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40 Cool Gifts for the Whole Crazy Family (Including Your Pets)

40 Cool Gifts for the Whole Crazy Family (Including Your Pets)


Some great gift ideas for parents, pets, kids, and partners.



Dapper-dog-collars_0Dapper Dog Collars
Ever wish your dog looked more like Jesse Tyler Ferguson? Now s/he can with these fancy but functional dog collars with bow ties (like this orange argyle one pictured) handmade in San Francisco by UsagiTeam and sold by the lesbian-owned boutique Butch Basix. Sure, they're dapper, but the removable bow ties (easy for switching out looks) is attached to a heavyweight webbing collar with welded D-rings and triple stitched stress points in case your little one is more tomboy than dandy. $34,

Aquafarm_0It's a Pet! It's a Farm! It's Amazing

It's both a gift for pets (fish) and for people (who like contemporary style, easily raised pets, and fresh herbs). There are few gifts I love more this year than Back to the Roots' amazing AquaFarm, a self-cleaning, self-fertilizing fish tank that grows food ands looks great on a desktop, kitchen, or classrooms. It works around aquaponics, a sustainable farming method that combines traditional aquaculture (raising aquatic animals) and hydroponics (growing plants without soil). It uses 90 percent less water than traditional farming. In this case, the AquaFarm is a three-gallon tank you fill with water and one Betta fish (coupon included in this kit) or a few small fish, plant some herb and lettuce seeds (also included), and watch it go (or grow). You never need to water or fertilize the plants (the fish do that) or clean the tank (the plants do that). A-mazing! Free shipping right now. $59.99,


Nina-ottosson-toys-for-furry-tots_0Nina Ottosson Toys for Furry Tots
Parents of fur babies understand quickly that a tired dog is a good dog, which is why we love the Nina Ottosson collection, especially this rocking and rolling Nina Ottosson Pyramid for Cats or Dogs. It requires Ms. Kitty or Mr. Mutt to work hard for their food or treats, making it both mentally challenging and physically engaging all at once and it's sleep -- like a unisex Weebles Wobbles. Even better, are any number of Ottosson's interactive puzzles like this Mixmax Puzzle A. Level 1 (pictured) which lets you create your own puzzle game for kitty treats by combining several different games, each time making it harder for your cat to figure out how to get his treat. It's a great and hard to find game for cats, and it comes in doggie versions too. Prices vary, Shop.Nina-Ottosson.comWhite-line_0

Sleepypod-mobile-pet-bed-blossom-pink_0Sleepypod Mobile Pet Bed Blossom Pink
The Sleepypod is more than pet bed/carrier/car seat -- it's a versatile and luxurious ultra-plush space for your pampered small dog to sleep safely through your road trip. $167,


Fruitables200_0Fruitables Vanilla Snowflake Flavor Dog Treats
This super cute little stocking stuffer is billed as the only dog treat made with real snowflakes. Each pouch of treats includes an estimated 300 snowflakes, sustainably harvested in the Rockies. Kind of like Coors, but you know, without the risk of alcoholism. (There's even a patent-pending method of using real snow in this video.) There's added pumpkin granola and yogure and it's only nine calories in case your little one is too much of a coach potato. $4.99, FruitablesPetFood.comWhite-line_0

Denhaus-bowhaus-modern-pet-crate_0DenHaus BowHaus Modern Pet Crate
Meant for the home where cocktails and canines mix it up (I imagine this is what Simon Doonan's dog sleeps in), the BowHaus does double duty as an elegant modern end table. With its striking starburst design and sleek silhouette, the silver powder-coated steel BowHaus is bona fide covetable furniture designed to set tongues wagging. $599.99, DenHaus.comWhite-line_0

Gold-paw-series-duluth-double-fleece-2_0Gold Paw Series Duluth Double Fleece
You're not the only one who needs to keep yoursefl sexy but seriously toasty this winter, which is why you'll love this cute two-layer reversible Duluth Double Fleece outfit (love the pink/orange combo, so chic). It's stretchy (7 percent spandex fleece), has recycled content, and is easy to wash and reverse). And it comes in sizes and a cut that work for both dogs or cats. $20.40,

Dog-pod-designer-luxury-dog-bed_0Dog Pod Designer Luxury Dog Bed
This gorgeous dog recliner is like the Eames chair for your pets. Designed by Glenn Ross of Vurv Design, with furniture-grade, sustainably harvested woods, this one is where are beauty and form meet function -- if you can afford it. $598,

FOR YOUR KIDS (or Nieces and Nephews)

