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45 Gift Ideas That Are Guaranteed to Please

2013 Holiday Gift Guide

Chess set, El Buen Amigo Latin American Cultural Association
Finkies, Deenie Bakes
Camera Clapper,
Frack-off t-shirt, Burning Books
Farm share, various
Star Trek pins, Sweet Treats Gifts
Djembe drums, Terrapin Station
Manatea infuser, Spoiled Rotten
Buffalo bags, various shops
Ommegang beer, Village Beer Merchant
Deer antlers, Ro
Vintage Dress, Rust Belt Threads
Buffalo ornaments, Woysher's Florists
Mark Freeland art, 464 Gallery
Stereos, Speaker Shop
Ukulele, Allentown Music
At The Drive-In album, Black Dots
Wooden watch, Urban Threads
Furniture, Shop 43
Cakes, Butterwood Sweet & Savory
Kikkerland Solar-Powered Rainbow Maker, Hyatt's
Kaj Franck Bowl, Etsy
Retro dish towels, Kitch
Poster, WNYBAC
The Trailer Park Boys Dear Santa Claus Tour, Mainstage Theatre at UB
Dragon teapot, Tealeafs
Seat Flask Cushion, Kegworks

Trust Us, These Will Work

Mayans vs. Spanish Conquistadors Chess Set

This detailed chess set, handcrafted in Peru, is a good choice for the world traveler, history nerd, or anyone who simply loves the game of chess. All profits earned from the store are reinvested directly into the communities of Central and South America. $30 at El Buen Amigo Latin American Cultural Association (114 Elmwood Avenue).

White Light/White Heat

From its aggressively fuzzy title track to its 17-minute long, blissfully noisy, “Sister Ray” finish, the Velvet Underground’s White Light/White Heat is a must-have for the avid record collector. To mark the anniversary of the album’s 1968 release, Universal Music is offering the White Light/White Heat 45th Anniversary Super Deluxe Edition. This three-disc set features remastered versions of the original recordings (in both mono and stereo), bonus material, and precious unreleased material. “No one listened to it,” front man Lou Reed said in 2013 before his death, “but there it is, forever—the quintessence of articulate punk.” Releases on December 6. Find it at Record Theatre (1800 Main Street, Buffalo or University Plaza 3500 Main Street, Amherst; ($28.98- $99.98 depending on format)


Queen City Acupuncture is giving the gift of a stress- and pain-free holiday this season. Queen City Acupuncture offers expert acupuncture, cupping, moxa (heat therapy), and herbal formulas to keep you calm and collected. With two locations and versatile hours, a gift certificate from Queen City is just the type of nontraditional gift to make your loved one feel good inside and out. This holiday season Queen City Acupuncture will be offering a 15 percent discount on packages of three or more treatments. Visit or on find them on Facebook to purchase your holiday gift certificate. Call 218-9338 more more information.


Finkies. That’s right. Finkies. Screw those other yellow things that calls themselves “snack cakes.” Finkies (not to be confused with Twinkies) are the delicious creation of creative Buffalo baker Deenie Bakes. Not only are Finkies scrumptious, they’re gluten-free. True story: I purchased a pack when they first came out, figuring I’d give them a shot even though I’m not a fan of their more mass-produced bretheren. I ate one and ridiculously decided to share the other with my husband. He was a little hesitant, but I told him to take a bite and if he didn’t like it I’d happily eat the rest of his. Unfortunately I never got to eat that second Finkie, because they are delicious. Everyone likes food, so it makes a great gift at $3.99 a pack. Available at the Lexington Co-op or on

The Camera Clipper

Capture amazing photos and videos with your smartphone this holiday season with Buffalo’s own Camera Clipper. Camera Clipper is a clippable smartphone tripod for iPhone and Android photography. It works like a tripod, but it’s small and portable, and fast and easy to use. Have fun, get creative, and capture memories this holiday with Camera Clipper. Great gift idea! Purchase at

Retro Dish Towels

Add a little holiday cheer with these hand screen-printed retro Christmas Doe dishtowels by Kitch. Created from 100% cotton, these washable flour sack tea time is sure to put a smile on any one’s face this holiday season. $8 (

“Frack-Off!” T-shirt

Show your support for the anti-fracking movement by sporting an organic, made-in-the-USA “Frack Off” t-shirt available from West Side bookstore Burning Books. $20 (420 Connecticut Street, Buffalo).

