Arizona's Studio Spotlights. The performances take place at the company's newly built Dorrance Theatre and give a behind-the-scenes look at a show before it opens. The company performs selected scenes from the upcoming show, and attendees participate in a question-and-answer session. Studio Spotlight performances take place now through April and cost $30 for the public.
Gift card to Barry's Dancewear
You'll find everything a dancer could need at Barry's Dancewear in Scottsdale. The store has been around for generations and can provide pointe shoe fittings and all the tights, leotards, and shoes a dancer needs. Though any dance lover would love to find a pretty hot pink leotard (like this one) and matching leg warmers (like these) under the tree, avoid the need for returns with a gift certificate to the store. You can even purchase them online and send them to the recipient via e-mail.
One month of classes at Abby Bella Dance Studio
Give the gift of fitness and fun this year by signing your loved one up for a month of unlimited classes at Abby Bella Dance Studio. The dance/fitness studio offers all sorts of classes, including ballet, belly dance, jazz, tap, barre, hip-hop, yoga, and Pilates. In short, no matter whom you're buying for, they're bound to find something they enjoy. The studio offers a new student special that's $39 for a month of unlimited classes and can be purchased online.
Tickets to Mark Morris Dance at Mesa Arts Center
Choreographer Mark Morris has been celebrated for his one-of-a-kind musicality. His company, the Mark Morris Dance Group, was once the national dance company of Belguim. They will come to Mesa Arts Center this January for two nights. They're known for their commitment to live music, which has been a feature at every performance since 1996. Tickets cost either $30 or $60 for the show on Tuesday, January 28, or Wednesday, January 29. Performances begin at 7:30 p.m.