Tag Archives: gift guide

WiG 2015 Holiday Gift Guide

Happy holidays, and welcome to this year’s installment of the Wisconsin Gazette Gift Guide!

It’s always tough to figure out what new, exciting gifts to get your friends and relatives, especially when you’re trying to avoid big retailers and aim for something unique. So our editorial staff sat down and looked over what’s really out there, putting together this package of stories out of what we found. Inside, you can find everything from national subscription boxes and the hottest toys from yesteryear that are making a comeback to the best stores you can find in local malls and shopping districts.

We’ve also looked outside of our own circle for recommendations. Throughout this guide, you’ll be able to “unwrap” gift recommendations from local experts, collected by freelancer Kerrie Kennedy. She contacted seven local businesses and organizations, each of which offered their insight into what you should look for this holiday season.

Like something you see? You might be in more luck than you think: This year’s Gift Guide is being launched simultaneously with the WiG Shop, our brand-new online store offering deals and discounts to our loyal readers. We’ve already got deals from restaurants and vendors like Rodizio Grill, Ward’s House of Prime, Discovery World, and Elements Massage up now, and you can find additional items mentioned in this guide or featured as advertisers in the days to come. It’s the perfect way for you to support both local businesses you love and the journalism we’re pursuing, while saving money at the same time. To see what’s currently on display, go to wigshop.kostizi.com.

ASK THE EXPERTS: The best gifts this holiday season 

Kerrie Kennedy,
Contributing writer

“Unwrap” gift recommendations from local experts.

Madison’s malls offer quirks and character

Michael Muckian,
Contributing writer

A community’s shopping destinations reveal a lot about a community’s character. Madison, the state’s second-largest city and the home to Wisconsin’s largest university, boasts stores that pack a lot of variety into a little bit of real estate.

Holiday cards with an artful edge 

Kim Cook,
Associated Press writer 

Seasonal greeting cards have long been an artistic niche that inspires a wide range of illustrators and designers.

Besides today’s ubiquitous family photo cards, contemporary designs often take advantage of advances in drafting and production — holography, music embeds, digital photography and laser-cutting among them.

Give the gift that lasts forever: A great experience 

Matthew Reddin,
Staff writer

Buying presents for people is hard. So stop doing it — and get them something they’ll like even better.

Many months of merry: the wide range of subscription gifts 

Kim Cook, 
Associated Press writer 

Suffering from a pre-holiday “what to give” headache? The prescription may be a subscription.

Toy trends 

The Force is strong. Star Wars: The Force Awakens has awakened a new enthusiasm for Star Wars toys for children and adults, according to ToyInsider.com, which reviews and recommends toys. The site has published holiday toy reviews and lists, including top tech and STEM toys.

Gifts to bark or purr about 

Louis Weisberg,
Staff writer

Millions of Americans wouldn’t consider celebrating the holidays without including their pets. In fact, pet lovers go all-out.

Shop local at Milwaukee’s top retail districts 

Matthew Reddin,
Staff writer

Having trouble finding that perfect gift this year? Braving Black Friday or adventuring on Amazon.com are not the only options. Milwaukee’s diverse shopping districts offer a variety of opportunity and options for every sort of gift recipient — from the fashionista to the quirky uncle and everything in between.  

Classic toys ‘baby boom’ing 

Lisa Neff,
Staff writer

Many baby boomers visiting toy stores this holiday season will be buying familiar toys for girls and boys. Some toys, like the Duncan YoYo, never fell out of favor as stocking stuffers. Other toys get updated year after year to remain relevant, like the Easy-Bake Oven — which now has both a dedicated heating element that retired the un-green incandescent bulb and gender-neutral packaging. 

Madison’s malls offer quirks and character

A community’s shopping destinations reveal a lot about a community’s character. Madison, the state’s second-largest city and the home to Wisconsin’s largest university, boasts stores that pack a lot of variety into a little bit of real estate.

Consider State Street, the mile-long pedestrian mall that connects the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus to the Capitol. The many shops along State Street reflect the quirkiness of the city’s academic, political and hipster influences.

Monroe Street runs southwest from Camp Randall Stadium, threading several older west side neighborhoods. The stores and galleries offer more upscale fare, but all are colored with Madison character.

In Madison, even the shopping malls, often the bane of urban existence, put a unique spin or two on the retail experience. Several warrant a visit as you complete your holiday gift list this season.

