December 11, 2017
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Special Gifts For Everyone On Your List

Zach Sparks
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November 22, 2017

Holiday shopping can start with so much promise. After all, who doesn’t get giddy at the thought of giving? But the exercise can quickly become stressful. Remember that “Everybody Loves Raymond” episode where Raymond subscribes his parents to a fruit of the month club and Marie shouts, “What am I supposed to do with all those pears?” Gift-giving can also be emotional. How about the complaints from underwhelmed, teary-eyed children who were featured on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” when parents were encouraged to give their kids a terrible present (spoiler alert: the kids didn’t appreciate batteries, old bananas or half-eaten sandwiches).

Wipe away those tears and calm your nerves, because the Voice is here to help. Are you looking to give your loved ones something practical or something unexpected this year? Here are some ideas for everyone on your list, from the fitness buff to the techie to the relatives who keep misplacing their car keys.

Jewelry

It’s hard to go wrong with jewelry, “because it lasts,” said Larry Sanders, owner of Sanders Jewelers in Pasadena. “Golden diamonds and chocolate diamonds are still as popular as ever,” he added. Another popular item at Sanders is ammolite, a gem hand-cut by the company Korite, which enhances the gem’s vibrant colors.

Mary Jo Duvall of Mercado Jewelers in Severna Park emphasized that it’s hard to go wrong with any choice. “Christmas is the time of year that you think of special people that you need special gifts for,” she said. “What better gift than a one-of-a-kind piece of jewelry? Diamonds, pearls, sapphire, emeralds, the list goes on. Bracelets, pendants, rings and earrings are all great stocking stuffers.”

If you’re in the market for jewelry, other local destinations include Zachary’s Jewelers in Severna Park and Traynham’s Jewelers in Arnold.

Clothing And Accessories

Because of size and personal style preferences, clothing can be a tough purchase if you’re buying for someone else. But Bess Clark, owner of Coterie Boutique, located in the Magothy Gateway shopping center, said it doesn’t need to be a frustrating or expensive endeavor.

“Whether it's something cozy (sweaters, scarves and hats are easy to pick) or a piece of jewelry that reminds you of them, there are inexpensive ways to gift someone,” said Clark, whose boutique carries high-quality, reasonably priced clothing from Los Angeles. “Gift cards are the best way to tell someone that you'd like to give them something nice that they may not necessarily do for themselves. There are many great ways that we help people find the perfect gift.”

Sarah Bender, store manager at The Cottage in Severna Park, concurred with Clark’s assessment, saying that associates are on hand to assist.

“If you are hesitant about size, The Cottage girls can help!” Bender said. “We range from ages 16 to 66, all shapes and sizes, and the most fun part of our job is trying this on and modeling clothing and accessories.”

Customers can get a gift receipt, which makes exchanges pleasant and easy. Beyond that, Bender suggests thinking about what makes that person happy. “Do they love to be warm and cozy? How about a pair of super soft pajamas, a candle and some hot cocoa? Do they love to be stylish? Grab a new top, some boots and trendy jewelry.”

With its expanded location, The Cottage is offering apparel, jewelry, décor and gifts. “The style of our merchandise ranges from uber preppy to boho chic,” Bender continued. “We literally have something for everyone. Even better, we carry the brands people are looking for such as Alex and Ani, Brighton, Vera Bradley, Free People, Sperry, Lucky, Kendra Scott, Scout, Simply Southern, Hobo, MantraBand, Spartina and so much more, so you can skip the hassle of the mall and the impossible downtown parking!”

Still having trouble? Alpaca International in Annapolis specializes in luxurious wool garments and accessories. “Everyone needs a beautiful scarf or gloves,” said owner Zia Boccaccio, CEO and founder of Alpaca International.

Spa, Beauty And Wellness Services

Relaxation comes in many forms. Would your loved one enjoy massage therapy, a facial and some pampering? What about a gift card to Bodyworx Spa or Image Creators in Severna Park? Maybe he or she would like a gift card to Fabu’ Salon & Spa, which does haircuts, colors and waxing. And don’t forget, ladies, men can be spoiled too.

Fitness

A gym membership might be taken as a not-so-subtle insult. Many runners and weightlifters already have a Fitbit. So what are some unconventional ideas for the fitness buff in your life?

