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Holiday Guide Gifts

We Come Bearing Gift Suggestions . . .

Let City Paper Help You Shop. No, Really, We Don't Mind.

Jefferson Jackson Steele
Jefferson Jackson Steele
Jefferson Jackson Steele
Jefferson Jackson Steele
Jefferson Jackson Steele
Jefferson Jackson Steele

Holiday Guide 2002

O, Snap! City Paper's Annual Holiday Guide

We Come Bearing Gift Suggestions . . . Let City Paper Help You Shop. No, Really, We Don't Mind.

The Christmas Shift Spending the Holidays on the Clock

Turkey Shoot Despite the Usual Christmas-Music Crap, a Few New (and Old) CDs Stand a Chance of Making Spirits Bright | By Bret McCabe

Advent Calendar of the Damned Download larger versions to print and tape to your wall: Days 1-13 Days 14-25... | By Emily Flake

Posted 11/20/2002

We certainly can't promise to help you out with an idea for your weird Uncle Darrell. For some holiday-gift choices, there is no help under heaven. But the City Paper staff did wrack its collective brain to come up with a selection of unique--did someone say alternative?--goods and services someone somewhere on your list might be happy to see snuggling in his or her stocking. Mind you, we're not guaranteeing you're not going to get That Look--the polite smiling glaze that secretly says, "Why did you buy me this, weirdo?" But at least you can sit back, just this side of smug, and think to yourself, At least I got them something cool. And it's the thought that counts, right?

Hampden "Miracle on 34th Street" Christmas cards
Hometown Girl, 1001 W. 36th St., (410) 662-4438, www.celebratebaltimore.com, $1.95 each, set of 10 $16.95

If you're not into matching snowflake sweaters for the whole family--or would rather eat every fruitcake in existence than suffer that--you may be having some trouble finding a Christmas card to send out this year. Still, you need something to send to those people to convey your best holiday wishes. Why not put a Hampden "Miracle on 34th Street" card in the mail? Avenue boutique Hometown Girl features two to choose from: Crystal Moll's oil painting of one of the more ostentatious houses on the Christmas-happy block, and Herman Heyn's photo of the same house. Another great thing about these greeting cards: They'll show your friends and family elsewhere a warmer, fuzzier side of the heroin capital of the America.

Poetology Poets: Slam Volume One
www.poetology.com, $10

It's that peculiar season when we're supposed to put aside our ideological differences and pretend that all is right with the world. Well, here at Baltimore's Most Indignant Alternative Weekly we say fuck that. The world is just as screwed up during the Christmas/Kwanzaa/Hanukkah season as it is the rest of the year. So why not give a present that will elicit more than a cheesy self-satisfied grin from your loved ones this yuletide: Give them the gift of something to think about. The Poetology Poets: Slam Volume One CD is packed with stirring works by some of the area's best spoken-word artists, including Native Son, Queen Sheba, Droopy, Sir Robinson, Men Maa Aim Ra, and Olu Butterfly. Touching on everything from black-on-black crime to the continuing struggles of women, their messages and raw deliveries are enough to rouse even the most complacent person out of their holiday turkey coma and make them wonder what they can do to make things better. And what better gift can you give this year than the desire to make a difference?

Charlie Christian: The Genius of the Electric Guitar
CD stores everywhere, $49.98

The late Gypsy jazzman Django Reinhardt received an unexpected if deserving career boost/homage in Woody Allen's 1999 film Sweet and Lowdown, but there's another early jazz guitarist of equal caliber who remains relatively obscure outside other guitar players. The Dallas-born, Oklahoma-raised Charlie Christian wasn't the first electric guitarist in jazz, but during his 1939-'41 stint with Benny Goodman's band, he proved the guitar could be as moving and melodically inventive as a horn in big-band swing. Columbia's remastered four-CD box set The Genius of the Electric Guitar--98 tracks, which includes 27 tracks unreleased in the United States and 17 unreleased in the world--sets the proverbial record straight about Christian's talents, which were sadly curtailed at the age of 25. Tuberculosis may have claimed him, but his spry, rich tone and wily phrasings aren't easily forgotten thanks to Genius.