HammacherThe Talk Back Mimicking Tomcat

This is the "it" gift for little ones: The plush Tomcat that repeats anything said to it in a cartoonish voice. which was inspired by a popular smartphone app. You can press his paw to record anything he hears and mimic the speaker in a high-pitched voice. Touch sensors located in his foot and belly yield grunts, whines, and purrs when pressed, just like the app. If you don't like what he said you can tap the top of his head and a bonking sound rings out until he is coldcocked into unconsciousness with the sound of chirping birds and a cuckoo clock. $39.95,

The-perfect-stroller-bike_0The Perfect Stroller Bike
Yes, technically, this is a gift for the parent of a young one. There is a reason why this Taga Bike has so many celebrity fans (Mario Lopez and Matthew McConaughey, for two). Because it is great for kids and parents alike -- it's a three-wheel carrier bike that converts from a bicycle to a stroller in seconds. Unlike a bike trailer or regular child bike seat, little ones ride right between your arms in bike mode and stroll comfortably in stroller mode. $1,495, Tagabikes.comWhite-line_0

A cross between a skateboard and pair of in-line skates, these crazy fun-looking Orbitwheels don't require pushing off because they are self-propelled by the rider's wave-like motion. (And yes, they come in adult sizes too.) $99.95,

Ozobot-color-sensing-robot_0Ozobot Color Sensing Robot
Disappointed with the way modern technology seemed to be pulling his kids into solitary endeavors (on their own phones) Nader Hamda created Ozobot, a toy that infuses technology with the social aspects of family game night. This tiny robot reads colors and responds with different movements. It will follow instructions and it can learn hundreds of different commands. With the included app, kids draw colored lines on a tablet for Ozobot to obey, but it works just as well on plain old paper too. Use felt markers to tell it exactly what to do. As they're teaching Ozobot, kids are learning as well. They're picking up coding skills and learning logic as they figure out how to make the bot do what they want. And, perhaps best of all, it also encourages kids to interact with real-life members of their family. $49.99, TheGrommet.comWhite-line_0

David & Young's Hollywood Faves
It's ancied by some of today's hottest stars, such as Leighton Meester, Taylor Swift, and Selena Gomez, so your teenage niece or daughter will adore David & Young's awesome winter meets boho meets 1940s Hollywood collection of scarves, hats, and ponchos, including this striped knit poncho and felt fedora with wide brim and grosgrain band. All chic, no hoochie is a mom's dream. Fedora: $28, Nordstrom; Poncho, $29.95, Dsw.comWhite-line_0

Hugs of Three: My Daddies and Me
Experts on infant and toddler development, authors Dr. Stacey Bromberg and Dr. Joe Taravella wrote this tiny children's book (and it's counterpart to Hugs of Three: My Mommies and Me) to show kids of same-sex parents that their families are special and loving. Great for early readers. $9.99,


Meet Paul Frank's Little Monkey

Preschoolers love this new animated Nick Jr. series inspired by the world-renowned Paul Frank brand, in part because of its music and quirky and lovable characters: Julius Jr., Worry Bear, Clancy, Sheree, Ping, and Chachi. Julius Jr.: Snow Monkey Adventures on DVD and digital HD includes sox episodes and a full-size Fisher-Price Julius Jr. figurine. In it, the funky monkey and his pals takes preschoolers on exciting adventures into a magical cardboard box playhouse and through the wondrous Hall of Doors to discover the importance of cooperation and creativity. $9.99, Amazon.comWhite-line_0

Lalaloopsy Girls Go to School

Got a doll freak in the house? Then you've probably heard of the Lalaloopsy Girls, one of the fastest selling toy franchises and top collector brand for girls. In this accompanying DVD set, Lalaloopsy Girls: Welcome to L.A.L.A. Prep School, the the Lalaloopsy girls are all grown up-and headed for the Lalaloopsy Academy for Learning Arts. The girlfriends take creative classes (yes, Glitter 101 and Cloud Sculpting are on the list), make new friends, and cheer on one of their own as she runs for student body president. Beware: The kid will want more dolls after watching this show. $9.99,


A-kids-book-we-love_0A Kids' Book We Love
Written by preteen transgender activist Jazz Jennings and coauthor Jessical Herthel and illustrated by Shelagh McNicholas, I Am Jazz is a great book for any kid (think ages 4 to 6 being prime) about gender. The story of a child coming out as transgender, based on the real-life experiences of Jazz, has an easy-to-understand but never dogmatic feel to it. $13.88, Amazon.comWhite-line_0

