The Austin Chronicle

Holiday Gift Guide

December 12, 2008, News

2009 Texas Hill Country Calendar


Bring Austin's back yard inside, and stay up to date with a lovely calendar of Hill Country photos shot by local shutterbugs. Purchases of this page turner – a steal at $13.99 – benefit the nonprofit Hill Country Alliance, which works hard to preserve what's left of our shrinking natural resources. Throughout this month, you can also bid on the calendar's original, autographed photos at the "Hill Country Photography Exhibit." For more, see "Res Publica." – Amy Smith

The Obama Store

1111 E. 11th,

Obamanos! to the Obama Store for celebratory gifts both serious and lighthearted. In addition to a plethora of T-shirts, posters, bumper stickers, and buttons, proprietor Glen Maxey (yes, that Glen Max­ey) stocks many unique locally produced boutique items. We loved the $35 one-of-a-kind T-shirts by Austin graffiti stencil artist Kibo Robin­son, age 12. The kiddos went crazy for the colorful $5 swirly straws spelling Obama. Sparkly Guatemalan bracelets made by the Mayan Women's Beading Association are $10. A locally made "I Bark for Barack" Chihuahua jacket runs $15; the doggy bandana is $12. And who could resist sending their Republican relatives a holiday card with a photo of Obama that says, "Happy New Year: Just get used to it"? Your more-to-love friends will appreciate the hard-to-find 2XL to 4XL T-shirts. Open every day (but Christmas and New Year's Day) from 11am to 7pm through the inauguration. – Katherine Gregor

Crafter hub is a treasure trove of topical, one-of-a-kind gifts made by do-it-yourselfers near and far. From New York's Theme Fragrance shop comes one of the most practical pieces of Obama­ganda we've seen: the Obalm Ah! lip balm ($7.50), the perfect stocking stuffer for the chapped-lip liberal on your list this dry winter season. Meanwhile, one of the strangest (and strangely lovable) Obama trinkets we've seen is the Obama angel ornament complete with fuzzy wings ($13.50) from Full Frog Moon in Wyoming. Other Etsy favorites come from the prolific printmakers at Isotope, which features more than 1,000 T-shirts with unusual graphic designs. We like the oddly intricate theory of evolution shirt ($16), depicting everything from primitive protoplasm to the evolution of legs to the beginnings of human speech. We also like the "Congratulations! It's a recession!" shirt ($16), an upbeat twist on these gloomy economic times based on what Isotopes' designers describe as a "hilariously cool and retro piece of 80's clipart." Last but not least, don't forget to support your local economy: Shop for Austin-made goodies at Nora Ankrum

The Official High Times Pot Smoker's Handbook

by David Bienenstock

Chronicle Books, 208 pp., $19.95 (paper)

Dying to Get High: Marijuana as Medicine

by Wendy Chapkis and Richard J. Webb

New York University Press, 257 pp., $22

Finding legal gifts for the pot smokers on your holiday list can be challenging, but this year two new pot-inspired books make shopping for your favorite tokers easy. From the folks at High Times magazine comes The Official High Times Pot Smoker's Handbook, which is filled with fun marijuana facts – including a list of pot-friendly travel destinations, quotes from famous folks taken from High Times interviews, and information for getting involved in the fight to change pot laws. Informative and fun for the whole tokin' clan. On the more serious side, from sociologist Wendy Chapkis and communications studies lecturer Richard Webb comes Dying to Get High: Marijuana as Medicine, which offers a fascinating look at medi-pot, medi-pot patients, and the state of the nation's drug laws, a must-read for every pot-law reformer. – Jordan Smith

Contribution to CPPP

Got a policy wonk on your list? Someone who'd be pleased to know they had a hand in helping the working poor, struggling families, and children in foster care? Delight your favorite wonk with a gift in his or her name to the Center for Public Policy Prior­i­ties. The nonpartisan nonprofit works to improve the lives of Texans in need through research and advocacy, and contributions this holiday season will fuel its efforts at the state legislative session that starts in January. Gift contributions can be made online; CPPP sends a gift-announcement letter to the lucky recipient. (Make the gift ASAP to ensure a letter by Christmas.) – K.G.

2008 Capitol Ornament


What's hanging from all the best trees on Wisteria Lane this season? The 2008 Texas Capitol ornament (as endorsed by Texas' own Desperate Housewife, Eva Longoria Parker). The 13th release in the series, it replicates the design on the floor of the Capitol Rotun­da, showing the state seal and the famous six flags. Best of all, proceeds go to state House restoration projects. – Richard Whittaker

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