Holiday Gift Guide: Under 25

Friends, it's that time of year again -- time to open your hearts (and wallets) to the magic of the holiday spirit. It's easy to get caught up the in the whirlwind of Cabbage Patch Kids, Tickle Me Elmos and Zhu Zhu pets, but let's all agree on something: giving gifts should feel good, and getting your post holiday bank statement shouldn't induce an aneurysm. So, kick back and celebrate with a variety of fiscally fun gifts that will have everyone singing joy to the world  -- all you boys and girls.

holiday gift guide under 25

Gifts for everyone! Clockwise from top left: Marie Gardeski hand soap $20 | Gracia + Selena gold leafed soup bowl $15 | 35mm pinhole camera kit $27 | Stephen Crowhurst playing cards $14.

holiday gift guide under 25

Groovy expandable vinyl bags made from recycled billboards collapse into flat discs for easy packing. Stretch Bag $16.

cashmere arm warmers

Stay warm Cyndi Lauper style: recycled cashmere and angora arm warmers by cashmeredejavu on Etsy $10.

thinkgeek shirts

Shirts for the lovable nerd in your life: My Blood Is Rich In Irony shirt, $12 | Heavy Metal shirt $16.

holiday gift guide under 25

Statement jewelry that won't break the bank: Diamond Ring in red acrylic $12.

holiday gift guide under 25

Rock out with your bling out. Ear buds $10.

holiday gift guide under 25

Part Francis Bacon, part intergalactic apocalypse, 100% awesome. Disco Peak print by Ricky Allman $20.

holiday gift guide under 25

All they want to do is dance. Critters Windup $12.

holiday gift guide under 25

Find out if cats really always land on their feet. Cat-a-pult $10.

holiday gift guide under 25

Streamlined design makes cooking fun tolerable. Sagaform stainless steel and wood cake serving set $22 | Sagaform self watering herb pot $20

holiday gift guide under 25

Ahoy matey! These napkin rings can be custom made with your initials. From Brooklynrehab on Etsy. Set of six $24.

holiday gift guide under 25

High style shakers will add pep to your prep. Icosa by Tai Design $29.

holiday gift guide under 25

Clean your plate and uncover a colorful surprise. Eating brussel sprouts has never been so fun! Poketo's The Middletons series, set of two $24.

holiday gift guide under 25

You know you want to. Fisticup $15.

holiday gift guide under 25

Have some Mondrian with your Lichtenstein. I want these tumblers so badly... $8 each.

holiday gift guide under 25

Drinking makes learning fun. Coastermaths, set of five $22.

holiday gift guide under 25

I know what Karly wants for Christmas... Wild Horses kitchen towel $12.

Shall I admit that I kind of despise Christmas? Whenever December rolls around I get antsy and Grinchy, and I start cursing a lot under (and over) my breath. But this little dude has melted my icy, two sizes too small heart.

holiday gift guide under 25

Happy lil' Christmas gnome, handmade by Stephanie of Even Cleveland. Tie him to presents or hang him from your tree. For $7, that's a whole lot of love.

Tomorrow Karly will be back with a deluge of great gifts under $50, so come on back and bring your checkbook.

I promise it won't hurt a bit.

Holiday Gift Guide: Under $500 (For High Rollaz Only)

Yesterday in Austin it was 81 degrees at noon, then snowing at midnight. My sinuses don't know whether old man winter is coming or going, but the calendar is telling me that Santa Claus is coming to town scarily soon. Thus, therefore, anon, I shall present another day of gift guide goodies, this time for all you high class big spenders.

dollar ring

But not so high class that you can afford to buy a diamond encrusted bling ring from anywhere other than Sears -- on sale for $299! Whoo hoo!

I have to say that this guide was crazy hard for me to put together... after all, the only thing I would spend $500 on is a bedroom set or couch from Craigslist. $500 for an unspecified gift offends my sense of frugality, so for you lucky folks with a fat wad of benjamins burning a hole in the pocket of your woolen Armani trousers, I have done my very best to choose luxurious treasures that seem worth their ponderous prices. Breathe easy -- there are no Tiffany key fobs or Hermes boxes included anywhere within this post.

kartell gnomes

You know what I think is worth spending money on? Gnomes. And if I could get that figure for under $500, I'd pay for that, too. Atilla or Napoleon gnome tables, designed by Starck for Kartell, $315 each, at Y Lighting.

overstock blankets

In my opinion, natural fibers are always worth the extra buck (or two hundred). On left: Italian Made Washable Cashmere Blanket, king-sized for $270, at Overstock. On right: Dandy Italian-Made Cashmere Fringed Throw, $200, at Overstock. (Overstock has fantastic sheets, too.)

warm blankets

Did I mention that I'm really cold natured? Sorry about the sketchy pictures, but I know you have all seen these blankets splashed across the pages of glossy blogs everywhere... On the left: Alpaca Fur Blanket available in white, ivory and brown, $499, at Amazon. On right: Yves Delorme Mohair blankets, on sale for $200-$480 depending on size, Heirloom Iron Bed Company.

