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The Shopper, Week 5

Giving as good as it gets


Published December 19, 2012 at 8:57 a.m.


Welcome to the holiday season — and to the Seven Days guide to gifts. Every Wednesday for the last few weeks, we’ve been offering ideas for just about everyone on your list. For greater variety, a different writer has weighed in each week: same set of recipients, unique presents of mind. (Note: Some of these giftees are figments of our imaginations.)

And what do we want this year? Just for you to shop local, please and thank you.


As a devout Wilco fan since I was a teenager, I am in denial that the band has descended into “dad rock,” as so many snarky critics have suggested in recent years. Or I was in denial, anyway, until Pops recently asked if I had heard this “neat” new record, The Whole Love by “the Wilcos.” FML. Well, if ya can’t beat ’em, join ’em, right? Say, at the 2013 Solid Sound, the three-day, Wilco-curated — and Higher Ground Presents presented! — arts and music fest at Mass MoCA in North Adams, Mass. I just hope I’m old enough not to be embarrassed by my parents. $50/124/149.

Solid Sound, Wilco’s Music and Arts Festival, June 21-23.


At least once per dog-park visit, I get asked about the breed of my unusual-looking furry life partner, Buckley. Depending on my mood, I might say “pit bull” just to enjoy the nervous expression on the face of the guy whose ill-mannered toy schnoodle is obnoxiously nipping at Buck’s heels. Or I might make up a breed and see if they catch on. (“He’s a Rhodesian Crackhead!”) Truth is, I have no idea what my little man’s true lineage might be. So I’m testing the mutt’s DNA with the Wisdom Panel cheek swab to find out once and for all. $79.99.

Pet Food Warehouse, 2500 Williston Road, South Burlington, 862-5514; 2455 Shelburne Road, Shelburne, 985-3302.

Pregnant Friend

Finding cool gifts for my expectant friend is proving to be an unexpected challenge. The standard bottle o’ booze obviously won’t cut it this year. And everyone is likely to give her presents that are really for the tyke. But, even though she’s about to receive “life’s greatest gift,” or whatever, I bet mom-to-be would like something that’s just for her. So A Coloring Book for Pregnant Ladies by Vermont’s Ella Bop is just the thing. The first in a series of grown-up coloring books, it smartly depicts the absurdities and indignities of being pregnant — strangers touching your belly, pregnancy acne, constantly craving pickles, etc. Plus, it’s good practice for when Junior comes of Crayola-wielding age, and gives her something to hang on the fridge until he does. $9.99.

A Coloring Book for Pregnant Ladies by Ella Bop.

Kid Brother

Dude just got his license this year, and, frankly, he’s a bit of a terror on the blacktop. Driving with him through Winooski is an especially harrowing exercise, as he — like most of you, apparently — hasn’t quite mastered the intricacies of navigating the Onion City’s notorious roundabout. To him, “yield” is a four-letter word. So I’m getting him this nifty “Winooski Speedway” T-shirt designed by local drummer — and, full disclosure, 7D staffer — Steve Hadeka. $24.

Pleasant Ranch Studios.

Long-Distance Girlfriend

This year, my long-distance girlfriend said she wanted something “Vermont-y” for Christmas to remind her of home and suggested I poke around the Vermont Country Store website. Well, the hell with maple syrup and flannel pajamas! As a bit of a gag — and at the risk of rendering myself obsolete — I decided on one of VCS’ numerous “intimate massagers.” Because nothing says “Vermont” like a vibrator, am I right? (Just in case, how much was that maple syrup again?) $19.95-149.95.

Vermont Country Store,

Best Friend

Most of my friends tend to be pretty funny people. That’s especially true of my best friend, with whom I’ve been riffing on various topics — OK, mostly dick jokes — since we were kids. We’ve always been able to crack each other up — see: “dick jokes,” preceding sentence. But I’ve got a hunch he could take his act to the comedy club. So I signed him up for the Standup Comedy 101 class at Spark Arts, where he’ll learn how to work a crowd, confront his stage fright and craft a good joke, blue or otherwise. $130 for a six-week class.

Spark Arts, 180 Flynn Avenue, Burlington.