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25 Answers To Your Question

A cheat sheet for stumped holiday shoppers

You’ve got one month before Christmas. Hannukah will be upon you even sooner. Not religious? As if that will help you decide what gifts to buy for whom this year.

We’re here to help. If you can’t find something for anyone in this list of 25, can’t-miss gifts, why then turn the page. It’s AV’s Annual Gift Guide, and there are dozens more ideas ahead to help you navigate the holiday season.

Buy local week

Economists forecast that US consumers will spend approximately $445 billion during the 2010 holiday season. Rather than sending those profits to corporations, Buffalo First urges you to make sure that our community benefits instead.

Buy Local Week runs November 26-December 4. Each day, Buffalo First will remind the City of Good Neighbors of the many reasons they should give local a chance this holiday season by highlighting Buffalo from every angle, giving Buffalonians a 360-degree view of what makes the holidays all about the intangibles tucked away and found in the crevices of the city.

The culmination of this week will be Buffalo First’s infamous Buy Local Bash, held at The Eights Bistro (888 Main Street) on Saturday, December 4.

Our marketplace, which will run 7pm-8:30pm, will allow local artisans and vendors to show off their best and make you wonder why you ever settled for anything less than one-of-a-kind. Local songwriters Jon Herr and Ethan Steigerwald will also be playing acoustic sets.

The bash will continue throughout the night and into the early hours with a full-out celebration of local after the market closes. Bring your dancin’ shoes, because Fudgy Chewy, DJ Cutler, and Bashar Deeb will be bringing the beats and sprinkling in some holiday cheer along the way. Door prizes, courtesy of local businesses, will be raffled off throughout the night.

Admission is $5 with a nonperishable food item or $7 without an item. All donations will go to the Food Bank of WNY. Vendors wishing to participate in the local marketplace should contact Buffalo First at 725-6100 or

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City Hall Snow Globe

Back by popular demand. This handsome bit of tchotchke sold out by word of mouth alone in 2007. Last year’s installment in the series was the Richardson Towers, and in January there will be Botanical Society snow globe. Available for $50 at, the Floristry (1385 Delaware Avenue), the Burchfield Penney Art Center gift shop, the Gift Loft at Main Place Mall. the Teddy Roosevelt Inaugural Site (641 Delaware Avenue), the Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society, and Gilda’s Club Holiday Open Studios (1140 Delaware Avenue, December 4-5, 11am-6pm)—where you’ll find lots of other swell gifts, too. Batteries included.

A Rakish Hat

Just $12 for this stylish red herringbone buckle cap? Come on. Find it at Cats Like Us (67 Main Street, Tonawanda, 694-6600 /, which is a treasure trove of cool rockabilly and retro clothing and accessories. Tonawanda’s is becoming an increasingly groovy place to shop and hang out, too; you’re guaranteed to find more gifts nearby.

A Basket Full of Buffalo Stuff

Folks come into town for the holidays and they want to take some Buffalo memorabilia back to Phoenix, Charlotte, Houston—wherever. You can tool all around town, picking up stuff piecemeal, or you can run down to Jabco General Store at the Broadway Market and load up on local foods food, baseball caps, and t-shirts, as well as cool retro toys and novelties.

A Nice Watch

How about the Bulova Precisionist? They say it’s the world’s most accurate quartz watch, and it’s certainly handsome. Just $300 at Abraham’s Jewelers (798 Elmwood Avenuw, 873-0734).

