The purr-fect gift for animal lovers who like to combine Christmas gifts with charitable giving. The 13-month calendar features kitties and canines who are former residents of the city's oldest running no-kill shelter. Shot by professional pet photographers, the glossy pages are packed with "awwwww" moments. All proceeds go to supporting the AHS mission of saving homeless pets in Austin. As they say, it's the gift that keeps on giving. – Jordan Smith
$27, BookPeople and other places
Everyone has an Ann Richards fan in their life, right? Well, here's a little something that has "what a great gift idea!" written all over it. Hot off the press, Let the People In chronicles the public and private life of the Texas treasure and national icon, with Austin author Jan Reid lending a personal touch to this quick-paced biography, drawing on his longtime friendship with the former guv, interviews with family and friends, and research into reams of documents and correspondence. Let the People In is an apt title for a book that literally lets the readers in on the Ann Richards that few of us knew. – Amy Smith
While the rest of the nation was consumed by rampant ideological buffoonery in November, Puerto Rico was busy voting on whether to become the 51st of the United States of America. You'd think after watching the great 48 (plus two) behave like complete ninnies, they'd be deterred from wanting in on official statehood, but here we are. Pick up a couple 51-state postcards to send from whatever faraway place you manage to escape to next. – Monica Riese
This year's design brings a tiny piece of the Capitol grounds to your holiday. Featuring a 24-karat gold Lone Star and black leaves, the ornament is a small representation of the finials that top the wrought-iron fence surrounding the state Capitol. Sure, this is the 17th in a series, but we wish there were as many more for our trees. – M.R.
You might've stayed home from the race, but you can still say you were here at the metaphorical starting line (for at least a little bit less than the tickets would've set you back, depending on your tastes). Shot glasses, pens and stickers, sweatshirts, T-shirts, hats, and binoculars: anything and everything you could possibly want with Formula One and Circuit of the Americas branding. – M.R.
We imagine a program where uninsured women of childbearing age, who wouldn't otherwise be eligible for Medicaid-subsidized services unless pregnant, would be able to access free basic health and reproductive care services, including family planning and long-lasting, reversible birth control options. The program would allow women to choose a provider they're most comfortable with, and would save the state millions each year in costs associated with unintended pregnancy. In other words, we'd like to see the same program the state started in 2007 be continued as is. As long as Gov. Rick Perry and his cronies are hyperventilating about the scourge of Planned Parenthood, we figure we might as well be wishing for a pink unicorn.
In the meantime, might we suggest a donation to Planned Parenthood. As the state moves to do whatever it can to keep the clinics from being able to serve the hundreds of thousands of low-income Texans in need of subsidized services, Austin's Planned Parenthood has vowed to continue serving as many women as possible with the backing of local donors. Do your part to Keep Austin Planned. – J.S.
It's like the proverbial pony on our wishlist: We know there's next to no chance we'll get one any time soon, but we can't help but ask Santa for it year after year. We came close (?) this year, a proposed bond election for urban rail, but Mayor Lee Leffingwell announced over the summer than he wanted to be able to focus the ballot on other bond initiatives and hold off on a rail election until some of the big, lingering questions – funding and routes chief among them – could be better answered. – M.R.
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