...PFLAG Local Chapters
Shortly after my husband came out, his mother (a former social worker who prefers to talk things over) realized that the closest chapter of Parents, Families & Friends of Lesbians and Gays was miles and miles away. So she founded one in Panama City, Florida in 2006. And it's become a gathering point for moms and dads and everyone else looking for a friendly ear. Starting a chapter of your own starts by emailing email@example.com, but supporting the organization financially helps ensure it will thrive. Here's information about a "gift membership," which is a great idea for straight allies in your life.
Moving from Washington, D.C. to Los Angeles is supposed to mean buying a car. But my husband and I decided to stick with one vehicle — so long as I could buy a bike, and so long as that bike was awesome. The founder of Design Within Reach runs a San Francisco bike shop that creates beautiful options for those of us a Huffy doesn't quite suit. You can find the perfect bike online and have it shipped home in ready-to-ride condition (avoiding any last-minute assembly needed to fit it under a tree). This will give that special someone a chance to smile while riding past all those people stuck in traffic.
...Gainey Wine Club Membership
Back when it was legal to marry in California, we had dreams of hosting our wedding at this picturesque Santa Ynez winery. Instead we ordered wine by the case and had it shipped to Washington, D.C. for the big event. Our guests couldn't have been happier (or drunker). Ship a bottle to a friend if you're skeptical. But I swear the wine club is a sure thing each month, and that's based on some very rigorous research — for work.
Always wanting to know what's new might come in handy as an online editor, but as a music fan it's pricey. So I don't pay per album, or per song. Instead I've subscribed for years to Rhapsody, and I download as many songs as I want to my iPhone for $15 per month. Downloading means I still have music while in no-Internet zones like a rural car ride, or while underground on the subway. There are no ads to interrupt you — never, not anywhere. And charts by genre help me stumble upon new songs. Plus, the integration with Facebook means my hipster best friend can see what I'm listening to and complain. That's right, I sometimes listen to LMFAO. But don't let such a demerit on my credibility dissuade you from gifting a Rhapsody subscription.
Isn't the best gift a luxury that someone would never buy? This gym is just such a luxury (except I spoil myself year round). Details magazine blamed Equinox, in part, for the rise of "America's New Male Body Obsession." The "Chic-quinox Effect" started in 1991 when it upped the ante on amenities and consequently upped the price you'd expect to pay for a gym membership, which runs at nearly $200 a month. But if I could just say my membership was a gift, I'd feel less elitist for choosing to de-stress here, where everything is perfect, instead of across the street, where things are cheaper. And for the gym-goer in your life, I suggest gifting personal fitness sessions, or a visit to the spa for a massage or facial.
The best thing I can say about Fab is that I first heard about PUBLIC bikes from a sale on their website. Then I kicked myself for not buying one with the big Fab discount. Fab is like Gilt for furniture — and all other items with a design flair (like a trendy looking bicycle). So as you're looking for the perfect gift, I recommend joining Fab.com and keeping tabs on the gifts guaranteed to arrive before Christmas. Plus, you'll be supporting a gay-owned business.