Wow – it’s Thanksgiving already! It seems like only yesterday I was bitching that it was too hot and here I am, on the brink of winter, bitching that it’s too cold. Dang, a lot has happened since I published the 2nd Annual Holiday Gift Guide – I had the site redesigned (and moved to my own .com!), I’ve filmed two reality shows, I’ve published a few more articles, had a non-fiction story published in a book, I hung out with The Urban Housewife some more, met City the NZ Cupcake Queen (as well as the Milwaukee Cupcake Queen, Rachel from Cupcakes take the Cake and many others!) I think the biggest accomplishment might be getting this beast published before December! I didn’t get the 1st Annual Holiday Gift Guide off the ground until December 10th in 2007 if you recall. (Take a gander if you enjoy broken links.)

Anyway, it’s time for another and I thought I’d do something a little different this time. So I opened the guide up to my friends on Twitter and Facebook and let them send me their suggestions. Not only is this year’s guide not just a links to stuff I want, but it’s also… organized! Holy hell! I know, too many changes in one post. I’ll try to slow down a bit.

In addition to a reader-generated, not-a-complete-mess gift guide, I am also proud to present the 12 Days of xXx-mas, Bake and Destroy-style. Starting tomorrow (Nov. 27), and for the 11 days following, I will be choosing one person who comments on this post at random to receive one of 12 gifts generously donated by this year’s sponsors! Check the bottom of the post to see what’s being given away on what day – leave a comment about what you’re hoping to find under the Christmas tree/Menorah/nondescriptย holiday gift receptacle this year and you’ll be entered to win on all 12 days! (You can comment at any time during the 12 days to be entered.)

And now, on with the show!

For the Baker

Obviously the easiest category for me to put together – here are a handful of things any baker worth her or his apron would be psyched on this holiday!

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Devils food cupcake pendant by Jenny's Bake Shop

Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar – Isa Chandra Moskowitz & Terry Hope Romero have done it again! And this time, they’ve done it to cookies. By now your favorite baker HAS to have Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World in his or her collection so why not round things out this season with an all-vegan, all-cookie bible by the best darn vegan cook book authors on the planet?

Jenny’s Bake Shop makes an appearance in all of my gift guides. One look at her adorable vintage bakery-inspired paintings and cute-as-can-be jewelry and you’ll understand why. Last xXx-mas I received two of her pieces from my mom so I can personally vouch for their baker-pleasing qualities!

Any home baker will tell you that most of her (I’m being sexist now, watch out) time and money is spent hunting and gathering beautiful cupcake papers that will, inevitably, be determined “too pretty” to ever actually be used. Help her get loose with the pretty wrappings by setting her up with a few sets from Bake It Pretty! They’ve made it easy- even offering a baking cup gift wrap set so your gift looks extra gifty!

Looking for aprons? No, I mean an apron that really cooks? Check out Cupcake Provocateur for aprons so sweet you’ll want to wear ’em to work. And if you love them so much, just imagine what the special cupcake queen in your life will think of one! Save 10% of your sizzlin’ order when you enter BAKECP10 at check out!

Oh, and let’s not forget about genuine, bonafide Bake and Destroy merch! I mean, only a faker calls herself a baker and doesn’t own some of this stuff. Did I mention I’m having a ONE DAY ONLY Black Friday sale? That’s right, y’all. Friday, 11/20 I get loopy with the prices for 24 hours. Check back tomorrow to stock up for the holidays.

For the Horror Fiend

Got a BFF who wishes her stocking came stuffed with a severed foot? Well, I’ve got the gifts for you!

l_97b9685069cf468da9513d3d0474e4d6With a handful of Fright Rags shirts hanging in my closet, I’m well aware of their ability to please the snobbiest of horror nerds. I have literally been stopped in the streets by hyperventilating gore hounds gasping, “Where did you get that Shark vs Zombie shirt? Please? You must tell me!” I tell them Fright Rags, and then I eat their brains.

A few years ago I met a boy by the name of Putrid. Now, despite his foul moniker, he was a good dude – always down for a grilled cheese and a chat about Slayer. Turns out, my friend Putrid’s one of the most twisted gore artists of his time – and he’s just released his first book! Some of you are reading this and nodding to yourself – you have a friend who would cherish this rare collection of a low-brow artist’s first works. Well hit him up on his My Space page, because they’re available now.

Horror comes in all shapes and sizes – even tiny and adorable. So reward your friends for raising wee blood fiends by dressing their kids in the latest in monster-and-zombie wear from Sick On Sin. Awww, does da baby wuv zombies?

And now I take a risk of posting something that will sell out before many of you get to enjoy it, but it’s a risk I’m willing to take. When other girls were kissing their Corey and Corey posters I was swooning over Edgar Allen Poe. Sure, he was a mess who ended up dead at 40 – but he’s the man who planted the black seed in my heart and I would be proud to carry this purse by SackReligious in his honor.