A bottle from Bin 604 Wine Sellers
604 S. Exeter St., (410) 576-0444, www.bin604.com

Is there a special yupscale fashionista in your life who chides you for serving a Chardonnay with seared ahi ("so very 20th century") and scorns every Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon as if it were sherry? Well, visit Bin 604 Wine Sellers and let its proprietors' fine palates help you pick out an impeccable holiday wine to offer your snobbish connoisseur. Jay Miller and Tony Foreman opened their lovely little spot in Inner Harbor East earlier this year, and already the place has already been named the "best new wine shop" in America by Food & Wine magazine. The staff is well-schooled in the store's 500 wines to help you find what you're looking for, from velvety Sangiovese or bold Barolo reds to crisp Riesling or full-bodied Burgundy whites. Your bon vivant will do a double take, and you can rest assured that the Bin 604 folks are not going to steer you toward an au courant Pinot Grigio simply because it sounds cool.

The Skeptic: A Life of H. L. Mencken
bookstores everywhere, $29.95

With a spate of Republicans freshly elected to take the reins of the country, conservatives must be rejoicing. Too bad there's not a person on the right willing to take the GOP head on and with as much feisty vitriol as he or she gives liberals, politicians in general, writers, religion, and well, whatever is getting his or her goat at that moment. Baltimore had one once, and writer Terry Teachout tackles his legend and his ideas in The Skeptic: A Life of H. L. Mencken (HarperCollins). Teachout--a former music critic for Commentary and frequent contributor to the New York Times, Washington Post, and Wall Street Journal--examines Mencken's writings and private papers (including manuscripts sealed after his death in 1956) to present a lively picture of Mencken the irascible thinker and hard-working journalist. It's the first Mencken biography in about 30 years, and at this juncture in the country's political life, revisiting a writer who showed no love for safe and conventional wisdom may be just the sort of refreshing slap to the face we need come 2003.

Built by Wendy guitar strap
www.builtbywendy.com, $40 and up

If Baltimore's Rockin'est Weekly had its own official band, every one of its guitar players and the bass slinger would be sporting an awesome Built by Wendy guitar strap. These sweet little numbers are made from strong and shiny vinyl decorated with three little pictures edged in glitter, plus a pick pocket and black leather tabs to affix to somebody nice's (or naughty's) ax. Choosing from the 16 colors ranging from burgundy to gold to navy blue is just the beginning; the real fun starts when you choose a theme for those charming little images. Customize by sending in your own photos--maybe of yourself, to let the groupies know who's boss--or pick one of BBW's charming picture sets: pinup girls, Japanese, horses, stuffed animals, outer space, bugs, etc. What, don't know a musician? Are you sure you live in Baltimore?

Fast Track High Performance Driving School
(704) 455-1700, www.fasttrackracing.com, $90-$2,800

NASCAR fans in the family? This year you can skip the Dale Earnhardt memorabilia. Instead, give your speed-obsessed loved ones the opportunity to hop into the driver's seat of a genuine Winston Cup race car by buying them a class at Andy Hillenburg's Fast Track High Performance Driving School. For as little as $90, you can be a passenger with a professional driver for a three-lap ride around Lowe's Motor Speedway in Charlotte, N.C., the Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Ga., or the Kentucky Speedway in Sparta, Ky. If you want to spend the big bucks, you can purchase a $2,800, three-day racing-school experience, which includes a chassis class, racing drills, and some real behind-the-wheel action. There is one catch to this gift, however: Either you or the recipient will have to pay for all travel-related expenses when participating in the program. It's probably cheaper if you drive.

Heifer International Organization
www. heifer.org, $10 and up

You know that militantly PC sibling who is impossible to shop for because something soft/fluffy or leafy/verdant was killed or harmed or looked at mean while it was being turned into something of use to a human being? Well, instead of escaping the "family thing" this year by wrapping yourself in an eggnog and Vicodin veil, give 'em a present they can't object to: An animal. For as little as $10, you can make a donation in your friend-of-the-planet's name to the Heifer International Organization, which uses its funds to provide needy families and communities around the world with animals they use for their subsistence. We 're talking heifers, sheep, bees, pigs, and so on. If you really want to go all out, for $150 you can give a llama to somebody in Bolivia, Ecuador, or Peru--and nothing says love like a pack animal.

Your tree-hugging relative will be teary eyed that you overcame the consumerist leviathan of the holiday seasons and gave a totally selfless gift that will benefit somebody who really needs it. You and your patchouli-smelling relative may then hug, maybe cruise outside for a "smoke" break, and the whole feel-good experience may remind you that sometimes it's the little things that make the biggest difference. And maybe, just maybe, you'll start thinking about the so-called Bigger Picture and realize that this big bad war a brewing isn't the way we should be treating our neighbors on our one and only planet, no matter what we think they've done. And maybe, just maybe, you'll start thinking that we shouldn't bomb Iraq or al-Qaida or whoever else we don't like into the Stone Age whenever we feel like it. Maybe, just maybe, it would be more humane if we just went over there and stole their goats.

