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Gifts for Robots 

... and seven others entities on your holiday list.

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DANCE LESSONS The thing about robots is, they're not really like us. They're literally inhuman. And while that was fine back when they were treated like second-class citizens — fit for nothing more than to vacuum our homes and provide an anthropomorphic name for our coffeemakers — it's no longer the case. With their limited dexterity, robots stick out like sore thumbs while drinking and dancing at the club, knowing — as they do — only one dance style (the macarena, natch). So help your bionic buddy with a gift certificate for a month's worth of classes, where he/she/it/zhe (what pronoun do robots use?) can learn to loosen up. (Now, if only we could program them to feel the rhythm...) $40 · DanceTales · 1124 Sherman Ave., Coeur d'Alene (DH)

DUSTER&STETSON COMBO Fitting in with humans requires a certain sartorial know-how. And while tube tops and miniskirts might suffice for a lower class of robotizens, the out-and-about class needs something with a bit more ... well, class. That's where the white duster and Stetson come in — classic Western sensibility with a style that never fades. Plus, it'll cover any unsightly/obscene hood ornamentations. $346 · HAV Western Wear · 14902 E. Sprague, Spokane Valley (DH)

BLUE DOOR THEATRE TICKETS To truly fit in, a robot needs to know how to conduct itself in everyday situations. We suggest a night of spontaneous human interaction through improv comedy, where androids can learn how to conduct themselves when "two cowboys are trading oil futures on the New York Stock Exchange." (As a bonus, they can learn how horrible people are at coming up with improv scenarios.) $7-$9 · Blue Door Theatre · 815 W. Garland Ave. (DH)

A HUMAN HEART What truly makes us human is our hearts and our capacity for love. What could be a more beautiful gift than that? And while we don't encourage grave-robbing (which is a Class C felony according to RCW 68.60.040), there are options. A transplant, while costly ($150,000), is the most legal way to go about acquiring a heart. But hey, even if your robot friend doesn't make the waiting list, there are other options. $50,000 · The black market · China, the Internet (DH)

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Bleeding Hearts

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WHITEBOARD PROTEST SIGN Do you realize how many trees are senselessly slaughtered every day so that people can make their poster-board protest signs? Hundreds and thousands of trillions. Easily. Protesters should be ashamed of themselves. That's why you should consider a whiteboard and refillable markers for the activist on your gift list. Away with the hypocrisy of killing trees to save them, and the non-refillable markers that litter landfills. This simple, inexpensive gift lets bleeding hearts fight with a clear conscience and change their deep-seated views with just the swipe of an eraser. Whiteboard: $25, Kershaw's Office Supply, 119 S. Howard St. · AusPen markers: $5.25, BuyGreen.com (TH)

HANKIE Mama E is dying. Torn asunder by corporate fat cats and consumer pigs, her essence is slipping away. It's enough to make a leftie weep — but alas, Kleenex only worsens the problem! The answer is a handkerchief and/or bandanna. Fill it with beautiful tears and that special kind of snot that only accompanies true, unabashed crying fits. Wash. Repeat. $1.79 · The General Store · 2424 N. Division (TH)

FOOD CO-OP MEMBERSHIP Not a drop of high-fructose corn syrup in sight — a Mecca of organic food, friendly folks and fair-trade goods, all owned by the members. It's like a credit union, but with food. A membership only adds to the perks. $30-$180, Main Market Co-Op, 44 W. Main Ave., Spokane · $10/year, Moscow Food Co-Op, 121 E. Fifth St., Moscow (TH)

NATURAL SPA TREATMENTS Praise the nondenominational earth gods! There are ways to groom without using chemicals that give male frogs functioning female sex organs. One option is henna, for earth-friendly hair dye. (And, by the way, if you pull some eco-treason and use evil chemical dye after the henna, it will take to your hair like PETA takes to animal-testing facilities. That is, there won't be much left after the burning.) $60 · Mosaic Salon&Spa · 1312 S. Southeast Blvd. (TH)

UNDER THE NILE COTTON TOYS It's bad to give babies stuff that will make them sick. Under the Nile makes bedding, clothing and toys for babies, using 100-percent organic, fair-trade Egyptian cotton and non-toxic dye. Their toys are especially soft and cute — moreover, they won't give your kid cancer. Try the vegetable toys. $7 · Sun People Dry Goods · 32 W. Second Ave., Ste. 200 (TH)

YOUR STUFF If you're a legit bleeding heart, you don't want to get gifts, you want to give them. An "Adopt-a-Family" program is a fun way to help people in need while still experiencing the "gifting" part of Christmas. The program pairs you up with a family, and you shop for gifts based on their wishlist. Call to sign up. Starts at $150 · St. Margaret's Shelter · 101 E. Hartson Ave. (TH)

