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IN’s Alternative Gift Guide to Black Friday Mall Shopping – by Hana Frenette

Caffeine-ridden women wielding baby strollers and starting fights over a 10 percent discount on cable knit sweaters is something no one should have to tolerate. Shopping for everyone on your holiday list is hard enough without having to deal with the angry, sleep-deprived mobs parading around the mall on Black Friday. Unless you’re up and there by 4 a.m., the stores will most likely be out of whatever size, color, style or model you’re looking for anyway. Beat the crowd this year by shopping at smaller, locally-owned stores or online. Believe us—You’ll still find something for everyone on your list.

The Retro Lover
The Retro Lover frequents thrift stores and bookshops, looking for something unique and old. They appreciate things with character. Make them thankful for the present with something unique, yet timeless.

“Garage Sale America” by Bruce Littlefield ($8)
amazon.com
This book lists some of the greatest garage sale finds in the country. It also details the art of yard saling and offers tips on haggling and hosting your own sale.

Used books ($5-20)
Open Books
4115 Barrancas Ave.
453-6774
Open Books has a really good selection of fiction, non-fiction and classics.
One can easily find a copy of Vonnegut or Twain, or perhaps an illustrated book of folk tales.

A Record or Two ($2-$20)
The Record Shop
4173 Barrancas Ave.
Although this record shop doesn’t have a real name or a number, it does have thousands of records. The two men who run the shop have been collecting vinyl for over 25 years, and if they don’t have what you want, they’ll probably know where to get it.

600 Polaroid Film ($24)
the-impossible-project.com
Although Polaroid film was discontinued a few years ago, some clever-minded New Yorkers found a way to manufacture it themselves and started selling it to the public. The website also offers different blends of colors and sizes for your various Polaroid needs.

The Young Business Professional
Everything revolves around organization when you’re shopping for a young professional. They probably already have a briefcase, and now they’re going to need something to put in it.

2011 Leather Bound Planner/Organizer ($20)
Barnes and Noble
1200 Airport Blvd.
969-9554
The planner/organizer not only looks nice, it helps keep all your meetings, memos and trips in order, so you can remain calm and collected throughout the day.

Wrinkle-Free Shirt ($28)
macys.com
A wrinkle-free shirt sounds unexciting, but it secretly doubles as another gift; the gift of more sleep. The wearer will no longer have to wake up an extra 20 minutes before work to press a shirt, gaining an average of eight hours of sleep over the course of a month.

The Office Season 7 on DVD ($32)
amazon.com
The stress of the work day will disappear as the viewer imagines what it would be like if Michael Scott was their boss.

Padron 1926 Cigar ($13)
Grand Reserve Cigar and Smoke Shop
210 S. Palafox Place
429-0078
Nothing says “We’re in business” like a pat on the back and an expensive cigar.

The Party Animal
The party animal thrives on nightlife. Every night of the week might as well be the weekend. Get them something to help them through the night and into the next day, despite their impending headache.

Silver Flask ($15)
McGuire’s Irish Pub
600 E. Gregory St.
433-6789
Large or small, embellished or plain, the flask is every party animal’s must-have accessory.

Flask Engraving ($10 and up)
Elebash Jewelers
36 Palafox Place
478-4250
If you’ve already bought the flask, why not go the extra mile and get it engraved? Elebash Jewelers can engrave whatever personalized message you’d like, starting at $10, with each letter costing around 60 cents. Add some words of wisdom, a joke, or maybe just the flask owner’s name and address.

Shot Glass Checkerboard Set ($28)
Bed Bath and Beyond
5450 N. Ninth Ave.
505-0529
This set comes with the board, 13 clear glasses and 13 frosted glasses. You could go out, or you could stay in and play this simple, classy game that involves 26 shots. Checkers isn’t usually played by more than two people at a time, but in this case it might be necessary.

