Plenty of enticing items, as Holiday Gift, Shopping Guide(The following descriptions were prepared, at least in part, with information provided by the retailers or manufactuers)Gift for Guys: Samual Adams Infinium Beer ($20)To infinium and beyond! The bottle may look like champagne or sparkling wine, but the "ale" label gives it away. Introducing - Samuel Adams's "Infinium Beer!" It's been revealed that men prefer to toast with beer over champagne, so this makes the perfect gifts for the guys at a holiday party (or New Year's Eve.) According to Wine Enthusiast Magazine - "The product (is a result) of years of collaboration between the Boston Beer Company (makers of Samuel Adams beers) and the centuries-old Weihenstephan Brewery of Germany, Infinium represents nothing less than a revolution of brewing under the Reinheitsgebot-the Bavarian purity law that limits ingredients to water, malted grain, hops and yeast. they had to rethink both the brewing and malting process, so they could create a strong, all-malt beer that was not overly sweet, cloying or heavy." And the magazine's review?? - "Its perfumed aroma offers generous spicy notes against a backdrop of honey and florals, while the full and off-dry body carries gentle notes of peach and pear alongside biscuity malt and clove and ginger spiciness, leading to a finish that's warming without being hot." Other reviews I've read on blogs have said everything from "It tastes like if you mixed champagne and beer…" to "It tastes better than beer but not sweet enough."And at 10.3 percent alcohol by volume, so you needn't worry about its inability to get you nice and happy by the time midnight rolls around. (To put that in perspective, the average beer has 3-5% alcohol, while wine averages 10 - 13% alcohol). The retail price is $20 for a 750-milliliter bottle. Check your local distributor or log on to SamuelAdams.com to find out where to buy a bottle.
Gift for Kids: Crayon Rocks ($24)
This is a fun, affordable gift. Crayon Rocks are American made natural soy wax crayons made from USA grown soybeans and colored with natural mineral powders. This set of 64-crayon rocks (in 16 summer colors) crayons were designed to strengthen grip muscles (thumb, first and second fingers) which are needed for writing a bit later in life. The shape allows small fingers to color in large, wide strokes creating pictures rich in color. The crayons were designed (by a physical therapist named Barbara Lee) and have been used occupational therapists to develop fine motor skills. Note, there are small pieces, so not recommended for kids under 3. To purchase, log on to CrayonRocks.net and other online and off retailers.
Another Gift for Kids: Gemmy's Butterfly in a Jar ($15)
Ever dreamed of keeping a butterfly in a jar forever? Now you sort of can! This fun product for kids gives the illusion of a floating butterfly in an old fashion glass jar. Just by tapping the lid, the "butterfly" flutters around in true-to-life motion (up to 90 seconds - depending on the mode.) One tap to wake your butterfly up, 2 taps to make it flutter, 3 taps to make it flap. Powered by three AAA batteries, the butterfly simply goes into hibernation until you tap the lid again. Best of all, the battery isn't drained if the butterfly isn't moving. (so there's no need to turn off; batteries last in standby mode for months ready for a tap to awaken.) There are four butterflies to choose from. We have Monarch, but there's also Yellow Swallowtail, Blue Morpho and Pink Morpho. This toy premiered at the Tokyo Toy Fair (this past July) where it was a huge hit. Interesting factoid - Gemmy Industries is best known for the Big Mouth Billy Bass - the singing fish on a wall plaque! And…they have produce a lot of inflatable holiday decor you see in people's front yards and other novelty / animated toys. Available at at all Lowe's, Kmart and Cracker Barrel stores, but for more information about gift or how it works, go to Gemmy.com.
Gift for Cooks: Proctor Silex Mini-Slow Cooker ($15)
This is small slow cooker that's ideal for if you're only cooking for one / yourself, for empty nesters or for that bachelor / bachelorette in his/her first apartment. The slow cooker also keeps drinks and dips at the perfect temperature. This item was reviewed 79 times on Amazon.com and received a 4.6 out of 5 star review. Obviously the reviews were favorable, but this comment sums them up nicely "this is a quality product, perfect for cooking for 1-3 people (smaller families, college students, etc.). I highly recommend it. It is so easy to use and fuss-free. Also, most smaller crock pots have only one setting, but this one has three (high, low, and keep warm). This item can be found at ProctorSilex.com
Gift for People Who Have Everything: Haikubes ($25)
Unleash your inner poet! Perfect for individual inspiration or as an after-dinner activity with
friends, this set makes a game out of writing haiku, the beautiful 17-syllable Japanese poetry. Perfect for individual inspiration or as an after-dinner game with friends or family, Haikubes is a set of 63 word cubes. Simply roll the cubes and use the words that come up to create an expressive haiku. This gift includes two cubes with inspirational cues to help guide the haiku. Everyone's a poet with this latest "game" from the team behind Cranium. This item is available at Chronicle Books and other online retailers.
Gift for Music Lovers: Griffin Technology's Slap Wristband ($25)
Anyone who grew up in the '80s will remember slap bracelets! This is taking that concept to a whole other level. It's the iPod nano (that you probably already have), plus the Griffin Slap wristband case - and together create the most useful and entertaining wristwatch your arm has ever seen! The "memory-metal" (as the company calls it) wristband is coated with a soft silicone (which helps protect your nano form bumps and jolts)…and it protects the dock connector and volume controls but leaves the headphone port open so you can plug in and listen any time. Speaking of time you can press the Sleep/Wake button through the frame to check the time or control iTunes. The watch face display of your iPod nano turns Slap into a fun, handy classic timepiece. Available for $25 at GriffinTechnology.com.
Gift for Gardeners: 7-in-1 Planter's Buddy ($15) & Heirloom Vegetable Seeds ($2 / packet)
Gardening is a growing trend, and here's a tool that's GREAT for a gardening enthusiast or someone who is just starting out. This Planters' Buddy from True Temper features a stainless steel trowel/ a transplanter blade for planting, a serrated edge for cutting open bags of mulch/soil, a sharpened straight edge for cutting sod, a twine cutter, a weeder tip, a tamper for tamping down stakes, markers, and fertilizer spikes, and a 12 inch measurement scale for proper plant placement. The ergonomic handle makes it easy to use and comes with a lifetime guarantee. Just a note of caution - it's very sharp, so use carefully. It's $15 and available at Amazon.com and The Home Depot
Pair this garden tool with some great heirloom vegetable seeds. Help your favorite gardener discover the tastes of the past with heirloom vegetable seeds. Heritage collection seeds are only $2 per packet from YankeeHarvest.com.
Gift for Girls: L.L. Bean's Wellie Warmers ($20)
A fashionable and easy way to turn your rain boots into snow boots. These add extra warmth and comfort to your Wellies. They are made of soft fleece and are machine washable. They run from $20-$25 depending on the print and can be found at LLBean.com.