Gifts can say so much. They can say everything from, “I forgot about you until 10 minutes ago and clearly just bought you some crap at Walgreens” to “I did not get the memo that this was a casual relationship and spent $80 on you.” The holidays are such a complex minefield that it can make you want to say “Screw it” and give everyone $5 bottles of antibacterial hand soap from Bath & Body Works. But don’t give in! We’ve created a handy guide full of hand-selected gifts for whatever it is you want to say this season. Just look for the message you want to communicate to your recipient, and you’re ready to go.
‘I like you even on bad hair days.’
This quirky hat by former Minneapolis designer Annie Larson, now of Brooklyn, says “The weirder your head looks, the cuter.” Aww.
$70 • Askov Finlayson or www.allknitwear.com
‘I want to do more than just eat pizza with you.’
Trying to get your favorite TV marathon buddy into your bed? You needn’t look further than this adorable painting of BMO from “Adventure Time.” It says, “I think about you as more than a fellow couch groove-maker.”
$15 • I Like You
‘I got you something fairly expensive but I want it to seem inexpensive in case you only got me a crappy bear from the gas station.’
Not quite sure where you stand in a relationship with a dapper man, but want to give a gift just the same? This smart, warm-scented Fulton & Roark solid cologne is the perfect mix of small and stylish, so it won’t freak out a guy who may have thought you were “too cool to do gifts on holidays,” whatever that means.
$42 • MartinPatrick3 or www.fultonandroark.com.
‘I want you to have my children.’
Jewelry is overrated. Instead, tell a woman she’s the one with this classy “Make Your Own Bitters” kit from Easy & Oskey. It says, “I want to spend a lifetime with you enjoying fine cocktails.” Perfect for couples who have grown out of the “getting drunk at brunch at dive bars” stage of life.
$56 • MartinPatrick3 or www.easyandoskey.com.
‘Let’s do weird stuff.’
These octopus tentacle earrings say, “I love it when you let your freak flag fly.” Try it as an aperitif before some items from the Smitten Kitten.
$26 • I Like You
‘Your netherparts deserve the best.’
Only Minnesotans understand just how elemental a good pair of long underwear can be. Show your No. 1 boo how much you care about the warmth of his underparts during the big bad winter with this fancy pair of Alaskan Long Underwear.
$154 • Filson
‘Let’s get a little fat and hide from the world this winter.’
Have you found the perfect mate to shut yourself in with for the winter? Tell them with this “Whole Larder Love” cookbook. This bad-ass guide to cooking with “real” food will momentarily convince the two of you that you could survive on only what you hunt and gather. It also kinda says, “I want to survive an apocalypse with you.”
$35 • MartinPatrick3
‘I think you’re beautiful.’
Let your lady know you love looking at her by buying her a dress as pretty as she is. Now you don’t have to pick one out, since a real-life girl (this writer) is telling you this forest-inspired, ultrafeminine dress by Ark & Co. is the perfect choice and sure to flatter many figures.
$61.50 • Proper & Prim or www.arknco.com
‘You clutter up the bathroom with body products, but I love you anyway.’
Malin+Goetz sage body wash smells sharp and clean and looks minimalistic and chic in any bathroom. It even promises to “reduce epidermal stress.” Who doesn’t need that? It says, “If you’re going to buy too much bathroom crap, at least buy stuff that looks nice.” Perfect for all live-in couples.
$38 • MartinPatrick3 or www.malinandgoetz.com
'I want to be exclusive.’
What better way to turn your hang into a significant other than with this sexy Marvel Bar candle? It’s scented to smell like an Old Fashioned, so the conversation pretty much writes itself. Light this candle, mix up some Old Fashioneds and prepare to enter Romanceville.
$40 • Askov Finlayson
‘You’re sexy but your feet could smell better.’
These ritzy and somewhat twee socks by London-based brand Folk will tell your man you consider his feet a temple, one deserving of expensive, high-quality socks and regular bathing and grooming.