The Picard Pin

Everyone knows Star Trek: The Next Generation’s Jean-Luc Picard was far and away the best captain to command the deck of the starship USS Enterprise. Show your support for the shiny-domed,sexpot by donning this awesome handmade felt pin by Sweet Treats Gifts. $18 ( (Pssst, this shop has more characters from TNG, so be sure to get your geek on.)

Certain Days: Freedom for Political Prisoners Calendar

We’re lucky to have a number of great, non-chain new and used book stores in town—including, but not limited to: Talking Leaves (951 Elmwood and 3158 Main Street); Rust Belt Books (202 Allen); Westside Stories (205 Grant St.); and Old Editions Bookshop & Gallery (74 East Huron St.).

Then, in a zone all its own is Burning Books (420 Connecticut Street). To call the place “left-leaning” is to miss the point—they are beyond left or right. Here you’ll find books about anarchism, the Black Panther Party, the Earth Liberation Front, and a bunch of other literature that addresses everything from radical feminism to hydrofracking.

The store frequently hosts controversial speakers who bring unique perspectives that are unheard of through the mainstream media. Burning Books also sells t-shirts and stickers that let the world know where you stand on certain issues. The place is a bastion of free speech in an increasingly tight-lipped world.

A great Christmas gift idea is the Certain Days: Freedom for Political Prisoners Calendar, which features 42 pages of art and writings addressing the plight of political prisoners everywhere. ($12).

A Farm Share

Help your friends eat right: Buy them shares in the bountiful produce of local farms. The number of farms that now invite customers to subscribe in advance of each growing season has proliferated past our ability to list them all, though we have a few favorites: Native Offerings in Little Valley, Arden Farm and Thorpe’s Farm in East Aurora, Plato Dale Farm in Arcade, among others. For between $25 and $50 a week, roughly, depending on the size of the share and the farm, your loved ones will receive more than they’ll be able to eat before the next shipment arrives. And nowadays you can subscribe to all kinds of produce: summer and winter vegetables, organic meats, dairy products, eggs, fruit, nuts. The folks at Edible Buffalo ( have a pretty good list online. Order right away—a lot of farms have already sold out their shares for next summer.

A Bread Share

If you think your loved ones will resent being overwhelmed by locally grown zucchini and kale, maybe consider a bread share instead: The Breadhive Worker Cooperative Bakery (123 Baynes Avenue, Buffalo, offers a variety of baked goods for $20-$24 per share per month. Five Points Bakery (426 Rhode Island Street, Buffalo, offers a year-long subscription for $225, comprising a loaf of bread, or cinamon rolls, or a selection of other baked goods, each week.

Buffalo Bags

When the family diaspora comes home for the holidays, it is de rigeur that they be sent away with some local badge to wear—something that marks them as Buffalonians forever. We recommend a Buffalo-themed neoprene lunch tote or a zippered mesh Buffalo shoulder tote, available for $20 each the Burchfield Penney Museum Shop, Thin Ice (719 Elmwood Avenue, Buffalo), Village Artisans (5560 Main Street, Williamsville), and through

Hi-Fidelity Audio

Do not trust the tinny sound that pours from those silly little speakers on your laptop computer. And toss aside those over-priced, over-hyped and over-marketed BEATS headphones. These are not the way to listen to music. There’s a lot that has been made of the resurgence of vinyl and a home stereo with quality loudspeakers. That’s for good reason. Since the dawn of recorded music, the advances to have it heard properly have been constant, and the Speaker Shop is a retail testament to that. Whether you are looking to repair and refine Dad’s old 1970s hi-fi that has been handed down to you, or perhaps you want to spend big bucks on a state-of-the-art modern system, Buffalo’s Speaker Shop is the place to check out (3604 Main Street, Amherst,

Art From Starlight Studios

Starlight Studio and Art Gallery (340 Delaware Avenue, Buffalo, provides art classes to adults with disabilities, and the work the artists create is exhibited and sold through the gallery shop. The work is at turns beautiful, hysterical, and moving, and always vibrant. It’s a terrific institution to support. Stop in a peruse the shop for mugs and t-shirts and posters made from art created in Starlight’s studios. You’ll be glad you did.