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Mad Men Fans

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OFFICE BAR "You don't know how to drink, your whole generation," says Sterling Cooper namesake Roger Sterling, chiding his prized young ad man in the show's fourth episode. "We drink because it's good. Because it feels better than unbuttoning your collar. Because we deserve it. We drink because it's what men do." Bring back the boozey work ethic of the Mad Men generation with this handsome office bar set. Closed a deal? Cheers! Stressful meeting? Bolt one back! Searching for creativity? Have another! Soon you'll be landing accounts and raking in cash the way Roger and Don always — somehow, incredibly — seem to do. Glasses: $26 per dozen, tray: $19, Bargreen Ellingson, 223 W. Boone Ave. · Ralph Lauren Decanter: $120, Macy's, River Park Square (JS)

THE EROTIC HISTORY OF ADVERTISING Images of topless women have been used in booze ads since the 19th century, and a 1930s ad for a Midwestern varnish company featured completely naked models. It's no wonder philandering ad man Don Draper got into the business! This 300-page survey of sex and marketing covers everything from "packaged goods" to "passion plays," including a lengthy chapter on the Sterling Cooper Draper Price years. $25 · Hastings · 1704 W. Wellesley Ave. (JS)

'60S TYPEWRITER Take a memo or write the script for the next Clio-winning Glo-Coat ad with this vintage Smith-Corona typewriter. And even if creative isn't your department, there's a ton of other Mad Men-era stuff at this new vintage/antique shop, including clothes, furniture and a tall silver ashtray that would look oh-so-elegant next to your minibar. $18 · Tossed and Found · 2607 N. Monroe St. (JS)

HARRY CRANE GLASSES Actor Rich Sommer looks like a perfectly normal 21st century man, until you slap a pair of browline specs on him. Boom — he becomes Harry Crane, the ambitious head of media, jetting to California to brownnose TV execs. This modern update on that classic style (yes, they're plastic) could produce the same transformative effect for you. $160 · Everything in Sight · 1314 S. Grand Blvd., Ste. 5 (JS)

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Mama Grizzlies

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BEAR SPRAY And you thought a pit bull with lipstick was scary? Mama grizzlies are fearless with their claws and political rhetoric. This unusual sisterhood touts self-sufficiency and claims to know instinctively when something is wrong. That's why these sisters want protection, and bear spray is perfectly effective when warding off evildoers. The can even comes with a holster to conceal discretely under pantsuits or blouses. "But wouldn't bear spray have the effect of crippling the mama grizzlies themselves?" you ask. Perhaps. But if November showed us anything, it was that these Tea Party gals never let the potential for self-destruction get in the way of their ideals. $37 · The General Store · 2424 N. Division (JB)

U.S. CONSTITUTION FOR DUMMIES Questions are hard to answer when you don't know what you're talking about. But with this informative, non-threatening book, your favorite mama grizzly can stop dodging questions about church, state and the quartering of soldiers — and start taking over the world. $20 · Auntie's Bookstore · 402 W. Main Ave. (JB)

YEARLY PLANNER This yearly planner has few words (unlike books and newspapers), lots of pretty pictures, and the days of the week to help keep your common-sense conservative gal organized. With this easy-to-follow agenda, your den mother will never miss a masturbation debate, witchcraft convention or birth of an illegitimate grandchild. $15 · Atticus · 222 N. Howard St. (JB)

AOSAFETY EARMUFFS These noise-reducing earmuffs will drown out the cries of socialists, deer and loose-pocketed Democrats as your griz hunts them down on cable TV (or from a helicopter). They're also handy for tuning out the lamestream media, and they're specially designed to filter out the sounds of science, economists and plain ol' logic. $19 · Best Buy Surplus · 2516 E. Sprague (JB)

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Old People

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YEAR-LONG "DATE" WITH THE FAM The best-received gift he ever made for an older family member, Troy Tymesen says, was a calendar that included family photos. It was such a hit he is making it for the third year in a row. And there are many options: Tymesen does it himself using Photoshop, but a horde of companies (like Kodak) will let you do it online, and local photographers will often make calendars, too. Brooke Heki, chosen at random via web search, says making a calendar from family pics will take a week or less. $35-$40 · Infinity Photography and Design · 868-6125 (KT)

RESCUING MEMORY LANE Asa Manchan has seen Old Faithful gushing in nearly every decade of the last century, Bobby Kennedy shaking hands just weeks before he was assassinated ... "Some pretty awesome stuff." He transfers old photographs and fragile home movies to DVDs — a popular gift. 35 cents/foot · Masterpiece Memories · 719 W. Garland Ave. (KT)

DRIVING AUNT DAISY If an elder doesn't want to drive on these icy, snowy roads — or no longer can — making arrangements for cab service could be appreciated. Especially if they don't like to impose on family. Cab companies we contacted say it's common to set up an account for rides. Price varies. · Local taxi services. (KT)

