Politics Gift Guide

Let these plum picks from the News staff dance in your head

Politics Gift Guide

Go Local Austin Card

$10, participating local businesses

How can you save at your favorite local businesses while simultaneously pumping money back into the Austin economy? With a Go Local card, of course – accepted everywhere, from the Alamo Drafthouse to Zocalo. Perks differ from place to place but often knock around 10% off your total. The brainchild of local entrepreneur Bob Tuschak, the Go Local card has grown over the last year and a half from covering a handful of businesses to more than 200. New deals are regularly publicized at www.twitter.com/golocalaustin, and the cards (which expire after a year) are available at most participating businesses; see the list at www.blog.golocalaustin.com. Go forth!

Tupperware Party! (Minus the Tupperware)

Free, city of Austin
Politics Gift Guide

Here's an offbeat gift that could be fun for officemates or neighbors – and it's free. To help shape the city of Austin's new Comprehensive Plan, invite five to eight (or more) co-workers, neighbors, or friends to a "meeting in a box." Yes, this little box provided by the city contains everything you'll need (invitation, script, questions, and instructions) to Imagine Austin and create a collaborative vision for the future – and then share that vision with the city. You can download the whole kit from www.imagineaustin.net; or contact Kathleen Fox (974-7877, kathleen.fox@ci.austin.tx.us) to collect one at One Texas Center, 505 Barton Springs Rd. #500. Add cookies or a potluck, and it's a holiday party! Deadline: Jan. 15, 2010.

Books From Waterloo Press

$10-27 (plus shipping and handling), Waterloo Press
Politics Gift Guide

Waterloo Press, the publishing arm of the nonprofit Austin History Center Associa­tion, has several handsome tomes for local history buffs. Along with popular oral history Writing Austin's Lives: A Community Portrait ($27; $18, paper) and interactive DVD Austin Past and Present: An Interactive Digital History ($25), Waterloo Press purveys great photo collections (such as Austin & Travis County: A Pictorial History, 1839-1939, $25), vintage reproduction maps, and scholarly glimpses into the city's past, including Curtain Call: The History of the Theatre in Austin, Texas, 1839-1905 ($15). Great stuff for the sepia lover in your life. Available at www.ahca.net.

Politics Gift Guide

2009 Capitol Ornament

$18, Texas Capitol Gift Shop

No one's quite sure who designed the big brass knobs that grace every major door of the Texas Capitol (the State Preservation Board suspects it was architect E.E. Myers, but the records from 1881 are kinda hazy). Nonetheless, the ornate fixtures are the latest to be turned into the annual capitol orna­ment for your holiday tree. You can find them at www.texascapitolgiftshop.com or in the Texas Capitol Gift Shops in the Capitol Extension, the Capitol Visitors Center, and the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum.

A Llama a Day

$10 and up, Heifer International
Politics Gift Guide

Give a man (or woman) a fish, and he'll eat for a day. Give him a goat – or llama or sheep – and he'll be able to provide for his family and community for generations to come. That's the goal of Heifer Interna­tion­al, an Arkansas-based charity that promotes sustainable agriculture, animal management, and gender equality, with the goal of ending world hunger and poverty around the world. For as little as $10, you can help provide a new and brighter future for a needy family. Heifer International provides animals to help families help themselves – to work the land (with the help of a water buffalo or through growing honeybee colonies) and to provide warmth (with sheep and llama wool) and nutrition (from, for example, goat milk). For more than six decades, Heifer has been working toward making the world a better place – a worthy goal and a great gift to share with anyone and everyone on your holiday gift list. And if you're really lucky, your llamas will be delivered personally by Susan Sarandon – nah, we just made that up. www.heifer.org.

'Help! Mom! Radicals Are Ruining My Country!'

iTouch Publishers, $19.95
Politics Gift Guide

Hey, why read Dr. Seuss to your children, perhaps teaching them values such as sharing and friendship, when instead you can instill hatred and demonization of those with whom you disagree? Written by Katharine DeBrecht, this sequel to Help! Mom! There Are Liberals Under My Bed! – with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi as the lead character/villain – tells the story of two boys who "open up a swingset business, but all hope is doomed when a sweaty and sputtering Congressman Fwank and a snarky Congress­man Schmoozer demand that all kids should have a swingset whether they can afford them or not." Bonus: Sarah Palin in a heroic cameo. Sleep tight, kids; don't let the Demo­crats bite. See www.radicalsruiningmycountry.com.

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