Holiday Stocking Stuffers and Gifts

Alright everyone, it’s time to gather ‘round the ole Yule log with a fresh batch of egg nog and some pumpkin-bread (with cranberries) to review your Christmas list. Just in case you’re still looking for some stocking stuffers, allow me to suggest any of the following goodies that I’ve enjoyed this year. Click on the pics to see more info…
Being Human, on Blu-ray or DVD: This BBC series started off a bit rocky in season one, then grew into something wonderful in its second season. A werewolf, a vampire, and a ghost all live together in modern-day Bristol, England, trying to assimilate into “normal” lives. The writing is solid, the performances are very good, and the entire premise is really, really interesting.
Any book by Ken Robinson or Daniel Pink. These are two of my favorite authors and speakers on creativity. Above is one of Ken Robinson’s excellent books, “The Element, How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything”. This isn’t one of those books filled with metaphysical hoo-hah about how if you just believe in yourself, everything will work out. It offers a wide range of stories about the creative journeys of different people with diverse paths – including Paul McCartney as well as lesser-known examples. He covers topics like the power of creativity, circles of influence, and attitude and aptitude, and he emphasizes the importance of nurturing talent along with developing an understanding of how talent expresses itself differently in every individual. He also talks about the importance of mentors and reforming and transforming education. Click on the link above to go to Ken’s page on Amazon.
Epiphany – on DVD: This live concert, taped in several locations, captures the Canadian band DELERIUM on their 2008 tour. It’s a little on the short side and was obviously done on a tight budget, but the performances are great (and Kristy Thirsk is a trip…). A good companion gift for this is “VOICE”, the new Delerium CD or “Exilarch”, the new Conjure One CD.
A Christmas Cornucopia – on CD: Annie Lennox’s only Christmas CD. I’m a longtime fan of Annie, going all the way back to the first Eurythmic’s album. This CD is quite good and manages to reinterpret some old classics with a fresh spin. Plus she’s practically a saint because of all her work with children in Africa, so how can you say no?
KCRW Subscription – or, really, any public radio or television affiliate in your area. I love listening to NPR and support KCRW (based in Santa Monica) annually. Given how tightly corporate media is controlled these days, KCRW and NPR are both a breath of fresh air. They actually air new STORIES – not just headlines and soundbites, with old white guys screaming their fool, opinionated heads off. The amount you contribute doesn’t matter – sign up for a dollar a month if that’s all you can afford – just know that your dollars go to support free speech and minimally-biased reporting.
Kirkland Vodka – from Costco: Seriously, how can you beat the price? Especially for something that’s distilled and bottled by Grey Goose! Some of this mixed with Rose’s Pomegranate mix is a little bit of heaven. Yeah, you could go for Belvedere – but c’mon, who wants to spend that kinda cash?
Well, as long as we’re imbibing, we should talk about Layer Cake. Produced in South Australia’s McLaren Vale, a historic wine region. My husband swears this is one of the best wines of any year. You can find it at wine retailers and stores like Trader Joes. Clicking on the picture above will take you to BevMo.

iPad – Okay, this one is a bit predictable (if a little pricey) but it’s so dang useful. One of its best features is “shareability”. I demonstrated this one evening by pulling up Antoine Dodson’s “Bed Intruder Song” on You Tube. As everyone in the room giggled at the sight of an auto-tuned Antoine, we passed the iPad around the room, everyone bringing up something new to share and watch. Now admittedly, You Tube is not much of a justification but with more and apps appearing every day on the App Store, it’s become a very useful device.

If you have a tech/theater geek (and I use that term lovingly, I’m talking about my people…) on your Christmas list, check out the PLSN bookshelf. Books about stage management, rigging, audio, and lighting abound. A must-stop destination for the technically inclined.
If someone in your life is into candles, then any of the scents made by Archipelago are wonderful. The one above is called Havana and it’s a heady, warm, tobacco-y scent that fills the room. They have a wide range of candles that are affordable but don’t smell like all the other candles (i.e. nothing smells like food – warm apple pie, cinnamon, sugar cookie, etc).
On the other hand, if there’s someone in your life who like’s earthy, ethereal scents, Nag Champa incense can’t be beat. And it’s really affordable.
Tickets to see a show/concert/dance, etc – There’s a whole ‘nother post I wrote about this so I won’t go into detail here, but I will refer you to it because it states a pretty good case for supporting the arts. Click here to read.
Totally shameless, self-serving plug – I’m also a fine-art photographer. I run a store on Etsy (selling prints), and a store on Cafe Press (selling products). Really unique gift ideas for reasonable prices.