A Piece of Vintage Furniture

In search of that elusive vintage piece? Looking for the ultimate rare mid-20th-century furnishings? Or perhaps you are looking for a unique gift for that certain person on the shopping list. These things can all be found over on Allen Street at one of 2013’s newest additions to Allentown cadre of cool retail: Shop 43 (43 Allen Street, Buffalo,


Spirograph allows even the least coordinated artists to create hand-made, geometric masterpieces. Giving this gift is a great way to reintroduce a classic toy to a younger generation. You may even find yourself getting a little carried away with your demonstrations, of course; it’s okay to frame your artwork. $29.99 at the Tree House Toy Store (793 Elmwood Avenue).

Glass Teapot Candle

This teapot candle resembles a traditional candle jar and provides the highest quality long-burn time with a variety of wonderful aromas and colors. Made with beeswax and soy, it can burn for 80-100 hours. Once the candle burns, you can use the 12-ounce glass teapot for tea. $19.95 at Tealeafs (5416 Main Street, Williamsville).

Original Mark Freeland Artwork

Not only was Mark Freeland, who passed away in 2007, a pioneer of electro-rock, but he was also a gifted visual artist with a style all his own. You can find artwork by Freeland—assorted, one-of-a-kind, original mixed-media works on wood—at 464 Gallery on Amherst Street in Buffalo. $200 each (464 Amherst Street, Buffalo).

The Workshop Pop-Up Dinner

Locally born and bred chef Edward Forster has honed his craft and made a name for himself, serving under world-class chefs including Georges Perrier, Paul Kahn, Graham Elliott, the late Charlie Trotter, and of course Buffalo’s own Mike Andrezejewski, for whom Forster worked as head chef at the esteemed Mike A’s at Hotel Lafayette from its launch until this past year. The latest chapter in Forster’s culinary journey is The Workshop. A pass for one of his underground, pop-up dinners—unique meals prepared and served in “secret” surprise locations—makes a truly exclusive, once-in-a-lifetime gift for any discriminating fanatic of fine dining in Western New York. Sign up at or get more info at

A Breema Session

Breema is a practice that awakens the self by cultivating an awareness of the connection between body and mind. It might be simplified as a practice somewhere between yoga and Thai massage, but ultimately promoting the movement and concentration of body and motion in mind as one. Breema’s “Nine Principles of Harmony” put into practice a body/mind connection and are applicable to every situation in life. The gift of putting mind and body in cohesion and motion is something that you can’t put a a pricetag on. For more information, visit or call 465-6546.

Wu Tang Clan Socks

Rep your favorite rap group while keeping warm this winter with a pair of Wu Tang Clan socks, found at Krudmart for just $14 (497 Franklin Street, Buffalo).

Fine Drinking Equipment

Need the stuff for a proper holiday wassail? Got to get something to enjoy that fine scotch by the fireplace? To get the proper, refined buzz, one never needs to leave home again. The place to find the perfect gift for fine drinking is online and also in our own backyard! While is taking orders from all over the world, a drive over to Kegworks is all you need to for items to set up the perfect at-home cocktail bar, wine bistro, or beer garden—and you save on the shipping. Everything you can imagine—from home kegerator kits to a top-notch selection of glassware and bar bitters, plus much more—can be found close to home over at1460 Military Road, Buffalo (

Manatea Infuser

It’s kind of hard to look at this one too long with out cracking a smile. This hilarious manatee is also functional; just pop the body open, fill it with loose tea, and let him steep in your favorite mug. The perfect gift for that quirky someone on your list. $12 at Spoiled Rotten (831 Elmwood Avenue).

Rare Records

The folks behind Record Store day are going the extra mile and helping out indie record stories this Black Friday with a barrage of exclusive limited special editions of albums from a diverse list of artists. This year’s participants include Flaming Lips, Nirvana, Paul Simon, Nas, and many more. Record Theatre will be opening at 9am, so you can get your hot little hands on these sought-after releases (1800 Main Street, Buffalo or University Plaza 3500 Main Street, Amherst;

Fake Pearls, In Honor of Jackie

This holiday season, on the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, the thoughts of many turn to Camelot—and, of course, to Jackie Kennedy. Why not help a loved one remember her in her own signature style? You needn’t spring for a set of real pearls, when such excellent fakes abound at the region’s thrift and antique shops. My we recommend Ritzy Rags (4060 Union Rd, Cheektowaga) or Patricia’s Antiques (45 Allen Street, Buffalo).