For the Broad Who Has Everything

Because dude, she does not have this stuff.

Love Guinness pin by Very Happy Everything

Love Guinness pin by Very Happy Everything

I have a friend who is lovely and charming. From her ear-tickling southern accent to her enviable sense of style. She’s funny and sweet and everything you could ask for in a girl – including completely out of her mind. In her store, Very Happy Everything, this fancy friend of mine serves up vintage fashions and jewelry that will either crack you up or make you blush. One thing is for sure – your secret Santa partner does not currently own a Skank Pendant, but she should. And you can make that happen.

Now that I think about it, I have more completely insane friends than sane. Or is it I who has mental issues? Either way, you’ll never find the same thing twice in a little friend-owned shop called MelissaHatesYou. Circus-inspired original paintings? Check. Nude portrait of Dr. Zira from Planet of the Apes? Check. An ever-changing aray of vintage t-shirts you’ll only find on the thrift store racks in southern Florida? Right on.

“But Natalie,” you say, “my friend is unique, but she isn’t down for monkey boobs. Whatever shall I do?” Hush your mouth, darlin’ because I have one more idea for the girl who has everything – and it’s 98% monkey boob-free. Dessert hummus. Yeah, I said it. Blow her mind with a snack that looks like one thing and tastes like another. Check the ingredients – many flavors are vegan-friendly.

Finally, I bring you to a website that has come an addiction – Seibei. From hammerhead unicorns to shirts that proudly proclaim “I’ll never stop pooping!” there’s endless options that you can guarantee your friend does not already have – unless that friend is me. Join the Intramural Zombie Hunting League or just demand a sandwich from the world in general – it’s all at your fingertips. And, because you know people in high places, you can get 10% off your order when you enter BAKEANDDESTROY at check out.

Speaking of Vegans… For the Vegan

Meat’s no treat for those you eat – so here’s some treats for those who don’t eat meat. (Or dairy, or eggs, or… you know the drill.)

il_430xN.103444438Chocolate from Vosges Haut-Chocolat. No, seriously. Some of the dark chocolate bars including Black Pearl, Red Fire, Creole, Oaxaca, Calindia and Black Cat are vegan! The world just got a little more awesome, did it not?

Basically anything and everything from Cosmo’s Vegan Shoppe. Listen, I spent 5 years as a vegan in late-90’s, early 2000’s in the Mid-f’n-west. I know how bad it sucks to just want a god damn marshmallow and to not be able to eat one. I also know how bad it sucks to be in Toledo, Ohio at 4am at Shoney’s because it’s the only place open, eating a plain hamburger bun because it’s the only vegan thing you can find, and it’s probably not even really vegan. What I’m trying to say is don’t let your friend eat bad food or wear bad make up. Help a sister out. Shop Cosmo’s.

Vegans get a bad rap – what, with weiners like Moby reppin’ the scene. But the vegans I grew up with are some of the toughest dudes around. Hell, Mac Danzig’s a vegan and he might not be so hot in the UFC but he’ll sure as shit kick your ass. Show ’em the violent side of veganism with this hardcore necklace by OrangyRedInk.

Maybe the best gift you can give a vegan is the gift of support. Show ’em how much their passion inspires you by donating to a worthy cause like Farm Sanctuary in his or her name! Oh, and it probably wouldn’t hurt if you also tried to, you know – adopt as much of the life style as you can.

For the Crafty Bitch

If she can’t stitch it, forge it, or paint it – no one can.ย Tiger Lady tote kit - BakeandDestroy.com
I have been begging my bosses at Reuseit.com to pick up Sodastream. Sure, sure you cut back on plastic bottle waste, yadda yadda but what I’m really interested in is making my own flippin’ root beer! Got a friend who lives by DIY? Put your money where her mouth is and give the gift that keep on giving.

Paper crafts appeal to a special breed of crafter – one who cannot be bothered with a needle and thread. One who cannot draw or paint, or do much of anything. But she can use scissors all by herself and occasionally, you can trust her with glue. If this sounds like your crafty friend, buy her a boatload of PDF crafts from Fantastic Toys and send her on her merry way.

If it so happens that your friend is pretty handy with a needle and thread I’m sure she’ll enjoy a cross stitch kit from my hands-down favorite New Zealander, City the NZ Cupcake Queen. Kits like Cake is the New Black an Zombie Brains are a far cry from your gramma’s cross stitch.

Speaking of shakin’ up the retirement home, a while back I was honored to be made over as a Tiger Lady by Bonnie of Model Citizen. The ladies of Sublime Stitching liked her design so much, they turned it into a sweet tote bag embroidery kit and you can get it right here in my shop! Hey- this is a great segway to…

For the Tree Hugger

Save the Earth – it’s the only planet with chocolate.

