Alibi V.23 No.50 • Dec 11-17, 2014 ››
Last-Minute Gift Guide
Shopping for the Awful People in Your Life
Checking off the last of your list
We know it’s not the last minute yet. But if you’re anything like us, you aren’t going to be done with your shopping until Walgreens starts dimming the store lights on Christmas Eve. So in order to help you with your last minute shopping, we’ve taken the initiative of putting this guide out early so you can plan ahead! Or at least find this paper on the floor of your car as you race out of the house at 3pm on Dec. 24 for some panic-propelled consumerism.
All illustrations by Robert Maestas
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Adding to the inevitable stress of gift shopping is the fact that the most difficult people in your life are the hardest to shop for, and undoubtedly the ones you save till last year after year. So I assembled a crack team of Alibi shopping experts—managing editor Samantha Anne Carrillo, copy editor Mark Lopez and editorial intern Amelia Olson—and we put our heads together to help you find the perfect presents for the important people in your life that you don’t like all that much.
Your sullen hipster nephew
The days of hide-and-seek and zoo visits are over. Your nephew has morphed into an apathetic, exceedingly ironic and snippy demon child. You can’t help but love him, even if he thinks everything about you is profoundly underwhelming and pedestrian. Though he rarely looks up from his iPhone, there’s got to be something to gift this smug, beautiful spawn of your sibling. Remember when all he wanted was a train set and candy? Good luck with this one.
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Ty:To be honest, I sympathize with the kid. Probably because this phase hits a little close to home. My inclination is to give him something that I would have appreciated when I was the one annoying relatives with pointless iconoclasty: something cool, something local and something unique. I’m thinking that a subscription to the Santa Fe-based Axle Contemporary Art Gallery’s t-shirt CSA service just might fit the bill. It’s a bit pricier than the other items on this list, at $130 for a year’s supply of t-shirts, but each of the four seasonal shirts will be designed and silk-screened by a different artist, only available via the subscription, and sure to appeal to his interest in bucking the mainstream. But, uh, last-minute won’t cut it for this one, order at axleart.com by Dec.14.
Samantha: I know you're a unique snowflake, sullen hipster nephew. And by that I mean I know that life on this spinning blue-and-green ball can be trying and even tumultuous. So my sincere-but-tongue-in-cheek present for you is the hipster biking and hiking map-slash-bandanna aka The Nav Square. It's mildly psychogeographic, so you can sprinkle names like “Guy Debord” and “Brion Gysin” into conversations without feeling like a total player. Plus I'm pretty sure sincerity is not trending right now. Find it at thenavsquare.com.
Amelia: What do teenagers like now? Drake? iPads? Yeah, I don’t know either. And you know what? It’s not my job to be cool, and some of us just like Bruce Springsteen and get our groceries at Target because we are there buying underwear and socks. Some of us don’t give a shit about being cool, and even if we did, we would never pass this kid’s impossible coolness test. So guess what, Mr. Cool Guy? You’re getting a gift certificate to Applebee’s. And you’re not allowed to go just to be ironic; you’re going, and you’re going to find something you genuinely like about the experience.
Mark: Get that little bastard a copy of On the Road by Jack Kerouac. Though I hate this book, it seems like hipsters relate to it on an obscene level. Why? Your guess is as good as mine. But getting your nephew this book will help him prove that he's hip, intelligent and will eventually get his little ass off the couch and go travel. Last I checked, Page One Books (5850 Eubank NE) had a few copies. Get 'em while they're hot.
Your (charmingly) hateful Grandpa
Charmingly hateful grandpa loves cardigans and loathes all human interaction. Best left with a Readers Digest and a cup of coffee; he enjoys silence and doesn’t like your wishy washy political beliefs. He’s been wearing the same slacks for 24 years and doesn’t need another grandchild’s photograph on a pharmacy-store-printed calendar or mug. He’s pragmatic, resourceful, and contrary to his grumbling demeanor, he does enjoy a few things. He’s your grandpa, and you love him and want him to enjoy the holidays, so you’ll need to be creative here.
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Ty: I think I’d try to appeal to the old man’s buried sweet side, the nurturer beneath the cantankerous bluster. Since he’s a coffee fan already, why not adopt a coffee tree for him? Apasionado Coffee (apasionadocoffee.com), a family-run farm in Bolivia cofounded by Albuquerque resident Emily Lilo, offers a tree adoption program for $39. In addition to helping support this socially responsible enterprise, your grandpa will receive a certificate of adoption (which you can print out immediately) and a photograph of his own tree. Oh, and a 12 oz. bag of coffee from the farm and the opportunity to purchase more whenever he wants it. He’ll probably curl his lip up when he opens the envelope, but I guarantee he’ll find the coffee amazing.
Samantha: I get it, (charmingly) hateful grandpa. I have a hard time dealing with other humans too. But animals? That's a horse of a different color. After careful consideration, I'm buying you a gift card to the Animal Humane Society (call 505-255-5523). Once you've considered whether you want a dog—or maybe you're a cat person—you can visit a magical but anxiety-inducing place called “the pound.” Protip: Pets don't care about blaring that new rap music and will keep you company while you yell at neighborhood youth.