GETTING NOSY OK, so this is one of the weirder gifts you may ever give to a loved one, but it was invented for a good reason. (Plus, it's cheap.) This drinking cup has a cutout on one side, allowing people who have limited neck motion to quaff deeply without bonking their noses. $4 · Walgreens · 12312 E. Sprague (KT)

WORKING THE OLD GRAY MATTER Nothing says love like a gift of fiendish games or puzzles. They're not just for kids, and the staff raves about games like Katamino, which has more than 1,000 configurations to make with five wooden blocks. Or Quarto, which takes a devilish twist on tic-tac-toe. Or oversized playing cards (easier to hold and read). $5-$30 · Figpickels · 312 E. Sherman Ave, Coeur d'Alene (KT)

COUPON MANIA Where to start? You or your kids could make a book of coupons promising to do the laundry, mop the floor, read a story, do a life interview — something that keeps you connected to your elders. Or, buy a season ticket to the symphony or local theater company. Here's one: A gift book for 10 to 60 movies. $10 each · AMC Riverstone · 2416 Old Mill Loop, Coeur d'Alene (KT)

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Homeless

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MONT BELL SUPER SPIRAL BURROW BAG #0 Some people living on the streets luck out with a bed at a local shelter during the winter. But supply is short. Not everyone has a place to rest his or her head. Knowing this, places like the House of Charity and Fresh Start in Coeur d'Alene like to have extra sleeping bags on hand to dole out to those without homes. This sleeping bag, according to the people at Mountain Goat Outfitters, is top-flight. It's synthetic, so it stays dry when it gets wet. It will keep somebody cozy down to 0 degrees, and it's lightweight — perfect for being rolled up and stuffed in a backpack. Buy it: $188 · Mountain Goat · 12 W. Sprague · Donate it: Catholic Charities · 12 E. Fifth Ave. · Mon-Thurs, 7 am - 6 pm (LS)

SMARTWOOL MOUNTAINEER SOCKS Sure they're just socks, but at the end of a long day outside, having a dry pair to pull on can be a luxury. While most homeless outreach services will take socks of any kind (women's, men's, kid's), we suggest these ones, which the folks at REI say are great for keeping feet warm in cold weather. Donating a couple pairs of these could keep some people happy and warm this season. Buy it: $22.95 · REI · 1125 N. Monroe St. · Donate it: Women's Hearth · 920 W. Second Ave. · Mon-Fri, 8 am-noon, 1-5 pm (LS)

ADULT BUS PASS This one's a no-brainer: If you can't get around easily, your options are going to be limited. Access to transportation can allow many people — homeless or not — to drastically improve their situation, be it housing, employment, childcare or health care. Lots of social service organizations need these monthly bus passes, and Volunteers of America is specifically asking for them. Buy it: $40, adult pass · Spokane Transit · spokanetransit.com · Donate it: Volunteers of America · 525 W. Second Ave. · Deliver before Dec. 17 (LS)

BE A CHRISTMAS ANGEL Not every kid has fond holiday memories of sipping hot cocoa in footie pajamas by a Christmas tree. But Fresh Start Drop-In Center in Coeur d'Alene is trying to change that this year by asking people to sponsor a homeless or needy child. As with many Giving Tree programs, their Christmas Angels program enables folks to purchase gifts for a specific child. Lots of times, those are gifts like pants, socks and a small toy. Fresh Start currently has a list of kids ages 2 to 13 that they are trying to find gifts for. Call or stop by the center, and ask for Felicia or Teresa. You'll be helping a kid have some good holiday memories this year. Fresh Start · 1524 E. Sherman Ave. · Coeur d'Alene · (208) 661-1524 (LS)

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Sports Nuts

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SPOKANE SHOCK SEASON TICKETS "FOOTBALL!!" screamed at the top of your lungs is an appropriate greeting for any sports fan, anytime, anywhere. (With the exception perhaps of funerals. If the deceased was a tennis player.) So what better gift for your sports nut than season tickets to a football team that, while not absolutely guaranteed to win a championship, has won more league championships than not and missed playing for the ultimate prize only once. It's got all the crunching hits of football, combined with the not-alternately-freezing-or-scorching-your-ass-off of being indoors. Sure you could do single-game tickets, but then you might miss a big play! You — much like the Shock — can't lose... with this gift. $99-$475 · Spokane Shock · 242-7462 ext, 1 (DH)

VIBRAMS FIVEFINGERS CLASSIC Give your friend the most advanced/weirdest-looking shoes out there. Then laugh at them. Vibrams, also known as Vibrams FiveFingers because you see each individual toe (creepy), are the preferred footwear of pretentious runners and sportsmen everywhere. Have a friend who wants to be hipster without sinking a ton of money into vinyl? You've got him covered. $75 · Runner's Soul · 221 N. Wall St. (DH)

