Every year, as our world gets more and more digital, it gets tougher and tougher to suggest tangible gifts to unwrap with your loved ones. By now, most of the folks on your list have already downloaded the latest releases by Lady Gaga, Britney Spears or Katy Perry, so don't even think about picking up that "special edition" of Prism at Target. He's already got that plus the demos from the interwebs. Let's look a bit deeper, past the downloads and the gift cards, to something a bit more real.
For the twink/soon-to-be-gay nephew ( we all know ) don't even attempt to beat them to the aforementioned diva discs. Instead give the gift of live theater. Tickets are available now for some great local and national shows such as We Three Lizas and Hell In A Handbag's Christmas Dearest ( both playing 'til year's end ), or the non-holiday hit, Timeline Theater's Normal Heart by Larry Kramer ( also running until the 29th ). All are great ways to kill some family time after your get-togethers and bring you far more culture than 50% off sweats at Old Navy. If that won't work, Lady Gaga tickets just went on sale. No brainer.
For dad I'd consider browsing the new record departments at Target or Urban Outfitters or local haunts like Laurie's or Reckless for superior heavy-quality vinyl. You know he's still got that old turntable hooked up in his man-cave, formerly the living room, and he never uses it. Trust me, there's nothing a baby boomer or Gen-Xer loves more than that glorious feel of taking the cellophane off a pristine new LP and dropping the needle to feel a new kind of holiday warmth.
For mom, there's a plethora of holiday albums out there just retro enough for her, but perfect for your young ears as well. Kelly Clarkson's Wrapped In Red charges forward like coked out reindeers into your ears with her signature power directed at baby Jesus and lost loves. Mary J Blige does just what MJB does on the predictably titled, A Mary Christmas, so no surprises here, but a quality effort nonetheless and a good diversion from Tamar Braxton's phoned in Xmas release. But the most surprisingly robust effort is by UK underdog Leona Lewis with Christmas With Love. She comes closer to being Mariah Carey at Christmas than Mimi's done in two albums with a warm and wild tribute to the sounds of Darlene Love, Phil Spector and The Supremes without sounding too on-the-nose. Just enough originality to keep fresh, but you get where the influence is. And unlike your ham you're trying to bake, no one will complain about this crowd pleaser.
Give the gift of civil rights by picking up tickets to Reply: Reboot a fundraiser for Lambda Legal for New Year's Eve with DJ Moose. See Moosebox on Facebook for ticket info.