Looking for a special gift? Take a look at our holiday gift guide, a curated list of unique items to stash under the tree.
Anki Drive has invented what could be coolest thing to happen in the world of video games since the introduction of the 8-bit Nintendo Entertainment System home console in 1985. Anki Drive is essentially a next-generation slot car racing game that utilizes iOS devices as controllers—a video game come to life.
Pit player against player or player against the computer, drivers control their mini racer with iPhones, iPads or iPods (touch) along a take-anywhere track that measures 3.5 feet by 8.5 feet. As many as four cars can run the track at a time, hugging turns, blasting through straightaways with power-ups and knocking opponents off the track with weapons engaged electronically through the iOS device. What’s more, if the head-to-head battle gets a little stale with friends and family, players can challenge the computer to a friendly race. The cars are fully controllable by an artificial intelligence brain that not only knows the track like the back of its circuit board but also learns, evolving as it studies a player’s every turn, tendencies and foibles.
- The Anki Drive Starter Kit ($200) comes with track, two racers (Boson and Kourai) and chargers.
- Additional racers, Katal and Rho, are available for $70 each.
Charged and Ready
The geniuses at Brunton have devised a charger that can charge a handheld device anywhere on earth. The Hydrogen Reactor ($170) uses hydrogen core fuel cells—harnessing the power generated by the reaction from combining hydrogen and oxygen—to juice up a phone. Like something straight out of the future, these Hydrogen Cores have the power equivalency of more than 30 AA batteries, or enough to charge a smart phone up to six times. As an added bonus, the cores can be recharged without power depletion over time. So go ahead and circumnavigate the globe by foot, because now you can stay connected anywhere.
The onus behind the MIA Project is simple: to offer unique, creative products that are made in America. We are digging—err, suspended by—the MIA Project’s AirplantVessel, which eliminates the need for soil with one of the coolest houseplant displays around.
Designed and made by Airplantman Design (Josh Rosen) out of California, each display is constructed with a block of hand-finished wood of exotic and domestic species, which acts a base for a suspended air plant. Available in three sizes (small $38, medium $45, large $55), each display comes with an air plant hand-wrapped in wire. This simple yet elegant display allows the art of nature to take center stage.
Snap Into … Wine and Jerky?
Ignore any pretenses you may have about this unusual pairing, because it makes a surprisingly delicious present: jerky and wine.
The result of wine négociant Cameron Hughes and Krave Jerky joining forces, these pairing sets ($65 and $75) include three different bottles of wine and three different flavors of jerky. And these are not just any dried pieces of meat but gourmet slices of beef, poultry and game seasoned and spiced in interesting and unique flavor combinations. How does black cherry barbecue pork paired with a bottle of 2010 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon sound? Or perhaps a basil citrus turkey jerky paired with a 2012 Arroyo Seco Chardonnay? Wherever way your tastes may sway, there is a combination for you and yours.
Ideas for the Bar
Looking for a bar gadget for the person who has everything? Your gifting stock will rise with these unique gifts.
A Chemist’s Nose
Have a significant other who loves to dabble in scents? Then Vetiver Aromatics has the gift for you. Putting the power of the nose in your own hands, Vetiver’s Make Your Own perfume kits allow creative sniffers to mix and match scents to create a one-of-kind fragrance suited exactly for them. Four different kits are available (Basic, Apprentice, Artisan and Deluxe), each offering a different level and amount of essential oils.
For someone just looking to dabble with scents, the Basic Perfume Kit ($43) will suffice with six fragrance oils (rose, jasmine, apple, vanilla, herbaceaous and white musk), mixing components (vials, droppers, graduated cylinder, etc.) and an introduction booklet. But for those who really want to play chemist, the Artisan Perfume Kit ($114) will give the perfumer in training plenty of vials and fragrances to experiment with. Not as stocked as the Deluxe Kit (36 fragrance oils, $158), the Artisan kit comes with 20 fragrance oils and a milieu of lab equipment with enough storage capacity to have five perfumes in the vanity rotation and five fragrances in the “in-progress” lab. (Just remember: A little dab goes a long way.)
Southwest Florida on the mind? How about under the head? As if exhumed from a 1950s time capsule, these funky vintage map throw pillow covers (prices vary) will give any home a retro Florida style and aesthetic. Handmade by Vintage Beach and available on Etsy, each pillow cover comes with an illustration of a vintage map from around the world, including a few Florida scenes. From Marco Island and Miami to St. Petersburg and Indian Rocks Beach, each pillow cover is covered in vintage Florida through and through, making it the perfect gift for the Florida conch and seasonal snowbird alike. Available in three sizes (16-by-16 inches, $38; 18-by-18 inches, $40; 20-by-20 inches, $42), each is made of spun polyester poplin fabric with a double-sided print and concealed zipper. If maps aren’t your thing, there is also an array of retro photograph pillows, complete with flamingoes, oranges and water-skiing clowns.
For the baker who can’t resist the urge to take a bite, Nibble ($22) provides some instant satisfaction while maintaining the baked-good’s integrity.
