Gifts for GirlsIf the closest your friend’s ever gotten to a white Christmas involved staring at the freezer burn in her fridge while humming “Frosty the Snowman,” consider giving her an experience instead of the traditional gift. Since a trip to the North Pole is beyond the average student’s budget, spend $25 a person and give her the next best thing: the ICE! exhibit at Gaylord Palms in Kissimmee.
Okay, so it may not be “real” snow, but this 5,000-square-foot building houses an entire city carved out of almost two million pounds of ice. Upon entering the building, guests are given metallic blue parkas to wear while visiting the exhibit, which is a cool seven degrees at all times. Once inside, visitors will find themselves in various holiday-themed settings, including a sleigh ride in an icicle forest, a life-size nativity scene and a castle with a giant slide to ride down – all carved out of ice.
Rather than struggling to determine what’s trendy enough for your finicky fashion-forward friend – the one who scours every issue of Vogue and French Vogue to compare Anna Wintour and Carine Roitfeld’s fashion spreads – let her design the latest fashions.
With the Silkscreen Workshop DVD set ($24.95) from Fredflare.com, your fashionista friend can learn how to design her own prints, make silkscreens and print them on the fabric of her choice.
The DVD’s instructor is Kingi Carpenter of Peach Berserk, and in addition to offering a complete silkscreening tutorial, she also offers tips for starting your own business. Be sure to include a plain t-shirt or tote bag with the gift – after all, if her designs become famous, don’t you want your hands on the very first piece?
Gifts for GuysWhile Apple’s sleek iPhone has been hogging the headlines this holiday season, the better choice for most consumers is probably its cheaper, phone-less counterpart, the iPod Touch. Featuring the same gorgeous touchscreen, media capabilities and wi-fi connection, the iPod Touch gives users a chance to enjoy Apple’s innovative technology without having to give up their current cellular phone or provider. From the iPod touch, users can download music and movies from Apple’s iTunes music store or surf the Internet at any wi-fi hotspot. It’s available in eight- and 16-gigabyte models.
While a $250 price tag might seem expensive for a pair of sunglasses, the convenience provided by Oakley’s O Rokr Pro more than makes up for the cost. The sunglasses feature integrated headphones and Bluetooth capabilities, allowing the user to enjoy completely wireless music playback and phone conversations.
Green GiftsSince being “green” seems to be the hottest new trend, it’s easier than ever to help fight global warming and get your holiday shopping done at the same time. If you’re stumped about where to begin, why not start by planting a tree in someone’s honor? Seriously, Americanforests.org offers a tree-planting service. At $1 per tree, it shouldn’t be too difficult to purchase your friends and loved ones a few forests. To prove authenticity, the organization will send a certificate to you or your gift recipient. The only stipulation: sponsors are required to buy a minimum of 15 trees.
If you have a little – or big – kid in the family who couldn’t appreciate the ecologic value of planting a tree in his or her honor, maybe the Horizon Fuel Cell H-Racer and
Fueling Station would be a better gift. This toy car is essentially a mini-model for the most environmentally sound choice of transportation. Unlike conventional toy cars that are powered by gasoline engines, the only byproducts of the electrochemical process are electricity, heat and water.
Maybe an alternative energy car wouldn’t amuse that hard-to-shop-for hipster in your life. Instead, try bestowing him or her with an edgy and fashionably sensitive vinyl iPod case. These creative cases are made from an original 45 record for the classic size, or a cassette tape for the nano size. Each case is hand-crafted from a number of different records and tapes, from Elvis Presley to Bananarama. Eco-selling point: The felt used is from 40 percent recycled material. See them for yourself at 45ipodcases.com.
Hi-Tech GiftsAttention all techies, geeks and nerds: Nokia has unveiled the technological deal of the year, just in time for the holidays. A ridiculously over-priced iPod doesn’t fit into everyone’s holiday budget. Thankfully, there’s an alternate with more bang for your buck made by our friends from Finland.
The Nokia n800 Internet tablet, part of Nokia’s top of the line N series, is a far cry from the old brick Nokia cell phones everyone lugged around in high school. The n800 isn’t a cell phone at all. It’s classified as an internet tablet: a Wi-Fi device with full functioning web capabilities, including flash-enabled web browsing, which the Apple iPhone and iPod Touch lack. The n800 also features a sleek, lightweight design, an RSS feed reader, a webcam for Google Talk, PDF reader, a media player for photos, videos and music, two SD card slots and tons of third party software.
These functions are all expected in a regular media player, but the n800 still has another feature up its tiny sleeve: skype comes preloaded. Skype voiceover IP for the n800 is a recent addition and has transformed the device into a Wi-Fi phone. Skype’s unlimited nationwide calling rates come as low as $80 a year. Its services include SkypeIn, SkypeOut and Skype Voicemail. These functions, coupled with the n800’s mobility, offer a feasible alternative to replacing those outrageous monthly cell phone bills.
You can purchase the n800 at online stores such as buy.com for as low as $230.