Tree of Life Ties

For the man who likes to wear a little Buffalo history to work. Features Wright’s celebrated Tree of Life art glass pattern from the Darwin Martin House. Available at the Wisteria Shop at Frank Lloyd Wright’s Martin House Complex (125 Jewett Parkway, 856.3858) or online at

Sweet Photographs

Living and working in Buffalo, Chelsea Victoria’s photography has a light, dreamy quality with an air of mystery. She manages to transform a familiar place or object into something otherworldly through her use of muted tones and deliberate focusing. One of her prints would be perfect for sprucing up a dingy hallway or low-lit bedroom. She is offering a buy one, get one free sale until December 25 and there are a large variety of photos to choose from. The Winter’s Lullaby ($20) captures the beauty of winter snow. The Escape From Reality 2011 Mini Desk Calendar ($10) can be an artful addition for someone who has a desk that could use some livening up. Chelsea Victoria Photography:

A Day on the Barricades

You know that friend who marches in every antiwar protest, who writes endless letters to her elected representatives, who plants trees in the city’s blight-stricken neighborhoods? Your gift to her this year should be solidarity: Tell her you’ll stand with her and the other Women in Black at Elmwood and Bidwell one Saturday this winter, or ladle soup with her at Friends of the Night People—any civic-minded activity. Then take her out to dinner to thank her for her unyielding dedication.

An Electric Guitar Package

The good folks at Allentown Music (1113 Elmwood Avenue, 883-2341) have a deal that will outfit the budding rocker on you gift list: This $180 package includes an Indiana IE1 Electric guitar, a Sundown Rover 15 amp, a gig bag, cable, guitar stand, picks, and an instructional DVD.

2011 Certain Days: Freedom for Political Prisoners Calendar

Inspiration for the activist on your gift list comes in the form of the Certain Days Collective’s annual calendar, which features stries and artwork about this country’s many political prisoners. You can find one at El Buen Amigo (114 Elmwood), Rust Belt Books (202 Allen Street), or Talking Leaves Books (951 Elmwood Ave, 3158 Main Street) for just $12. Or you can call Nate Buckley at 886-0544 and get one for $10.

A Couples Massage

Here’s a nice way to unwind once the holiday merry-go-round has ended. Book a relaxing, 70-minute massage for two, on side-by-side tables. At the Mssage Studio (181 Allen Street at Elmwood, 870-0240), they’ll throw in scented oil aromatherapy and hot stone therapy at no additional cost. Good for you and your partner or for another couple.

Graycliff China

Need to take some relatives on a field trip this holiday season? Take them to visit the Graycliff Estate, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright (6472 Old Lake Shore Road, Derby). While you;re there, stop in at the Graycliff Gift Shop and knock a couple of gifts off your list: The pattern for Graycliff China, made exclusively for Graycliff by Buffalo China, is adapted from Wright’s stunning design for Graycliff’s signature Diamond Window.

Vintage Shoes

Lisa Joy Freedenberg scours Buffalo’s thrift shops and charity shops to offer the best in best vintage shoes and bags. Check out the navy and white wingtip Leon David’s pumps for $23 or the tan western cowboy boots made in Romania for $32. These would be the perfect gift for someone who is environmentally conscious and strives to reuse or a fashionista who doesn’t have the time to shop vintage. At Liza Zain’s Vintage Shoe Love:

Irish Classical Tickets

Get tickets to any of the four shows remaining in the Irish Classical Theater’s season—Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, The Mandrake, Shining City, and The Playboy of the Western World—at bargain prices: four tickets for $100 (a saving of $68) or three tickets for $85 (a saving of $41). You can use the tickets to see any show or cobination of shows you’d like. The gift is twofold, supporting the arts and treating your loved ones to some of the best theater in town. Call the Irish’s Holiday Hotline for more information: 853-ICTC.

Buffalo History Calendar

The folks at have published a handsome calendar this year, featuring images of the city’s bustling waterfront in its heyday, its iconic architecture, its once teeming Main Street. A great stocking stuffer or office gift. Pick them up at Poster Art (1055 Elmwood Avenue, 883-3034).

Have Tea, Will Travel

A must have for this holiday season is the tea wallet, sold exclusively at Tealeafs Tea & Gift Shop (499 West Klein Road/Hopkins-Klein Plaza, 688-8022). With multiple compartments to fit your tea and sweeteners, the Tea wallet folds and snaps together to fit in your handbag or pocket. Fill with teabags or your favorite loose tea. Tea wallets are exactly what the discriminating tea drinker needs: a neat way to carry those special teas with you.

