23 Great Gayish Gifts for the Rest of the Family

From kids to fur babies, your in-laws to grandmas, here are the gifts that are both cool enough for you to give but useful enough for them to enjoy.

BY Diane Anderson-Minshall

December 16 2013 5:57 PM ET

Wet and Wild
There is nothing but glee to be had by looking at images of happy dogs relentlessly retrieving balls underwater. Thank goodness you get that in the Underwater Dogs 2014 Calendar, which has great images by renowned photographer Seth Casteel and all the usual calendar perks (plus moon cycles, in case you follow that kind of thing). $14.99, WillowCreekPress.com

Screw Swatch, This Is the Cool Watch Now
Last year I got a watch with a photo of my grandmother on the face, which I helped design, and now everyone I know wants one of these cool Instawatches from May28th.me. You can choose one of the maker’s images, choose a designer print (Kate Spade’s collaboration is great), or upload a photo or graphic design of your own. (Beware what you go with, though: Last year, I gave my co-pilot a watch with my photo and it’s become like a Rorschach test — some people find it super creepy, others think it’s romantic. I’m OK with that.) The bands come in tons of colors and in both kid and adult sizes. And it’s inexpensive but as cool and durable as a Swatch.
$39 for a watch or a gift card for the same, Instawatch.me 

Cats With Couture
There’s nothing that’ll make you smile more than these cats with ’tude (well, except for those dogs underwater). United Bamboo’s 2014 Catclub Calendar offers cats in couture, though the price shows it. $50, UnitedBamboo.com   

Home Movies Redux
Remember those home movies your grandparents liked to trot out on old projectors? Get Grandpa into the 21st century with the LG PG65U Portable LED Projector. You can project stuff from any PC or tablet or use it to watch TV with its digital TV tuner. It’s got built-in Wi-Fi, and the LED lasts 20 years. It may not have the nostalgia of reel-to-reel but it does a whole lot more in a tiny little tech package. $699.99, LG.com  

Rebel, Rebel
If you have a teen in you life, there’s nothing you can do to make them happy. But this super cool book might help. Graffiti School: A Student Guide With Teacher’s Manual by Christoph Ganter (Thames & Hudson) is an awesome exploration of graffiti’s history from ancient Egypt and Pompeii to today’s street subculture, but the book at its is best with tips on how to create unique tags, handing a spray can, and getting your work up legally. Perfect for that naughty niece or nephew of yours. $24.95, Amazon.com 

Move Over, Hoodies
Now that hoodies have become a wardrobe staple (they’re the only thing worn by both teens and grandparents), it’s time for a cardigan moment too. Try buying her the Gypsy Warrior’s Sally Ribcage Cardigan. It’s a cute black hoodie-like cardigan with white ribcage and bone graphics at the front and along the sleeves. $44, GypsyWarrior.com  

A Different Kind of Tradition
A Guinea Pig Nativity is a tiny hardcover book about the whole story of Mary and Joseph, no room at the inn, yada yada, but instead of the usual characters, this Bloomsbury book casts live guinea pigs in all their sweet, funny, humble roles. There’s even a cast list in the back of the book. It’s adorbs, and your little kid will love it. $10, Amazon.com

Medieval Torture or Endorphin Booster?
I have six nieces and one nephew, all under the age of 10, which means I see a lot of kids’ movies, so I know my stuff. Here are the season’s best picks for DVDs or Blu-rays you won’t mind watching again and again and again on Christmas Day. Pixar’s Monsters University four-disc Ultimate Collector's Edition Blu-ray 3D Combo Pack has tons of bonus features, including a look at Pixar’s real-life campus and this year’s hot animated short, The Blue Umbrella. Mary Poppins 50th Anniversary brings the timeless and sorta queer Julie Andrews classic to life for the first time on Blu-ray; the best part is a “Mary-oke,” an interactive segment that allows you to sing -along with the famous songs from the film. And then there is Despicable Me 2, in which Gru, the former supervillain, is adjusting to family life while his minions are being kidnapped and his kids are unruly. You’ll like it even though the clearly gay Gru finds himself attracted to eccentric AVL agent, Lucy Wilde (maybe it’s a phase or maybe he’s bi?). Beware, though, your kids don’t just want the DVD or Blu-ray; the must-have Despicable gift this season is the Despicable Me 2 Fart Blaster by Thinkway. Just press a trigger and you engage both light and fart sound effects, and if you want a fruitier smell to accompany the flatulence, there is a banana-scented Fart Blaster available exclusively at Toys 'R' Us. Fart Blaster Banana? Sacrilege. Prices vary, Monsters University, Despicable Me 2, Mary Poppins, and Fart Blaster

Cat Scratch Fever
My childhood cat, FooFoo (yeah, I’m that queer) used to claw everything: carpet, couch, and drapes. If he had been born a decade later, there would be a solution: SUCK UK’s Cat Scratch DJ Deck, which turns all that scratching into something fun. Sure, it won’t mix K-pop, but the mixing deck-shaped cardboard contraption actually spins as your little feline DJ paws at it. $29.99, ThinkGeek.com