$38 • MartinPatrick3
‘I wish our relationship was more like those guys on “New Girl.” ’
Nick. Jess. Schmidt. Winston. Such lifelong best friends. This mini beer-pong kit is the perfect gift for that guy you want to embark on a long-lasting bromance with. It says, “Let’s be bros for life, and never let the party die.”
$75 • I Like You
‘I wish you would invite me to more of your sports stuff.’
This Ricky Rubio T-shirt is perfect for a brother or friend who’s always “at the game” and has no idea how good you are at eating nachos and shouting “woo!” This cute reference proves you can totally hang, and should definitely get invited along more often.
$30 • I Like You
‘You’re really into horoscopes, but I like you anyway.’
These Hurraw raw vegan lip balms are perfect for the earthy friend who blames all her problems on Mercury being in retrograde, whatever that means. Who knew raw lip balm was a thing? These lip balms from Hurraw are buttery smooth, and make a perfect little stocking stuffer.
$4.29 each • Proper & Prim or www.hurrawbalm.com
‘We can do stuff other than just go to bars together.’
Got a going-out-and-getting-crunk friend who you want to try hanging out with in the light of day? Get them a crafty gift you can make together to take your friendship out of the bar and into the real world. This moss terrarium DIY kit is the perfect craft for a fun afternoon together.
$26 • I Like You
‘You drunk-bike too much.’
We’ve all got one — that friend who rides under the influence too often. This flask gets the message across in a stylish, cool way, while not condemning your friend’s habit of being “the life of the party.” If only there was a “You Take Too Many Selfies” flask …
$27 • Pharmacie
‘Your dog is cute but smells horrible.’
Got a friend who smells their dog through rose-colored glasses and has no idea he stinks? Dr. McGrath’s Animal Shampoo is a perfectly polite way to say, “Time to give Rover a bath already.”
$15 • Shinola
‘I believe you will write the next great American novel.’
Want to inspire that “inspired” friend of yours to make some concrete work and put it out into the world? Get them this table lamp that’s just as artsy as they are. Hopefully it will spark some light bulb moments.
$64 • Pharmacie
‘I don’t want to see “50 Shades of Grey” with you. Ever.’
Hint to a friend or a future significant other that watching Christian Grey diddle a sexually clueless naïf isn’t exactly your cup of tea. “California” by Edan Lepucki says, “I like to read books that feature actually interesting people.” This introspective novel about a couple surviving in an apocalyptic future got “the Colbert bump” for a reason.
$26 • www.amazon.com
‘Your kids could use a break from gender-specific gifts.’
For the family whose sons wear blue and whose daughters wear pink, throw in a gift that transcends gender stereotypes: This awesome VTech KidiBeats light-up drum set.
$15.79 • www.amazon.com
‘I wasn’t sure if we were exchanging gifts, so I just got you a little something.’
This is probably the most common scenario ever among ladies who have been friends for years. Don’t screw it up this year. Have that little something on hand. These cute pieces of jewelry are perfect, and all $10 or less.
Minnesota heart necklace $10, tiny wishbone necklace $9, arrow ring $7.50 • Proper & Prim
‘It’s time your coffee game passed Folgers level.’
Package this beautiful Krups cordless electric water kettle with a $20 French press and your loved one will have no choice but to start making better coffee.
$80 • www.amazon.com
‘I’m “that cool employee.”’
Want to get your boss a gift that says you’re not just a great worker, but also a super hip kid who the company should totally let take over their Twitter? Say it with this ultra beautiful S’well bottle. For every bottle sold, American Forests will plant one tree. How in touch with the community’s values are you? Promotion time.
$35 • MartinPatrick3 or www.swellbottle.com
‘What do you get the person who already has a giant porcelain cat statue?’
Everyone has that friend who could pick out 10 cooler gifts than you with their eyes closed. This cutting board is modern and inoffensive enough to fit in with anyone’s less-than-humble abode. If they don’t want to chop veggies on it, they can probably just hang it on their wall.
$75 • Pharmacie
‘Your ‘spoiling me with food’ game could be better.’
Want to tell your parents, in a nice way, that everyone else’s parents greet them with homemade pizzas and coolers of beer when they come home? This “Buttermilk” cookbook by Angie Mosier focuses on short stacks. Prepare for pancakes next time you head home to Ma and Pop.