Hilldale Shopping Center, 426 N. Midvale Blvd., on the city’s near west side, may be one of Madison’s most emblematic malls — thanks to the nature of its tenants and the history of its founding and development.

Originally part of the Hillfarms neighborhood development that enabled Madison to continue its 1960s-era westward expansion, Hilldale sits on land that was once part of the UW School of Agriculture. A 1961 legal tussle between shopping center developers and the UW Board of Regents reached the U.S. Supreme Court, but the justices declined to hear the case. An agreement was reached and the shopping center finally opened on Oct. 25, 1962.

Fast forward 50-plus years to a new and vastly improved Hilldale, characterized by a bright new “street scene” shopping and dining experience to complement an adjoining enclosed mall. 

The space features cleverly designed parking structures and a row of private residence townhouses facing Midvale Boulevard, creating traffic and density issues significant enough to concern the mall’s residential neighbors.

Macy’s anchors Hilldale, occupying space formerly filled by Marshall Field’s and, originally, Gimbels. The upscale department store and its vast array of goods set the tone for the rest of the shopping community.

Sundance Cinemas 608, another anchor tenant that opened in 2007, was the first theater in Robert Redford’s Sundance Group to open in the United States. The six-screen cinema, named for the Madison area code, shows independent, foreign and first-run films with the feature of being able to reserve specific seats.

The smaller stores make Hilldale even more attractive.

Shopping for someone with a sweet tooth? Gigi’s Cupcakes offers creative and delicious baked goods. Specials through Nov. 29 include Apple Pie and Mama’s Butterscotch Bacon cupcakes.

Just down the “street,” DB Infusion Chocolates offers artisanal truffles. Our favorites include the Pomegranate-Malbec, made with pomegranate molasses, Malbec wine and rich dark chocolate. We also like Caribbean Fire, a mashup of Ecuadoran chocolate laced with chipotle peppers, nutmeg, allspice and jerk seasoning.

Upscale clothing is one of Hilldale’s hallmarks and there are few better places for men’s and women’s shoes and accessories than Cornblooms. Locally owned since the 1970s, the store offers one-stop shopping for footwear, handbags, jewelry, wallets, belts and novelty socks. Look for top brands, including Birkenstock, Frye, Dansko, Pikolinos, V Italia and Kanna.

Hilldale also is home to one of only two Anthropologie stores in Wisconsin. The company sells upscale clothing, shoes and home goods — and is a good place to start whether you’re looking for something boho-chic or suiting up for the next wedding.

If you really want to ramp things up, kate spade new york offers ultra chic clothing, shoes, handbags, housewares and gifts. One of only two kate spades in the state, the store’s motto is — “Buy what you love and you’ll never go wrong.” 

The shopping center features Madewell for great jeans — and everything that goes with them — and L’Occitane en Provence for skin and body care products.

On the far west side, commercial areas of Madison and Middleton blend seamlessly, offering a wealth of shopping options. High-end retail outlets tend to cluster at Greenway Station, an open-concept shopping mall at 1650 Deming Way in Middleton, where clothing, accessories and dining options dominate. But the shopping center is not without its economical stores, too.

Chico’s is a perennial favorite among women who want to look their best. The boutique’s artisan jackets and wrinkle-free Travellers collection have built a following.

A wide array of women’s clothing and accessories also can be found at J. Jill, Maurice’s and Soft Surroundings.

Nearby, Pendleton features enduring American style in its classic wool clothing and blankets. Featuring men’s and women’s fashions, the store offers goods woven in American mills for higher quality and that “made in America” cachet.

Athletes can get their game on at several Greenway stores. Total Hockey offers everything for the hockey and lacrosse players and fans in your life, including skate-sharpening and lacrosse stick-stringing services. 

Triathletes, runners and walkers will feel at home at Endurance House, which provides casual and serious athletes with shoes, gear and even a personalized movement profile that helps staff address a customer’s capabilities and needs.

Hunters and fly fishers can gear up at Orvis, home to the Distinctive Country Lifestyle line. Shoppers can find unique clothing and home furnishings while shopping for products for their dogs or even taking fly-fishing lessons.

Greenway Stations also offers Christopher & Banks and Marshalls for lower cost alternatives to chic designer togs and you can outfit your feet at DSW (aka Designer Shoe Warehouse) with the latest in discount fashion footwear.

Once you tire of shopping, you can top at Claddagh Irish Pub, Cold Stone Creamery or any other of Greenway Station’s many restaurants for a pick-me-up and chances to review your purchases.