Bike Mug by Circa Ceramics

Bike Mug by Circa Ceramics

Do you know a thrifty college student or a 9-to-5er who brown bags it most of the time? Help her help the Earth by hooking her up with an Eco Lunch Kit from Glue and Glitter! Kits include a machine-washable bag, utensils, 5 napkins and a Lock&Lock lunch box. Just grab your reusable bottle and you’ve got yourself (or your friend’s self) a pretty snazzy waste-free lunch! Mention C is for Cupcake in the note to the seller and you’ll get $5 off an Eco Lunch Kit or free shipping on any other item in the shop!

Believe it or not, a lot of offices still have stacks of disposable cups next to their coffee pots! Give someone on your holiday shopping list a reason to use a reusable mug instead by gifting them a truly unique, handmade mug from Circa Ceramics. They’ll love the detailed screen prints – from eco-friendly bikes to not-at-all-eco-friendly monster trucks and you can pat yourself on the back that you’ve supported two Chicago artists who even recycle their clay for goodness sakes!

I personally snagged quite a few Eco-Me Cleaning Kits from my workplace to give away as holiday gifts this year. I think they’re brilliant! Now, husbands, I don’t recommend picking this up for your lovely wives, but these are great hostess gifts, secret Santa presents, etc. You add baking soda, vinegar and olive oil and the kit has everything else you need to make an all-purpose cleaner, a wood cleaner, and a scrub. It even comes with reusable, refillable spray bottles, a scrub container, a scrub brush, cleaning cloth and stirring stick.

Saving the Earth is a tough job – reward the eco-warrior in your life with something sweet from Have It Sweet. For every $20 spent in their shop, they plant a tree through PlantABillion.org and they use responsible packaging on all of their handcrafted caramels, nougets and marshmallows. I bought myself a little gift of spiced caramels not too long ago so I have some advice – buy more than you think you’ll need to give away, because you will eat most of it yourself. Be sure to read up on their “order by” dates for the holidays!

Well, kids, that’s my advice for this year – I hope you found it helpful! And now, I have a few gifts for you! Starting tomorrow I will be choosing one person every to who will win a prize generously furnished by my sponsors below. To enter, just leave a comment and tell me what’s on your wish list this year. Prizes include:

  • 11/27: Billboard pouch by DeLuna Designs – I’ve been using one as a make up bag for over a year now & I love it!
  • 11/28: Set of 3 psychobilly hair bows by Lucky Cupcake Hairclips – the official bow maker for Bake and Destroy!
  • 11/29: Los Novios Pillow by Made With Luv – cuddle up… with death!
  • 11/30: Set of 2 Bake and Destroy mugs by Circa Ceramics – aww shit, is that a collaboration I see?
  • 12/1: $25 gift certificate to Tilleyjewels – I covet the gummy bear necklace!
  • 12/2: Two t-shirts from Seibei – the store that officially encouraged me to quit dressing appropriately for work
  • 12/3: Holiday apron set by Cupcake Provocateur – you will not be giving this one away!
  • 12/4: Set of sweet holiday cards by Caged Tomato – in your face, Hallmark!
  • 12/5: $50 gift certificate to Bake It Pretty – omg! Now I’m entering my own contest!
  • 12/6: Two cross stitch kits from City the NZ Cupcake Queen – Hey! Now you can cross that off your list!
  • 12/7: $30 gift certificate to Sick on Sin – monster cuteness for babies and baby mamas alike.
  • 12/8: The big day: Two bow pins from Very Happy Everything, $20 gift certificate to The Grand Bakery‘s Zazzle store, Tiger Lady-approved bobby pins from Model Citizen, and handmade felt pins by The Lulu Bean! Whew!

Weiner’s Circle

  1. Lucky duck Ashley wins the DeLuna Designs billboard pouch!
  2. The honorable Honor wins a set of three adorable rockabilly hair bows by Lucky Cupcake Hairclips!
  3. Wendy gets to spooky up her couch with a skele-rific pillow from Made With Luv!
  4. It’s Jenna’s lucky day even though the rest of the Internet hates her because she won two Bake and Destroy mugs by Circa Ceramics!
  5. Sparkle, sparkle! Liz has won herself a little shopping spree from Tilleyjewels!
  6. Sandwiches will be made. Tacos will be eaten. Victoria has won herself 2 shirts from Seibei.
  7. No one likes Emily. She won the apron set they all coveted. Rub it in their faces, Emily!
  8. If you’re on Anne’s x-mas card list you might be getting a cute card from Caged Tomato because she just won a set!
  9. No more baking it ugly for Jennifer because she’s got $50 to spend on Bake it Pretty!
  10. Quynh will have us all in stitches as she’s won 2 stitch kits from the NZ Cupcake Queen!
  11. Congrats to Amanda on winning $30 to spend at Sick On Sin! Only ONE day of giveaways left…
  12. And Nicole rounds out the Weiner’s Circle by winning a suite of sweets from my fabulous sponsors! Thanks for playing, everyone!