FASTKART SPEEDWAY GIFTCARD While you can always watch sports while sitting on your ass, it's not often you can participate in sports that way. (Yes, for the purposes of this gift guide, we're counting NASCAR as a sport.) Go-karting affords you the whir of ultimate speed without worries of sweating, hydration, or physical exertion of any kind. $30 · FastKart Speedway · 1224 E. Front Ave. (DH)

MOUNT SPOKANE STOCKING STUFFER Sure, you could buy your friend lift tickets to one of the plusher resorts, but none of those is a mere 45 minutes away. So you're basically giving them a chore. "Oh boy, you got me a two-hour drive with kids kicking the back of my seat, and an extra round trip because my wife forgot to bring her pink hat. You really, really shouldn't have." $99 · Mount Spokane · 29500 N. Mount Spokane Park Dr., Mead, Wash. (DH)

NUUN HYDRATION TABLETS When giving this gift to that acquaintance who looks like he spends too much time in the gym, or to the frighteningly buff woman in accounting, we wouldn't suggest going with, "Well, I thought you looked dehydrated." Better to stick with flattery. $8 · Vertical Earth · 2175 N. Main St., Coeur d'Alene (DH)

LEGO HEAD LAMP How often do you get the chance to rock a LEGO minifigure on your forehead? Each leg has its own LED lamp, providing for two beams (which can be angled in any way a LEGO man can). Be willing to share this bounty with your friends, and hope they'll be kind enough to do the same for you. $14 · REI · 1125 N. Monroe St. (DH)

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Winter Commuters

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CROSS-COUNTRY SKIS Getting to and from work is uphill both ways, you say? Miles of knee-deep snow and insurmountable berms? We've heard it before. But click your toes into these waxed wonders — a pair of Salomon Elite 5 skis, the best for urban skiing, according to Mountain Gear — and the South Hill becomes your own Alpine wonderland. Imagine, as your soiled co-workers bemoan their fender-benders and soggy socks, you'll be gushing about your smooth Nordic glide into work. And, to top it all off, these skis work great on the mountain, too. Hot damn. $140 · Mountain Gear · 2002 N. Division (ND)

HYPERTHETICALS You're on the bus, surrounded by crazies having insane debates with themselves and others. Fit right in with this deck of cards, in which Chuck Klosterman offers "50 questions for insane conversations." Things like: "What if you woke up inhabiting Bruce Springsteen's body?" Or, for men, "If you could exchange height inches for penis inches, how many would you swap?" Expect some interesting conversation. Or complete solitude. $15 · Auntie's · 402 W. Main Ave., Spokane (ND)

PORTABLE RADIO Sure, the dully titled Sony ICF S10MK2 doesn't look as slick as an iPod or Zune. But this AM/FM radio is an affordable way to pass the time on your long, snowy walk home. Classic Rock? Check. NPR? Check. Limbaugh? Check. What more could you ask for? (For bus riders, pair this tiny machine with some giant headphones to deflect contact with strangers.) $11 · Huppin's · 229 N. Ella Rd., Spokane Valley (ND)

GLOMITTS Someone in Nepal right now is making the prettiest, most utilitarian object a cold commuter could ask for: glomitts (or glittens, if you prefer). These wooly mittens easily transform into fingerless gloves, allowing you to make unexpected repairs on your bike, rifle through change for the bus or scan through the playlist on your iPod. $18-$22 · Kizuri · 35 W. Main Ave. (ND)

CARBIDE-STUDDED BIKE TIRES "Oh, you are such a badass." Those words will be falling like snowflakes from the mouths of all the slow-moving pedestrians you pass on your bike. In the snow. While it's snowing. And cold. You know those diamond-tipped saws used to break into casino vaults in Vegas? Now you're riding on them. You are such a badass. $64 to $78 each · Two Wheel Transit · 1405 W. First Ave. (ND)

ULTIMATE SURVIVAL KIT Frostbite strikes two types of people: the extreme and the dumb. As someone who walks or rides a bike during these horrid months, you can be considered either, or both. Don't be a dummy, letting ice crystals form in your body tissue. Be extreme and buy this kit. For emergency purposes only, of course. (And, yes, that's a chainsaw.) $80 · Cabela's · 101 N. Cabela Ln., Post Falls (ND)

Whiteboard Protest Sign Food Co-op Membership Natural Spa Treatments Hankie Under the Nile Cotton Toys Your Stuff xxx xxx xxx xxx xxx xxx xxx xxx xxx xxx xxx xxx xxx xxx xxx xxx xxx xxx xxx xxx xxx xxx xxx xxx xxx xxx xxx xxx xxx xxx xxx xxx xxx xxx
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