Weekend Hangout Fest Pass Available only on Black Friday ($50)
The Hangout
101 E. Beach Blvd.
Gulf Shores, Ala.
(251) 948-3030
Party with rock stars like Ben Harper, Trey Anastasio, John Legend, Allison Kraus and the Zac Brown Band for 2011’s 2nd annual beach music festival. Discounted tickets will be available at four locations: The Hangout Restaurant in Gulf Shores, 8 a.m.-noon; Private Gallery at the Tanger Outlet in Foley, Ala.,12 a.m. (midnight Thursday) until noon; Private Gallery at the Eastern Shore Centre in Spanish Fort, Ala., 6 a.m.-noon; and Private Gallery at Legacy Village at Spring Hill in Mobile, Ala., 8 a.m.-noon. Private Gallery outlets will charge a $3-per-ticket service charge.
RAW Cleanse; The Garden of Life ($30)

Ever’man Natural Foods
315 W. Garden St.
438-0402
After all the holiday parties and soirees, the liver will no doubt be in need of repair. RAW Cleanse detoxifies the body in three steps: 1) Toxin defense; 2) Organ detox; and 3) Digestion and elimination. You’ll feel brand new in seven days.

The Adventurist
The adventurist loves being outdoors. They love the thrill of a challenge or the feel of a physically demanding endeavor. An adrenaline rush is key.

Rock Climbing Excursion ($10)
Weatherfords
3009 E. Cervantes St.
433-2822
There are few places to rock climb in Florida. For $10, a person can borrow the appropriate gear and climb for two to three hours at Weatherfords’ rock climbing wall, or however long it takes to satisfy the need for adventure.

“1,000 Places to See Before You Die” ($24)
Barnes and Noble
1200 Airport Blvd.
969-9554
This book leaves out the tourist attractions and focuses on what’s real and truly unforgettable around the world. The road less traveled has been documented and catalogued.

The Time Teller by Nixon ($60)
Waterboyz
380 N. Ninth Ave.
433-2929
Nixon’s Time Teller watch was voted “Best Watch for Travel and Leisure” for 2010. It’s made of a polyurethane blend and comes in a variety of colors. A must-have for the punctual adventurist on the go.

Kodak Max Water and Sport ($8)
b&hphotovideo.com
This high-quality, one-time-use waterproof camera is the perfect accessory to take on an outdoor trip. It’s disposable but highly durable, so there’s no need to worry about banging up your good camera. Throw this one in your backpack or your beach bag and hit the road.

The Girly Girl
The girly girl likes to spoil herself. She appreciates all things feminine. Nothing is too luxurious or too frivolous.

Mani/Pedi Set ($37)
The Nail Lounge
4405 Bayou Blvd.
332-5593
The Nail Lounge is a state-of-the-art facility with all the latest beauty technology. They also have a full bar inside. The girly girl can sip champagne or a cocktail while lounging and getting her nails done.

Nahui Ollin Purse ($40-$60)
Gibson Girl
816 Gulf Breeze Parkway
932-2647
Nahui Ollin purses are made of recycled candy wrappers. They come big, small and clutch sized, and they make an adorable woven pattern out of brightly colored strips. Trendy and eco-friendly.

Fish House Gift Card ($50)
The Fish House
600 S. Barracks St.
470-0003
The Fish House gift card is great for dinner, but it can also be used on Ladies Night to take out all the girls.

Box of Gourmet Cupcakes ($40)
Oh Snap! Cupcakes
707 E. Cervantes St.
387-4777
An assortment of 19 minis and 8 regulars, catered to whatever flavors you’d like to mix and match out of the 17 or so flavors Oh Snap! bakes daily. Or, if you’re feeling indulgent, splurge on the special holiday assortment, which gives you 48 minis, 16 regulars and one jumbo cupcake for $89.50.

Pink Glitter Toms ($54)
toms.com
The new pink glitter Toms not only help out a good cause, they look amazing on your feet. Instead of the usually simple-toned canvas slip-ons, Toms went the extra mile and added glitter. Add some sparkle to the girly girl’s day. Also available in gold and black.