Kaj Franck Bowl

Kaj Franck was one a leading figure in Finnish design that created pieces that served both form and function. Franck is well known for creating whimsical enamel bowls with bold graphic patterns and colors that stand out among regular tableware. Local Etsy shop, compost this, currently has a large mid-century Kaj Frank white enamel bowl with bright cherry pattern that’s sure to put a smile on any Scandinavian lover’s face. $125 (

Let Them Eat Cake

Everyone brings a bottle of wine or a six-pack to a holiday party. Be different. Be better. Bring a goddamn cake. We like to selection at Butterwood Sweet & Savory in the Hotel Lafayette in downwtown Buffalo, which range in price from $23 to $29.

Red Miz Mooz Women’s Daffodil Pump Shoes

These edgy boots are great for adding some color to your winter wardrobe. With a modest heel and beautiful perforated leather detailing, they’re nice for everyday wear or special occasions. $156 at ShoeFly (801 Elmwood Avenue).

Kikkerland Solar-Powered Rainbow Maker

Who says you need rain to make rainbows? This device allows you to enjoy the whimsical fun of colorful lights from your own bedroom. Genuine Swarovski crystals create rainbow effects when placed in a sunny window. This will bring joy to double rainbow fans, young and old. $32 at Hyatt’s (910 Main Street).

Leather and Flowers Frame Clutch

A beautiful, handmade, one-of-a kind floral clutch made from vintage curtains & reclaimed navy leather. The perfect size for a special night out, roomy enough to carry necessities while maintaining a vintage appeal. $50 at

Straight-Edge Laser-Guided Scissors

This is a great item for that person who shoves their presents in gift bags every year. If that person is you, this may be a gift to give yourself. These scissors have a built-in laser guide to keep your cuts straight. With the hardest part out of the way, you should be able to figure out what to do with all that tape. When it’s time to wrap up the holiday fun, these come in handy for crafts and projects around the house. $6.25 at Everything Elmwood (740 Elmwood Avenue).

Vintage 1960s Navy Shift Dress

Holiday parties and New Year’s celebrations provide ample opportunity to dress up a little more than usual. If you’re looking for something you aren’t likely to see on anyone else, try Rustbelt Threads for a variety of beautiful and unique, retro dresses. $58 at

Weathered Deer Antlers

These authentic weathered deer antlers are great for adding a rustic touch to any home. They are naturally shed and weathered to create a beautiful and trendy wall or mantle piece. $35 at Ro (732 Elmwood Avenue).

Alex Toys Kids Concoctions 2 Bubbling Lava Lamps

This set lets kids make their own bubbling lava lamps with vegetable oil and “magic fizzies. It’s a fun and easy experiment to amuse everyone involved. $12.99 at the Tree House Toy Store (739 Elmwood Avenue).

Yixing Clay Dragon Quest Teapot

This is a uniquely designed, 17-ounce teapot that has a special ability to absorb tea flavors due to the Yixing clay being porous. The teapot resembles a work of art so it looks beautiful on display and it becomes seasoned by the tea leaves to optimize any tea flavor. $49.95 at Tealeafs (5416 Main Street, Williamsville).

Djembe Drums

Most people know that Terrapin Station have a great selection of glass pipes (for tobacco use only, of course) but they also carry clothing, and even musical instruments like djembes and doumbek hand drums that range from $50 to $200. Terrapin Station (1172 Hertel Avenue, Buffalo).

Tense Wooden Watches

For a new twist on a classic wristwatch, check out Tense Wooden Watches, found at Urban Threads at the Elmwood Village, starting at $100 (736 Elmwood Avenue, Buffalo).

At The Drive-In: In/Casino/Out

A new record store popped up in the ever-growing Grant Street area over the summer. Black Dots, located directly across the street from Sweetness_7 Café, carries a nice selection of mostly punk, hardcore, and indie rock records. They have some rare used records too, including this copy of At The Drive-In’s 1998 record In/Casino/Out on pink-splattered grey vinyl. $24.99 (223 Lafayette Avenue, Buffalo).


