Alibi's hopelessly lame and thoughtless editorial staff calls in an expert for holiday shopping advice
By Brendan Picker, Gwyneth Doland, Devin D. O'Leary, Laura Marrich, Steven Robert Allen, Tim McGivern and Michael Henningsen Photos by Stacey Adams
We admit it: We're a hopelessly lame band of losers who have neither the time, energy or imagination to come up with holiday gift ideas for the folks on our lists this year. Knowing that we'd catch hell for giving out another batch of McDonald's gift certificates, we decided to call in an expert to advise us on these hard-to-shop-for friends, family members and associates. We chose the talent, style, creativity, empathy and eye for fashion of a real pro, Brendan Picker. We don't need five experts like the TV show, our guy's got it all: a degree in design, fashion flair and his finger on the pulse of all things cool. He not only gave us shopping suggestions, but in the process, transformed us from lame friends, fathers, daughters and coworkers into fabulous folks who “really care” (as far as our gift recipients know).
Sure, this may look like a purely self-serving abuse of power meant to save six people two weeks of shopping, but we sincerely hope it helps you, too. Because in doing this story, we found out that each one of has a rebellious teenager, a hippie, a lefty, a lifetime NRA member, a herd of children, and a random stranger to shop for.
Thanks to all the models who agreed take on the identities of these characters and to Harwood Art Center for letting us take the pictures there.
The World-Traveling, Yak-riding, Couscous-eating Hippie Sister
She was an Anthropology major at Evergreen, eats kimchee for breakfast, and doesn't need subtitles to watch The Gods Must be Crazy. This wanderer has been living out of a suitcase for years but recently got her own apartment—which is totally empty. She'll be spending Christmas with the family (hitching from California, of course), but they're not allowed to call it Christmas; they have to refer to it as a "nondenominational gift-giving holiday" and she swears all she wants is for them to donate $100 in her name to Doctors Without Borders.
1) Moroccan glass lantern ($79), Bhandhani scarf from India ($15), hand knotted Persian rug ($450) and Afghani tribal jewelry ($3-$50). From Old World Imports, 3019 Central NE, 265-0433, www.oldworldimports.net.
2) Basket of free trade goodies, including cashews, hot chocolate, coffee, tea, chocolate and dried mangoes (about $40). From Peacecraft, 3215 Central NE, 255-5229, www.peacecraft.org.
3) Handpainted table, ($90), lotar, the stringed instrument ($45). From Marrakesh Mercantile, 111 Fourth Street SW, 246-2850, www.marrakeshmercantile.com.
4) Egyptian brass hookah, tobacco, charcoal and accessory pack ($65). From the Hookah Kings, 4014 Central SE, 242-3907, www.thehookahkings.com.
5) Osprey backpack ($149), Stynger GTX hiking boots ($159). From Mountains and Rivers, 2320 Central SE, 268-4876.
6) Genie Lamp incense burner ($18), Nag Champa incense ($2). From Angel Alley, 3503 Central NE, 266-7070, www.angelalley.com.
7) Imported Chinese teapot ($90), 20 ounces jasmine tea ($20). From Dartmouth Street Gallery, 3011 Monte Vista NE, 266-7751, www.dsg-art.com.
8) Assorted travel books ($12-24), and language tapes ($14-30). From Bookworks, 4022 Rio Grande NW, 344-8139, www.bkwrks.com.
The Kids, The Friends' Kids and the Kids' Friends
What better way to celebrate the birth of Christ than by giving your kids a cardboard box stuffed full of plastic toys assembled in a Chinese sweatshop and sold at Wal-Mart. For those of you who have no idea what to buy your kids or anybody else's, there is a better way.
1) Clothing, shoes, hats (Acacia, Iona and Max, $16-$68). From Aqui, 101 Bryn Mawr SE, 255-2926, www.aqui-nobhill.com.
2) Clothing and shoes (On Lilya, $38-$64). From One Potata, 8510 Montgomery. NE, 244-3791 or 244-1469.
3) Apatosaurus ($30) and Kettler tricycle ($70). From Playnix Toys, 11145 B Menaul NE, 271-4523, www.playnix.com.
4) Gnome lamp ($27), monkey sound alarm clock ($19). From Beeps, 3500 Central SE, 262-1900.
5) Ryan's Room teepee ($28) and Logiblocs Children's alarm system ($20). From Out of the Blue, 2502 Rio Grande,242-4455 or 8001 Wyoming NE, 822-5060, www.outofthebluetoys.com.
6) Assorted children's books ($15-$36). From Bound To Be Read, 6300 San Mateo NE, 828-3500, www.boundtoberead.com.
7) Yellow dinosaur piñata ($16). From Casa de Piñatas, 2219 Lead SE, 268-6625.
8) One year family passes to the Albuquerque Zoo ($55, 764-6200), or the Explora Science Center ($50, 224-8300).
