Human beings during the holidays become snarling retail prairie wolves. Cybershop early and you can snag some of the most unique, personal, and extraordinary gifts while sparing yourself the indignity of a dust up in aisle five. Mike Newman, Managing Editor of CoolMaterial.com, has some awesome picks (watch the video above) for those of you with the hysteria-resistant foresight to shop in advance
aFrame Acoustic Artwork
What It Is: A Bluetooth speaker masquerading as wall art. Available in 18″ x 22″ and 34″ x 42″ dimensions, it can be overlaid by supplied artwork from their library or custom art of your choosing, for an upcharge. Whichever you decide, TruAudio will back it up with two 6.5-inch glass fiber woofers and two titanium tweeters that will make The Scream scream.
Who Wants It: Minimalist music lovers
How Much: $650 and up
Skullcandy Aviator Edit
What It Is: A customizable pair of Aviator headphones to match your insurrectionist style. Customize the headband, frame, earcup, and cord colors, and show the whole world that you will not be a slave to convention while you bop to Maroon 5.
Who Wants It: People sick of their crappy iPod earbuds
How Much: Around $200
Carlburg Pottery’s Handmade Growlers
What It Is: The work of a soldier-turned-K-through-12-art-teacher (no, not you, Treat Williams, sit down), who sculpts ceramic beer growlers to your specs. To order one, fill out the web form -- specifying text and fonts, color scheme, and graphics -- or have him riff on one of his finished pieces, which include Super Mario's Missile Bill and dimensionalized demon faces.
Who Wants It: Volume beer drinkers with flair
How Much: $65
Buck Knives Custom Knife
What It Is: Carte blanche to craft the knife of your dreams. Your choices start with two series of knives and only fold out exponentially from there to include blade length and finish, handle substrate, and any engraving that can be used to identify the perpetrator. Backed by the venerable knifier's 4-Ever warranty, the custom Buck is a razor-sharp, deadly carving implement that says “you”.
Who Wants It: Fishers; woodsy types; individualist psychos
How Much: Anywhere from $80 to over $200
Jacob Bromwell Custom Creations
What It Is: Damn near anything you want it to be. For imaginative types seeking literally one-of-a-kind gifts, the old-timey artisans at Bromwell will craft the money clip, iPhone case, cod piece or other item of your preference out of raw sheets of tin, stainless steel, or copper. They’re like the Antebellum A-Team.
Who Wants It: People with crazy imaginations; crazy people with modest imaginations
How Much: Starts at $200
Juniper Books’ Personalized Cookbook Set
What It Is: The most literal cook’s books you’ll ever find. Juniper offers a set of five titles -- The Essential New York Times Cookbook, James Beard’s American Cookery, Joy of Cooking, Gourmet Today, and Cook’s Illustrated Cookbook -- and lets you pick a uniform jacket color plus a name to be printed across the spines. You can even choose different books if you think James Beard was a philistine, though it may cost extra.
Who Wants It: Mom; Possessive chefs
How Much: $295
Custom Coin Rings
What It Is: Rings made from a variety of Mint-issued state quarters, buffalo nickels, and other pocket fodder. They’re handcrafted in sizes eight to 14, preserving accents from their original minting, like the ridges, text, and graphics, both on the inner and outer rings. If you're more of a bicentennial quarter man -- totally understandable -- send it in and they'll make a ring out of that, too.
Who Wants It: Lovers of Americana; treasury secretaries
How Much: $25
What It Is: A bona fide action hero version of yourself or someone you know. Hero Builders creates these 12-inch effigies based on photos you send them, and will clothe and accessorize your mini-you however you like. If that weren’t enough, you can also shell out for a 20-second programmable voice chip to make the resemblance all the eerier.
Who Wants It: Every man alive; megalomaniacal children
How Much: $399 with voice chip; $375 without
Personalized Tabasco Gallon Jugs
What It Is: Glass gallons of hole-roasting hot sauce. For the loved one who averages a typical 5 oz. bottle of Tabasco every three weeks, a whole jug of it with their name on it ought to last till next holiday season. Available in all seven flavors, this much Tabasco in the regular-sized bottles would cost around $130.
Who Wants It: People who never back down from a jalapeno dare
How Much: $45
Eleven Forty Co. Custom Made Cufflinks
What It Is: Fancy accessories with your three-dimensional profile on them. Email Eleven Forty some headshots and they’ll create a digital sculpt of your head, then cast it in gold, white gold, or platinum cufflinks. For those with horribly misshapen skulls, you can always choose a likeness from their catalog, including Snoop Dogg and Jack Bauer.
Who Wants It: Hedge fund managers (these things are quite expensive)
How Much: $400+
We get it. You like buying things in person and banking with live tellers and going to people’s houses instead of using the phone. For you, here are some stores worth hitting up the moment you’re done watching this video
What It Is: Starbucks without the flannels. Pop in a pod, press the button corresponding to your drink of preference -- latte, espresso, even coffee! -- and wait a minute. It’s also got an internal rinse system for cleaning and holds up to spent 10 pods all with half the ennui of a live barista.
Who Wants It: Coffee drinkers who went to Starbucks back when they left the house
How Much: Around $200 at Macy's
What It Is: A Leatherman for Redcoats. This stainless steel tool kit born of 19th-century British innovation comes with eight tools: Phillips head and slotted screwdrivers, a hammer, a saw, a punch/awl, a gimlet, a corkscrew, and a bottle opener. Perfect for tightening up around a Tudor mansion.
Who Wants It: Handy folk with limited space, pocket carpenters
How Much: $45 at Restoration Hardware
Cheese Making Kit
What It Is: DIY ricotta, mozzarella, chévre, or queso fresco sets that let you create fresh cheese right in your kitchen. All you have to do is pick up the appropriate milk, follow the instructions, and you’re less than an hour away from stinky, curdled goodness. Each kit makes 10 batches, so make sure you purchase an proportionate amount of wine to go with it.
Who Wants It: The lactose tolerant
How Much: Ranges between $25-$30 at William Sonoma