HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE 2016
In this especially trying year, I know that a lot of us have not gotten much into the holiday spirit yet. But you guys had better buck-up and get with it because both Christmas and Chanukah are just a little over a week away!
So, if your mind is still spinning too much from recent national events to concentrate on figuring-out just what to get for everyone on your list, I’m here to help. I have a few suggestions that are fabulous, even if you’re not struggling for gift ideas.
These recommendations are all tried and true, some by just me, and others by my review panel, as well. They’re all so good that you may even want to get them for yourself, as well! So, let’s get to them:
Gerard Cosmetics—I love absolutely everything this company has to offer, especially their lipsticks. And they come up with something new every year. Their recent-addition Metal-Matte Liquid Lipsticks give you the shiniest lips ever! (They have staying power, too.) All six shades are perfect for the holidays, and beyond. I declare that every girly-girl must own at least one for New Year’s Eve! And, if you act soon, you can get the entire set of them in a special limited-edition designer tin. What a wonderful gift that is!
One fun sidebar about another Gerard Cosmetics product: I was recently with a friend whose face looked extra-glowy. I looked closely, and noticed tiny sparkles. I immediately had to know what she was wearing, and, to my surprise (and delight,) it was the BB Plus Illumination Cream from this very company! (I guess great minds do think alike!) So, if someone’s getting me a gift this year, this just might be the one to consider! Just sayin’. www.gerardcosmetics.com
THEATRE—ON BOTH COASTS!
Tickets to a fabulous presentation are always thoughtful gifts, for all occasions. People on both coasts, and everywhere in-between, I’m happy to say, are very lucky this year to be able to share these wonderful shows with their loved ones this holiday, and shortly after:
A Cinderella Christmas—This holiday show at the Pasadena Playhouse in Los Angeles is a classic British Christmas “panto,” which is a comedic musical take on a famous fairy tale, and is tons of fun for both kids and adults. This year’s choice is Cinderella, and it could not be more entertaining, especially the evil step-sisters. (If you missed my recent review of it, you can read it here: itsnotaboutme.tv/news/theatrechildren-a-cinderella-christmas.) I highly recommend it to every single person reading this, no matter your age. I guarantee you’ll leave with a humungous smile on your face. Give the tickets as gifts to your whole family, and start your new tradition of seeing a panto every year. But hurry—the run ends on January 8! www.pasadenaplayhouse.org
Cirque Du Soleil shows–This year I have not only one but two Cirque Du Soleil productions to recommend, one in New York, and the other in the rest of the country! Here’s the skinny on them:
TORUK, The First Flight—The most creative people in the entire world now bring us this new show, which is inspired by the hit film, Avatar. I’ve never even seen that film, but I always look forward to everything that Cirque du Soleil has to offer. (And blue is my favorite color!) They’ve never let me down, so the people you give these tickets to will love you forever. It will be in Los Angeles just from January 12-15, 2017, so these gifts will be right on time. Making it even more fun for us Angelenos is that it will be at The Forum, which used to be our main venue back in the day, and has had a recent resurgence. But don’t despair if you’re located elsewhere in the country—this show will be traveling to at least seven other cities, and three in Mexico, as well! (And maybe everyone seeing Toruk should join me in seeing the film it’s based on before the new year. Christmas Day movie party, anyone?) www.cirquedusoleil.com/toruk
Paramour—For my east coast peeps, there is not one gift I consider better than a ticket to see this incredible Broadway show! (If you missed my review of it a couple of months ago, you can read it here: itsnotaboutme.tv/news/new-yorktheatre-paramour-a-cirque-du-soleil-musical.) It truly is the best Broadway musical I’ve ever seen in my entire life! And that is absolutely no hyperbole. And here’s some more great news—the run is open-ended, so you can give the gift of tickets to Paramour now, but go see it when the holiday madness has died down. It’s a win-win. www.cirquedusoleil.com/paramour
Shaz Justice Fine Art–A gift of artwork is always appreciated, especially when it’s as fabulous as the work of artist Shaz Justice! Her images are always adorable and a bit outside the box. She does commission pieces, but also has many paintings ready to go. Her designs are so distinctive and creative and special that absolutely everyone will be thrilled to own one. And a perk when giving gifts is that Shaz’s artwork is very, very affordable! She uses mixed mediums and digital format, and will always work with her clients to come up with exactly what they want. But, judging by the pieces I’m featuring here, you can just go to her website and choose something ready-made for her to send to your gift recipients right now! I know that many celebrities, especially rock bands, are fans of her work, so everyone who gets one will be in great company. www.shazjustice.com
THE GIFT OF EATERY IDEAS
Zagats New York City Restaurant Guide—It was a sad day when we all realized that our beloved Zagat restaurant bible no longer published a Los Angeles guide. My friends and I had been addicted to it for decades now. We waited each Fall for our own copies to arrive, like Ralphie waited for his Red Ryder Air Rifle in A Christmas Story! So, imagine my delight when, on my recent trip to New York, I noticed that local retailers there were still selling New York City editions! Even though I’m no longer bi-coastal, I just had to have one.
I noticed all the updates right away, beginning with the newly-designed cover. The logo is different, and the burgundy color is now sort-of a strawberry. The scoring system is all new, as well. I usually hate change, but I’m eager to check-out everything that the 2017 guide has to offer. You can, too, on www.amazon.com.
EATERY CERTIFICATES THEMSELVES!
Back On The Beach Cafe–Since, as I’m sure you all know by now, I’m restaurant-obsessed, one of my favorite gifts to receive is a certificate to an eatery. The denomination is not even important—the thoughtful act is what truly counts. Of course, you can do this gift in any city in the world, but for my Los Angeles peeps, there’s no better place to send your recipients than Santa Monica’s Back On The Beach Cafe! It’s one of the most popular breakfast and lunch places in the whole city! And what could be better after, (or during!,) the hectic holidays than to sit on the beach, dig your toes into the sand, and enjoy a delicious repast!? Absolutely nothing else I can think of. As a matter of fact, I think I may head down there right now. Happy Holidays to me! (You can read my in-depth review of the place here: itsnotaboutme.tv/news/dining-back-on-the-beach-cafe.) www.backonthebeachcafe.com
DVD Gift Baskets–This is one of the most fun gifts I’ve ever received. I was in Brooklyn with my little mother when I received my first one, and she was so tickled pink by it that I have total confidence recommending it to everyone. And you don’t have to leave your house to give it. It’s a gift basket that features a DVD of a movie or TV, along with candy selections and little goodies that support the theme of the DVD you order! So clever. You can choose everything that goes in the basket, especially the film, or just have them surprise you. Since awards season is upon us, I recommend ordering a current film, such as the very humorous true story, Florence Foster Jenkins, which is getting tons of nominations. (I’m into only upbeat films at holiday time.) Or, perhaps even better, order the above-mentioned Avatar, and then take your loved ones to see Toruk, the Cirque du Soleil show based on it, that I recommended in one of the above sections! What a fun, fabulous tie-in gift! www.dvdgiftbaskets.com
I can’t single-out any one charitable organization to give to this holiday season; I’m just reminding you that a donation in someone’s name is an option. Most of the gifts I’ve given for the past five years are of a charitable nature, rather than actual physical gifts. But I know not everyone wants to do that. And most people do look forward to see what actual items their loved ones pick-out for them, which I totally understand. But giving to a charity in someone’s name can never be wrong, so please keep it in mind.
And here’s one last general tip—if you’re planning on shopping on-line, today, December 16 is “free shipping day,” practically across the board. So, better get cracking on those gifts today! Good one, eh?! Happy gift-giving!