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JP Holiday Gift Guide Part 3: Families & Pets

Some suggestions that stretch the boundaries of giving presents. Why not get something multiple people will enjoy?

One great way to save time (and often money) during gift-giving season is by getting one item that multiple people will enjoy rather than trying to find something for each family member. Here are some ideas for presents that should please everyone. A couple are for the home, while some are great for adults and kids together.

A bicycle built for four: Actually, any number of people, from one to four, can catch a ride on a Yuba, which can be purchased as a barebones and very sturdy single bike, or be customized with all kinds of extra seats, and can handle a 600-pound capacity. Want a ride with a significant other? Slap a comfy pad onto the rear loading platform (which can also carry anything from suitcases to tools to groceries). Are the kids coming along for a ride? There’s plenty of room for a couple of child seats that hold up to 48 pounds each). Want to make it really snazzy? Among other extras are lights, a cup holder, and an air horn. (Prices start at $1,100 and with lots of extras go up to about $2,600.)

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Light up the night: You can’t have enough candles around the house. But those long, skinny tapered jobs are, well, boring. Rather than just straightforward dipped ones, these are little works of art that are just right for nature lovers or those looking to put a little Zen in their lives. There’s a set of five multi-sized owls ($34) or large Buddha heads ($34) or smaller Buddha head and shoulders candles ($22). This is one of the few gifts that you’re supposed to burn.

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Brighten up a kitchen with sight and sound: Every stove needs a cool and groovy kettle on top of it. These two-quart whistlers come in mirrored silver as well as in a riot of vibrant colors to help make the prepping of tea an enjoyable and, yes, artistic experience. The Le Creuset models ($75) are made of carbon steel with a porcelain enamel finish, while the Oxo kettles ($59) are designed with a stainless steel finish. For the record, the Brits like to have tea between 2 and 5 p.m. Just add buttered scones.

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Revive an old pastime: Way before there were movies or TV or radio, families spent some quality entertainment time by reading aloud together. Of course the choice of material had to be relevant for young and old. A good way to give the gift of communal reading as well as an investment is with a first edition children’s book. Unfortunately many old volumes were given straight to the kids to read on their own, and eventually ended up tattered and beaten. But check out this close-to-pristine set of all nine Little Orphan Annie books ($3,950), written between 1926 and 1933. The nice part about them is that they’re the Harold Gray comic strips collected in book form. So, yes, they can be both read and seen.

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Pet care products and doggie treats: Dogs are people, too. They like snacks, they make messes, and they have hygiene issues. If you want to bypass the humans on your list, grab a Bakery Box of treats, with varieties ranging from Chef’s Selection and Lo-Cal Assortment to Meat Lovers and Peanut Butter Medley ($11.95 each). Keep your pooch’s teeth in shape with doggie toothbrushes and finger brushes ($1 each) and their breath fresh with some Pro Dental rinse ($8.95). If your best friend does have a mishap on the rug, there’s Nature’s Miracle to make it smell great again. ($14.50 and $32.95).

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Everlasting black & white and color: There’s no better way to say I love you or share some other catchy slogan or image than by showing it off with a tattoo (as long as you’re over 18). Give a gift certificate to an aficionado of ink (better yet to a couple), and they can get anything from a pretty little butterfly on the arm to a full-fledged mural on the back or maybe a logo from their favorite sports team. Simple tattoos can be done in one visit that lasts an hour or two. The more complex ones take multiple sittings. They can be self designed, or choices can be made from a portfolio book. (Minimum tattoo session is $80, average cost is from $100-$300, really complicated ones can go up beyond $1,000).

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