Kick-ass games for a special friend who kicks assCards Against Humanity
This "party game for horrible people" is fun for two people or twenty. Even funner-er if you play with Rando Cardrissian. As long as you have the capacity to be crude and politically incorrect, you will excel. There are several expansion packs, and CAH just released a holiday set of 30, for which you can pay what you want.
This is a game for two to five players. You work together as a group of specialists to cure diseases around the world before the whole thing goes to hell, which it usually does. There are many, many ways to lose this game, and it can be extremely frustrating. Mostly because as soon as you lose, you WILL HAVE TO PLAY IT AGAIN to try to win. I am not a huge lover of board games, but I am positively hooked on this. Seriously. I'm going to need to go to rehab in the near future. It's getting out of hand. If you want to see the level of redonk, check out the episode of Table Top.
Gifts that also support charity for the embittered, world-weary relativeEsperos tote
This tote is simple and lovely (who can't use a good tote?). When you buy one, a female student in Haiti receives one year's tuition. Now if that isn't a great way to give and feel good, I don't know what is.
I know I've mentioned these before, but they are just awesome (especially the sparkly ones, like in the image above). I have two pairs (both Christmas gifts!), and they have held up really well. Husband wore the tread off his hiking around Manhattan last summer, so that should speak to how comfortable they are! With each pair sold, a needy child also receives a pair of shoes.
For the Fantastic Fella in Your Life
American Giant hoodie
This hoodie is a bit pricey, but it is supposedly The Greatest Hoodie Ever Made (or so says Slate). If you only ever have to buy one hoodie again in your life, I can see spending a bit more for it upfront. All clothing from American Giant is made in America and worked up by a former industrial designer from Apple. Awesome, huh? I hope they think about making women's clothing soon.
For the Greatest Gal in Your LifeEpiphanie bag
I asked for this for Christmas/birthday. I'm in desperate need of a functional camera bag, and I love the bags at Epiphanie because they do double duty. You can carry your camera and your belongings, and it totally looks like you're just carrying a purse...nothing to see here, thieves (unless you want my wallet, I suppose. I just like that it doesn't scream: "I'm a tourist with an expensive camera! Please glare at and/or mug me!" Again, this bag is on the pricey side, but my plan is for this to last me many, many years.
For the Bestest Baby You KnowMustache pacifier
Okay, so maybe this is more for the baby's parents, but how freaking hilarious is this? Someone in my life is totally getting this for their spawn.
For the irritatingly happy newlywedCustom rubber stamp
I adore these. I really need to buckle down and buy one for myself. What a sweet and perfect gift for someone just starting out in life with a new partner and new address!
For the science geek (or the kid who wants a pet but would lose interest three days after one's arrival)Ecosphere
This is too cool. Just place the hand-blown glass sphere in indirect sunlight and watch a whole world unfold. The ecosphere contains live marine shrimp and require no maintenance. The average lifespan is two to three years (and it is surely awfully hard to get attached to these suckers).
*I am not suggesting you choose not to buy gifts locally. Buying from area merchants is the best thing to do. I just hate putting on pants and fighting crowds of surly holiday shoppers, so the majority of my Christmas gifts are purchased online. Do not be like me.