Amelia: So long as you don’t emphasize “gelato,” and continually call it “ice cream” instead, grandpa will be all about his gift certificate to Van Rixel Bros. Gelato & Sorbet (315 Juan Tabo NE). And in case he’s off-put by the non-traditional naming of each flavor, and you know he will be, just order him a bowl of ultra dark chocolate and let him rant about the cars that drive “way too damn fast” down his street. Even a charmingly hateful grandpa can appreciate the divinity of this locally made gelato.
Mark: Grandpas are tough, especially when you haven't connected with your slightly racist, overtly pessimistic, wrinkly companion. But if there's one thing I've learned about most grandpas who are a bit surly and lovable at the same time, it's that they love knives. So head to Kaufman's West (1660 Eubank NE) and see a variety of blades from popular brands CKRT and Benchmade. Prices go from $70 to $250, depending on if you want a run-of-the-mill dicer or something extra fancy. You might opt for fancy; who knows how much longer he'll be around?
Your born-again aunt
Four years ago, she was your cool aunt, the one who you could discreetly smoke a bowl with behind the shed after Thanksgiving dinner. But something has changed in a big way. You’re not even sure what religion she’s converted to. All you know is that she thinks you’re going to hell.
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Ty: The best thing would be to get her to mellow out a bit, and since she’s no longer prone to puffery, maybe a bottle of red wine—with all its religious overtones—will do the trick? I’ll stop by St. Clair Winery & Bistro (901 Rio Grande NW) and pick up a couple giftable bottles. My favorite is the Mimbres red ($10), a slightly sweet and easy-drinking blend. In fact, I might just get three bottles, one for her and two for me.
Samantha: Dearest born-again aunt, I am sending along a check for your tuition for a World Religions course at either UNM or CNM. Faith is valuable, and I respect yours. But it's vital to attempt to view religions of all kinds as manifestations of the divine within. If you're ready to delve into it, the history of world religions is fascinating and can provide insight into humanity and its history. If nothing else, you'll come away with some titillating anecdotes for the church mixer.
Amelia: She’ll actually probably deem this gift satanic, but it really doesn’t matter, because anything short of coming to Jesus isn’t going to make her happy this Christmas. Maybe she needs love? Or more money? Or good luck? Assure her that, just in case Jesus is busy, these coyote teeth, vials of blood and patches of fur found in the amulets at Masks Y Mas (3106 Central Ave SE are the extra measure she just might need.
Mark: Your tia has rejoined the church. So what? That doesn't mean everything will fall apart; it just means she'll give you an extra judgmental eye come Christmas. But here's how to win her over: Buy her some form of religious iconography. Then she'll know you accept her beliefs, and soon she'll accept yours. My suggestion? A glass pearl rosary bracelet from Garson & Sons (2415 San Pedro NE). At just $22 you may win her heart or a free pass to heaven, whichever comes first. There's also a sterling silver option for $40, you know, in case you're feeling extra guilty about your sins.
Your passive-aggressive neighbor
Just about half the time, you’re pretty sure that passive-aggressive neighbor hates you. At least judging by the way he’s angled his “no dog poop” signs on his lawn to face your driveway and his little comments “suggesting” you pull up weeds before they spread to his yard. But his son plays with yours, so you kind of have to put up with him. Also, he always makes sure to bring over an immaculately baked pie for the holidays. Which actually only makes you resent him more.
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Ty: I’m going to indulge my own passive-aggressive side for this one. Over at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science gift shop (1801 Mountain Rd NW) you can buy a set of grow-your-own triops. Triops, for the uninitiated, are a species of prehistoric shrimp that have three eyes, grow up to two inches long and are completely irresistible to kids. Give his son a deluxe package of these and rest assured in the knowledge that he’ll soon have to live with a tank of fetid green water periodically swishing with the movements of slimy swamp crustaceans. And he won’t be able to get rid of them without making his kid cry.
Samantha: Oh, passive-aggressive neighbor, your serious concern over our invasive “weeds”—but hey, to me, field bindweed aka possession vine is a “flower,” yo—is touching. And your neat lawn totally doesn't bug me. Working out in the garden is a great stress reliever, but if you feel you need even more relaxation, here's a bundle of yoga classes. It's all about form and control, which you'll love; and it's a lot about “letting go” and “being mindful and present amid discomfort,” which you may also find useful. Since you’re my neighbor, you live in Fringecrest, so you’re headed to High Desert Yoga (4600 Copper NE). Happy holidays!
Amelia: Remember that time you accidentally had 40 people over, drank too much and had a bonfire in your backyard while playing Eagles songs on the guitar until 4am? Yeah, so does he. And he won’t be forgetting it anytime soon. Help make his passive-aggressive notes shine a little brighter by getting him stationery from Bookworks (4022 Rio Grande NW).
Mark: Tired of hearing that knock on your door and your neighbor saying, “Umm … could you guys like keep it down? Also, I notice that your hedges are peeking into my yard … and your garbage smells … ” Here's a way to shut 'em up. Get him or her a bonsai tree from Jericho Nursery (101 Alameda NW or 6921 Pan American NE). You can get them a small, cute one for $25 or get them a bigger shebang for $100. Maybe a tiny tree will give them some patience and you'll never hear them knock on your door again. That sounds like a Christmas miracle, no?