It’s that time of year, and Women’s Voices for Change is stepping up with its first annual Holiday Gift Guide.

Starting below the jump, view items for your wish list as well as stores that benefit women and organizations that deserve your support.

Update Dec. 20: We compiled this list over the course of several weeks, inviting reader comments and contributions. Our daily updates are done, but feel free to add more suggestions in the comments section. Happy Holidays!

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Before we get started … Is your mailbox bulging with catalogues and duplicates of catalogues? Save some trees by opting out of receiving those you’re not interested in or never requested. Visit CatalogChoice.org, a very handy resource — Faith Childs


Note to Self: Add to Wish List

Jockey No Panty Line: No lines, no fuss and only $8.50. Sometimes they have cute patterns — Elizabeth Hemmerdinger

Elle McPherson bra and lacy panties and La Perla for the most extravagant present ever … I do love lingerie — Pat Allen

Jersey knit pajamas from GAIAM Harmony. Bonus: They’re on sale right this minute — Elizabeth H. (read my other thoughts on comfort in the comments section below).

Falke socks in cotton or silk or blends of other natural fabrics. Labeled “L” and “R,” the socks fit well because they are designed for left and right feet. The best! — Faith C.

Amore Pacific skin care is a guilty pleasure (that’s good for you as well). It’s based on green tea, bamboo extract and other natural ingredients. A superb line of products with striking results — Faith C.

– Massage lessons for the husband. Time to get this right! — Pat A.

– 730 smiles from someone who ordinarily doesn’t — Elizabeth H.

– Samba lessons, and a reason to dance — Elizabeth H.

– Fishnet stockings for the days that I am naughty and nice — Pat A.


Shopping with Benefits: Supporting Women Artists & Entrepreneurs

Greene & Greene Gallery: This shop gets the highest recommendation for their support of women artists and most especially for the toys and dolls designed by Kenyan women who forage for wool and fashion the most whimsical, even spiritual, beings. Online is great, but better yet, if you’re near Lambertville, N.J., stop in. You’ll be enriched — Laura Sillerman


Places for the Heart: Where to Give


Heifer International, because I like to give a gift that keeps on giving. Enabling a community to care for itself as opposed to dropping rice from the sky makes the end of poverty seem within reach — Alexis P.

Girls, Inc.: This organization encourages girls to be all the things we are: strong, smart, bold — Faith C.

The Children’s Health Fund: In 1987, singer, lyricist, poet and activist Paul Simon joined with physician and saint Dr. Irwin Redlener to form The Children’s Health Fund. The idea was a simple one: take the medical care to the neighborhoods where the poor are suffering. They began with one van and  programs are now in place throughout the U.S.

Currently they are trying to stem the tide of devastating illness and long-range health crisis in the Gulf states. Give your donation some wheels toward helping the poorest to be healthier. Give to this worthy organization — Laura S.

– Adopt a bear (or any of the 79 other animals). A $50 or $100 donation to the World Wildlife Fund gets you a “virtual” family member. And no need for pooper-scoopers on a snowy night — Elizabeth H.

Let’s Say Thanks: A project of Xerox with in-kind support from other companies and organizations, Let’s Say Thanks provides an easy way to send free postcards to those who are serving in Iraq — Laura S.


Gift Suggestions: Practical and Whimsical

– Light my fire: Here’s a world-class feminine spin on the candle, a universal phallic symbol, by artist Michele Oka Doner.

The Rados Candle comes in 13-inch and 15-inch models and is available at Moss in New York City and the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum. The New York Times featured the candle in a Style slideshow earlier this month — Elizabeth H.


If you’re looking for a truly one of a kind gift made by a woman, check out Sarah Avery’s line of handmade purses.

She’s a one-woman operation and her purses grace the arm of all the upcoming starlets and many a TV writer out here in LA. They are small artistic statements you can carry around with you — Susan Johnston

An iPod — with books on tape. You can download them from iTunes, but I prefer to buy the CD set and then share it with my friends (it’s perfectly legal).