Something Cool for Gamers
Every family has that teen who is into video games and little else, so why not get them something that you can live with if you have to watch them play it for 14 hours over Hanukkah? Now available for Xbox One, Murdered Soul Suspect is an ultra-cool supernatural, neo-noir game that follows Ronan O'Connor, a Salem police detective with a sketchy past, who is murdered and shocked to find himself in the afterlife. He learns there that his only chance to get out of limbo world is to hunt down his killer in their New England-style city with narrow streets, Gothic churches, and historic landmarks. Unlike Grand Theft Auto et al,this is a game you could play with Grandpa over a holiday dinner. $29.99, Gamestop

Another Chance to Vote for Team Jacob

Every tween girl and half the boys will adore watching Bella, Edward, and Jacob deal with their burgeoning sexuality again with the epic trilogy, The Twilight Saga: Extended Editions Triple Feature on Blu-ray and DVD. This definitive collection of Twilight, New Moon, and Eclipse has been re-edited to include deleted scenes in all-new extended versions of the films. $17.89,

_the-boxtrolls_0Heroes Come in All Shapes and Sizes -- Even Boxes

From the creators of ParaNorman comes Boxtrolls on digital HD next week or Blu-ray 3D and Blu-ray Combo Pack in January. Featuring Simon Pegg, Academy Award winner Ben Kingsley, Isaac Hempstead Wright (Game of Thrones), and Elle Fanning (Maleficent), Boxtrolls follows a little boy who is raised by -- you guessed it -- boxes. Not overtly gay but with a theme about family, diversity, difference, and acceptance, Boxtrolls is great for kids of all ages, which is why it leads with 13 nominations including Best Animated Film for the 42nd Annie Awards, which honor the year's best achievements in animation. $17.99,


Adam Manbach's profane, loving, and deeply cathartic first book, Go the F**k to Sleep, was so popular around the globe it was translated into another language, was featured on late-night TV shows, and sold millions of copies in audio version (Samuel L. Jackson's narration surely contributed to the book going viral). His follow up, You Have to F**king Eat, is equally funny and fearless. Get it hard opy at Akashic or buy the Audible version narrated by Breaking Bad's Bryan Cranston, who says, "This is a very funny book and my hope is that listeners will agree that I can swear with just as much panache as Samuel Jackson." (In fact, Cranston's recording of You Have to F**king Eat is available free part of the month at $11.21 hardcover,; free and up, Audible.comWhite-line_0

Subversive-cross-stitch_0Subversive Cross Stitch
This new, anniversary edition of the classic, Subversive Cross Stitch: 50 F*cking Clever Designs for Your Sassy Side celebrates more than 10 years of delightfully snarky, in-your-face cross stitch (think crafty movement with snarky sentiments) with 50 full-color patterns and 17 brand-new designs, including "Don't Be Such A Baby" and "Cheer Up, Loser." Subversive Cross Stitch invites stitchers of all levels to fully express their bad-ass crafty selves, with alphabet charts and easy-to-follow instructions for every design. Perfect for cool parents and hipsters alike. $11.99 pre-order, Amazon.comWhite-line_0

Award-winning-danish-crime-show-on-dvd_0Award-Winning Danish Crime Show on DVD
The best part of parenting on some days? The moment the whirling dirvishes finally fall asleep and you can stop watching Yo Gabba Gabba and Barney and watch adult TV. Here's a great one to dive into: Winner of the International Emmy award for best drama and inspired by actual police cases, Unit One: The Entire Series follows Ingrid Dahl, played by Charlotte Fich (The Killing) as the head of a mobile task force charged with dealing with major crimes across Denmark. Like the team on The Wire (TV's second greatest crime drama ever), this unit struggles with disappointing personal lives while investigating murders, human trafficking, and kidnapping. It's a great grown-up gift; your Godfather-loving godfather will enjoy it too. $119.98, MHZnetworks.orgWhite-line_0

Pjsx200_0Gay Pajamas and Tees

Everyone loves T-shirts and jammies, and BMPT has both, including this great Bored Stiff PJ set. My fave tee has this text on it: "1969 Stonewall gave us pride, 1981 AIDS made us strong; 2013 marriage makes us equal." Perfect for those kids in the gay-straight alliance. BMPT has plenty of others, including a NORMAL in rainbow shades; "Be Happy AND Gay," which showed up in the Broadway revival of The Normal Heart; popular antibullying/suicide prevention tees; and gay pride pajama sets. Prices vary,


Dave-koz-and-his-christmas-album_0Dave Koz's The 25th of December

Who knew the gay, Jewish smooth jazz saxaphonist could create such a lovely Christmas album? With some help from Gloria Estefan, Johnny Mathis, Stevie Wonder, India Arie, and other friends, Koz has done just that. Bonus: the rendition (with nine other musicians) of the Beatles classic "All You Need Is Love." $11.99, Target.comWhite-line_0



