2011 Gift Guide

Julie Rene Tran

Vintage Cowboy Ropers, $26
WHERE: Cream Vintage
Nothing is a better Texas gift than a pair of boots. Bring out the inner cowboy and cowgirl in your friends with a pair of vintage ropers. Cream Vintage has a wide selection of them in all sorts of colors, stitchings and sizes for a wallet-friendly price.

Dog & Pony Customized, $60 and up
WHERE: Dog & Pony
For your more fashion-forward friends, surprise them with a customized garment from our favorite local boutique. With spikes and studs all the rave on the runway, Dog & Pony offers a range of bedazzling, from small studs on pocket denims for the minimalists to fully spiked out shoulders on a leather jacket for the badasses. Custom works take about a week, but the stores have racks of denim, leather goods, sweaters, dresses, mullet shirts and more, studded, spiked, and ready to go.

LIVESTRONG Rift Bike Helmet, $60
WHERE: Mellow Johnny’s Bike Shop
In a city peppered with bikers, the safety of riding is extremely important, especially with the recent spike in bike accidents. Kill two birds with one stone this holiday season with this LIVESTRONG bike helmet by supporting the local cancer awareness foundation and protecting your loved one’s noggin.

A retro video game, $10-50
WHERE: Resurrected Games & Movies
One of few electronic stores conveniently located in the Dobie Mall, Resurrected Games & Movies offers everything for gamers, movie-watchers and action figure collectors. The store even offers limited edition Star Trek Monopoly, The Nightmare Before Christmas Jenga and Metal Gear Solid Risk. If you are a fan of older electronic systems such as the Nintendo 64, Playstation and Sega Dreamcast, you can purchase two video games and get one free throughout December. 

Ideal Bookshelf Wall Print, $26
WHERE: shop.idealbookshelf.com
Artist Jane Mount creates homey yet offbeat prints of bookshelves lined with beautiful recreations of classics and modern favorites, and at $26, they make perfect gifts for the bookworm in your life. If you’re really feeling generous, you can have Mount paint a custom recreation of a shelf full your loved one’s handpicked favorite books for $220-450, depending on the size.

Flat Creek Estate’s 2009 Super Texan Sangiovese Wine, $19
WHERE: Whole Foods
An especially resourceful present for acquaintances and potlucks or dinner parties, wine is the everybody gift. Instead of any store-bought brand, try a bottle from our very own Texas Hill Country. Our favorite is Flat Creek Estate’s 2009 Super Texan Sangiovese. The estate’s Texas rendition of the Super Tuscan, this medium-bodied red has intense notes of cherry, raspberry, cranberry, plum and tannins — perfect for the winter holiday.

So.A.P Gift Set, $20
Where: Online at southaustinpeople.com/store
Indulge a friend with So.A.P’s gift set of three bars of 100 percent organic vegetable oil soap, an 8 oz. body wash and a 2 oz. lotion. Made with natural ingredients that leave the skin clean and soft and available in a variety of refreshing scents, these locally handmade bath goodies makes wash time extra relaxing. Buyers can pick scents and create personalized gift sets online. Individual soaps and products are also sold at local farmer’s markets (such as at The Triangle on Wednesdays) and at Wheatsville Co-op.

Herschel Supply Co. Settlement Backpack, $52
WHERE: STAG or Urban Outfitters
With a simple, modern design, the Settlement backpack is the perfect motivational gift for school-slacking friends. They’ll definitely want to show off this super hip pack on campus in the new semester. It comes in a solid or two-tone color combo with a large, plaid-lined compartment big enough for books and a laptop.

Stussy Beavis and Butthead Tees, $36
WHERE: Complete Clothing and stussy.com
The legendary streetwear brand, Stussy, has partnered with talented Austinite Mike Judge in celebration of the reprise of his classic cartoon Beavis and Butthead. The shirts, in short sleeve and sweater variations, feature various illustrations of the show’s central characters as well as bits of the extended cast. On some of the shirts, various bits of ignorant, Beavis and Butthead-esque texts are featured in signature Stussy font. At the moment, Complete Clothing on the Drag is the only brick and mortar location in Austin carrying the shirts.

The New York Times, 36 Hours: 150 Weekends in the USA & Canada, $40
WHERE: nytstore.com
Compiled from the Grey Lady’s well-regarded travel section, this comprehensive guide to local eateries, watering holes, attractions and culture is elegantly put together with colorful maps, vibrant, gorgeous photography from Times photographers and premium cloth stitching. For your well-travelled friends, your mother’s coffee table or even for yourself — the guide features plenty of Texas locations.

Rescue Dog, $75
WHERE: Austin Animal Center
There’s just something about the holidays that makes generosity count for a little more, so there’s no better time to open your home and heart to a new best friend. Though the newly opened Austin Animal Center boasts “town home-style” kennels for its dogs, they still need permanent homes. The $75 adoption fee covers a spay or neuter surgery, vaccinations, a HomeAgain microchip and a collar. Save a dog’s life by making him or her a part of yours. Plus, a dog won’t complain when you want to curl up on the couch and watch “Love, Actually” for the 50th time. 

An hour of relaxation in the Zen Blend Flotation Tank, $70
WHERE: Zen Blend
There’s no better way to let people know you really care than by getting them a gift certificate for a one-hour dip in 200 gallons of Epson salt-saturated water. Fortunately, Zen Blend, located on Slaughter Lane, enables you to do just that with their flotation tank. Floaters climb in and kiss their troubles goodbye as they’re immersed in the relaxing waters of the tank, making it a perfect gift for the stressful holiday season. As multiple reviewers wrote on the Zen Blend website, the experience is “an oasis for the soul,” so tell that lucky recipient to gulp down that last bit of eggnog and start rejuvenating — inside an enclosed, five-by-eight flotation tank.

A unique toy, any price
WHERE: Toy Joy
Toy Joy on the Drag is accommodating to UT students with its playful appeal and proximity to campus. An Austin staple, the toy store features plenty of genre-specific items for friends and family. The Best of Mad Libs, $6.99, includes 125 stories and celebrates 50 years of the classic game. The Jedi Path: A Manual For Students of the Force will be great reading material for UT students who are taking time off from textbooks and are willing to get their geek on for $19.95. Hysterical gag gifts include the “Cat Lady Air Freshener,” $3.95, and the “Accept The Fact That You’re Aging Breath Spray,” $5.95, for those who wish to share the gift of good humor.