Developed at the crowdfunding website Quirky, which manufactures products originally pitched as ideas by inventors, Nibble is a baking pan with a taster cup attached to the side. This simple concept will prevent you from destroying the perfectly baked cake for a bite before being served to guests. It’s the perfect gift for anyone ruled by instant gratification.
Give the gift of healthy, sustainable, locally grown foods this year and sign your loved-one up for a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program. The CSA concept is nothing new, but as the ease of supermarkets has affected shopping habits, the direct connection with food and producer has become muddied at best. CSAs give the consumer a direct line the farmer, not only ensuring the produce delivered is the freshest it can be but also supporting the local economy. It also gives the consumer an idea of how much work goes into food production, something that has been disconnected from the general public.
To join, simply sign up (and pay) to receive portion of each week’s harvest. Crops vary depending on farm and time of year, which adds to fun. And right now, Southwest Florida’s harvest is dropping into fifth, with a wide variety of goods ripening on the vine and stalk. There are quite a few CSAs to choose from here, each bringing something different and unique to the table. Below are two that caught our eye. For more, check LocalHarvest.org.
Wild Heritage Farm is a five-acre USDA certified organic plot in Naples specializing in fresh vegetables, leafy greens and herbs, with a CSA season from December through May. Two shares are available: Full share, which includes 21 weeks of six to nine pounds of freshly harvested produce for $650; and a Half Share, which includes 21 weeks of three to five pounds of freshly harvested produce for $375. Pick up/drop off points are at the Marco Island Farmer’s Market on Wednesdays, the Shoppes at Vanderbilt Farmer’s Market on Thursday and Saturday, and at Wild Heritage Farm on Sunday.
- Visit Wild Heritage Farm’s website for harvest and CSA info: wildheritagefarm.com.
Collier Family Farm, a USDA certified organic farm, is dedicated to producing the best, non GMO produce and citrus in Collier County. Specializing in leafy greens, fruits, citrus and berries, squash, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant and more, Collier Family Farm aims to bring their harvest directly to the public through two different CSA memberships: Classic and Market. From December through April, Classic members can pick up their box of produce, eight freshly harvested items, every Thursday at one of six locations for 20 weeks. To sizes are available: Full, a ¾ bushel box for $494.10, which equates to $27.45 per week; and Small, a half bushel box for $341.10, which equates to $18.95 per week.
For the choose-your-own type of shopper, the Market CSA membership is a great choice. Members simply open an account ($471.60 for the Full package; $236.24 for the Small) and head to one of four farmer’s market locations and choose your bounty. The haul will be deducted from the account, with the remaining balance going toward the farm education program fund.
- Visit Collier Family Farm’s website for harvest and CSA info: collierfamilyfarms.com.
- Add $90 to any package to include citrus.
Continue on to page 2 for more gift ideas.
This gift is for the birds—literally. The Arc Bird Feeder ($79) from designer Zoe Blatter for Revolution Design House is a sleek, eye-catching departure from those played cedar house-themed feeders of the past. Made with a single piece of bent walnut plywood and paned with translucent acrylic panels, the feeder allows seed spills onto the curved stoop. Handmade in Portland, Oregon, the Arc Bird Feeder is a perfect example of when form and function merge.
For the exercise buffs, this gift takes the workout back in time to when kettlebell weights were all the rage. The Lineaus Athletic Co.’s Medicine Balls ($575) are based on traditional designs, and each is custom-made with chrome tanned leather—most well-known for baseball gloves. They’re durable, soft and one of the most aesthetically pleasing exercise accessories around.
When selecting a medicine ball, know your audience: Most men prefer a 14-inch, 10-pound ball, while most women prefer a 12-inch, seven-pound selection.
On The Run
Have a coffee-on-the-go lover in your life? The Impress Coffee Brewer ($40) is the perfect two-in-one gift this Christmas.
This device by Gamila Design is simple to use: Add freshly ground coffee and hot water in the outer cup, let brew for a few minutes, then push the inner cup into to the outer. The extra-fine filter acts as a reverse flow filter, filling the nesting cup with freshly brewed coffee.
Come Sail Away
You’ve heard of kiteboarding, maybe even kitefishing, but what about kitesailing? Let your imagination soar with the enchanting Sailing Ship Kite ($40) from Haptic Lab. Made from bamboo and nylon, these two-masted flying vessels are handmade by Balinese artisans.
Measuring 26-by-28 inches, this kite is best suited for strong winds, but once it takes flight, its straight off to Neverland.
For the avid golfer who’s looking for an edge, tap into what the Golden Bear has to offer. Jack Nicklaus—longtime Florida resident, all-time leader in Majors wins and golf course designer extraordinaire—has just released his first line of golf balls to the public.
The golf ball line is broken into three levels: Nicklaus Black, Nicklaus Blue and Nicklaus Gold. The colors corridinate with the tees, so if you’re a scratch golfer swinging from the blacks, then Nicklaus Black is your ball; if you’re new to the sport, grab a pack of Nicklaus White. A percentage of each golf ball purchased will go directly to the Nicklaus Children’s Health Care Foundation to support pediatric programs nationwide. Available online.