See my favorite seasonal finds in my Amazon shop!

Part II: Holiday Gift Guide

If you are reading this that means that you survived Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday. And if you’re any sort of procrastinator (like me), not to worry – I’ve put together a gift guide just for you, filled with plenty of options for those hard-to-buy-for-but-lovable people on your list. Take a peek…

For the Wino: I can’t help but zone out when people start talking to me about fancy decanters, proper pairings and tools – I’m lucky if I take the time to even use the foil cutter. (Instead I just open the cork as if the foil weren’t even a barrier, and it takes care of itself when you pull the cork out. That’s right. I’m not ashamed to admit that I know that.) But a great friend of mine, Peggy, recently gifted me this “Corkcicle”, and I can say with full confidence that this thing is awesome. Keep it in your freezer and after opening your wine, pop this sucker into the bottle. It’s like a freezer pack that kids use in their school lunch boxes. Except it’s for your drunk ass and your wino friends instead. Brilliant. They have a pretty cool website, you can view and purchase by clicking here.

For the Lit Chick or the New Mom: There are a few really great books I’ve come across lately, but my hands-down ab-fav is “Bossypants,” by the amazing Tina Fey. It’s an easy and fun read that will make you laugh your ass off (this book made me spit things out of my nose on numerous occasions,) and you gotta love her raw humor at every day topics. Hard to pick a favorite excerpt, but here’s a great one, where she talks about how she failed at breastfeeding, and the women who will judge you for not breastfeeding your baby (whom she affectionately dubs the “Teat Natzis”):

“If you are confronted by a TN, you have two options. One, when they ask if you’re breast-feeding, you can smile and say ‘Yes, it’s amazing.’ (You owe it to your baby to lie.) Or you can go for the kill. The only people who can shame the Teat Natzis are the Adoptive Mommies. If you have a friend who has an adopted child, especially one from another country, bring him or her around, because they can make the Teat Natzis’ brains short-circuit: ‘How can I…feel superior…you…bigger sacrifice…can’t judge…’ and their big ol’ dinner plate nipples pop off as they crumple to the ground and disappear.”

If that doesn’t sway you, the cover is sure to entice you. You can grab a copy on Amazon or at your local bookstore. Trust me, you’ll want to pick up a copy for yourself, too.

For the techie/music lover: Have someone on your list who loves music and technology? Then Sonos is the gift answer for you. Your favorite music lover will freak when they see that they can enjoy music from anywhere in their home, on a wireless Hi-Fi system, and be able to control it all with FREE apps on their iphone, android or ipad. And when I say music, I mean ANY music – itunes, pandora, XM…literally from anywhere. You can buy one speaker, which is ideal for the dorm or apartment dweller, for $299. And if you’re a member of Netted, like me (it’s a free e-club,) you can receive free overnight shipping and a free bridge with the purchase of  any Sonos speaker. (The bridge lets you take this baby anywhere in your home wire-free and have it still stream your favorite beats.) You can grab yours and get more details  here. And if you want to join Netted, you can do so here.

For the Beauty Sample Lover: Even when she finds a product she loves, she can’t help but hoard those tiny tubes to keep up with the latest and greatest. Save her from doing anymore laps around the makeup counters at the mall and set her up with a service that brings the samples straight to her. Birch Box will deliver 5 hand-picked beauty samples per month for only $10/month, and these are no leftovers, either – your giftee will be treated to deluxe brands that will be sure to keep her happy. And no chinzy little tubes – these samples are generously sized, allowing you to accurately assess whether or not you’ve got a keeper. Check ’em out for yourself at

For the Jewelry Lover: Hmm…a single piece of jewelry on Christmas, or a new piece of one-of-a-kind jewelry every month selected specifically for her? If you are still wondering which she’d prefer, raise your right hand, turn it toward your face, and smack yourself upside your head. Then do yourself and your lady a big favor and sign her up for Jewel Mint. It’s an exclusive jewelry club run by celebrity stylist Cher Coulter and actress Kate Bosworth. The two travel the world and scour everything from runways to small vintage markets hand selecting amazingly unique pieces of jewelry. Your sweetie will receive an email containing the monthly styles selected just for her, and for $29.99 per month she will receive a new piece of jewelry, style tips, a weekly trend report and a sneak-peek into what’s up and coming in the land of bling. With free shipping, an easy return process and zero commitment to buy (if her monthly pick doesn’t inspire her, she can skip that month at no charge,) this truly is the gift that keeps on giving. Get more details here