Remember, if you buy what you love — even if it’s a pint of Guinness stout or two scoops of your favorite frozen confection mixed before your eyes on a frozen granite slab — you’ll never go wrong.

Classic toys ‘baby boom’ing

Nana’s list includes an Easy-Bake Oven for Pip.

Papa wants to give Gavin a Slinky.

And Aunt Connie is looking for Colorforms for all the nieces and nephews. 

Many baby boomers visiting toy stores this holiday season will be buying familiar toys for girls and boys. Some toys, like the Duncan YoYo, never fell out of favor as stocking stuffers. Other toys get updated year after year to remain relevant, like the Easy-Bake Oven — which now has both a dedicated heating element that retired the un-green incandescent bulb and gender-neutral packaging.

Hasbro holds the rights to many of the toys loved by boomer kids, their kids and now by their grandkids: Scrabble, Twister, Monopoly, Playskool and Play-Doh sets.

“One of the first Christmas presents I remember is a Play-Doh Fun Factory,” said baby boomer Paul Armstrong of Milwaukee. “I would have been maybe 4 years old. Like 1962. It was marketed by Play-Doh Pete. I loved it. Hours of fun.”

This year, Armstrong plans to buy a Play-Doh set for his 5-year-old grandson. “Of course he wants the Star Wars Play-Doh. It does look pretty cool.” The Play-Doh line features more than one Star Wars-themed set. The Millennium Falcon Playset features Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Princess Leia, Chewbacca and Darth Vader can-heads and fighter-jet molds.

WiG caught up with other early shoppers of the baby boomer age outside the exits of several toy stores and found them with purchases they didn’t know much about: Descendants dolls and Little Live Pets Clever Keet, Click-A-Bricks and Nintendo 3DS games.

“I’m still looking for a Doc McStuffins Take Care of Me Lambie — whatever that is,” Rachel Goodman, grandmother of three children, said as she left a store, unknowingly in search of a plush doll that sings a song when her tummy is pressed.

But many boomers’ shopping bags contained the tried and tested — Erector Sets and Tinker Toys, Lincoln Logs and Tonka trucks, Hot Wheels cars and Barbie dolls

“I’ve bought so many toys for the kids and grandkids over the years. The fad stuff. The gadgets. The electronics. Most of it doesn’t last the winter, but some toys last forever,” said boomer Jen Miles, a member of the generation credited with giving rise to a U.S. toy industry. “This year, I’m going with the classics, what I know and what has value.”

Guide features ‘UW-Made’ products | And other community news

The faculty and staff at the University of Wisconsin-Madison receive a holiday gift guide the day after Thanksgiving — and it isn’t in a newspaper packed with circulars for big box stores.

The guide features made-at-UW products. School officials shared a few of the listings with WiG readers:

The UW-Zoological Museum is featuring Wisconsin’s 183 fish species, illustrated at full-life size, on the Fishes of Wisconsin poster. For more, go to charge.wisc.edu/zoology/items.aspx.

The 2016 Wisconsin Wildlife Phenology Calendar features bird habitats. Phenology is the study of periodic plant and animal life cycle events influenced by seasonal change, such as wildlife emerging from hibernation, birds migrating and flowers blooming. Dates are based on Aldo Leopold’s data with updates gathered by daughter Nina Leopold Bradley and other natural resource experts. For more, go to learningstore.uwex.edu.

The Babcock Hall Dairy Store offers a selection of award-winning cheeses made in Wisconsin. The store also sells Babcock coffee, coffee mugs, baseball caps and reusable shopping totes. For more, go to babcockhalldairystore.wisc.edu.

In other community news …

• CRAFTING CALL: The Racine Art Museum is collecting handcrafted ornaments for the Art of Adornaments display through the holidays. An entry deadline is Dec. 6 at 4 p.m., which coincides with a reception at the museum, 441 Main St., Racine. For more, go online to ramart.org.

• GSAFE GATHERING: GSAFE, the organization dedicated to safer schools in Wisconsin, is seeking volunteers to put together a mailing at 5:30 p.m. on Nov. 23. The group is offering “creative conversation and free pizza.” For more, email Amber Sowards at The Gay Straight Alliance for Safe Schools is at 301 S. Bedford St., Madison.

• SIDE BY SIDE: Shoulder to Shoulder Counseling Services hosts a free addiction recovery group for women on Nov. 24 at 11 a.m. The group meets at The Pathways of Light Wellness Center, W314 N720 Hwy 83 in Delafield. For more, go to www.shouldertoshouldercounseling.com.