You don’t have to be Stephen Hillenburg (creator of SpongeBob SquarePants and ukulele aficionado) to have fun with a ukulele. Inexpensive (on sale for $32 a piece) and with a variety of colors to choose from, you could buy a few of these little guys to give to friends or even use them to decorate a room if you’re not as musically inclined as our square-pantsed friend. Get them at6 Allentown Music (1113 Elmwood Avenue, Buffalo).

Ommegang Ales in 25.7oz bottles

Everyone has a beer-loving friend for whom to buy a gift this holiday season. With a variety of ales, from the Three Philosophers quadruple ale (9.7% alc/vol) to the Hennepin farmhouse saison (7.7% alc/vol) and the Rare Vos amber Ale (6.5% alc/vol) Ommegang has you covered. Brewed in Cooperstown, Ommegang focuses on Belgian-style ales. Find a variety of styles, $8.99-$10.99, at the Village Beer Merchant (1535 Hertel Avenue or 547 Elmwood Avenue).

Tickets to The Trailer Park Boys Dear Santa Claus Tour

Your favorite group of white-trash Canadian trailer park residents returns to Buffalo on Wednesday, December 11. Ricky, Julian Bubbles, Randy, and Mr. Lahey will be present in all their drunken glory when the Trailer Park Boys come to town with their brand new live show: Dear Santa Claus. The evening is likely to be a shitshow you’ll never forget when this team of idiots seeks out the true meaning of Christmas at UB’s Mainstage Theatre. $35.50 to $55.50. 8pm Wednesday, December 11, Mainstage Theatre at UB.

A Southeast Asian Water Buffalo

Seriously—a share in one for $25 or the whole buffalo for $250. But understand, you’re giving it to a needy stranger in the name of your loved one. The folks at Heifer International ( solicit help from people in rich countries to empower families in poor countries to turn hunger and poverty into hope and prosperity—not by giving handouts but by giving them farm animals with which they can engage in sustainable agriculture and commerce. Donate on behalf of loved ones, then slip a Heifer International honor card in there stockings so they know what good has been done in their names.

Mohawk Place The Last Waltz Letterpressed Show Poster

If you know your way around Buffalo’s extensive local music scene, chances are you’ve walked through the doors and bellied up at Mohawk Place. Buffalo’s bastion of live music will be sorely missed after hosting thousands of acts on their sticker-adorned stage for 18 years. The venue’s final two-night sendoff in January featured the likes of Girlpope, Handsome Jack, and Mohawk mainstays the Irving Klaws, with musicians and fans alike paying homage to this venerable establishment. Whether or not you were among the masses for Mohawk’s “Last Waltz,” you can commemorate the final shebang with this letterpressed show poster from the WNY Book Arts Center Shop (468 Washington Street, Buffalo, The three-color, 10-by-40-inch, handprinted poster lists the final two nights’ lineups, and will hang proudly on the wall of anyone who wants to keep alive the spirit of this beloved live music watering hole. Visit WNYBAC’s Etsy site for more Buffalo prints, gig posters, ephemera, and other paper-related wares. $20.

Sippin’ Seat Flask Stadium Seat Cushion

There might not be a more bothersome task than getting up to get a drink at a concert or sporting event. There are long lines, you miss part of the action, and often walk away with your 12-ounce cup feeling like you’ve just made a serious financial investment. Why get up to get a drink if you don’t have to? The Sippin’ Seat Flask Stadium Cushion allows you to get a sneaky buzz on without so much as lifting a cheek, with a built-in plastic flask pouch that holds up to 36-ounces of your favorite warm or cold libation. That’s three cans worth of beer, a bottle of wine, and more than enough hard liquor. The easy to use nozzle and valve makes sure you fill up your goblet with ease, and the seat cushion supports up to 300-pounds. Available at Kegworks (1460 Military Road, Buffalo,

Buffalo Ornaments

For $9-$13, these ornaments hit all classic the Buffalo notes: They come in the shape of sponge candy, chicken wings, pierogi, and of course bison. Find them at Woysher’s Florists in the lobby of the Hotel Lafayette in downtown Buffalo.

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