Remember Dec. 23, 2005? The day you made the promise to start your holiday shopping in June? Didn't keep that promise, did ya? And now you've got last-minute-gift-buying disorder, or LMGBD. No worries, we've got a cure if you're willing to put forth just a few more shopping hours. Behold, CityBeat's 2006 last-minute holiday gift guide.
Step 1: Make your list
Step 2: Assess your budget
Step 3: Screw the budget. Budgets are for people do their shopping in June.
You know that bike you got for Christmas when you were 8? Parked next to the tree with a big red bow? Recreate it for someone worth a good chunk of your paycheck with an “Amsterdam” from Electra bike's “Townie” series (www.electrabike.com). The Amsterdam's like the Cadillac of bikes: classy and comfortable. Check out the fenders, the enclosed chain guard and the rear carrier for a little cruise-and-carry trip to the market. Or, for that same retro vibe, check out Bianchi's “Milano” (pictured)-no carrier, but it's got a kickstand for tree-front parking (www.bianchi usa.com). Find both at Adams Avenue Bikes, 619-295-8500.
The study of women
Oh, happy day for the ladies when Anthropologie opened in Chula Vista's Otay Ranch Town Center. (What, you didn't hear the news?). Guys-scoot on over there, quick-like, pick up a catalog and push it in front of your girl. Give her a pen and tell her to make big Xs next to what she likes (be sure to get her size, too) and then turn yourself around and head back to the store. Or, be brave and go in blind. Don't want to take a chance on a wrong size? The accessories are classy yet cute and quite unlike what you'll find anyplace else. Looking for smaller gift items? There's fun stuff well-placed throughout the store like these little latte cups (pictured above) that come in six retro-kitchen colors, $10 for four.
This is not your daughter's pop-up book. It isn't work safe (unless you have a really awesome job or a really kinky boss), but wrapped up and given to the right person, The Pop-up Book of Sex will heat up the cold season. With pages dedicated to kama sutra, spanking, office sex, the mile-high club and many more, the pop-ups themselves use all three of their dimensions for maximum pleasure. And yes, there are all sorts of, uh, tabs and dials to enhance the action. Great bedroom gift for a significant other, and can also be given to single friend who needs a prop to help seal the deal. Leave it on the coffee table, have a couple of drinks, and who knows what will pop up? ($29.95, published by HarperCollins)
Fresh is another one of those stores that seems to be everywhere but San Diego. The skincare/make-up/soap-and-fragrance store's earned a reputation for its “Milk” line (Chocolate Milk soap-mmm). Recently, Fresh hauled out a new line, “Sugar” and new pretty-pretty packaging. (The packaging's as good as what's in it, actually.) Luckily, you can find Fresh at Sephora (Fashion Valley Mall and Otay Ranch Town Center). Gifts sets run around $35. The “Gloss Absolute” lipgloss compacts are $24, but worth it.
Legs of luxury
Tired of the hole-in-the-crotch jeans your significant other's been trolling around in? Levi's Capital E jeans are, according to the company, made by hand-which explains the high price ($150 to $180 range). But, hey, anything to get him to throw out those flasher pants. They come in five different cuts, from 501s to the “Stacked Skinny” jean for the guy who can pull off the matchstick-leg look. There's a women's collection, too. Available at the Levi's store in Horton Plaza. www.us.levi.com.
Oui, mon petit
Le Crueset makes attractive, sturdy cookware, but it's damn heavy. Get a piece for mum and she'll think you've wrapped three bars of gold. Affordable and less weighty, the 8-ounce “petite casserole” can be used to heat up sauce in the microwave, serve up a dip, bake a mini bread pudding or feed the cat in style. At only $15, it comes in Le Crueset's trademark colors and will score lots of “it's so cute” points. Find it at William-Sonoma in the Fashion Valley Mall.
Maker's Mark is so festive with its red-wax-sealed top. It's a sipper and a mixer-great with ginger ale or on the rocks. What makes Maker's a cool gift is that your giftee can, for free, become a “Maker's Mark Ambassador,” which means his or her name will be assigned to a barrel of Maker's. When that barrel matures, your giftee gets a first taste. And each year, the Maker's folks send out nifty gifts to their Ambassadors, like shot glasses and personalized address labels.
If you'd like to gift some booze, but are looking for something less expensive, try Afflingem Noel Ale, available at BevMo, $7.50 for a 750-ml bottle. Brewed in Belgium, this nutty brown ale packs a punch. If you can find it, Delirium's Belgian Christmas Ale is equally tasty, if not more so.
With the Internet, video games, hundreds of channels, iPods, satellite radio and on-demand everything, it can be easy to forget just how powerful poetry and the written word can be. Allen Ginsberg may be best known for the anger and passion of “Howl,” but he was a master of language for half a century. This all-encompassing collection-Allen Ginsberg, Collected Poems 1947-1997-more than 1,000 pages long, is perfect for the technology-obsessed, giving them an outlet to unplug, tune in and turn the page. Oh, and luddites will dig it, too. ($39.95, published by HarperCollins)