Baltimore Zoo membership
(410) 396-7102, www.baltimorezoo.org, $31-$76

Magnet, one of the Baltimore Zoo's polar bears, was named America's Favorite Zoo Animal last year in some sort of our-critter-is-cuter-than-your-critter competition set up by Microsoft. For his cuteness while swimming on his back, eating smelt, and doing other polar-bear things, the 800-pound Druid Hill Park denizen earned the zoo $20,000 to help improve his enclosure. Sounds like a pretty impressive bear, huh?

Wouldn't, say, your niece be happily surprised to find out Christmas morning that she had adopted him? Too bad. Magnet's already spoken for, and we're guessing so are the other finalists in the Microsoft contest. But if you bought her a Baltimore Zoo membership instead, she could see them all--Liberty, a southern bald eagle at the Houston Zoo; Hansa, an Asian elephant at Seattle's Woodland Park Zoo; Kubi, the silverback gorilla at the San Francisco Zoo--and thousands of other animals across the country. Besides a year's worth of unlimited, free admission to the local zoo, membership gives her free access to hundreds of other zoological parks and aquariums across the country. Plus free subscriptions to members-only publications, discounts on zoo camps and classes, an invitation to the annual members' picnic, and, of course more.

Or you could just download Magnet's photo off the Internet (http://microsoftgames insider.com/ZTInsider/Downloads/default. htm), print it out to give to her, and lie. But you're not that kind of uncle or aunt, right?

Old Baltimore door corner shelf
McQuaid & Co., 10712 York Road, Cockeysville, (410) 667-1939, $75-$200

Are you one of those people who, after coming home from vacation (or, hell, even a business trip), distribute knickknacks, trinkets, and all other manner of souvenirs to your friends and family? Well, stop! We've got enough Alcatraz shot glasses, Liberty Bell snow domes, Alamo salt and pepper shakers, and Gatorland floaty pens to last a lifetime, thank you very much. But, we could use something to put all this crap on. Like a shelf. But it has to be a nice shelf--not one commemorating the 1900 Galveston, Texas, hurricane or something like that.

Might we recommend doing one of your favorite things and taking a trip to Cockeysville's antique row? There, at McQuaid & Co., you'll find a selection of corner shelves made out of old, recycled Baltimore City house doors. One of these attractive, artfully distressed shelves won't hold all the collectibles you've given us over the years, but it would be a start.

A piece of Patapsco history
Anywhere along the Patapsco River in Patapsco Valley State Park, free

It's nickname is "the River of History," and its path is littered with cultural humus left in the wake of nature's fury. The Patapsco River, due to regular flooding of its bygone towns and mills, has accumulated in its bed and along its banks countless artifacts of 300 years of human influence. By scavenging its accessible stretches in Patapsco Valley State Park, relic hunters can find, among other things, antique blocks and bricks, smoothly worn shards of ceramics and glass, and parts of old machinery and obsolete household items rusted nearly beyond recognition. Scout 'em and haul 'em out of the river, take them home to dry and clean, and give them away individually as historic relics or unusual decorative materials, or compile them into found-object art assemblages fit for any wall. Patapsco scraps are gifts of poignant originality, bringing local history to today's home while helping to restore a time-worn river to a less cluttered state.

Purple Pride camouflage
sporting-goods stores everywhere, shirts $10, pants $25

What we want to know is, who decided that all the '90s expansion teams would get such shitty colors? Every time you turn on a game lately, it's all purple, turquoise, and teal. Who the fuck do they have designing sports franchises nowadays anyway--some cackling watercolorist holed up in Santa Fe? Well, purple is what we got, so that's all we have to work with. At least Baltimoreans have found a slick-ass way to make the most of a bad situation. In case you haven't noticed, the thing to wear at Ravens games involves two words that you'd never expect to find next to each other: purple camouflage.

Seriously. Sporting-goods stores have been selling this shit to hunters for years. They're pant-and-shirt combos that are mottled all over in purple, gray, black, and white, supposedly designed to make you blend in with a field of lavender or whatever while you're getting ready to blow Bambi's mom's head off. We're sure it makes sense after you've been huffing Deep Woods Off for a couple of days. Anyway, gun control being what it is around here, us city folk have found a much loftier use for those ridiculous getups--public displays of purple pride. So for the Raven maniac in your family with no sense of shame, check out local outdoors stores and team shops for the home-team eye sore--purple cammies. Now if we could just find some camouflage for our car, so we don't get ticketed when we park in Federal Hill during Ravens games.

