Finding the perfect gift is simple, as long as you have a handle on the personality types of the people on your gift list. To make this easy for you, we’ve compiled a glossary of some major “types,” given you clues about how to identify them and developed customized shopping lists that are guaranteed to make everyone merry this holiday season.
For the foodie
Clue: Addicted to the Food Network, often quotes Julia Child.
A top-level cooking class. In January, two of Milwaukee’s top chefs, Justin Carlisle and Thomas Hauk, will go head-to-head in a battle of the side dishes/cooking class that’s sure to be a hot ticket for the foodies in your life. If you want to sweeten the pot, pick up some professional cookware as well. Cooking classes at Boelter Super Store range from $30 to $50, and you no longer need to be a professional chef to shop at the store
A restaurant gift certificate. If there’s one thing gourmands love to do, it’s eat — and eat well. May we suggest Centro Café, a little gem on Center Street that offers rustic Italian classics made with seasonal local ingredients (centrocaferiverwest.com) or Divino, offering classic, old-world Italian (divinomke.com). For more suggestions, check out our Dish It Out section in every issue.
A special bottle of wine. If you’re not a wine connoisseur, stop by Pastiche Wines for some expert help. While you’re there, be sure to sample a glass or two at the wine bar, half price 4–6 p.m. Monday–Thursday (patichebistroandwinebar.com).
A cookbook. Let your foodie friend travel through Mexico and learn authentic recipes from each region in Mexico: The Cookbook, by Margarita Carrillo Arronte, a stunningly illustrated tome featuring more than 700 recipes, all bound in eye-catching hot pink. $50 at Boswell Books in Milwaukee (boswell.indiebound.com).
For the Weekend Warrior
Clue: Extreme downhill skateboarding is their idea of a fun way to spend a Saturday afternoon.
A pair of roller skates. In case you didn’t know, in-line skating went out with the ’80s, but old-school roller-skating has made a major comeback. Outfit your roller derby enthusiast with a pair of Ridell R3 Deluxe Roller Skates, $129, available at Bigfoot Bike and Skate (bigfootbikeandskate.com).
Bikes with a bonus. Pick up a used-but-refurbished bike for a song at Dream Bikes, a nonprofit bike store that not only finds new homes for old bikes, but helps the community by offering jobs and new skills (in bike repair) to young, never-before-employed workers. Bikes range from $150–$250 at Dream Bikes (dreams-bikes.org).
Chiropractic services. Let’s face it: Injuries come with the territory for most adventurers. The key to recovery? A good chiropractor. Pick up a gift certificate for your sports enthusiast at Riverwest Chiropractic Center (riverwestchiropractic.com).
For the beauty junkie
Clue: Counts hairstylists among their closest friends.
Hair salon gift certificate. It’s a well-known fact that the beauty-obsessed cheat on their hair stylists with shocking regularity. So think nothing of introducing your beauty-conscious friend to some new talent with a gift certificate for hair services at Beehive Salon (beehivesalonboutique.com).
A gift certificate for Botox/fillers. Some people might take a gift certificate for Botox as an insult — but certain friends will treasure it as if you just gave them the fountain of youth. And in a way, you did. At the aptly named A Younger You, Botox injections run $10/unit, fillers (Restylane, Juvederm) are $525 a syringe (or two for $799) and Artefill, which lasts a whopping five years, is $800 a syringe (ayoungeryou21.com).
A day at the spa. Pamper the pretty prince or princess in your life with a spa package that includes an hourlong massage, facial, blowout, manicure and pedicure, and a spa lunch. The “Ritual” package, $275, is available at Azana Salon and Spa (azanaspa.com).
For the brew & spirits connoisseur
Clue: Sports a beer belly; owns a fully-stocked bar cart
A distillery tour. At Great Lakes Distillery, Milwaukee’s premier small batch distillery, a tour and tasting with a complimentary cocktail is a mere $7, so be sure your gift includes a bottle of the distillery’s artisan brandy, citrus and honey vodka or pumpkin seasonal spirits (greatlakesdistillery.com).
Dinner at a brewery. Next Door Brewing Company in Madison offers hand-crafted small batch beer and a wide range of seasonal, collaborative and creative brews, not to mention locally sourced and freshly made soups, sandwiches, salads, entrées, and a popular Friday Fish Fry, the perfect thing to enjoy with a pint of beer. Cheers!
A case of craft beer. Pick up one of Milwaukee Brewing Company’s diverse, unique, and cleverly titled brews, from Outboard to Hop Happy, Polish Moon to Booyah. Named 2014 Brewery of the Year by Drink Me magazine, Milwaukee Brewing Company also offers “beer in hand” tours that your brew connoisseur will surely appreciate
For the doting parent
Clue: Never stops talking about cute child, dog or cat, except when watching cute child, dog or cat videos.