$12 • Askov Finlayson
‘Thanks for being the coolest mom on the block.’
Does your mom spend hours finding you chic gifts at the holiday season and have a more bad-ass art collection than you? Show her how awesome she is with a gift as cool and unpredictable as her. This giant fish welcome soap by Tamanohada makes any trip to the bathroom a non sequitur.
$45 • Foundry Home Goods
‘Time to start looking a liiiiittle more professional.’
Sure, your kid is never going to start wearing a pantsuit and carrying a briefcase to work. But you can at least hint that the ratty Jansport from college has to go. Replace it with this affordable yet classy Herschel Survey bag and your kid will move one rung up the work-style ladder.
$100 • MartinPatrick3 or www.herschelsupply.com
‘Our relationship has improved since you moved out of our basement.’
Got a kid who just recently became financially independent? Show how proud you are of them with an extra-nice gift this year. How about this set of beautiful, wood-adorned, noise-canceling headphones? They say, “You’re growing into a sophisticated grown-up who gets to have nice things now! [applause].”
$160 • Askov Finlayson or www.tivoliaudio.com
‘Put down the “Frozen” soundtrack and back away slowly.’
Ever-so-subtly tell the kid in your life that there is a media world beyond “Frozen” with this dancing statue of Groot from “Guardians of the Galaxy.” “I am Groot.” Yes, you are. (Available Dec. 31.)
$10 • www.amazon.com
‘Your dog is my granddog.’
Let your kid know they’re not the only ones who think their dog is basically a hairy little baby who likes to eat tennis balls. Show them you love the little rascal just as much as they do with one of these fisherman-inspired collars that support animal rescue.
$56 • Askov Finlayson or www.foundmyanimal.com
‘Your new year’s resolution should be to not kill your plants.’
They mean well when they come home with basil plants or that indoor kumquat tree, all of which they inevitably kill. Suggest politely that they nurture their plants a little more with this jazzy Alessi Diva watering can. It will surely turn keeping plants alive into a delight.
$51 • www.amazon.com
‘I hope you grow up to be like your daddy.’
How adorable will any kid look manning this Fisher-Price grill playset? Plastic kebabs anyone? $30 • www.amazon.com
‘You give good hugs.’
This snuggly sweatshirt is the perfect gift for the hugger in your family. Its soft material and welcoming “Hello” perfectly capture their friendly spirit.
$50 • Proper & Prim or www.hellomerch.com
‘Try not to die on your many worldly adventures.’
Parents worry about their kids, even long after they’ve gone out into the world. It’s evolution. If you want your kid to know that you’re hoping he’s nice and warm while he’s climbing mountains or catching crabs in the Arctic or whatnot, this lightweight blue jacket is the perfect gesture of your loving goodwill.
$249 • Askov Finlayson or www.patagonia.com
‘I wish we had one more child, one that did not need food or water and had few interests other than settling our fights about how things are spelled.’
Look no further than Amazon’s newest (and maybe most innovative … time will tell) product Echo. It’s like a speaker mixed with Siri, perfect for adding ambience and maybe a strange sense of another person to your household.
$199 • Request an invitation at www.amazon.com
WHERE TO BUY
Askov Finlayson: 200 N. 1st St., Mpls., 612-206-3925 or www.askovfinlayson.com.
Filson: 228 Washington Av. N., Mpls., 612-338-5506 or www.filson.com.
The Foundry Home Goods: 125 N. 1st St., Mpls., 612-333-8484 or www.thefoundryhomegoods.com.
I Like You: 501 1st Av. NE., Mpls., 612-208-0249 or www.ilikeyouonline.com.
MartinPatrick3: 212 3rd Av. N., Mpls., 612-746-5329 or www.martinpatrick3.com.
Pharmacie: 2743 Lyndale Av. S., Mpls., 612-200-9633.
Proper & Prim: 2743 Lyndale Av. S., Mpls. 612-345-5486 or www.properprim.com.
Shinola: 228 Washington Av. N., Mpls. 612-338-5493 or www.shinola.com.