One-year pass on Ed Kane's Water Taxi
www.thewatertaxi.com, (410) 563-3901, $40-$70

Baltimore's public transportation leaves something to be desired. But if you have to get around the Inner Harbor, our water taxi system is world-class. Well, OK, we don't have a hydrofoil, but we do have Ed Kane's Water Taxi. Pick up a one-year pass for only $40 ($70 for two), and some lucky person on your gift list can settle into the water taxi's fiberglass seats anytime he or she wants. Whether barhopping between Federal Hill and Fells Point or escorting the parents around the sights, there's no more picturesque (or aromatic) way to see the city's most coveted and taxed land. Kane's operation has been around for 27 years, and everybody knows the little blue boats. With 16 stops along the waterfront, and boats arriving every 15 to 20 minutes during peak season April through October, pass holders will have their entertainment route planned. Now they'll just need to find a decent place to park.

Blaze Starr Goes Nudist DVD
www.image-entertainment.com or video stores/Web sites everywhere, $24.99

In the 1950s, Blaze Starr was just what America needed. The burlesque queen who ruled Baltimore's blue Block, she was the antidote to our culture's toxic hypocrisy. Along with Bettie Page, she was the original embodiment of sexual confidence in a day when the streets were peopled with frustrated housewives and men in gray flannel suits. You could arguably trace the sexual revolution back to her, especially when she hit the national stage, her zeppelin breasts cantilevering under that angora sweater like Soviet missiles poised to destroy the image America had of itself. At least they look that way in a certain light.

Blaze Starr Goes Nudist was her only film, directed by the late ecdysiast enthusiast and sexploitation director Doris Wishman. The movie's release was so far underground that to this day the record diverges on just when it was made; camp archaeologists argue between 1960, 1963, and 1965. But what counts is that Starr plays herself, as she did in all things. Here we find our heroine fed up with her Hollywood cheesecake routines, as well as her oily lover/manager. After "accidentally" letting a nudist film fall under her gaze, she decides to chuck it all for life at Florida's Sunny Palms colony, where she does the naturist thing--playing volleyball and whatnot--but she also meets Ralph, the ugly camp director. She falls for him, and she soon finds that he not only loves her but actually appreciates her for her, erm, less tangible qualities. Kind of tender, in a gross way. Now, this is back when soft-core was feather-bed soft, so there's no full Monty. But a new DVD of Ms. Starr's one dalliance in film would make a suitable gift for any Baltimorean with a ken for the history of perversion.

KSD (Komix So Def) by Cinquez
(410) 747-9718, (410) 747-9603

Sometimes you gotta let the product speak for itself: U have never! Seen comics? So def. . . custumized komix 4-U call me I'll break U off a lil' some'n some'n. Cards, ads, flyers, posters, logos, comics, designs, etc. 4 any-n-all occasions, situations, holiday, zodiac, t-shirt, job, animal, song, movie, etc. I'll make it happy, sad, funny, religious, serious, pre-school, x-rated. What ever U want that'z how i get down. Cinquez's flyer has opened our mind to the possibilities of his custumized art with examples of greeting cards (if you loved me U would have got me a card from KSD instead of a dumb-ass heart), advertisements (B-4 our KSD ad we sold no cola at all. Now we R #1 because of our KSD ad), T-shirt design (I love my KSD t-shirt Cinquez is the best plus he so cute), and more greeting cards (I can't believe it my girl sent me a break-up komix from KSD that bitch! or N my girl sent me a I love U komix from KSD. Aww look she even got when we first met-n-look she even got our first kiss N it says I will love U 4ever. She's my angel). So go on, get U some custumized any and all occasion art from Cinquez for the holidays. Any holidays. Any occasion. One last caveat from Cinquez: Some komix not suited for minors.