reform school blanket

Yet another blanket, but I saved the best for last: LADAK "Wilhelm" Blanket made of unique recycled materials, $285 and 15% of profits will be donated to an Amsterdam shelter for the homeless, at ReForm School. Make sure you enter "2" into the quanity box and ship the extra one to me!

fornasetti plates

These Fornasetti plates from his famous "Themes and Variations" series sure beat Precious Moments figurines as great annual gifts for the savvy collector. $206 each, from Unica Home.

supermarket city plates

Or why not visit New Orleans, DC, Las Vegas and Dubai, this Christmas? notNeutral has introduced four more plates in its "City Plates" series. Hang them on the wall for cultured a mix of sculpture, art and geography. $180 for four, at Supermarket.


Actually, Karly turned me on to Supermarket as a supersource for shopping. They have an awesome assortment of carefully curated art and objects by individuals and small businesses. Case in point: Gold leafed, multi-tiered, Sweets and Desserts Tray, by Blaue Blume, $249 and totally worth it, at Supermarket. Pop-Up Forest in 18k or Silver Plate, by Melissa Borrell, $150, at Supermarket. She also has pop out snowflakes for sale.

war bowl

Not to be outdone, Generate Design also has some pretty snazzy tablewares. I've had my eye on that War Bowl made of fused soldiers from the Battle of Waterloo (apparently fought between France and Britain, for those of us with holes in out historical knowledge) for months now. Since, I have a $500 imaginary budget now, I think I'll buy one for myself. War Bowl, by mosleymeetswilcox, $389, at Generate. Crazy Cast Banana Bowl -- in gold, of course! -- by Harry Allen, $119, at Generate.


My other obesession besides blankets is ceramics. Of course, I usually buy mine at thrift stores, but with a grown up budget, I'd run with the big dogs. Clockwise from top left: Vintage White Handmade German Vase, $165, at Ornaments and Objects. Blue Sixties German Vase by Horst Kerstan, $365, at Ornaments and Objects. Red Sixties Jopeko Vase, on sale for $200, at Ornaments and Objects. Blue and Gold Eighties Vase by Gerhard Liebenthron, $145 on sale for $85!, at Ornaments and Objects.

rollei digital

I don't have much in this gift guide for kids or gents because at this price point they all want Wiis and iPhones, but for the guy (or gal) who has an anachronist's taste for technology, these digital cameras will fit the bill nicely. And it's never to early to teach junior what a Leica is. On left: Minox Leica Mini Digital Camera with gold dust trim, $350, at Urban Outfitters. On right: Sweet-ass Rolleiflex Mini Digital Camera, $399, at Urban Outfitters. It even comes in red.


For Christmas, ice is always nice. Buy your man these cufflinks made from vintage watches and he'll always remember who loves him, because that's what Christmas is all about: cheesy sentimentality. Omega Rose Gold Cufflinks, $485, at The ladies will appreciate this faceted cast sterling Form One Ring, $265, at La Pisette. And if you really want to wow her, slip this vintage 80's Italian necklace of silver and paste stones into her stocking. $500, at Carole Tanenbaum vintage.

laurie brown

Meanwhile, I'll take these beauties from Laurie Brown Jewelry, if you please. Rat Bone Necklace cast in gold, $448, at Etsy. Gold Rose Thorn earrings, $282, at Etsy. Actually, I'll take pretty much anything she makes. That lady is a jewelry genius with super style.

Does your special someone have an unsightly gap on the wall... or in their geographic knowledge? This 1957 "Asia" Junior Size Pulldown Map on canvas from Three Potato Four will surely fill the void. $250.

lisa congdon

If you know someone who can't see the forest for the trees, give them this orginal acryclic on canvas painting of a Birch Forest, by Lisa Congdon, via Etsy.

Oh, and finally... my favorite gifts of all. BOOKS!

book montage

You are probably thinking, what the hell kind of book goes in the "Under $500" category? How about the kind that is chock full of amazing photography, probably a first edition, and definitely SIGNED BY THE ARTIST. Yep, that's right. Us plebes may never be able to afford an original print by the artists I have featured here, but maybe, just maybe, we could afford an artist-signed copy of a book. And almost certainly we could afford an unsigned copy -- just head over to Amazon and check out the price points for each edition. You could buy a whole library of amazing art for $500, or you could buy one signed copy of:

1. My Ghost, by Adam Fuss, $300. 2. Sleeping By the Mississippi, by Alec Soth, $129.95. 3. Shadow Chamber, by Roger Ballen, $155. 4. Subway, by Bruce Davidson, $350. 5. Theatres, by Hiroshi Sugimoto, $650 (yep, I went over budget...). 6. Sally Mann: Gagosian Gallery, by Sally Mann, $453. 7. After the Flood, by Robert Polidori, $375. 8. Gregory Credson, by Gregory Crewdson, $275.