I’m listening to Amy Bloom’s “Away,” read by Barbara Rosenblat, who makes every character and accent unforgettably distinct and the story race along like a runaway train. Listening to her in the dentist’s chair today, I was sorry when the appointment ended — Elizabeth H.

Gift basket from Eli Zabar featuring caviar for Christmas morning along with wonderful Brioche toast — Pat A.

New Yorker Cartoon Caption Contest Game, where you can write your own captions — Laura S.

– For stocking stuffers, one my favorite drug-store finds is Maybelline Unstoppable Mascara. And Totes Ladies Slender is the tiniest umbrella that really works. It’s less than twice as long as the mascara, and I don’t think it weighs much more — Elizabeth H.


Cheaters are cute reading glasses, and they’re under $20 at Stein Mart. I put them in every room, in every purse and am partial to the ones trimmed with rhinestones, the more the merrier — Elizabeth H.

– Bath products by June Jacobs are good for long soaks after a hard week’s work. I also recommend her candles and lotions — Pat A.

Digital Picture Keychain: I’m giving these to staff and others who I know are computer-friendly — Laura S.

– Tickets to the opera are a real treat for both opera-lovers and those who have yet to experience the wonder — Pat A.

Nabaztag/tag WiFi Bunny: Weather and time announcements? Check. But the very best thing it does is deliver personal messages. So when my teenager is barricaded in her room, I can talk with her in a voice that sounds less impatient than my own. Or when my very busy friend is doing work late at night, I can leave her messages and schedule them to be delivered in the wee hours — Laura S.


Recommended Reading: For Gifts or Holiday Survival

Serious Stuff

The Man Who Loved Children” by Christina Stead — Elizabeth H.

Away” by Amy Boom — Pat A. (read my review)

Head Candy
“Outlander” series by Diana GabaldonElizabeth H.

Last Laughs” is a great book of cartoons, collected and commissioned by New Yorker cartoonist Mort Gerberg, about aging, retirement, and the great beyond. Hilarious and a great gift for the 50-and-older on your list — Linda Gottlieb

Eye Candy
Valentino” edited by Arnando Chitolina: A beautiful book filled with the life and dresses of designer Valentino. What fun to peruse past and present modes. Instant glamor. Perfect medicine to brighten the darkest mood — Faith C.

California Romantica: Spanish Colonial and Mission Style Houses” by Diane Keaton: An instant escape into lovingly restored California homes by one of our favorite friends — Faith C.

Miami Beach: Blueprint of an Eden,” by Michele Oka Doner and Mitchell Wolfson, Jr. A simply gorgeous and evocative book about Miami Beach and it’s first heyday in the 50s. Michele is a wonderful artist and author; here she tells the story of growing up glamorous, daughter of the most popular and powerful mayor, in a town that grew up sexy, futuristic and very close to nature.

Added bonus: this book party on Dec. 13 at the famous Strand bookshop. — Elizabeth H.

Poolside with Slim Aarons” by Slim Aarons with an introduction by William Norwich: Famed for his access to the world of the elite, the star of this book is the swimming pool as seen by Aarons over several decades. Famous faces and venues abound, but what’s captured here is something more ephemeral — Faith C.

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Don’t Forget: Post your gift ideas in the comments below.

