2012 Holiday Gift Guide

A bit late for early bird shoppers, but just in time for those of us who are last minute shoppers or are so busy that the holidays sneak up on us every year. I sorted out my recommendations into three areas: giving, reading & playing. Now just think of that person you need to buy for and put them in one of those boxes. Please note that book links are affiliate links, meaning I make a few cents from your purchase.

For me, giving is not just to charity in the traditional sense. I give money to nonprofits that produce independent media like Bitch Magazine (I'm a Honey Bee monthly giver) and CHIRP Radio.

Remember earlier this year when GOP men formed Team Rape and proved that they know nothing about how women's bodies work? Well, Our Bodies Ourselves have put together a IndieGoGo campaign (that ends soon!) to raise enough money to send a copy of OBOS to every member of Congress. 

While I am not a proponent of consumer philanthropy (for example: buying pink stuff for breast cancer research), there are some excellent non profits that also happen to sell items that are great for gift giving.
Of course my favorite organization to donate to is the Chicago Abortion Fund


This is my current read...and it is amazing. A full review will come after the new year, but for now this is topping my gift guide reading section.

For the past few years Arizona has made the rest of the country go, "WTF?!" And Jeff Biggers (disclosure: I've shared the stage with Jeff) gets right into what the hell has been happening, why, who is doing it, and (I hope) what we can do about it. So far I've learned that the Arizona Tea Party likes to be the trailblazer for xenophobic laws in the USA, that it wants its cake (being part of the Union), but wants to eat it too (ignore Federal civil rights when it pleases them). Seriously, I'm on page 9 (what? classes just finished on Wednesday!) and I've already learned so much about an issue I thought I was keeping up on. Get yourself or that civil-rights-minded person on your gift list a copy at Powells or IndieBound.

 Most of us who grew up in the 80s have a favorite member of Duran Duran and John was mine. So when I heard he was releasing an autobiography I wrote to his publisher and pleaded for a review copy. And I got one...in the middle of the semester. Unfortunately I haven't even come close to finishing, but what I have read I like. It's not Bronte, but if you are looking for a fun read that will transport you to when you baked cakes on John, Simon, Andy, Nick and Roger's birthdays, this is it. If your mom is in her 40s or 50s, I bet she'll love this. Buy at Powells or IndieBound. The Duran Duran site has links to John reading from the book & interviews. Alas, I missed him when he was in Chicago!

Another book that I did not get a chance to finish, but looks good is "Marie Curie and Her Daughters: The Private Lives of Science's First Family" by Shelley Emling.

The first few chapters are intriguing looks into the lives of the Curie women. Pierre, Marie's husband died when the girls were young, leaving her a single mother at a time when that was hard enough, but to add on to her role as a trailblazing woman of science..goodness!

Get a copy at Powells or Indiebooks.
I reviewed this book earlier this year and highly recommend it for gift giving. I'm sure this isn't my cup of tea and I think that the main character is not as much wimpy as pouty and whiny, but from what I can tell, he usually gets a good lesson on what it means to be a good friend.

Get a copy at Powells or Indiebooks

Another book that I reviewed earlier this year that is perfect for gift giving.

I highly recommend this for a thank you gift to your daughter's Girl Scout troop leaders and volunteers. It was a joy to learn more about the woman who started this great organization. Also a great idea for older Girl Scouts, especially if they are starting to think the organization is not-so-cool anymore. 

Buy a copy at Powells or Indiebound.

Creativity Courage Cards is not a book. It is a deck of cards with inspirational thoughts. Yes, some will think these are cheesy and I would normally count myself part of that crowd. But given the circumstance I find myself in, working on a PhD, I find myself more and more questioning my ability to do anything at all, much less be creative. So having a deck of these babies on hand to flip to when needed is not a bad idea. I highly suggest getting these for someone in your life who is going through some tough times and might need a pick me up in their stocking.


Crossword Picante is from Levenger. It's a board game without the board where you make words using red or white colored tiles. The twist to this game is that you can spell words in English or Spanish. We played it at home and I thought it was fun. My husband & daughter didn't so much. Perhaps a family that was more bilingual (we're not strong on our writing skills in Spanish) would have more fun with this. The tiles are also a bit flimsy - made of foam rather than wooden like Scrabble or sturdy plastic.


Get someone a handmade bag from my bestie, Cinnamon's shop, Poise. She makes purses, clutches & messenger bags. I have owned a lot of bags and I am NOT good to bags. I over-stuff them all the time and somehow her bags stand up and last for years. The bag pictured is the same one my husband uses. Plenty-o-pockets!
You can also check out my previous gift guides for additional ideas.