Think Giftily, Shop Locally: Five Things & More

Do the best presents come from right here in Austin? Check this list!

– from Nakatomi's LOST AUSTIN series
      – from Nakatomi's LOST AUSTIN series

Doesn't matter what particular holiday you subscribe to at this time of year, citizen, one fact is inescapable: It's the goddam gift-giving season again.

Thus does your Krampus-loving correspondent provide an array of suggestions for giftable products and/or services that are both 1) locally produced and 2) exceptionally delightful. And just a little off the reindeer-beaten path.

1. There's that Kristin Hogan of Squid Friends, crafting up her stock of plush sea creatures, recently adding a small flotilla of handsome skates and bunnyfish to her offerings. These are the kind of creations you don't wait until you have kids to buy them for – especially when you already know so many adults who'd love the cuddleable things.

2. I've previously harangued you about Tim Doyle's gorgeous prints and posters, but now remind you that the man's got a new trio of illustrations of lost but beloved Austin icons on sale – either via his Nakatomi Inc website or at Parts + Labour, that thriving South Congress bastion of much local artistry.

3. Speaking of posters and artistic bastions, you'll want to stop by Bearded Lady on East Fourth some time soon, check out the local shop of printed ephemera and T-shirts in their busy studio, maybe treat yourself or a loved one to some limited-edition brilliance by Abi Daniel. (And don't forget Guzu Gallery on North Lamar: They're an epicenter of international graphic goodness, sure; but Austin artists are well-represented in the store's current "Strange Beasts 3" exhibition.)

4. Question: If you're buying some of those Squid Friends for folks near your own age, but you don't want to overlook the children you're acquainted with, what better idea than books to help leaven the constant loaves of YouTube and Hulu those growing humans binge upon? We reckon younger teens would enjoy the wacky Santa Clausian hijinks of The Naughty List, written by Bradley Jackson of HUMORdy and illustrated by Michael Fry who also brought the world Over the Hedge. And for other readers 'round that age, especially those who prefer full-on comics, the futuristic escapades of Couri Vine – "Girl. Nerd. Superhero." – by Leah Lovise and Vanessa Shealy will spark a sense of wonder & adventure like little else in the universe.

5. Back to the adult world, and into an area I really want to call Presents of Mind. Because there are things and then there are experiences, and the latter usually surpasses the former as years accrue & memories deepen. When, for example, those experiences provide you with new skills and insights and a greater engagement with the community around you. I'm talking about, for one thing, classes in comedy improv, offered by all the best venues in town – which you can find out about right here. I'm talking about dance classes, even – and if you're not into the more traditional ballet or tap-dance shades of the movement spectrum, how about learning aerial work with Sky Candy or pole-dancing with Brass Ovaries? Or treat your body to the healthiest foundation of all and sign up for some Yoga with Adriene. Go ahead, set yourself right with these yoga or dance or improv classes … or buy a series of them for your bestie and know that you've provided one of those amazing gifts that keep on giving.

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