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the Matalie Gift Guide ’09

How in the world did I get talked into this? I wouldn’t normally post a gift guide. Even when I was asked, my initial assumption is that gift guides are simply a sneaky way to proclaim to the world all the stuffs you want people to get you. Plus, there are an awful lot of other guides out there. So I tried to approach this from a different angle. This is not my Christmas Wish List. This is what I am giving and would give (if that little thing known as a budget were not a constraining factor). Think of this as the gift guide for the design savy with kids that includes some unique ideas which perhaps stretch the norm of Holiday gift giving if you still have people to check off your list last minute. Several items on this list we already own (and love!), some are going to be gifts we’re giving. Most all of these items are highly functional while also being incredibly pretty. The range of prices vary as well, so hopefully I’ve hit something for all budgets. I also tried to hit every category of what makes good Christmas gifting- the Want, Wear, Need, Read & Give.

So, what’s on your list this year?

:: Kids ::


My girls get the most enjoyment out of toys that are imaginative and allow them freedom of creative learning.

Top Row: Soy Crayon Rocks $5.50 to $6.95 HERE or HERE, Japanese Masking tape set of 3 for $10.20 or additional patterns HERE.
Middle Row: Green Toys (made from recycled milk jugs!) Tea Set & Jump Rope
Bottom Row: Charlie Harper Memory Game, Jumbo Colored Pencils, Pinhole Camera Kit $22, Sunprint Kit $15.30 (anyone remember these?), Composition Notebook $1.13


Clothes & accessories are always hard to pick out for someone else. I find these all to be fresh, yet truly classic.

Top: Pink Striped Hat $14.50, Pink Checkered Scarf $9, Rose Bud Ballet Flats $20, Flower Headband $16, Shimmer Leggings in Pink and Charcoal, $8 (available in big girl & little girl sizes), Coral Striped tights $10, Layer Cake Dress $64 (we got this one for Araiya’s Christmas dress, it’s truly beautiful)
Bottom: Custom Felt Name Cuff Wristband, Striped bubble umbrella $18, Pink bubble umbrella $17, Cotton Classroom dress $36 (in mustard and eggplant)


Children thrive in environments that pique the imagination and stimulate their minds with color and learning opportunities.

Top: Kid’s Modern Art Easel & Chalkboard $99, World Map Wall Mural $140, Acid-Etched Metal Initial Letters $14
Bottom: Eames Hang-it-All $153, Kid’s Bento Box $22, Photo Clip Mobile $12, Unison Bedding $36-$75 (on super-dooper clearance right now!)


We’re always on the lookout for well-written and well-illustrated books. Here’s a few of our fav’s:

Top: The Paper Bag Princess $7, The Snowy Day $7, How to be an Explorer of the World $10, the Double-Daring Book for Girls $27 (there’s one for boys too), Where the Sidewalk Ends $19, Sparkle and Spin, Charlie Harper’s ABC’s $10, Charlie Harper’s 123′s $10

:: Adults ::


Because even though we’re grown up, we still like to get toys for Christmas ;-)

Top: Fuji Instax Instant Camera $130, Stainless Steel French Press Travel Mug $28
Bottom: Vintage Typewriter $30-$100 (for typing one another love notes), Vers iPod Dock $199 (includes free bonus iPhone case), Custom Etched Leather Notebook Covers $60, Moleskine Notebooks, $3-$25


Winter reminds me of cold. And while Winter’s my favorite season and I like the cold, I also like staying warm, dry and cozy.

Top: Men’s Socks $5-$13 (socks can be cool, especially when they’re not white), Men’s endless scarf $34, Men’s & Women’s Wellington Rainboots $39
Middle: Classic Red Umbrella $13, Heather Grey braided scarf $39, Mustache Wallet $24 (if you’re gonna give a wallet for Christmas, make it a cool one!)
Bottom: Outdoor Reaserch Wool Blend Flurry $37 - Gloves for him & Mittens for her (or Gloves $16), Knit fingerless gloves for her $24 HERE & HERE, Silvercoon Felt cuff bracelet


Top: Round Terrine $46, Ceramic French Press $31, Classic Clock $47 (or check out the $40 Aura Clock too)
Bottom: Recycle bags, Galvanized Key Cabinet $39, Metal Picture Rail $50, Sheet Sets $15-20 HERE & HERE (Target always has such great clearance prices!), Indoor Dwarf Meyer’s Lemon Tree


The Design Savvy like to read about the Design Savvy ;-)

Top: 101 Things I Learned in Architecture School $10, The Big-Ass Book of Crafts $14, Kirtsy Takes a Bow $17
Bottom: 79 Short Essays on Design $17, Humble Masterpieces: Everyday Marvels of Design $17, Design is the Problem $36, Bauhaus $47

:: Give ::

Of course, the most important thing about Christmas Gifts is not the getting as much as the Giving, especially in the broader context:


thredUP :: We all have too much in our closet, especially after the Holidays when we often fill it with more. The concept behind thredUP is to exchange clothes you don’t wear for new ones, thus up-cycling clothing and creating a more efficient exchange than the “absurdly inefficient $2B used clothing industry.”

Robots and Monsters :: This is a great way to both give to a charitable organization and get a really cool gift to give to that little boy you know obsessed with Robots (or Monsters). That’s like double-giving. By donating to the current cause, in return you get a custom commissioned artwork (of a robot or a monster, of course) based on three words you provide.

USO Operation Care Package :: Sponsor a Care Package to a Deployed Soldier overseas. Holidays are especially difficult for those deployed and their families back home where communication and mail can be limited. Many soldiers either are unable to receive much from those back home or families are finding due to heightened security, the Department of Defense is making it increasingly hard to send care packages. Through USO, each care package includes an AT&T prepaid international phone card, snacks, playing cards, reading material, camo kits containing shampoo, conditioner, sun block, hand sanitizer, tooth paste, tooth brush, sunscreen and other requested and needed items.

88 Bikes :: I remember receiving bikes for Christmas. I still remember how for me it was a gift of fun enjoyment. For many other children in small rural locations around the world the gift bike is that magical vessel of freedom and fun, the rare tool as useful as it is enjoyable. It can make a huge difference in a child’s ability to get to school and expand the world around them. In 2010, 88bikes will be reaching out to children in rural parts of Afghanistan, Tanzania, Latin America and the United States. For $88 you can buy a child in one of these areas a bike.

Blood: water mission :: Founded by the band Jars of Clay, this is a grassroots organization that empowers African communities to work together against the HIV/AIDS and the water crisis. Their aim is that through providing both wells and community, they will save lives by providing clean water, hygiene training, sanitation improvements, and HIV/AIDS support throughout Sub-Saharan Africa. So far they have partnered with more than 800 communities in Africa, providing life-saving water and health needs for over 500,000 people.

Organ Donation :: The average national waiting time for a heart is 230 days. The average waiting time for a lung is 1,068 days. The average waiting time for a kidney is 1,121 days. Roughly only 1/5 of the people on Organ Transplant list received an organ this year. Each organ and tissue donor saves or improves the lives of as many as 50 people. Support of organ and tissue donation either through monetary support or as becoming a donor yourself is a charitable act of love and giving. Supporting donor organizations ensures fair distribution of donated organs in the United States.

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