• WISCONSIN NATIONS: Twelve American Indian nations call Wisconsin home. Each has its own customs, its own identity, its own story. A new website, wisconsinact31.org, is helping educators tell the stories to K-12 students. Wisconsin Act 31 is the term for the five state statutes requiring schools to teach American Indian Studies and maintain instructional materials that appropriately reflect diverse cultures. 

Gift Guide: Get better at sports with smart gear

Advances in technology present sports enthusiasts with plenty of options to train better and smarter.

High-level gear and biometric-analysis software are no longer limited to elite professional athletes. The weekender can now use some tech-savvy approaches to get better, perhaps, at a multitude of sports. Practice makes perfect, but technology can make practice better:

No. 1: Hexoskin shirt ($400)

I felt like Batman in his form-fitting bat suit. It’s a snug, black sleeveless shirt with a brain. Two bandage-width strips containing sewn-in sensors run across the chest and abdomen areas. They were held tight against my body by adjustable straps. A rechargeable pack about the size of a mint tin fits nicely near my waist. Once I started working out, the weirdness subsided and the hard work and perspiration took over.

The shirt communicated wirelessly with a phone app to give me real-time feedback about my breathing, heart rate, running cadence and calories burned.

What did I learn? Well, I need to run more to get in better shape, lower my heart rate and smooth out my breathing. All of these things are connected in exercise. Hexoskin did an excellent job illustrating that with smart on-screen graphics. Once I remembered to record my sessions, it stored all that data so I could measure improvements.

No. 2: Babolat Play Pure Drive tennis racket ($400)

This tennis racket logged every shot I hit, in or out, over multiple practice and competitive sessions. Sensors are integrated into the frame.

Through a companion phone app, the racket told me a lot, including things I’ll need to build on if I hope to get better. After nearly a half-hour against a ball machine, I hit 191 shots: 106 backhands, 67 forehands, 15 serves and three overheads that were probably out of bounds. But those numbers mean nothing without the underlying metrics the racket also measured.

Hitting a tennis ball with topspin allows you to swing harder, but keep the ball in the court. Even though I thought I hit nearly everything with a fair amount of topspin, the racket stats told me otherwise. Of those 106 backhands, only 18 registered as being hit with topspin. Thirty weighed in as slice backhands, and 58 were flat strikes.

The on-screen statistics were primarily displayed with numbers and percentages, though the “impact locator” gave a graphical representation of a racket and showed the location of my off-center hits. This was helpful and gave me valuable information for future hitting sessions.

The data from the Babolat Play Pure Drive could be useful for mid-level to advanced players. The best part is that Babolat put the smarts into one of the best-selling rackets available, and not some odd outlier model that nobody uses.

No. 3: 94Fifty basketball ($250)

This smart basketball is primarily designed to help you develop better mechanics and fundamental hoops skills. It won’t tell you, though, whether you made the shot. Arc and rotation are the primary metrics the ball calculates.

After stretching and dribbling around, I began a pretty lengthy shoot-around session at a local court. When I launched the companion app, I took the option of setting my desired shooting range at 15 feet. That’s how far away the free-throw line is, and anything beyond that was going to nibble away at my confidence and cause me to miss more.

During one session, I took 26 shots from that range. The ball and app told me that the arc was too low on 14 of those shots and too high on another four. I made a few adjustments to my style and got more shots in during the next session later that day.

But it’s hard to tell whether the advice from the app helped me make more shots or whether I was just getting warmed up.

Still, the technological heft of the ball is for real, and it can measure dribble power, the number of consecutive dribbles and the amount of backspin on my shots.

Techgaze: Wireless audio gizmos under $500

If “unplugged” acoustic music was a hallmark of the ‘90s, surely “wireless” listening is the big trend of the ‘10s.

Sure, we’ve been essentially wireless since the radio came out a century ago. But today’s Internet-connected mobile devices often require cords to hook up to accessories like speakers and headphones. And these cords can result in a knotty nightmare in your bag.

Several wireless gadgets I tried out recently should keep music lovers a bit more tangle-free this holiday season.

Beats Studio Wireless ($380):

This plush set of over-ear headphones almost mirrors Beats’ popular Studio line, but comes with wireless ability for an $80 increase in price. Like the wired-only model, this puts you in a cocoon with its noise-canceling technology, which works even if you just want padded silence. The sound is crisp, and the bass is deep.