Consider a gift card from a local business that can help that person reach a new level of health and confidence. At Pilates on the Bay in Arnold, classes focus on the whole body, correcting poor posture and teaching healthier movement patterns while increasing confidence. Jing Ying Institute of Kung Fu & Tai Chi teaches self-defense techniques to students at beginner, intermediate and advanced levels. The martial art is also a great way to reduce stress, and improve strength, flexibility and cardiovascular health.

Sports And More

Is there an athlete on your gift list? Behind the Back in Severna Park has custom apparel and an inventory of lacrosse, soccer and field hockey equipment, from sticks and balls to helmets and shin guards.

Books And Toys, Fun And Games

A quick web search yields all kinds of quirky gift ideas, from a make-your-own-hot-sauce kit to scotch-infused toothpicks. If you’re inclined to find a present close to home, you can’t go wrong with the gift of entertainment, such as bowling at Severna Park Lanes. If you’re willing to travel a short distance, some shops have comic books and board games: Shazam Comics and Toys in Pasadena, Games and Stuff in Glen Burnie and Third Eye Comics in Annapolis.

Is your child an avid bookworm who would be interested in reading J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter” or “Where the Wild Things Are” by Maurice Sendak? Maybe your child would like an art kit, puzzle or mini golf set. All of those items can be found at Franklin’s Toys in Severna Park.

Photography And Video

For the shutterbug in your life, consider the GoPro Hero5. With shooting, editing and sharing capabilities, this product is more than a traditional camera.

With the Roku Streaming Stick, your family member need only to plug the device into a TV to get access to free services, monthly subscriptions like Netflix and Hulu, or on-demand programming from ESPN, HGTV and other channels.

Art and Thoughtful Gifts

According to Cynthia McBride, who owns Benfield Gallery in Severna Park and McBride Gallery in Annapolis, the gift of art doesn’t need to be a surprise.

“We have noticed more couples coming in together to choose a gift for themselves for Christmas and anniversaries,” McBride said. “Art can also be a long-lasting generational gift handed down in the family. Whether it is a painting, a hand-turned wooden bowl, pottery or sculpture, art also adds to the beauty and creativity of a home's décor.”

In addition to sea glass jewelry and handmade pottery, Side Street Framers & gift gallery has a special sentimental gift.

“We have art for your home right from your phone,” said co-owner Barbara Daniels. “We can take those family photos or vacation photos and print them on wood, canvas, plexi or metal. [People] just have to bring their phone in and it will be ready in a couple of weeks. It’s the perfect gift when you don’t know what to get someone.”

It’s also not too late to get your photos framed.

Hardware

Christmas may come once a year, but home improvements never cease. Costello’s Ace Hardware in Pasadena is known for its paint and hardware, but you can also find gardening supplies and patio furniture. With winter approaching, now is a good time to invest in a pellet, wood-burning, gas or electric fireplace.

Home Furnishings

Help that special someone stock up on holiday décor. “We have some vintage European items that are unique, some coaster sets and bookends,” said Heather Summers, who owns Park Home with her husband, Scott. “A lot of people have been coming in to get a table clock or candle holders or vases — unique little items.”

Practical Gifts

Do you know someone who is always losing their keys or wallet? Both the TrackR and the Tile use Bluetooth technology and apps to pinpoint the missing items on a map or, if the lost item is a phone, make it ring, so long as the sought objects are in an estimated radius of 100 to 200 feet, according to the product manufacturers. While these tools aren’t foolproof, they aren’t extremely pricey either.

For someone who is always on the go, wireless chargers can erase the duress that comes with battery-drained cellphones and mp3 players.

Big-Ticket Items

Laptops and TVs never fail to fly off the shelves during Christmas, Kwanza and every other holiday, but we’re going to avoid the obvious and offer more insightful ideas.

The Nintendo Switch, Microsoft Xbox One S and Sony Playstation 4 Pro consoles were introduced in 2017, but if you’re shopping for a gamer, one new gadget stands out: virtual reality headsets. There are a variety of manufacturers, from Sony to Google to Samsung, with each offering different benefits.

Need help cleaning around the house? Running from $299 to $899, iRobot Roomba vacuum cleaners use sensors to remove dirt and debris from all surfaces.


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