Maximum Man T-shirt
Millennium Comics, 14 E. Biddle St., #1-B, Baltimore, Md. 21202, money order for $10 plus $2 postage and handling, www.millenniumcomics.com

He may have finished second in the City Paper comics contest, but he is defeated by none in the merchandising department, holiday-gift-wise. Look, every Tom, Dick, and Peter will be gifting one of those super-obvious Spider-Man T-shirts, so be the first super-gift-hero on your planet to wrap your special someone up in a Maximum Man T-shirt. Maximum Man (occupation: artist/adventurer), aka Devin Davis, is blessed with "an unknown interstellar form of cosmic energy called megnithium, which enables him to absorb and combine other various energies from any source or weapon directed at him." The price is right for some stocking-stuffer or annoying office-gift "Secret Santa"-style circle-jerk action, so give out a bunch, and hey, it wouldn't break you to get one for yourself, too. You'll be thanking us when Maximum Man is a major motion picture and you're walking around in one of these original megnithi-tastic tees.

Rainbow Body Soaps
Lambda Rising, 241 W. Chase St., (410) 234-0069, www.rainbowbodysoaps.com, $4.95 each

What else can we say? These sparkling soaps are just fucking cute. Every dirty boy and girl on your list needs a square of glycerin soap with gay bar imprinted in its all-vegetable-ingredient self. They come in a, well, rainbow of colors: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple, along with a black version (sans sparkle) with the words leather bar bitch-slapped into its surface. Made here in Baltimore, these babies are the lovingly handcrafted genius of Malinda Donovan's company, Rainbow Body Soaps. Hold up, one more thing, Miss Lady shoppers: Rainbow Body Soaps donates part of its proceeds to the Johns Hopkins Children's Center (for pediatric brain injury research) and totally supports the efforts of the Human Rights Campaign and Free State Justice.

Kosherland
Jewish Museum of Maryland, 15 Lloyd St., (410) 732-6400, $14.50

The greatest irony about these high holidays, of course, is that they're usually drained of their spirituality by all the crass commercialism that comes with them. There's something about a fat stranger in a red suit sitting on a throne in some mall that doesn't quite seem sacred. Same goes for those token 10-second bumpers of someone lighting a menorah that local TV stations put between commercials this time of year. But if you can use all the help you can get to remind your kids that the holidays are a way into understanding their religion, their heritage, and their relationship with the Unnameable, how about a game of Kosherland? Based on the old Candyland board game, Kosherland subs out sweets for traditional Jewish fare, like matzo, bagels, and latkes. Spin the dial, follow the directions--like saying a prayer--and whoever gets back to the Kosher home first wins. If you've spent a couple of hours with the kids, and they've been reminded of a few important things, then you all end up ahead of the game.

John Fluevog Shoes
Ma Petite Shoe, 832 W. 36th St., (410) 235-3442, www.mapetiteshoe.com, $109-199

Sweeties, Gorgeous, Darlings! Flatter your footwear-loving friends with a pair of Fluevogs from Ma Petite Shoe in Hampden. The store has just started carrying the funky Fluevog line, and you can choose from the Sweety (tall boot with a bell heel), the Gorgeous (a cute little modified Mary Jane with a bell heel), the Darling (a funky pump with sturdy rubber soles), the Aimee (a two-strap Mary Jane with a low heel), or the traditional Supervog shoe. Sweeten the pot a little with some specialty sweets available at Ma Petite Shoe. Give your girlie a pair of Darlings and a Cookie Clutch or some Supervogs and Kiss Me frog-shaped truffles. Can't think of a friend who will appreciate your Fluevog love? Then head to Ma Petite Shoe and buy yourself a little holiday cheer instead.

"The Card" from ESPN Zone
ESPN Zone, 601 E. Pratt St., (410) 685-3776, www. espn. go. com/espninc/ zone/s/baltimoreArena.html, sky's the limit

Blow away the video-game freak in your family--or get your mom to straddle a Harley for the first time in her life--when you present them this little piece of plastic. The ESPN Zone Arena abounds with great video arcade games, from boxing and golf machines that respond to your movements, to race car games that emulate g-force as you whiz around the virtual track, to good ol' fashioned skee-ball. Fill "the Card" with enough points--$20 is a good start and $50 should be plenty, as games typically run $1.50 to $4--and you'll be bringing out someone's hidden hockey player, NASCAR driver, boxer, off-road biker, or white-water rapids boater. Believe us, there's nothing like the sight of Grandma and the kids on a couple of virtual motocross bikes. You'd never find this much physical exertion in the video arcades of our youth. Which reminds us--if you're planning on eating downstairs, we suggest playing the games first.
Youth ceramic classes at Baltimore Clayworks
Baltimore Clayworks, 5707 Smith Ave., (410) 578-1919, www.baltimoreclayworks.org, $75-190