A button on the outside of the left ear cup operates like the button on standard iPhone earbuds: one click to pause, two to skip forward and so on. A disc-shaped button turns the volume up and down.

The headphones promise 12 hours of wireless listening and 20 hours if you connect the cord, which is included.

Nearly $400 for headphones is pricey, but whoever gets this as a holiday gift will be mightily pleased. It’s an outstanding way to bliss out during a noisy commute. It works as a headset for phone calls, too.

Monster iSport Freedom ($250):

Meant for a workout, these on-ear headphones are made of sweat-resistant plastic and rubbery material and will give you a tight-fitting hug.

Although the headphones didn’t jostle while jogging, there’s something about completely covering your ears that creates a kind of bone-conducing sound. Every foot strike resulted in a thud inside my head, something that doesn’t happen with $29 iPhone EarPods. In addition, on-ear headphones squish your ears against your frames if you are wearing glasses.

Separate buttons for volume up, down and skipping forward and back were difficult to use, partly because I often hit a much larger button for pause and play instead.

That said, the sound is excellent, and I appreciate not having to worry about yanking my headphones off accidentally by snagging the cord.

With 10 hours of playback time per charge, these should outlast all but the most enduring athletes.

Sonos Play:1 ($200 each):

The little brother to the company’s Play:3 and Play:5 speakers packs a big, immersive sound in a package the size of a pickle jar.

Unlike Bluetooth speakers, Sonos speakers run over Wi-Fi and need to be plugged into a power outlet. Through the end of the year, the company is throwing in, for no extra charge, a $50 Bridge adapter to attach to your router, so you can free yourself from having to plug an Ethernet cable into at least one speaker.

You can play digital tunes that you own or use streaming services such as Pandora and Rdio. I found Sonos’ Wi-Fi connection to be far more consistent than using other speakers with Bluetooth, which can cause skips now and then.

The speakers are designed to disperse sound in a wide radius and fill a room. When two little Play:1s are paired for stereo sound, they deliver big time.

Beats Pill 2.0 ($200):

This Tylenol-shaped beat box puts out a decent sound, but to me, it’s remarkably tinny for the Beats brand.

This year’s model, however, adds some cool features. A near-field communications chip lets you pair two Pills together for stereo sound. If you are on the road, you can lift a tab to reveal a full USB port, which you can use to charge your mobile phone if you don’t mind giving up some of its seven-hour playback time. On a full charge, it can replace two-thirds of an iPhone 5S battery.

But the Pill is indeed round and will roll. One rolled off a shelf on me and dropped three feet onto the floor. It didn’t miss a beat or get dented, but I wouldn’t recommend trying it at home.

Marley Get Together ($200):

This is what you want when you go on a picnic with your hippie friends. It’s even made of hemp.

No kidding: The cloth enclosure is made of recycled hemp, organic cotton and recycled plastic. Its natural bamboo front gives this an Earth-loving, yet luxurious polish. Two big woofers and two tweeters on the front will reassure you that you’re not compromising on sound.

Playing Bob Marley over Bluetooth on this modern-day boom box just seems right. It has eight hours of battery life. And I’m sure if the Rasta master were alive today, even he would appreciate the USB port on the back that can be used for charging mobile devices.

Soundcast Melody ($450):

This Bluetooth speaker flips the idea of surround sound on its head. A speaker grill encircles a body that is shaped like a rice cooker. You can surround it from any direction and still feel the sound coming your way.

This chunky, 9-pound speaker is for people who want mobility from a speaker system, but for whom weight is no issue. With a full charge, it’ll play up to 20 hours at low volume or two hours if you’re blasting it.

At this price, it’s pushing the upper end of wireless speakers. But it’s an attractive travel companion with its four speaker sets pointing in all directions, quality sound, lengthy battery life and car-lighter charger attachment.

HMDX Jam Plus ($60 each):

These stubby speakers the size of a tumbler glass are perfect companions to a laptop or tablet.

Pairing two of them for stereo sound was a snap thanks to a switch on the bottom that designates which one is right and left. The speakers have comically short USB cables for charging, no longer than a foot. Provided you have USB ports on both sides of a laptop, insert one on either side for stereo sound.

Mind you, the USB port doesn’t act as an audio connection if your device isn’t Bluetooth-ready. Unplugged, they should give you six hours of listening.

The fact that the speakers point straight up isn’t a deal breaker somehow, as the sound is dispersed well.

For the price, a pair of these would make a nice stocking stuffer for any gadget lover.