And For Gen Xers…
If the battle-cry of “Caaaptain Caaaavemaaaan!!!!” means something to you, it means you are (a) old and (b) possibly nostalgic for when shows for kids were either Sid and Marty Krofft live action brilliance or some wonderful twist on Scooby Doo. The latter defines the must-have DVD set from Warner on Demand: Captain Caveman and the Teen Angels: The Complete Series. For you poor souls under 40, Captain Caveman (voiced by the prolific Mel Blanc) was literally the world’s first super-hero and he was set free by the Teen Angels from his prehistoric block of glacier ice so he could help the Teen Angels —Brenda, Dee Dee, and Taffy — in their “hilarious, and sometimes scary mystery missions.” The show was originally a segment on Scooby’s All-Star Laff-a-Lympics until Neolithic detective became a Saturday super-star in his own right. This two-disc boasts all 40 episodes. $22.46, Shop.WarnerArchive.com  

This Isn’t Like an Ant Farm
When I was a kid, ant farms were cool. In our post Terminator world, HEXBUG Nano’s are the thing. The HEXBUG Nano V2 is a tiny, gravity defying micro robotic creature that uses the physics of vibration to climb vertically, horizontally, around corners, and through loops to get through multiple levels of tubes, as high as the V2 set will take it, to explore its environment. The post-industrial critter can crawl through tubes on its feet or on its back, and can pass another bug in a single tube to avoid a traffic jam, and will flip to its feet if it lands on its back. (They remind me of the spiders in Minority Report, but kids seem to love them.) V2 Singles start at $7.99,but you’ll want a habitat to go with it and those are $29 and up; Hexbug.com

Fan Girls United
Got a geeky comic lover in your midst? The “it” collectible this season is the Infinite Crisis Atomic Wonder Woman Statue. Based on a character from Infinite Crisis, the video game in which a nuclear war instantly vaporized 97 percent of all life Earth, Atomic Wonder Wonder Woman offers up her unwavering hope for humanity while wielding a butch-tastic chainsaw of justice. If that’s too harsh for you, there’s also the DC Comics Bombshells: Wonder Woman Limited Edition Statue, in which our favorite (and don’t forget, ahem, Amazonian) superhero is modeled after the pin-ups of the 1950s. Atomic: $99, EntertainmentEarth.com; Bombshell: $124.95, DCEntertainment.com 

If the Shoe Fits
Dearfoams launched the Perfect Pair Slippers this season with a contest where you could win money for yourself and your favorite charity by signing up on Facebook and unwrapping virtual gifts. So I played every day, hoping for those damn slippers. Here’s why: They’re cute, they’re comfortable, and styles like the Plaid Moc or Color Blocked Penny Loafer are stylish enough to wear to work where folks will be none the wiser that you’re wearing slippers. $30 and up, Dearfoams.com, Loafer and MOC  
 
Do Some Good

If you’re thinking about gift cards to all the usual faves — like Target, Zappos, Amazon, Gap, Target, Toys 'R' Us, Whole Foods (don’t laugh, throughout my early 20s, my mother-in-law gave us grocery store gift cards that we lived off for months) — then do it through Gyft.com. The site lets you buy and send gift cards to your friends instantly, and throughout the month of December it’s donating up to 100 percent of profits to help support the search for an HIV vaccine through a partnership with the Immunity Project. It’s a consumer win-win. Prices up to you, Gyft.com
 
The Coolest Sneaks Anywhere
This is the kind of gift you can give to kids, adults, fanboys, non-goth teens, almost anyone (especially me, hint hint). The Simpsons Chuck Taylor All Star Collection features colorful screen-printed graphics on various styles of kicks. For men, the Homer sneaker includes a blue and black background, accented with Homer exclaiming “D’oh!” on one side of the shoe, and “Woo Hoo!” on the other. In another that comes in both adults' and kids' sizes, Bart Simpson writes “I will not waste chalk” on a black background resembling the notorious Springfield Elementary School chalkboard, accented with a bright yellow inside lining.  And the Family sneaker showcases all members of the Simpsons household in their iconic glory. Grab at a Journeys or Converse store. $37 and up, Converse.com

Toys for Furry Tots
I have the world’s cutest dog, but he’s a handful who needs constant interaction and supervision. Thank God we discovered the Pyramid Interactive Dog Toy. The latter occupied my dog for what amounts to “forever” in my household, as he moved the pyramid back and forth releasing food or treats (dry kibble is perfect) each time he bounced it over. (It’s weighted at the bottom, so it popped up to vertical no matter how rough he got.) Got him off my back for a few minutes of me time (I was still supervising, thank you very much) and got him at least 30 minutes of enjoyment. Even better, the Green Feeder, also from Compay of Animals, which his the latest addition to their award winning line interactive feeders. It's perfect for dogs who wolf down dinner like Roger, then end up throwing up or getting a stomach ache from eating too fast. The Green Feeder has little  "blades" of colorful grass where you place the food, prolonging eating time and slowing them down. There's a cat version and also a mini version for toy or small breeds, and the whole thing is phthalate-free, 100 percent pet and dishwasher safe.  Pyramid: $29.99, Amazon.com; Green Feeder, $22.99, PetGuys.com

Two Dogs, One Leash, No Cup
Ever feel like the dogs are walking you? No more with the Tangle Free Dual Dog Leash from Hammacher Schlemmer. It has twin retractable 10-foot leashes that wind within a sealed plastic reel and come out through separate openings. The reel spins 360 degrees, so the leashes never cross each other, and you don’t have to constantly spin and unravel yourself. The triggers that lock, release, or pull back each dog are color-coded, so if you can remember which color is which, you can manage the dogs individually. One caveat: It’s only guaranteed for dogs 30 pounds or less. $49.95, Hammacher.com

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