Books-to-bed pajamas. No matter how dedicated the parent, there is no time more welcome than bedtime — so what better gift than a pair of PJs and a bedtime book? Choose from Goodnight Moon, Madeline, Angelina Ballerina, Babar, or 12 Days of Christmas; PJs come in sizes 2-6X, $45 at the wonderfully named Little Monsters
Music lessons. For rock stars big and small, Shorewood’s School of Rock offers a multitude of lessons in guitar, keyboards, and — dare we say? — drums (shorewood.schoolofrock.com).
Pet toys. Kids aren’t the only ones who love toys — pets do too! Bark n’ Scratch Outpost carries a variety of wildly entertaining interactive toys for cats, dogs, even ferrets. $10–$50 (barknscratchoutpost.com).
Vet services. Keeping furry friends healthy is a priority, which is why a gift certificate to a favorite veterinarian is like catnip for pet owners. The Cat Doctor in Milwaukee, a clinic dedicated to keeping cats healthy and fit, goes so far as to make house calls when needed. And you’ll find an excellent selection of cat toys, selected by people who know what cats like
For the music maniac
Clue: Is cooler than you in every way; glares when you turn on Top 40 radio.
A vinyl album. Yes, you read that right. In this digital age, vinyl has become uber trendy, and not just as a collector’s item. Audiophiles say the sound is hard to beat. The Exclusive Company, America’s oldest full-line independent record store, offers a wide selection of vinyl, as well as new and pre-owned CDs, DVDs, Blu-Ray and video games
A guitar. Be prepared to spend some serious money — and have some serious fun at Cream City Music, one of the world’s finest guitar shops. Can’t quite afford the $1,599 price tag for a vintage 1974 Fender Fretless Precision Bass guitar? Pick up a gift certificate instead (creamcitymusic.com).
Concert tickets. Buy a pair, and perhaps you’ll snag an invite. The historic Pabst Theatre in Milwaukee hosts some of the biggest names in the music industry. For a complete listing, go to pabsttheatre.org.
For the arts enthusiast
Clue: Doesn’t need to read the subtitles at the opera; on a first name basis with the artistic director of every arts institution in Wisconsin.
‘Nutcracker’ tickets. The holiday season wouldn’t be complete without experiencing Milwaukee’s most magical holiday tradition, the Milwaukee Ballet’s The Nutcracker, performed live with the Milwaukee Ballet Orchestra and the Milwaukee Children’s Choir (milwaukeeballet.org).
‘Messiah’ tickets. Celebrate the season with the power of Handel’s masterpiece Messiah on Dec. 13 at the Stoughton Opera House (wcoconcerts.org).
‘A Christmas Carol’ tickets. Dickens’ classic story never gets old — in fact, it’s celebrating its 39th year at the Milwaukee Repertory Theatre, Dec. 2–24
Bel Canto Chorus tickets. Milwaukee’s celebrated chorus sings traditional holiday songs and leads a popular audience sing-along, Dec. 13-14 at St. Josaphat Basilica in Milwaukee (belcanto.org).
George Winston tickets. There’s just something about Grammy Award-winning pianist George Winston that exudes the warmth and spirit of the holidays. He performs Dec. 12 at South Milwaukee Performing Arts Center (southmilwaukeepac.org).
For the style setter
Clue: When they aren’t shopping, you’ll find them at the drycleaners.
Italian menswear. Truly chic people recognize that Italians should be admired for their style, not their pasta. Find the spirit — as well as the merchants and menswear from ultra-chic Lucca, Italy — in Madison at Lucca Fine Men’s Clothing.
Jewelry. Diamonds are a girl’s best friend — and gold is a close second. Find all of it, including colored gemstones, pearls, watches, and engraving (a must when you give a watch) at Kloiber Jewelers in Milwaukee (kloiberjewelers.com).
A cashmere sweater. One of the rare joys of winter, a cashmere sweater combines warmth with luxury, making it perhaps the perfect holiday gift. For him, go to Harley’s Menswear Store (harleys4men.com); for her, Refined Boutique (tosarefined.com).
For the design star
Clue: Secretly hoping to be named HGTV’s next Design Star.
An amazing candle. The brainchild of former lawyer Jon Bresler, the Lafco Candle House & Home Collection offers fragrances for every room in your home, not to mention specialized candles for your beach home and ski house. The latter, a rich, woody fragrance, is a best-seller at Home Market Milwaukee for $60
A design book. Chicago-based designer Alessandra Branca’s stunning New Classic Interiors offers intelligent design advice that marries function, comfort and beauty. $60 at Boswell Books in Milwaukee (boswell.indiebound.com).
A decorative accessory. Pick up a Peruvian hand-painted glass box, coaster or tray at the global, exotic Embelezar in the Historic Third Ward, $10-$400
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