Cocktail Glasses for Mad Men

Are you sick of hard-edged modern furniture and cheaply made department store clothes? Go vintage with Rust Belt Threads, which offers an eclectic collection of hand-picked vintage clothing, barware, and home décor. Whether you’re shopping for your favorite domestic goddess or a hipster who just got a new apartment, check out the vintage brass deer figurines with fur and spotted detail for $110. The vintage 1960s raspberry and black wool coat for $78 will be much appreciated by any Buffalonian gearing up for winter and hoping to avoid the puffy coat look. Shopping for a Mad Men fan? The 1950s aqua and gold spruce pinecone cocktail glasses for $26 are festive and functional. Rust Belt Threads:

A Meeting With Santa

Santa and his reindeer are annual visitors to Niagara Hobby and Craft Mart (3366 Union Road, 681-1666 / Santa, one of his elves, and their real live reindeer welcome children and pets in a rare, 1949, 29-ton red caboose, where each child receives a special gift packet. There is no cost to see Santa, his elf, and his reindeer, and no cost for the photograph. Saturdays and Sundays, 11am-4pm, through December 19.

Local Classics

Buffalo classical music CDs for holiday gift giving

Buffalo is a great place to live if you are a classical music lover, as you have the opportunity to attend at least a couple hundred live performances every year. The performances of many locally based classical musical artists are often released as CD’s on national record labels. Here are just a few of the recent notable releases:

• Music Director JoAnn Falletta and the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra have developed a very fruitful relationship with the Naxos record label over the last few years, culminating in the two Grammy Awards awarded to BPO recordings this past winter. Marcel Tyberg was murdered at Auschwitz, and Falletta’s advocacy of his miraculously surviving scores has resulted in the world premiere recording of his Symphony No. 3 (Naxos), one of the BPO’s most ambitious projects to date. Tyberg’s unique use of a late Romantic idiom in the Symphony No. 3 is mirrored in the accompanying work on the CD, his Piano Trio in F Major, featuring BPO concertmaster Michael Ludwig, BPO principal cellist Roman Mekinulov, and pianist Ya-Fei Chuang.

• UB-based soprano Tony Arnold is one of the most accomplished interpreters of contemporary classical vocal music now performing in America. Her performance of Hungarian composer György Kurtág’s Kafka Fragments (Bridge), which uses texts drawn from Franz Kafka’s letters, diary entries, and notebooks, beautifully captures the spare intensity of the feted composer’s most personally autobiographical work. Violinist Movses Pogossian, a visiting professor at UB for several years, is Arnold’s equally talented collaborator in the performance. In addition to a studio recording of the work, the two disc set includes a DVD with both a live performance and a master class featuring Kurtág and the two performers.

Voces Internas (Troy) features contemporary Mexican works for cello and is cellist Jonathan Golove’s latest CD release on the Albany record label. Golove, an associate professor at UB, is not afraid of a challenge, as demonstrated by his efforts to resurrect the long-lost electronic theremin cello as a living performance instrument. While some of the works on this CD are not for the faint of heart listener, Golove’s sensitivity to the ethereal beauty of Mario Lavistsa’s Cuaderno de viaje, which has been described as “a delicate and sensual study of harmonics,” makes this a must-buy for lovers of cello music.

• Baritone Alexander Hurd is best known for his carefully designed, thoughtfully nuanced programs of German lieder. His latest CD, Shadow of the Blues (Centaur), features songs by the contemporary American composer John Musto. Though best known for his work as an opera composer—a CD of Volpone was a Grammy award nominee this year—Musto’s extensive songbook ranges from the quiet intensity of the title group of songs, based on poems by Langston Hughes, to the risqué sensibilities of San Jose Symphony Reception, based on a poem by Lawrence Ferlinghetti. The subtlety changing vocal styles of Musto are well-served by the lyrical baritone voice of Hurd, a faculty member at UB.