But maybe reading's not your thing. Maybe you just want something flashy and easily digested. Something like this:

gold pills

Yep, the 24k gold pills by Tobias Wong are back. At $429 from Generate, they come in just under budget. If you buy them for a loved one, better tell them to sell the pills for their gold content instead of ingesting them. Because that would be a waste.

Rock You Like a Hurricane

Yesterday, my loving brother (who shall be hereafter referred to as "Bubba") requested a post on patio furniture that's so robust it could withstand even the impending destruction of Hurricane Ike, and frankly I can understand his concerns since the last time I visited him a lightning storm zapped our laptop and struck so close to the window that I jumped bolt upright out of bed, positive that someone had cruelly popped a camera flash into my sweetly sleeping eyeballs (which would not be outside of my brother's repertoire of juvenile pranks, I tell you). Well, Bubba, the season's end presented a few challenges, but I've done my best to round up a bevy of waterproof wonders sure to weather the sharpest storm in style. I'm skipping the Big Box stores and starting off with a bang. First of all, you're going to need this:



Sure, the LED Lightbench from Frellstedt comes in other colors, but I'm really feeling the hot pink for my big, burly brother. I'm almost positive he needs this, too:

gold couch

I mean, it's gold, it's got Dictator Chic written all over it, and it's amazingly WATERPROOF! Generate Designs and Design Front carry this little honey in many colors for the low low price of $7K. The producer, Studio JSPR, also makes a few different models of outdoor chairs, all designed to evoke interior opulence:


For that kind of cheese, you'll want to be sure that your precious purchases are chained down, lest they fly off the mountain. Of course, JSPR's plastic chesterfield chairs are my favorites because, as the Nerdy Fashionista knows, I loves me the tufting!


Then there are the requisite pods, for maximum loungeitude:

home infatuation

Holy hell these guys are expensive, but since they're woven from resin wicker on a powdercoated aluminum frame and topped off with Sunbrella cushions, at least you can be sure they won't melt into a puddle of moldy ooze. Via Home Infatuaton.

Of course, you can go for a minimal pod with a slightly less posh price tag. Check out the Outback Hanging Chair from Amazon:

hanging pod

Ok, on to some chair and table sets, most of which are actually -- gasp! -- affordable. Yes, it's a new day for Design Crisis.

patio chairs

There aren't a lot of choices in terms of materials for outdoor furniture, but lately designers have been making the most out of plain old plastic, and I love the lines and variety of color choices on all of these. Clockwise from top left: Reproduction of the historic Panton S Chair, $260 for a set of two from Advanced Interior Designs, Ikea's Urban Chair for only $40, Philipe Starck-designed Dr. No Chair, $263 each from Hive, Air Arm Chair designed by Jasper Morrison at CB2, $149 each.

Now, I don't like matchy matchy things so I would pair these chairs with an outdoor teak table for a little warmth and contrast. This one from Design Public is pricey, but the form is nice:

teak table

If you like this look but not the expense, shop around for local dealers who might carry some of the cleaner teak designs. Just choose something without all the extra business going on underneath... let the chairs do all the talking.

Here's another table option from CB2 if you prefer something sleeker:


It's a bit hard to see here. but that red powdercoated and welded metal x-base is pretty hot, and glass is definitely waterproof (if messy). Not bad for $399.

In case little brother is a matcher, here are a few patio sets that might work. First up, Brown and Jordan:

brown and jordan

Brown and Jordan have been making sleek and fabulous patio furniture since the birth of exterior design, and they do it well. And expensively. But occasionally you can find a nice set of Brown and Jordan secondhand, and I particularly like their 70's designs.

Sorry for the crummy picture, but this little resin wicker set is relatively inexpensive, so I thought I'd throw it in:

wicker set

The chairs are very Kelly Wearstler, and overall I think the set has an ornate tulip table feel. Just not with the striped cushions!!!

One more frilly set for my six foot tall 200 pound muscle-bound brother:


For a more traditional setting, this set from Overstock could work well with some punchy cushions. At $440 including tax and shipping, it's priced well for wrought iron.

Ok, now for a few more modern mash ups:


ikea table

I like the idea of either the folding red metal chair by Blu Dot (sold by Hive Modern for $129 each including shipping!) or the fabulous steel and vinyl cord hoop chair sold by Plain Air (which I think is about $400 each, although you may be able to find a vintage Salterini patio chair with a similar form for less) with this simple metal and tempered glass table from Ikea for $199.

Last, but not least, my relatively attainable mid-level fantasy patio set for your viewing pleasure:

bubble chair and couch

First, I need the plastic polymer Bubble Couch and Bubble Chairs designed by Philipe Starck and sold at Hive. The couch is $1020, and the chairs are $680 each.


Next, I need this lime green powdercoated steel coffee table sold by CB2 for only $249!

golden gnomes

And to cap it off, I'm going Starck again with GOLD LIMITED EDITION gnome buddy side tables, Napoleon and Atilla, $375 each.

That comes to a grand total of $3,380. You know, Bubba, that sounds like a fair fee for my time today.

I kid! But I won't be sad if you buy me a golden gnome for Christmas.