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  • Eveline Erni December 19, 2007 at 3:16 pm

    The holidays are about making others feel good. As a physical therapist, a lot of what I do is to help people feel better. Sometimes it is very complicated, involving a lot of time and effort. Other times, it can be done very simply and easily.
    I have chosen a few products, well known in my field but perhaps less well-known to the general public, that are simple and effective (full disclosure: I have no financial interest in any of these — I just like them!). Enjoy!
    The first on my list is “Traumeel Cream” (found in most health food stores, pharmacies, and, of course, online: http://www.heelusa.com). If you have mild to moderate inflammatory pain, this product is a good way to get some local relief. As with any medication, read the warning labels first and, if necessary, check with your doctor.
    The second product is an “Elasto-Gel” wraps for various body parts. It works as a hot or cold application for pain caused by injury, tension or muscle fatigue. With 1 1/2 to 2 minutes in the microwave, it produces a moist heat pack which conforms to the contours of the body to give a penetrating deep heat application. You can also store the product in the freezer to use it as a cold pack. This product is from Southwest Technologies. Search “Elasto-Gel” or visit http://www.elastogel.com for a list of distributors. Shop around, prices vary by vendor.
    Third on my list, for all those good children out there, is “Wonder Warmers,” a reusable heat pad which is activated by gently flexing a disc in the pad. The pad then generates up to 130 degrees of heat for 30 minutes to over 2 hours depending on the size, construction and insulation of the pad. http://www.wonderwarmers.com.
    Last on my list is any of the “Nature’s Way” products for targeted heat or cold. What makes these products unique is they combine moist heat with an aromatherapy scent. I think it is a great way to work on tension release or to treat yourself to a mini-spa. For more information, visit http://www.hotheadz.net.
    Have a great Holiday season and the best for 2008!

    Reply
  • Carolyn Hahn December 16, 2007 at 9:30 am

    Nice lists! Mine will probably be too late for this holiday but I’ve become addicted to the custom possibilities of Etsy (etsy.com–see article in Times Magazine about buying handmade, featuring the site, on which I trying in a very desultory way to market my brother’s work, but that’s another story).
    My cousin’s daughter loves scrabble, so I put in the search terms “scrabble” and “silver” and found a seller named “kritty” to make her a silver scrabble tile necklace with her initial ($50). For $34, I had “arete” make her a little soldered portrait necklace of her grandmother Esther for her upcoming Bat Mitzvah.
    I just saw some large (like 3 inch across) magnets with vintage 30’s recipes for $10 for a set of 4 from “historicallyinspired” and emailed to see if she could make me some sets featuring my late grandmother’s recipes, like her oven browned potatoes, applesauce cake, and her iconic brownies (22 crushed graham crackers with a can of condensed milk dumped over ’em–awful, but we loved them at the time).
    There’s plenty of junk, but the search engine will make anyone feel creative–“hammered sterling silver bud [or pod]” has yielded people who do nature inspired silver jewelry, and my experience has been everything is thoughtfully wrapped and carefully sent.
    And for doing good: The YWCA Networking Project for young women with disabilities has been an incredible resource for 13-21 year olds here in NY (despite the name, boys are welcome!): travel independence, self advocacy, and just fun.

    Reply
  • Barbara Tober December 15, 2007 at 10:05 pm

    Here are some shopping ideas that are tried and true…
    • Museum of Arts & Design Gift Shop 40 West 53rd Street http://www.madmuseum.org
    • Bloomingdale’s – Christmas fragrance gift sets
    • OmniPresents – http://www.omnipresentsgifts.com amazing array of something for everyone
    • John Landrum Bryant – 145 East 57th Street 212-935-0999 jewelry & exquisite gifts
    • Vivre – http://www.vivre.com – hi-end fabulous shopping
    • Nieman Marcus catalogue
    • Chequers in Aspen – http://www.chequersofaspen.com
    • Luxury Accessories Int’l – 35 East 65th Street 212-794-3874 http://www.luxuryaccessories.com
    • Go Lightly Cashmere – Santa Fe beautiful, soft watch caps, gloves, baby items 505-776-8287
    http://www.golightlycashmere.com
    • Craft Shows – wherever they are
    • Books by friends that are autographed

    Reply
  • Phyllis August December 13, 2007 at 11:43 am

    Gifts for women are so easy; Anything from Wolford works for me – thigh highs, panty hose (including fishnets of course), cami’s, various layering pieces; you can’t go wrong with all of their basics.
    I know it sounds boring, but can you have too many pairs of gloves? Not really – cashmere for everyday, leather with cashmere lining, suede, short, long, I think you get the idea.
    I would love personal training sessions, one-on-one yoga sessions at home, or pilates.
    A fun coat that you don’t really need, and which is now at least 40% off, at your favorite store on Madison Avenue (try Celine).
    When all else fails, there is always jewelry. Or Chanel bags.