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Send the Kids to Summer Camp

You’re going to send them anyway, right? It’s already in the budget, right? So why not present the kids with two weeks at Ska-No-Ka-San or Seneca Lake or Forrestel Farm Camp. If that’s not in the budget, maybe some tennis lessons at the park. Wrap up the reservation with an appropriate accessory—a riding crop, a racket, a high-powered flashlight, a case of Snickers bars to use as currency—and Bob’s your uncle.

Cool Stationery

In an age of virtual e-cards and generic greeting cards, the high quality of letterpress stationery stands out. French Press (2495 Main Street, Suite 507) designs and prints their stationery, posters, cards and more in Buffalo using vintage presses from 1964, 1921, and the 1890s. They also offer letterpress printing workshops. The French Press Etsy shop offers a selection of holiday cards for $5 each, which will send your holiday greetings with a touch of class. Or you could get straight to the point and give your current crush “You Rock” coasters. See more on their websites: and

A Year's Worth of Glamour Shots

The photo session for your customized Boudoir Photo Calendar takes place in the privacy of Spoil Me Silly Studio where your hair, makeup, wardrobe will be styled by a professional artist and you’ll work with photographers who understand how to capture a women at her best. Call now for special holiday rates! Spoil Me Silly Studio is inside the Eastern Hills Mall: 634-7459,

Care for the Caregivers

We all know someone who is caring for an elderly or infirm loved one. Giving is a year-round daily act of love that inspires and enervates caregivers. Here is one way to give love and strength back to them: tai chi classes. Tai chi is a gentle physical exercise that can be done both sitting and standing, using the breath and physical movements to promote calmness and harmony. Those who offer care and those who receive it can benefit in ways that not only promote health but alter the care giving relationship through increased strength and calmness. Very importantly, it has been shown to decrease falls, the bête noir that threatens everyone’s independence and wellness. Often, caregivers are seeking activities to share with their loved ones—tai chi is ideal in that people in almost all stages of fitness can participate and enjoy the enhanced wellbeing it brings. Help a caregiver you know move through this journey.

A Rock Show Poster

Do you have a friend that just won’t shut up about the Broken Social Scene show at Town Ballroom? Get thee to Western New York Book Arts Center (468 Washington at Mohawk, 348-1430 / and, for just $20, pick up a two-color letterpress poster, hand-carved and hand-printed. You’ll find lots of excellent gifts at WNYBAC, as a matter of fact, and you might be tempted to pick up a couple tickets to their New Year’s Even fundraising gala. It’s the perfect place to watch the ball drop from the Electric Tower.

Shoes: One Pair for You, One Pair for the Needy

Here’s a charitable donation that will give succor to your loved one’s aching dogs: Pick up a comfy pair of Tom’s Shoes, and the company will donate a new pair to a child in need, one for one. Locally available at ShoeFly (801 Elmwood Avenue).

A Little Night Necklace

Buffalo artist Kathi Roussel’s jewelry and other handmade objects can be found in shop and gallery display cases across the region. (They also, of course, hang from the ears and drape around the necks of thousands of stylish men and women in Western New York and beyond.) We like this La Nuit Bellflower Necklace, pictures on Roussel’s Etsy page:

Bowl 'Em Over

Erin Lynne Meissner graduated from Alfred University with a bachelor degree in fine arts. She moved back to Buffalo to be near family, friends, and the strong community of crafters and artists. She designs her ceramic bowls with balanced text and illustration to create whimsical and personal pieces. Each bowl is handmade and unique. The adorable Winter Birdie Bowl for $18 will remind the recipient of cold weather along with a warm and fuzzy feeling. Besides the ready-made bowls, Meissner also takes custom orders that can be personalized.Elm Studios:

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