Abba-monopoly_0Monopoly for the Rest of Us

Yes, they make this now: ABBA Monopoly. The special edition of the "Money, Money, Money"-based game switches buying and selling properties to buying single records, and instead of real estate, you're buying recording studios. The usual tokens have been replaced by (among others) the Napoleon hat (for "Waterloo"), a platform boot, a vinyl record, a money bag (a nod to ABBA's classic "Money, Money, Money"), a telephone, and a star-shaped guitar token (like the one Bjorn used in the 1974 Eurovision Song Contest). In both Swedish and English. $54.99, Store.UniversalMusic.comWhite-line_0

Eartha-kitt-bracelets_0Don't Panic Bracelets
From Kitt Shapiro's Simply Eartha collection come a series of great new bracelets with Eartha Kitt's favorite phrases on them. The Kitt-isms come in several styles including the beaded bracelets, adjustable nylon for a unisex athletic look, and these great gold bangles (left) that urge the wearer things like "Don't Panic" and "My Flaws Make Me Who I Am." My favorite: Buddha Beads and Bracelets, a set of three handmade stretch bracelets with gold leaf Tibetan prayer beads, with the "This Is Your Life, Take It In" Kittism in gold plate. Bonus: A portion of all proceeds goes to fight colon cancer, which Eartha succumbed to in 2008. $37 and up,


Stocking Stuffer Alert: Sharon Isbin's 5 Classic Albums
This five-CD box set the country's greatest lesbian classical guitarist features concerti by Rodrigo & Villa-Lobos performed with the New York Philharmonic, perennial Baroque favorites by Bach & Vivaldi, Latin American music with organic Brazilian percussion and saxophonist Paul Winter, plus her two Grammy award-winning discs and her folk-inspired solo disc Dreams of a World. Tune in to the new documentary airing this month on public TV, Sharon Isbin: Troubadour (which features guests/fans including David Hyde Pierce, Michelle Obama, Joan Baez, and Martina Navratilova) and you'll need the album ASAP. (The doc will air through January and will be on Blu-ray/DVD after that.) $16.99,


Liquid-body-flask_0Liquid Body Flask
The perfect dad (or boi or bro) gift is this mirror-finish steel flask that's manufactured to look like an inflated flask, not unlike a Mylar balloon or foil drink packet. (So cool it won the Summer 2014 NY NOW Accent on Design Excellence in Product Design award.) $45,


The Courtship of Eddie's Father on DVD

Thanks to Warners' manufactured-on-demand video series, you can finally get your favorite father figure seasons 1-3 of the series that broke new ground on television with a show about a single dad and the relationsip with his young son. Sure, he wasn't gay, but he could easily be read that way at times. And because Eddie's tomboy nemesis was played by a young Jodie Foster, I loved this series as a kid -- and its Harry Nilsson theme song ("Best Friend"). $35 each season, WarnerArchive.comWhite-line_0

Fandor-subscription_0A Subscription to Fandor
Yes, you have Netflix and Hulu, but Fandor, which bills itself as the premier subscription-streaming destination for true film lovers, offers films you can't find anywhere else, including several classic and contemporary LGBT films from around the world. Every seen Butter on the Latch by Bi the Way director Josephine Decker or Marlon Riggs's 1989 classic Tongues Untied? You can find them on Fandor, along with Christopher Larkin's A Very Natural Thing, the 1974 flick that is considered the first feature film on the gay experience made by an out-of-the-closet gay man to receive commercial distribution. You won't find the blockbusters of Netflix but if you are more into indie films, European cinema, classics, and unsung new films -- it averages 30 films debuting each month, each with a curated theme -- then Fandor is for you. Free trial, $7.50 a month after, Fandor.comWhite-line_0

Streisand-from-the-the-set-of-funny-girl-september-1967-steve-schapiro_0The Best of Barbra Streisand

Got a Jewish mom, Hollywood movie lover, or just a gay Babs fanatic? Two great gifts are out now: Taschen's Barbra Streisand by Steve Schapiro and Lawrence Schiller and Abrams's Streisand: In the Camera Eye by James Spada. Schapiro and Schiller offer up their photos of the star during her first five years in Hollywood -- over half of which have never been published before -- and stories behind the shots in this beautiful limited-edition, signed book (you can get one of 200 art editions or one of 1,000 collector's edition). The more accessible but no less fascinating Streisand: In the Camera Eye presents 170 of the most compelling photographs of Barbra Streisand spanning half a century, from her debuts off-Broadway and in Greenwich Village bars onward to Broadway and Hollywood, all the way through her very recent Back to Brooklyn concert and European tour. Many of the photos have never been published before and were shot by some legendary gay photographers, including the great Francesco Scavullo and Cecil Beaton. There are also several essays by Spada introducing the various stages of Streisand's adult life with anecdotes and quotes not often seen. Taschen: $750, Taschen; $40, Abrams


