by Buck Quigley
A guide to gifts for loved ones with particular predilections
Holiday shopping got you down? Tired of all the crowds, and the tightly wound shoppers pushing ahead of you in the checkout line? You, my friend, need to relax. You gotta take a minute to reflect on the big, important things like peace and love. That’s what the season is all about, man. I’m telling you, if you want to chill out this Christmas, and pick up some unique gifts for folks on your list, you’re gonna have to hit the head shop.
There are a few of them in town, but the grand daddy of Buffalo head shops is Terrapin Station, 1172 Hertel Avenue. Named after the Grateful Dead album, this iconic shop has been going strong since 1988. No other head shop has ever won the Artvoice Best of Buffalo Award in the Head Shop category, so they must be doing something right.
If you think “paraphernalia” when you think head shop, you’re only partly correct. Head shops, due to their roots in the counterculture movement of the 1960s, remain on the cutting edge of what’s cool. So even if you’re hopelessly square, just about any gift you buy from one will raise your hipness quotient in the eyes of the recipient. “Hey, grandma, thanks for the badass navel ring!”
There are many fun things you can find at these places, from musical instruments like flutes, drums, rain sticks and little thumb-pianos (called kalimbas), to clothing ranging from T-shirts to sweaters to groovy pants. The jewelry is always unique and affordable, and you can also find one-of-a-kind things like tapestries, lamps and candles to dress up any room with some hippie-chic. And wouldn’t your mother-in-law like a new windchime to hang in her garden next spring?
There’s probably no better place to find little stocking stuffers. Let’s say you have a niece, and you know her parents are buying her a guitar for Christmas. That’s a great present, but when you give her a little stack of colorful stickers to put on that bland, black guitar case—guess what? You’ve just become the coolest aunt or uncle on the planet. Throw in a few buttons of rock icons, and she’ll probably beg to move in with you, just to get away from her humdrum parents.
Colorful packets of incense are available, which, when lit, will turn on the olfactory senses during the long, cold winter nights—or why not pick up a campy lava lamp for your teenager’s room? Or, get a deck of Tarot cards and while away the dark evenings dabbling in that arcane art.
Since I’ve done my best to prance around the subject, let’s not forget that head shops also do sell things that you just can’t find anywhere else. At Terrapin, you can select from a bunch of smoking accessories—including this nice little metal box adorned with a skull with ruby-red eyes, wearing a joker’s hat, complete with matching metal pipe. A little candy cane completes the gift set, all for $17.
Maybe you know someone who is using marijuana medicinally for chronic pain. Not only are they in pain, they’re also breaking the law in New York State. Let’s say it worries you, and you’re even more concerned about the smoke they’re inhaling. For $288, you can get them the Iolite portable vaporizer (pictured). These devices heat up the combustible and release what’s inside without smoke, and are gaining in popularity in parts of the country where medical marijuana is legal.
Yes, brothers and sisters, there is a laid-back way to pick up gifts during the holidays. Visit a local head shop and dig the vibe. It’s about as far away from scenes of stampeding shoppers as you can get, and you’re sure to leave with unique presents that didn’t come from a catalog. Plus, it’s perfectly legal.
—buck quigleyblog comments powered by Disqus
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