For the Hostess/Candle Fanatic: Instead of a bottle of wine, give the hostess a little something else she can enjoy. I’ve said plenty of times on this blog that I am all for soy candles, and this is no exception. Classic Wicks candles are my favorite, and they are hand poured from a local vendor. Her name is Susan, and she pours these puppies herself in her basement. I’ve sniffed out all the best fragrances and she’s got some great ones (cranberry marmalade, or creme brulee, anyone?) but my favorite part are the jars – they are sleek and modern, and no matter which scent you get, the candles are all classic white. The great gift idea here is that she can pour them into a personal container (think sports glasses, personalized mugs, and your grandma’s vintage tea cups,) and she even has baskets for sale, too. I was a skeptic of soy candles at first, but all it took was one glance at our air filters in our home after switching, and there’s no going back for me – they are no longer black as they were when we were burning traditional candles. Order your candle or gift baskets here

For the Stationery Queen: Give stationery, a note box or a journal from The Great Elephant Poo Poo Paper Company, where all products are made from recycled elephant poo. That’s right – poo. Seriously. A portion of the profits is given to elephant conservationists, and the entire production is sustainable and green. Interestingly, this also makes a great gift for the person you are obliged to buy for whom you don’t really like. You see, you can do something great for Mama Earth, but at the same time you can still pull off giving them dookie for the holidays. Win-win! Pick out your poo product here.

For the Car Lover: Auto Wall Art. Snap a photo of your man’s other baby and turn it into a work of art that’s custom-made for him to admire by checking out Auto Wall Art ( It’s literally as simple as snapping a pic, ordering your size, and having it shipped. Take it one step further: get in the pic and strike a sexy pose. Cars + chicks = happy hubby. No one ever said men were complicated.

For the entrepreneur: With so many things to worry about, (eighty hour work weeks, back orders, and crazy customers, anyone?) the last thing your favorite entrepreneur needs to stress about is how to get paid. Gift them this credit card reader by Square, which allows them to make transactions on-the-go. This simple little device plugs right into your smart phone and can read credit cards, allowing their customers to make a purchase with just one swipe. I was recently at a gift show in the area and several vendors already had this device, and said it made collecting payments a breeze. With no contracts, no commitments, and quick deposits, it’s a must have for the hard worker on your list. You can order it right on line and the folks at Square will gift wrap it and send it directly to the recipient. Check it out here.

For the Elementary School Boy: He’s too old for “kiddie” toys, but too young to get excited over clothing and cologne; you could add another video game to his collection, but why not give a gift that will get him some fresh air instead? This personalized baseball bat may be just what you’re looking for. It’s from “Personalization Mall,” one of my favorite websites lately – they have some pretty unique products for literally anyone on your list, and come on – who doesn’t love a personalized gift? Check them out at, and don’t forget to google for coupon codes first – there are a ton out there.

For the Conservationist: This one’s for the person on your list who is concerned with the preservation of endangered species and their habitats. In this case, we’re talking about any of four types of big cats. You wouldn’t want to come face-to-face with one of these kitties, but you do understand our need to keep the species thriving. Your giftee will receive their “Adopt a Big Cat Gift Box,” with all of their materials, and they can decide which species to adopt. As the package explains: “Adopting a big cat will assist The People’s Trust for Endangered Species, a registered charity which helps big cats throughout the world by conserving their habitats and protecting them from poachers.” This reminds me: I adopted a big cat once, and as you can see pictured over to the right, he’s thriving and doing great. Learn more by clicking here.

