Have you ever noticed how a cornucopia—you know, that overflowing horn of plenty—seems like it could be a metaphor for a birth canal? And presents are like babies? No?
Okay, never mind. We're gathered here this week to celebrate giving with our annual gift guide. No one knows for sure when the first gift guide was published, though tantalizingly, some theorize that the pictures that early Europeans daubed on cave walls 30,000 years ago were in fact gift guides. This theory was given further support when radiocarbon analysis seemed to show that in at least several instances, ash and pigments were used at slightly later dates to circle a wooly mammoth or place a check-mark next to a prehistoric horse.
Think about it: gift guides are who we are.
That said, we also ought to remark that journalists generally are not great shoppers. This is probably because we're too poor to do much damage at the mall or Neiman Marcus online, but we try to make a virtue of necessity and maintain that we prefer the more ethereal things in life. The truth is, we're suckers for gewgaws and gadgets just like everyone else. Read on and see.
To: the Griz alum
a Centennial Circle brick at UM
Those years spent at the University of Montana are punctuated by any number of fond memories. Dad reminisces about hiking the M Trail. That older sibling still can't stop talking about skipping Friday classes to ski at Snowbowl. Grandma remembers the good old days, when Griz fans stuck it out in the bleachers at Dornblaser Field. But the most indelible mark is that daily slog across the Oval. Fitting, since that's the place where you can literally set those stories in stone. Centennial Circle rings the iconic Grizzly statue with engraved bricks, each immortalizing a friend, a professor, an alumnus or an alumna at UM. And the proceeds go back into campus improvement projects. For the Griz who never quite left, it's the ultimate commemoration.
$150. Find it at www.umt.edu/urelations/market.
To: the man-cave denizen
Montana native Ian Crawford has been a businessman since age 18, but these days he's busy crafting stools from old oak wine barrels—the perfect addition to your buddy's man cave. The stools come in a variety of heights, styles and finishes, from the sleek, wine-stained Charleton to the squat, rustic Mini. Crawford's company, Vinoture, offers an array of other old-growth oak products, including coat racks. Every man needs his den-like getaway. Odds are you'll end up parking your butt there, too. Why not contribute something beyond the occasional six-pack?
Priced by quote. Find it at the holiday MADE fair at the Holiday Inn-Downtown at the Park, Dec. 11; or online at www.vinoture.org.
To: the Occupy protester
a JAX Hat
The temperature's dropping on the courthouse lawn, meaning your favorite Occupy Missoula protester could be suffering a little frostbite this holiday season. Sure, she probably gives you crap for being part of "the one percent," but maybe it's time to show a little compassion with a green-friendly, Missoula-made hat. Jackie Priess founded JAX Hats a few years back after making hats out of an old sweater to keep her daughters' heads warm and stylish. Her business has since gone international. Each hat has its own character and its own charm and—best of all—is 100 percent recycled.
$30. Find it at Rockin Rudy's or Green Light in Missoula, and at other retail outlets in Kalispell, Bozeman and Helena.
To: a wolf hunter
a bottle of pee
Those wolves sure are wily. We're allowed to shoot them now, but good luck getting 'em in your sights! But we know a trick: wolf urine. Territorial canines are attracted to their own pee! It's like baiting deer with a salt lick (not that we've done that). But be careful: This stuff's pungent. Dare you to put a splash in your hunting buddy's coffee...
$29.99. Find it at www.predatorpee.com.
To: your paranoid, conspiracy-theorist uncle
Is Uncle Leo constantly ranting about the New World Order stealing his newspaper? Odds are it's the neighbor kids playing a prank, or Leo forgetting that he cancelled his subscription a few years back, but if you want to help put his mind at ease, all it takes are a few MicroDots from Missoula-based MicroTrax—the latest in theft protection technology. One dab of MicroDot-speckled glue on the back of your cell phone or the underside of your laptop and you're in business. All you have to do is register your kit's validation code, place a MicroTrax sticker on the MicroDot-ed item and presto. Someone turns your stolen property in to MicroTrax, and they get it back to you within days. Just make sure to tell Leo not to blow all his MicroDots on one newspaper.
$49.99, with a one-year MicroTrax registration. Find it at Vann's electronic stores or online at www.micro-trax.com.
To: the hardcore Griz fan
Montana Grizzlies logo garter with lace
Diehard Griz faithful have no limits to their fanaticism, so perhaps it's no surprise to find a logo garter with lace alongside the team store's T-shirts, sweatshirts and pint glasses. This sexy accessory may seem like a completely unnecessary way to show your Griz pride—that is, until you see how it might become a gateway to better things. After all, how many other times in your lovemaking is it really appropriate to shout out, "Run it up the middle"?
$9.95. Find it at www.thegrizstore.com.