Gift giving—can I hear a resounding “Oi!”? The holidays roll around and we run around like a bunch of lunatics stressed out over this and that and the other thing too. What should I get Aunt Bessie? How old are the kids again? Uncle Pat is into WHAT now? It gets to the point where I want to scream, “Don’t get me nothin’ and I won’t have to worry about you!” But you do and you still stress searching for the perfect gift for that certain someone on your list.

Gifts for kids

Well, let’s get to it and take a look around to see what we have here at the Co-op. Kids are fairly easy up to the age of about six or seven, and then it gets hard. You can get them just about anything and they’ll be happy. We have some great Soft Dough that is higher grade than play dough and lasts a bit longer. Many kids tend to like small things. We have many perfect little stocking stuffers such as key chains, figurines, tiny purses and miniature stuffed animals. We also have these great kid-size cooking utensils and baking tins for small hands to help in the kitchen. Works for my kids, if only for a short time.

Older kids are tough as they are all so different and individual at this time and unless it’s super charged, comes with headphones and an MP3 player with pretty flashing lights, most want nothing to do with it. Journals. I know, I know, with the pens and the pencils and don’t say it…writing. I could be wrong but I think some kids may still like doing it. There’s nothing quite like having a document of your life in your own interesting words scrawled in a spiral bound notebook with a cool picture on the front.

Ideas for others

We have many gifts for your caffeinated individual, which I think are most of us these days. We have French presses galore from little tiny tea infusers to the 12-cup Bodum press. We also have a great teapot selection scattered about the store. Pair a cool teapot with a handful of delicious tea, Rishi perhaps, and you got a guaranteed winner of thoughtfulness and taste.

Hand made

We have a selection of local, fair-traded, hand made items as well. We’ll begin with Crow Pottery. Bob Crow is one of our resident Seafood Center fishmongers. There is also Bali & Soul, owned and operated by Janis Kashian, an awesome woman who runs this very successful business. All items from them we bring in are fair trade from Bali and much of it is hand-carved and handmade. Another small business that we deal with is Avonlea. They are a business based out of Balsam Lake, Wisconsin. They grow, dry and bundle their very own sage and herb smudge sticks, used for various spiritual cleansing and prayers. Don’t forget to include a card with your gifts! We have a few local vendors for cards in our spin rack. Tami Dettinger takes beautiful photos of Madison highlights, animals, and nature. We also have a newcomer to the card scene—Tashai Lovington—who does very abstract, fantasy (and sometimes a little dark) card production. Don’t forget Red Oak, created by Ellis Felker. These cards are blank so you can inscribe your own carefully chosen holiday words. Also our newest addition is the Hope for Women cards, hand-crafted and fairly traded by women in the Himalayas.

We just brought in a few new styles of mugs to give to your caffeine-hungry relatives and neighbors and don’t forget near the Juice Bar, the ever witty housewife mugs. There is a charming picture and sarcastic quote on each one to bring a good dry laugh.

If you have a certain someone who loves to cook, you may want to check out the Bambu cutting boards. Perhaps a board, bread pan, bread knife and Bamboo Goo for your bread-making cousin.

Take a good look around the store and you can come up with thoughtful creative gifts for the holidays. Remember, it’s the thought that counts, and once you start thinking, you may feel less like screaming. Enjoy your family, friends and loved ones this season, and don’t forget to enjoy yourself.