On the Web …

Beats Studio Wireless: http://bit.ly/17wrpQY

Monster iSport Freedom: http://bit.ly/1881vBx

Sonos Play:1: http://bit.ly/1a8OqIr

Beats Pill 2.0: http://bit.ly/HT69JJ

Marley Get Together: http://bit.ly/18wIepV

Soundcast Melody: http://bit.ly/17yQ6Mx

HMDX Jam Plus: http://bit.ly/1eR3b6s 

A gift guide for animal companions

The Associated Press asked a couple of pet lifestyle experts to describe ways people might celebrate the holiday season with their pets. Some of the answers: Buy your parrot a piñata full of dried fruit. Put a tiny video camera around your cat’s neck and let it record some Christmas memories. Or build a holiday dinner around your dog’s gluten-free needs.

Some pet stores and shelters host photo fundraisers where you can purchase a picture of your pet in Santa’s lap. And photographers who specialize in pets can bring backdrops and lights to your home to take professional shots of your pet and family for keepsakes and cards, said Carol Bryant of Fido Friendly Magazine.

Be sure you get a top-notch pet photographer your family can feel comfortable with, such as WiG advertiser Peggy Morsch.

There also are artists who specialize in pet portraits in oil, such as Joe Simon (www.jsimonart.com).

Private chefs can teach you to create menus for human families based on a dog’s diet needs, said Jessica Vogelsang, a San Diego veterinarian and creator of pawcurious.com. Vogelsang ate ground chicken with cheese and stuffed squash at a recent demonstration by chef Tasha Ardalan from foxytreats.com. Or you can include goodies pets can eat – like peanut butter treats – in your holiday baking.

Check out the homemade pet treats and natural/organic foods at Hounds Around Town, 330 E. Silver Spring Drive, Whitefish Bay. Hounds, along with Feed Bag, 10900 N. Port Washington Road in Mequon, and The Natural Pet, 2532 E. Oklahoma Ave., are locally owned stores that offer healthy treats and unique gifts for pets.

If Fido overindulges during the holidays like his human companions, get him to classes at Zoom Room, Milwaukee’s premiere indoor dog agility center, located on Brady Street. It’s not only a great way to bond with your dog, but you can work on your winter spare tire together.

If you have to travel without your pet for the holidays, Central Bark USA has two convenient locations – in downtown Milwaukee and on the city’s North Side. Go to centralbark.usa.com for details.

On the other hand, if you’re planning on entertaining visitors for the holidays, you might want to stock up on breath freshener for pets, said Sandy Robins, an Irvine-based lifestyle consultant for Petco Animal Supplies Inc. “If you can kiss your two-legged family members under the mistletoe, you can kiss your four-legged family members,” she said.

But don’t let pets nibble on the mistletoe – it’s poisonous to small animals.

Another thing to be aware is that pets might be allergic to ingredients in air fresheners, oils and candles, Robins said. Fortunately, there are pet-friendly versions of some scented products. People who use them might even find themselves wheezing less, Robins said, because “what’s good for pets is good for people.”

There is no must-have pet gift this year, but one of the most popular gifts last year was the Snuggie for pets, Robins said. This year, she expects pajamas will be big sellers. 

Another trend: gifts for the senior set – pets over age 7 – including infrared massagers and chew toys for those short on teeth, Robins said. The Feedbag has a fabulous dog fitness pool to aid in weight reduction or increase strength and mobility in the arthritic or older dog.

You can also unleash your pet’s inner Fellini with a video cam that fits on a collar and lets your cat or dog take home movies by the Christmas tree, though Robins acknowledged it might take some serious editing to get to the good stuff.

Petfinder.com is holding its third annual “Foster a Lonely Pet for the Holidays” campaign, hoping to give pets from 1,500 shelters a home stay between Christmas Eve and New Year’s. Meanwhile, the goal of the Iams Home 4 the Holidays drive this year is 1.5 million pet adoptions worldwide.

Finally, there is an endless variety of pet-themed clothing, housewares and accessories for the humans in a dog’s life. Bay View’s Companion Art Gallery, 2680 S. Kinnickinnic Ave., offers all sorts of treasures for dog and cat aficionados made by local artists.

For bakers, cake, cookie and candy pans come in the shape of bones, dog houses and fire hydrants. Tiffany & Co. sells a sterling silver dog bone charm for a bracelet.

“The apparel and accessory industry is recognizing that not all pet owners want embroidered cardigans or socks,” Vogelsang said.