While you may usually discourage the kids from playing with mud, here's a chance for the tykes to get their hands dirty with your blessing. Mount Washington's Baltimore Clayworks, a 20-year-old nonprofit center for the ceramic arts, offers a plethora of youth-geared ceramics classes. What better way to help shape young minds than by having them work their imaginations shaping wads of clay? The Clay After School series offers multiweek afternoon clay classes for wannabe mud molders ages 6 to 8, 9 to 11, and 12 to 15. Big Hands Little Hands offers one-off weekend workshops that kids ages 3 to 5 take along with an adult. Clay for You and Me is a similar program for kids ages 5 to 11. At press time, Clayworks spring class schedule hadn't been finalized but should soon be posted be on its Web site or available by phone; prices range from $190 for a 10-week class, to $110 for a six-weeker, to $75 for the parent-child afternoon (and Clayworks members get a discount). All materials are included, as are the kiln firings that turn the young one's squishy handiwork into hardened art. And who knows, if these classes really catch on, it might be goodbye soccer mom, hello "clay mom."

Margareta Horn's hand-knit baby hats
Women's Industrial Exchange, 333 N. Charles St., (410) 685-4388, $26-$28

Kids. They grow so fast. Before you know it, they won't wear those darling baby duds you bought them when they were just months old--they wanna rock the latest mini-ruffneck gear, or maybe wear their Spider-Man Halloween costume to preschool every day for six months. But while they're still little and powerless to express a preference about their attire, you can go nuts, which is where the Women's Industrial Exchange and Margareta Horn come in.

As part of its mission to give local women a chance to earn extra money with their thread-and-yarn handiwork (that and preserving tomato aspic on local bills of fare), the WIE is the exclusive consignment distributor of the supercute infant and toddler headgear handmade by local craftsperson Horn. For around $26, you can crown your little prince or princess with an ingenious toque sporting a 3-D strawberry, flower, or pod of black-eyed peas; a street scene complete with stop sign and little sewn-on cars; or one of what must be dozens of vibrant patterns and colors, all originals hand-knit from soft and cozy cotton. And best of all, the wee ones on your shopping list will actually wear them, even though they are heart-meltingly darling and any surviving photographs will mortify them when they're teenagers. So go grab a Horn hat--and take lots of pictures.

Savory snacks from Neopol Artisan Foods and Old World Smokery
(410) 366-5004, metropol331@msn.com, $5-$150

Gotta Christmas party ahead and have no idea what to bring? Hosting a holiday soiree and have no idea what to serve? Is there a discriminating palate on your shopping list? Dazzle your fellow seasonal revelers with pungent goodies from Barbara Lahnstein's Neopol Artisan Foods and Old World Smokery. Every week, Lahnstein (former co-proprietor of Café Metropol) fills her outdoor smokery with sides of salmon, trout, duck, and chicken breasts and then stokes it with applewood and oak. Hours later, she extracts smoky treats unparalleled in savory complexity, then makes them even more mouth-watering. Sides of salmon are festooned and flavored with nuts, garlic, peppercorns, ginger, pineapple, or even orange marmalade. Some of the smoked fish end up swimming in Lahnstein's toothsome salmon spread, others end up as filling for her delectable cheese pies. While Lahnstein doesn't do much catering, per se, she gladly takes orders for whole smoked salmon sides ($20 a pound), smoked salmon platters ($100-$150), cheese pies (from small $7 models to $75 whoppers that feed 40 or 50 people), salmon spread (about $5 a half-pound), or any other item in her repertoire; a week's notice is required. Or you can just stop by the Waverly farmer's market Saturday mornings or the downtown farmer's market Sunday mornings. In any event, pick up some smoked Neopol fare and you'll be the most popular person at your holiday party by far.

Cherry Tomato scarves
815 N. Charles St., (410) 332-9917, $40

OK, sure, a scarf--kind of a holiday-gift perennial, kind of unimaginative, kind of . . . boring maybe. Not these items of handmade cozy couture. Jonna Buckner, co-owner of the Mount Vernon boutique Cherry Tomato, gathers swathes of wool, along with scraps of old Levi's and the occasional applique, and whips them together into one-of-a-kind items that manage be both elegant and chunky, vintage and au courant. Plus, they'll keep the recipient's neck warm.

Related stories

Holiday Guide Gifts archives

More Stories

Stuffed (11/18/2009)
The 2009 City Paper Holiday Guide

The Gifts That Count (11/18/2009)
The presents that have stayed in our writers' thoughts

The Wish List (11/18/2009)
Gifts we wish we could afford

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