The Dude
A man’s man indeed. The Dude will help you move or stand up for you in a bar fight. His taste is simple but still refined.

Personalized Stein ($22)
A&J Mugs
24 N. Palafox St.
434-2203
You can choose from 16 to 24-ounce-sized steins with various designs and colors, or you can take advantage of the A&J digital screen printing process and make your own label. The recipient can enjoy a nice cold beer after a long day at work in his very own stein.

“The Big Lebowski” 10th Anniversary ($15)
amazon.com
Watch Jeff Bridges and John Goodman go through one bizarre circumstance after another. The 10th anniversary edition also offers a look at the making of “The Big Lebowski,” the story behind Lebowski Fest, and several other interviews and commentaries.

Original Swiss Army Knife ($14)
swissknifeshop.com
Assuming he doesn’t already have one, the Swiss army knife is a must-have for any man, boy or Boy Scout. The original design and model is available online, or you can choose from a variety of hybrid models and styles. The mother of all Swiss army knives is online as well; It costs $999, has over 85 tools built into it, and is called “The Giant.”

“The Man’s Manual” ($11)
uncommongifts.com
This book has poker tips, beer folk tales, and pointers on how to get your waitress to do what you want her to. The book even details how to tie a bow tie and how to safely land an airplane.

The Mom and Dad
Mom and Dad are always so hard to shop for. Either they have everything they think they want, or they’re extremely picky. Get them something fun, and maybe unexpected.

Custom Bow Tie ($22-$34)
Jeni B on etsy.com
Jeni Bailey is a local designer who sells her creations on etsy.com. You can create your own bow tie for someone, or you can pick from the fun patterns and colors Jeni has listed on the site. Just in case Dad’s expecting another tie, surprise him a little and make it a bow tie instead.

Personalized Shopping/Grocery Bag ($25)
Jo-Ann Fabrics & Crafts
6601 N. Davis Highway
473-3926
Depending on how much or how often she shops, you can find the right size and shape bag for her and choose from different colors and fabrics. You can get her name or a phrase or motto embroidered in-store. Jo-Ann’s has many font styles you can choose from so you can create a personalized bag for Mom.

Kendall Jackson Wine ($50-$75)
Richey’s East
900 E. Gregory St.
434-0807
They raised you. They deserve something nice. Choose from the entire Kendall Jackson line at Richey’s and create a combo for both Mom and Dad. Wrap it up in a basket for aesthetics. Pick from Merlot, Chardonnay or Cabernet—Or just get all three and call it a day.

DIY Gifts ($10-$30)
Supplies from Michael’s
4721 Bayou Blvd.
484-7665
Parents love homemade gifts, which always represent some kind of happiness that money or store-bought gifts just don’t seem to have. Make Mom and Dad a scrapbook, photo album, personalized sign or painting, or funny magnets. Whatever it is, you know they’ll love it.

The Tech Geek
The Tech Geek has to have the latest in all technology, whether it’s the newest model iPod or a daring new piece of equipment barely known to the public.

Wi-Fi Detection Shirt ($30)
thinkgeek.com
This shirt has a Wi-Fi logo on the front, with bars that light up when you step into an internet zone. When the signal drops, the bars stop glowing. This shirt allows you to always be informed of where the strong internet connection lies, without having to have your laptop out, searching for a signal.

New iPod Nano Multi-Touch 8 GB ($144)
apple.com
This new Nano is smaller, square, available in new colors, and employs new multi-touch technology. The Nano has a home screen, with various icons that you can rearrange to your liking, as well as a built-in FM radio. The Nano also uses a specialized lithium battery that lasts for 24 hours.

Lego Camera ($68)
urbanoutfitters.com
This camera combines the simplicity of Legos with the technology of a digital camera. It has a 1.5’ LCD screen on the back, 4X zoom capability, and a fixed focus. The camera has a rechargeable lithium battery and 128MB of internal memory. You can even add your own Legos to the camera to make it look like a house, or a boat—or camera made out of Legos.

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