For the chef in your life:  Have that special someone in your life who loves to cook and experiment with new recipes? This “Upside Down Apron” will not only make them look like they know what they’re doing, but it will help them along in the process. It’s like having a cookbook right at your fingertips. And even better is that, now that they have everything they need printed right there on their apron, it will keep them from smudging up their brand new ipad. Order yours here.

For the “Green Queen”: Your eco-friendly friend would rather eat a plastic bag than dispose of it in a trash can or take one home from the supermarket. You’re afraid to get her anything because she deems everything “wasteful” or recites all of the energy wasted producing said item and every toxic material it’s made of.  You tell her she’s a crazy nutjob, while secretly thanking the lord for people like her who actually care about these things and silently hoping that she will single-handedly save the planet. The perfect gift? Alexandra Zissu’s book, “Planet Home.” It’s filled with great information and tips for the most eco-conscious of them all. Bonus points that the book is printed on recycled paper. And hey – it’s a surefire way to keep her busy and off your back long enough for you to continue on with your pollutin’ parade without being hassled.

For the locavore: While some people would be thrilled to death with the latest version of the ipad, there may be those on your list who really enjoy local, handmade gifts. Giving them a gift that supports a small and local business is truly what would make them happy, and with one of these hand-knit neck wraps, they can look pretty cute, too. This design and several others are crafted by Darcel of “Sweet Sensations,” and she adds her own personal flair to each item she makes. You can check out all of her products here, or you can email her your order at: While you are there, check out her baby shower items for the preggos on your list. A. Dor. Able.

For the coworker with a sense of humor: Spending eight hours a day stuck in a dreary cube doesn’t do much for your mental health. Why not spice things up a bit and give them something to look at (and laugh at)? These “A Christmas Story” lights from The Perpetual Kid will be sure to add some holiday sass and brighten up your coworker’s cube. Hopefully HR will lighten up around the holidays and let this cube decor slide, but if this is too sassy for your office, you can check out the rest of their awesome and hysterical products by visiting

For the good friend who’s a little down in the dumps: Get her a subscription to Oprah Magazine. Do I really need to explain why? She’s friggin Oprah. She”ll change your life and get your head right. Grab a gift subscription here.



For the Baker in your world: You know how much your friend loves to bake, and her cookies are delicious. She’s proud to bring a batch along to any party she attends, but you can’t help but cringe along with her when they are set down and mixed in with the “store-bought” cookies, letting all that hard work go down the drain. Now she can fret no more – with this “Home Made Cookie Stamp,” there will never be a question again as to whose cookies were made with love. Pick yours up here.

Hopefully this gift guide as well as the first one will help you grab a gift for those hard to buy for on your list. Have any other suggestions? Drop ’em in the comments, and stay tuned for next week’s third and final gift guide filled with goodies from local Charlotte vendors. Happy Holidays!


Alessandra Macaluso is the author of What a Good Eater! , Lucy the Bee and the Healing Honey, and The Real-Deal Bridal Bible. She’s also a Qigong and Tai Chi instructor, and overall wellness advocate. Her work has been featured in several anthologies which can all be found on her Amazon author page, and she has contributed to The Huffington Post, Scary Mommy, TODAY Parents, and many other online publications.

Alessandra is a northerner-turned-southerner, enjoying the south with her children, Penelope and Ciro, and her husband, Greg.

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Wow this is so cool! I love how you organized this post and listed everything so clearly from the personality of the gift recipient to the gifts themselves, where to buy them, how they work etc. My question to you now my friend, which type are you??? Inquiring minds want to know!!! πŸ™‚

Tough question!! I’d have to say I’m probably a “oprah-loving, chilled wine drinking, sweater-wearing, music-loving, jewlery fanatic, sample loving, candle-connoisseur entrepreneur-who-bakes-cookies.” HAHA. Poor Greg! πŸ˜‰ Which type are you??

‘@Ali Mac

Hahaha Well I would say lucky Greg, he has a lot to choose from! I would say I am a non-oprah loving, half chilled wine drinking, music loving, beauty sample loving, stationary diggin’, candle fanatic bookworm who dreams of baking cookies πŸ™‚

‘@rshin nice!!

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