    Reply
  • Margret Avery December 12, 2007 at 2:58 pm

    I am a make-up artist here in NYC for photo shoots, celebrities, magazine editors and private clients and I wanted to add some of my suggestions for gift giving this season:
    SKYN – Icelandic solutions for Stressed skin – an amazing skin care line that can be bought at Sephora or http://www.skynIceland.com. They have a 5-day detox set that I highly recommend.
    SUKICOLOR – the best mineral CREAM make-up line – you can find it at Whole Foods or order from http://www.sukicolor.com
    MAC COSMETICS: Mac also has liquid mineral make-up as well as powders in great shades and GREAT cosmetic bags to put it all in!
    CONCEALERS: Some of the best are SMASHBOX, NARS and Sephora’s own brand and all can be found at Sephora.com – these are great stocking stuffers.
    LIPGLOSS: NARS and Sephora and MAC all make great glosses in smashing colors. These are also great stocking stuffers.
    Women never get tired of beauty ideas, gifts and tips, so it’s a no brainer for anyone who has someone on their list that they just don’t know what to get them! Happy Holidays to All!

    Reply
  • Bunny Grossinger December 11, 2007 at 3:08 pm

    How wonderful to see references to Doris Lessing. Not as well known as People or OK Magazine. Hopefully they will disappear and Lessing’s voice will remain. I am copping out this Christmas and sending checks. Hope to do better next year with everything – including with comments on Women’s Voices for Change.

    Reply
  • Elizabeth Hemmerdinger December 11, 2007 at 11:20 am

    OK, Pat, if I end up in the emergency room, I’ll be taken after the woman in the sheer negligee, but I’m still going to get a good night’s sleep. See my recommendation for organic jersey knit PJ’s. Elizabeth

    Reply
  • Gina December 10, 2007 at 8:39 am

    A book of engaging literary criticism that just came out that would be of particular interest to WVFC audience:
    *Adventures of the Spirit: The Older Woman in the Works of Doris Lessing, Margaret Atwood, and Other Contemporary Women Writers* –http://www.inotherwords.org/NASApp/store/Product?s=showproduct&isbn=9780814210642
    Speaking of Doris Lessing, in honor of her great work, it might be nice to revisit the Golden Notebook this Christmas as well …

    Reply
  • Adrian Miller December 9, 2007 at 5:37 pm

    Feel good by doing good: http://www.justgive.org/html/charitygifts/supportwomen.html. On a selfish and much more hedonistic note, how about tickets to The Homecoming (YOUR family can never be as dysfunctional as their family!) and a wonderful dinner at Le Bernadin (NYC) for some awesome food and even better grace and service.

    Reply
  • Alexa Kelly December 9, 2007 at 1:14 pm

    I love this site! Thoroughly enjoyed the gift guide and have made a list of the reading suggestions — just need to put “make more free time” on that wish list! Seasons greetings –

    Reply
  • Elizabeth Hemmerdinger December 3, 2007 at 5:57 pm

    I would hate to see tire treads on fancy pants. Mine rinse out in seconds, dry in hours, and my mother always said, always wear clean underwear — in case you get run over by a bus. What power these legends still have over us! Elizabeth

    Reply
  • Dr. Pat Allen December 3, 2007 at 3:33 pm

    Dear E.
    When I am run over by a bus, I want to be taken to the ER with some really hot undies. I am much more likely to get better care than if I am wearing jockey undies.
    Hugs,
    Pat

    Reply