The Gun-toting, Elk-hunting, Pipe-smoking Father-in-Law
His idea of being kind to animals is a perfect headshot. He's the person in your life most likely to kill and grill his own holiday entrée. He thinks the “No Smoking” signs in the doctor's office mean you're not allowed to slow-cook salmon over mesquite in the waiting room.
1) Flyrod ($40-$600), reel ($40-$600) and waders ($100-$425). From Charlie's Sporting Goods, 8908 Menaul NE, 275-3006.
2) A Man, A Can, A Grill by David Joachim; Ted Nugent's cookbook, Kill It and Grill It; first copies and subscriptions to Guns & Ammo ($20) and Outdoor Life. ($20) From Page One Bookstore, 11018 Montgomery NE, 294-2026, www.page1book.com.
3) Gift certificate towards preserving his catch for posterity (in any amount). From American Wildlife Taxidermy, 4410 Central SE 268-1615.
4) Pipe ($20-$250), and bag of Boss's Blend tobacco ($4.20). From Stag Tobacconist, 11200 Montgomery NE, 237-9366, www.stagtobacconist.com.
5) Defense handgun techniques class ($100), or one-hour private shooting lesson ($60). From Calibers, 5600 Holly NE, 797-9715, www.calibersnm.com.
The Office's Secret Santa
Coworker, boss, intern, cubicle mate—you could draw any of their names in the office secret Santa pool. Odds are you'll draw the guy you know absolutely nothing about—except that he loves to pepper his e-mails with emotions. He already has everything from the Achievement Gallery and a stinking mess of scented candles. What else is there?
1) Gift Certificate in any amount for framing services. From Create-A-Frame Workshop, 5852 Osuna NE, 881-0775.
2) Big bunch of flowers (about $25 as shown). From Bouquet Boutique, 103 Amherst SE, 268-0800, www.abouquetboutique.com.
3) Stainless steel travel mug ($10) and a gift card (in any amount) for refills. From Satellite Coffee, 3513 Central NE, 256-0345.
5) Box of scrumptious pastries (about $12). From Le French Corner, 3905 San Mateo NE, 889-3810.
6) Keith Haring business card holder ($34) or Laurinda Spear pen ($55). From Hey Jhonny, 3418 Central SE, 256-9244.
7) The Bee Gee's Greatest Hits ($21) or a gift certificate in a similar amount. From Natural Sound, 3422 Central NE, 255-8295.
8) Disposable camera ($9-18) from Camera & Darkroom, 3225 Central NE, 255-1133.
The Stressed and Depressed Democratic Voter
For the past year she lived in hopeful anticipation of the Democrats wrenching power away from Bush, and for the past four months she's organized, registered, phone banked, pleaded and persuaded. But for the past two weeks she's been lying in a fetal position, sucking her thumb and pulling her hair out in chunks. She needs to be lifted out of this funk fast.
1) Certificate for an herb-infused Ayurvedic stress-relief massage and soak in the hot tub ($65-$100). From Betty's Bath and Day Spa, 1835 Candelaria NW, 341-3456, www.bettysbath.com.
2) Toenail polish change, during which she can have D-I-E-B-U-S-H-D-I-E painted across her toes ($15). From Chez d'Or, 117 Gold SW, 243-6777.
3) Yoga mat, shirt, block and belt ($67), plus five yoga classes ($64). From Yoga Now, 215 Gold SW, 232-4717, www.yoganow.org.
4) What's the Matter With Kansas: How Conservatives Won the Heart of America, by Thomas Frank ($24). From Bookworks, 4022 Rio Grande NW, 344-8139, www.bkwrks.com.
5) Jaqua full-body wakeup kit, including caramel cappuccino shower syrup, citrus verbena body spray and chocolate body butter ($40). From Abode, 3025 Central NE, 255-1115, www.abodenobhill.com.
7) One-hour herbal/health consultation ($40) and a supply of individually-blended mood-lifting herbal remedies ($5-$20). From Formulations, 1816 B Lomas NW, 247-4372, www.herbnerds.com.
8) Beginning knitting classes ($60), plus yarn and needles ($15). From Village Wools, 3801 San Mateo NE, 883 -2919, www.villagewools.com.
The Teenage Skate Rat
By Brendan Picker, Gwyneth Doland, Devin D. O'Leary, Laura Marrich, Steven Robert Allen, Tim McGivern and Michael Henningsen
He doesn't talk to his parents much. He's failing English. He worships Bam Margera and spends every waking hour riding the sidewalk. Still, he can kick your ass at “Halo 2,” he's really good at drawing skulls and he just discovered T.S.O.L.
1) Darkstar skateboard, plus trucks, wheels and bearings ($146). From Skate City, 1311 Eubank NE, 294-6699, www.skatanic.com.