Family-guy-season-12-dvd_0Animated DVD or Blu-ray Boxrf Sets More funny, uncensored moments. On Family Guy Season 12 the minor trans character is more humanized (but there's still a maddening phobic scene) but the hilarity and semigay relationship between Stewie and Brian are on point, especially when Stewie is reborn into a wealthy British family a la Downton Abbey. The Simpsons Season 17offers up some great guests (Lily Tomlin, Susan Sarandon, William H. Macy, and Frances McDormand among them), an Emmy-winning episode, and the return of Sideshow Bob. $19.99 and up, Amazon.comWhite-line_0

For-the-daddy-who-rocks_0For The Daddy Who Rocks
Jewelry for men is hard to get right, which is why this is so cool: the Isabelle Grace Jewelry's Guitar Pick Pendant. Made of fine (.999) silver, this charm can be personalized with the child's name of up to 10 characters on the front, as well as a birthdate on the back. It's like those birthstone pendants moms have, just way cooler. $78,

Axe_necklace_copy_1024x1024_0Ax Pendant Necklace
Skinny Fatties is this amazing tailored tie company with a social mission, they partner with Career Gear, who provides professional clothing, mentoring, and life-skills coaching to help men in poverty become stronger contributors to their families and communities. A portion of each sale is contributed to Career Gear and the Skinny Fatties team regularly volunteers by sorting clothing donations and providing marketing services. I tell you this so you won't feel guilty when you buy yourself this totally bitching hinged sterling silver and black walnut ax pendant hanging from a sterling silver chain. $120,


Put-a-ring-on-it_0Put a Ring on It
Yes, this is a wonderful season to officially put a ring on it. Our favorites: a wedding band from Rory Tennenbaum's LVOE collections; the Diamond Nexus slick Love Equally Collection (10 percent goes to marriage equality causes); gay-owned Proposition Love's wedding bands (10 percent also goes to LGBT and HIV causes). Prices varyWhite-line_0

Same-sex-but-sexy-cufflinks_0Same-Sex but Sexy Cufflinks
If a ring is too much, then check out these Mrs. and Mrs. Cufflinks or Mr. and Mr. Cufflinks. A simple antique silver plated base metal with a bullet back closure says I love you, or I already married you, like no other. $50,

Christmas-at-the-mandarin-oriental-2_0Christmas at the Mandarin Oriental
Every Mandarin Oriental hotel is pulling out the stops around the holidays, even Paris. Our faves though the San Francisco Festive Family getaway (which inclues adjoining children's room, ice-skating at the Embarcadero Center, fun at Ghirardelli Chocolate Store, and four hours of babysitting); Hyde Park London Christmas Family program (which includes gifts, an actual Paddington Teddy Bear, a Paddington Bear-themed tea in the Rosebery Room); and Hong Kong (which pulls out all stops: festive mulled wine, traditional Hong Kong roasted chestnuts, children's ballet, chamber choir performances, and appearances by Santa Claus all within the hotel plus a free kids room). $1,127 and up,


'Twas the Night Before Christmas

New York's High Line Hotel, nestled within a cluster of landmarked buildings in Manhattan's Chelsea neighborhood, is celebrating its heritage as the former home of Clement Clarke Moore (author of the Christmas classic popularly known as 'Twas the Night Before Christmas) with a two-night "Vintage Christmas in Chelsea" package. You get a turndown copy of the book, complimentary cider and cocoa, and custom ornament, and you'll be steps from the High Line elevated park and walking distance to Union Square's annual Holiday Market with its artisanal crafts, foods, and fashions. Prices vary,

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Diane Anderson-Minshall

Diane Anderson-Minshall is the CEO of Pride Media, and editorial director of The Advocate, Out, and Plus magazine. She's the winner of numerous awards from GLAAD, the NLGJA, WPA, and was named to Folio's Top Women in Media list. She and her co-pilot of 30 years, transgender journalist Jacob Anderson-Minshall penned several books including Queerly Beloved: A Love Across Genders.
Diane Anderson-Minshall is the CEO of Pride Media, and editorial director of The Advocate, Out, and Plus magazine. She's the winner of numerous awards from GLAAD, the NLGJA, WPA, and was named to Folio's Top Women in Media list. She and her co-pilot of 30 years, transgender journalist Jacob Anderson-Minshall penned several books including Queerly Beloved: A Love Across Genders.