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The Tribune's ninth annual gift-giving guide

Created date

September 21st, 2010
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As the saying goes, the early bird gets the worm. Or, in this case, the early shopper gets the best bargains (and avoids the crush of last-minute holiday shoppers). Since you re already planning ahead on what to give your loved ones this year, we ve put together a guide of some of the most exciting and unique presents that are sure to please your family and friends even the furry ones! We have only one request don t forget to add your name to your list. You deserve a gift too after all your planning and shopping for everyone else.

Food

[caption id="attachment_14589" align="alignright" width="280" caption="Georgetown Cupcake s holiday box can be customized with your favorite flavors or special holiday flavors. (Photo by Dayna Smith)"][/caption] Fans of the TLC reality showDC CUPCAKESwill love receiving the distinctive pink-and-black box from Georgetown Cupcake. Ship a dozen delicious treats anywhere in the continental U.S. for $55. You can choose a box of special holiday flavors like chocolate eggnog and white chocolate peppermint or customize your dozen cupcakes with flavor favorites like red velvet and lava fudge. Order online atwww.georgetowncupcake.comor call 202-333-3309. Have a cookie monster on your gift list? Send him or her a box of hand-decorated creations fromEleni s in New York City. These cookies taste as good as they look! Prices start at about $30 plus shipping. Order online atwww.Elenis.comor call 888-435-3647. [caption id="attachment_14585" align="alignright" width="254" caption="Eleni s hand-decorated cookies come in various holiday themes. (Eleni s)"][/caption] Send your favorite chocoholic a tin ofFat Witch Brownies. These moist bars are every bit as rich and naughty as their name implies. Flavors range from the original intense chocolate to java to caramel. Gifts start at $15.25 plus shipping (www.fatwitch.comor call 888-419-4824).

Toys

You ll find toys and gadgets that are just plain different at Fascinations (www.innovatoys.comor call 206-274-5743). Dealing in physics- and science-related toys, Fascinations offers an assortment of gifts that combine the Wow! factor with education and utility. Here are just a few: [caption id="attachment_14587" align="alignright" width="254" caption="Levitron World Stage and Revolution (Fascinations)"][/caption] The Levitron World Stage and Revolutionincludes a 1.5-inch platform magnet capable of levitating and rotating personal items. With the World Stage, this includes any item up to 3 ounces (think figurines and small collectibles), and the Revolution, items up to 12 ounces (model cars, action figures, even a cup of coffee). The World Stage and Revolution each come with a globe and sell for $99. AntWorks Colors of Life w/Multi-Color LED Illuminatoris based on a NASA experiment to study plant and animal life in anti-gravity. Watch the ants create a tunneling system in this space-age habitat s non-toxic nutrient gel designed to sustain their lifespan by two to three times. Learn how the ants work and live together, then release them back into nature and preserve their artwork as a unique night light. AntWorks sells for $39.99. USB Fridgeis the perfect gift for those who enjoy a cold one while surfing the Net. Powered by your computer s USB port, the USB Fridge cools canned beverages to 45 ' F. It has a magnetically sealed door and sells for $24.95.

Merry Hairy Christmas

[caption id="attachment_14588" align="alignright" width="254" caption="The Clinicure System for thicker, more lustrous hair. (Joico)"][/caption] According to the American Academy of Dermatology, half of both men and women will experience hair loss by the time they have reached their 50s. Give someone on your gift list thicker, more lustrous hair withThe Clinicure System. The product line ranges in price from $13.95 to $29.95. Find Clinicure at salons that carry Joico products or online atwww.Amazon.com. Who doesn t want nicer eyelashes or brows?neuLashpromises fuller and healthier-looking lashes (and brows) in just 30 days. Safe for contact lens wearers and those who have undergone radiation treatment. Available at Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Blue Mercury stores or online atwww.neuLash.com($150 for a three-month supply).

Pets

[caption id="attachment_14586" align="alignright" width="228" caption="Exposures Online turns your favorite pet into a masterpiece on canvas. (Photo by Michele Harris)"][/caption] Who wouldn t adore a masterpiece on canvas of their furry friend? Send an e-mail to Exposures Online with a digital photo of a dog or a cat (or send them a print in the regular mail) and they ll send you a unique work of art depicting Fluffy as a 17th century noble. Choose either a Napoleon-type male or a Josephine-esque female.The Pet Canvasis $49 plus shipping (www.exposuresonline.com). Doggie Diner Personalized Pet Bowlsare ceramic bowls that come in two sizes and eight colors with your pet s name printed on the side. Small bows sell for $19.95, large $21.95 (www.personalizationmall.comor call 1-866-386-8300). Treat your favorite pet (or your favorite pet lover) to some eco-friendly grooming products fromEco-me. TheDog Boxincludes everything you need to make and store safe flea powder, dry shampoo powder, and organic dog treats. TheCat Boxincludes everything you need to make and store flea spray, litter freshener powder, and organic cat treats ($24.95 each plus shipping). Available at most Target Stores, Petco, or atwww.eco-me.com. Personalize your pet s identification tags with their name, address, and phone number.Lost & Found Engraved Pet ID Tagsare available in a variety of colors and shapes and start at $8.95 atwww.personalizationmall.comor call 1-866-386-8300. Tired of pet hair on your furniture and car upholstery?The Bissell Pet Hair Eraser Hand Vacis the perfect tool. Easy to empty and weighing just 4 lbs., it comes with a contour nozzle that enables you to hit hard-to-reach spots. It sells for $29.99 atwww.bedbathandbeyond.com. Do you have a formal portrait or funny snapshot of your dog?The Man s Best Friend Personalized Frameis a great way to display it. Made of wood and high-gloss laminate, the frame measures 8 by 10 and holds a 4 by 6 photo. It retails for $19.95 (www.personalizationmall.comor call 1-866-386-8300).

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