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Sock It to Me: Handmade gifts at www.buyolympia.com please even the most rebellious.


2003 Gift Guide

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Dotcalm

The mouse potato's guide to holiday shopping

By Christina Waters

YOU KNOW who you are. Like me, you do a little "web shopping" even while surfing the Internet for legit job-related purposes. And more than once you've ordered that perfect J. Crew tank top or video game or DVD release simply by clicking your trusty mouse on the "Order Now" button.

The good news is that you can just as easily "point and click" your way through your entire holiday shopping list from the comfort of your own keyboard. No shuffling through crowded malls, no soggy umbrellas and no parking problems. Just sit at your computer and follow our suggestions for absolutely perfect gifts for everybody on your list. You click, they ship. The biggest no-brainer on the planet.

Here's how it works. Visualize yourself driving over to Westfield Shoppingtown Valley Fair and swimming upstream toward Banana Republic to snap up one of those hot pink cashmere hooded sweaters for your sweetie, who is so Gwyneth Paltrow. Now visualize this. Enter www.bananarepublic.com and scroll through the colorful visual menus, find the item you want, click on it (oh, and you do have to provide some method of payment) and it can be delivered to your sweetie, complete with a card from you. Or have it delivered to you, you wrap it up, add a personal card, and deliver it yourself to the lucky recipient. How easy can shopping get?

Here are a few online hot spots to get you started, both mainstream and not-so-mainstream.

Thrill your kids with a personalized letter from Santa, available at www.santamail.org.

Choose heavenly makeup, fragrance and body lotions in luxurious gift sets at www.sephora.com.

Know someone who adores vintage clothing? Then check out the amazing selection of real and faux Victorian jewelry and clothing at www.artandartifact.com. Jewelry practically falls off the keyboard at various sites, including the excellent www.gemstones.com--and don't miss Amulet.com.

Need something to raise those holiday pulses? Then get on over to www.trashy.com and ogle the inventive lingerie sets--naughty micro pleated skirts and matching bras. That sort of fun. Don't miss inspired items like the leopard print bustiers, from www.cameolingerie.com. For off-the-beaten track bedroom accessories, look no further than www.stormyleather.com. It's impossible not to love a website that offers "whips, floggers and paddles."

Everybody knows about the goodies galore--books, DVDs, CDs, computer toys--at the mighty www.amazon.com. But for rare, used and out-of-print books, also check out www.powells.com and www.abebooks.com. And if you're one of those budget-minded consumers who like to comparison shop, use www.pricegrabber.com to make sure you're getting the best deal.

Specialty paraphernalia to please the meditation fanatic, like hand-painted thangkas from Nepal can be found at www.dharmacrafts.com. Gourmet gifts are as easy as www.epicurious.com, where you'll find delicious packages of everything from cheeses and imported gravlax to caviar and chocolate. Thrill your mom with a half-pound of deluxe truffles for $46. Surprise the cook with must-have, hand-harvested sea salt from far-flung regions like Brittany, Wales, Sicily, Maine and Hawaii at www.saltworks.us. And if something even more exotic is craved, try the natural beef, lamb and pork specialty cuts from Niman Ranch at www.nimanranch.com (and click on Products).

Does someone need a Poppie French tank ($110)? A Dede Metal diamond choker ($115)? An e.vil "Fame: I Wanna Live Forever" pullover hooded sweatshirt ($92)? Find them all and more at www.girlshop.com; equivalently fantastic men's gifts are available at www.guyshop.com. Get even funkier with the Olympia, Wash., DIY collective www.buyolympia.com, where you can get your favorite punk-rock sock monkey ($25), blank journals by Amber Bell ($25) and customizable sterling silver ID bracelets by DottyspecK ($42).

If you can't find the perfect gift online, it doesn't exist.


Send a letter to the editor about this story to letters@metronews.com.

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From the November 20-26, 2003 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

Copyright © Metro Publishing Inc. Metroactive is affiliated with the Boulevards Network.

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