Friday, December 18, 2009

Presents for the People You Love: Friends + Occasional Lovers Edition

{Gift Ideas for (Mostly) Under $100}

You have one week before Christmas, which in my family is pa-lenty of time to start Christmas shopping. True story: in the late 50's my grandmother pushed Christmas back a few days because she just wasn't ready. The kids were too young to know the difference, so she just stocked up on firewood, waited for those post-Christmas sales, and let the yuletide roll. Brilliant, I says.


For: Your most divine ya-ya Mabel, who is a freelance photographer living in Austin.
What: A plastic diana lens for her fancy digital SLR. Yup. Such a thing exists. I know. It's amazing.
Because: Low-fi is the new hi-def. Retrofying her digi means dreamy, low-saturated shots as she meanders down South Congress. Taking pictures with a diana is like listening to the Kinks on vinyl.
The Damage: $60. (big thanks to NY photogoblogger Giovanna for this one)

For: Your dear friend Ben who is getting his masters in forestry and who is building an off-the-grid cabin in Maine. Also, Ben has an impressive collection of comics.
What: A solar-powered sun jar. By day it looks like an old frosted jam jar, but when the sun goes down it glows with the same brightness of a candle.
Because: It's like fireflies-in-a-jar for grownups. Good for outdoor dinners at Ben's cabin, too.
The Damage: $40.

For: Your on-again off-again love interest Charlie, who is now raising heritage breeds of pigs after being laid off by Lehman Brothers last year.  He makes lots of jokes about bringing home the bacon.
What: A vintage moneyclip from Brooklyn-based bauble designer Bonbon Oiseau (who is also a prodigious blogger about crafty goings-on in New York).
Because: The future of your romance is uncertain, but you'll always be friends with Charlie. Keep him classy: give him this piggly-wiggly for his bacon.
The Damage: $48.

For: Your sister's angelic putto of a baby Penelope, who is your god-daughter.
What: A Rob Ryan decal for her nursery wall, so that angels can look over her whilst she sleeps.
Because: It's the creative genius of English papercutter Rob Ryan and your sis will love it.
The Damage: $120. Since each decal is custom made and can take a while to turn around, order Rob's magical papercut book for Baby Penny in the mean time, This is For You, $12.

For: Your best friend from college and her brand-new-husband. It's their first Christmas together.
What: Vintage glass Christmas ornaments.
Because: They'll have them forever and think of you every year when they decorate their tree.
The Damage: This box of glass ornaments from the 1950's was $1 at the Joshua Tree hospice thrift shop. Ebay has endless options, too.


Merry Christmas to all of you geese and ganders! Sporadic posts here at bigBANG over the next week as P. and I head east to see our families. New York, New Jersey, Boston...we can't wait.

Lots of love from the desert to you all, and happy holidays! xoxo


  1. this gift guide was so cute and thoughtful! the solar "candle" is my fave.

  2. Yes, please. You keep listing things I want. Really, this list could say, "For Gigi." Well, maybe not the money clip, even though I like it, but I do have a friend I'd give that one to.

    I love that your grandmother pushed Christmas back. Brilliant people run in your family, I can tell. xo

  3. loving all these lists! can we buy these things for ourselves? that plastic diana lens would be a great "here-i-got-this-for-you-honey-now-can-i-borrow-it?" gift. and why do i all of a sudden feel like i NEED a "candle" that is solar powered? ha! love this!

  4. ooh good gift guides!! because they are funny. and i like funny.

    2 things i must have: the diana lens for an SLR. would it be bad to order it for myself BEFORE christmas?

    and the decal is very cute. maybe for our bedroom. you know california... can't hang anything over the bed lest a massive earthquake strike in the middle of the night. Decal is so perfect!

  5. omg need that lense.


    um, will you be back for NYE?

    {We are heading up there then...}

  6. More superbness. And goodness me, I want to be your grandmother. One day...

  7. Lily, I never meant to be particularly obscure - we DO live in England, though I'm from Trinidad and Tobago.

    And ordinarily, I'd be buying my presents right about now, but we had early Christmas with the in-laws at the start of the month, and my family and many friends are scattered all over the globe, so presents are already winging their way through various postal systems.
    HENCE, these posts are starred for inspiration for present buying throughout the year :)

  8. YOUR GIFTS ARE THE BEST!!! Have a lovely weekend dear Lily.. thanks for always brightening my day!! xo

  9. my god, i wish i had a million sun jars. alternately, a reason to display those gorgeous ornaments year-round.

  10. zeeshe is BRILLIANT best-friend! maybe we can have a tea date when we are both in bean town over the holidaze. will call you on xmas. LOVE YOU madly! best post EVER. xxx - yaya maideness

  11. best gifts ever, lily. the diana lens is rad.

  12. Oh, yeah. I wanna be your good friend. Christmas gift giving good, I mean. Girl, you can pick some gifts! I love this post. LOVE it!!

    What a wonderful post to begin our friendship with. Thank you for your kind comment on my blog. I love the comment, but even more, I love getting to meet you.

  13. These are amazing!!!!!

    Happy New Year! I am a new follower. Come on by to my bloggy blog and follow back if you would like. It is nice to "meet" you!

  14. Lily, you bet I've bookmarked that Rob Ryan decal! His work is sooooo lovely.

    And yes, $300 is quite affordable for those. Hmmm... Good to know...

  15. I'm usually not into gift guides, but yours are all amazing!!! I am getting the Diana lens asap!! xo


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