Holiday Gift Guide

    Demeter Perfumes – $16 – $18

    Ever wanted to capture the smell of morning coffee grinds, rain, a freshly mowed lawn or your Aunt Mildred’s Christmas kitchen? Now you can not only capture these scents but wear them with Demeter’s true-to-life experiences in a bottle. The Demeter fragrance library includes over 100 scents, all naturally derived.

    Christopher Brosius, the nose behind the name, founded Demeter in 1993. His olfactory wizardry has produced brews ranging from “Laundromat” and “Licorice” to “Pipe Tobacco.” Many of Demeter’s aromas — “Pruning Shears,” “Lobster,” “Funeral Home,” and “Sex on the Beach”— are decidedly unorthodox. However, traditionalists will be satiated with timeless florals (“Sweet Pea,” “Lily of the Valley”) or kitchen comforts (“Graham Cracker,” “Mulled Cider,” “Sugar Cookie”).

    Men with discerning noses might like to sniff out “Mesquite,” “Saw Dust,” “Steam Room” or “Gin & Tonic.” I’m just waiting for “KFC Chicken Grease” to make its debut.

    — Jennifer Hare

    Staff Writer

    The Roots: Home Grown! Vol. 1 and 2 – $13 each

    Few can resist the smooth rhymes of Roots frontmen Black Thought and Malik B. or the eclectic, sample-free instrumentation that serves as their canvas. As part of the conscious underground scene arguably more popular than mainstream rap, the Roots are widely known for their overwhelming artist involvement and unique, boundary-crossing sound that has turned many a hater onto the hip-hop scene. The new double album from the boys is a comprehensive exploration of their experimental journey from the early ’90s to now — a sort of “best of,” but done in the true Roots spirit of constant renovation. Classic tracks are cushioned by remixes, unreleased tracks, B-sides and live cuts, not to mention liner notes by ?uestlove that’ll take longer to read than the music will last.

    — Simone Wilson

    Staff Writer

    Leica D-Lux 2 – $795

    So you want a good compact digital camera, but those plain-jane five-to-six megapixel Japanese cardboxes just don’t seem cool enough (doesn’t Casio make watches)?

    Here’s an idea: Upgrade from prole spec and spring for the Leica D-Lux 2, an eight-megapixel work of fine aluminum art from the nation that brought you Porsche. It’s got every gorgeous detail you’d expect of a compact that costs way too much, including awesomely stoic manual switches and a gorgeous zoom lens — not to mention that honored Leica quality.

    If you just want to take snapshots, it’s probably not your thing — but don’t be surprised if this prize finds you suddenly itching to be the next Cartier-Bresson.

    — Ian Port

    Senior Staff Writer

    XBox 360 – $299 – $2999

    With the Black Friday frenzy over, anyone without the green-and-white box is shit-out-of-luck. Inside of the Box, of course, is every video game enthusiasts’ wet dream: a trio of processors hitting speeds of 3.2 GHz each, graphics that top off at 500 MHz and high-definition capability. At $299 a pop, and widespread reports of system crashes due to bug snags, gamers without Microsoft’s curvaceous console are in for yet another rude awakening. Nearly every store is 360-less, and back orders are set for a March 2006 release. That leaves techies with a tough choice: Get gouged on eBay by prices that can run up to three grand, order a console now and sulk teary-eyed for three months, or forsake the 360 altogether and opt for the spring-release of Playstation 3. Fuck.

    — Charles Nguyen

    Senior Staff Writer

    Thrifty Gift for Her – Free

    So you’re low on cash and want to do something really special for your honey bunny this Christmas. What do women want? Personal attention. What do they want even more? Lingerie. But slow down there, bucko, your bedroom fantasies aren’t going to come true just because you bought her that red lacy thing you saw Heidi Klum wearing on TV. Instead, get her a personalized measurement session from Victoria’s Secret.

    The VS girls will give her a thorough analysis and decide exactly what type of lingerie fits her body type best. Ladies, stop reading now, you don’t want to ruin the surprise. OK, the best part: It’s free. Shhh. Don’t tell her that, of course. I recommend printing up some fancy-ass certificate and telling her she has an appointment time. Then cross your fingers everything goes as planned and get ready for some sweet, sweet lovin’ … err … quality time. Good luck!

    — Riley Salant-Pearce

    Senior Staff Writer

    i-Fusion Portable Speakers for iPod

    A combination of all costly iPod accessories in one, the new i-Fusion portable speakers provide a docking station, charger, sound system and durable carrying case for Apple’s beloved mp3 player. This product stands out from its competitors due mostly to its extreme portability, with a folding design that runs on batteries and can be quickly zipped away. Its speakers deliver surprising quality (even enhanced by the surrounding case) and will make the i-Fusion a much-appreciated complement to any iPod.

    — Simone Wilson

    Staff Writer

    Ecosphere:

    The Ecosphere is for anyone who is an art lover, an animal lover, a scientist or just plain lazy. It is an entire ecosystem contained in a little glass bubble with an aesthetic arrangement of algae and brilliant red shrimp. The little glass bubble is a self-sustaining system and its owner never has to feed the life within it. In fact, the owner has nothing to do but place the ecosphere near a light source and watch. Initially developed by NASA scientists researching self-sustaining communities for space explorers, the Ecosphere delivers a look into the future.

    The average life of an Ecosphere is two to three years, but has been known to live up to 18 years. Price range: $40 (smallest) to $150 (largest).

    — Vanessa Peng

    Staff Writer

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