Gift Guide No. 1

-- gifts over $50, published Dec. 4, 2002

Gift Guide No. 2 -- winter fashions, published Dec. 11, 2002

contents Stocking Stuffers
Books and Music
Graphic Novels
Home Furnishings
No Sweat Shopping

While it helps to have children to buy toys for, there's no need to be embarrassed to buy them for yourself--or to write "Santa" and ask him to get them for you. The only rule if you're an adult buying toys for a youngster is to get something you can have fun with, too. And if you're buying toys for someone at least old enough to vote, then the opportunities are endless.

Build Your Own Army
Remember using a hot knife to give your little green army men scars, or performing emergency amputations with a pair of scissors? If that was your idea of fun, then you'll love STICKFAS Action Figure Kits ($11.99, Things from Another World, 4133 NE Sandy Blvd., 284-4693, and other locations), three-inch, super-articulated action figures that you assemble yourself. Each Action Figure Kit (AFK) comes with a basic body with 14 points of ball-joint articulation, 44 interchangeable parts (including a variety of firearms) and stickers that allow you to customize your Action Figure to have unique faces and tattoos. Exactly what you do with these things once you've put them together is anyone's guess. (DW)

Les Miserbobbles
The holidays never seem complete without those classic Rankin-Bass animated specials. Now you can re-create the best of those holiday favorites--complete with Heat Miser and Cold Miser--with The Year Without a Santa Claus action figures ($19.99 per set, Suncoast Motion Picture Company, 1226 Lloyd Center, 288-8797, and other locations). The finely detailed action figures come in two different box sets, one with Heat Miser, the other with Cold Miser, so you'll have to buy both to have a complete collection. But if all you're interested in is the Miser Brothers, you can also get salt and pepper shakers ($12.99), bobble-head figurines ($9.99 each) and plush toys ($14.99 and up). (DW)

Ooey-Gooey Oven
For kids enamored with anything that will gross out their parents comes the Queasy Bake Cookerator ($24.99, Toys 'R Us, 935 Lloyd Center, 335-5955, and other locations). A twisted sister of the girly staple Easy Bake Oven, the Queasy Bake isn't for baking precious little cookies and cakes. The Cookerator comes with recipes for Dip 'N' Drool Dog Bones topped with foaming drool, and a Mud 'N' Crud cake with "magic surprise gravel" that turns colors. The food is completely edible--if you can stomach eating something out of a bug or worm mold. (RB)

Get Smart
Hide-and-seek has just gone high-tech. Equip your aspiring sleuth with Wild Planet's Spy Gear (Finnegan's Toys & Gifts, 922 SW Yamhill St., 221-0306) and they'll have every kid on the block begging for their secrets. Night-vision goggles with flip-up automatic light controls ($15) let the wearer see in the dark up to 25 feet. A spy note launcher ($10.50) comes with edible paper and ink so that the recipient of the coded note can safely eat the evidence. Just think of how the little tyke's confidence will soar when he wins every game! It's not exactly cheating. (RB)

Bounce with Me, Baby, Bounce with Me
Sometimes the greatest pleasures are derived from the simplest things--like whacking a plastic figure on the head and watching the head bounce around. With Wacky Wobblers ($9.95-$11.95, Dr. Tongue's 3D House of Collectible Toys, 1408 E Burnside St., 233-8915), there's no end to the simple thrill that laying the smackdown on a plastic noggin can bring. Available in a variety of characters ranging from cartoon characters (Yogi Bear) to pop- culture icons (Evel Knievel) to product-pitching mascots (Cap'n Crunch), Wacky Wobblers are great pieces of decorative pop art, as well as helpful stress relievers. And just in time for the holidays are Shocking Stuffers ($5.99), limited-edition mini-wobblers featuring characters El Diablo and Demonique in festive Yule attire. (DW)

Superhero Free-for-All
The Hero Clix Starter Set ($19.95, Things from Another World, 4133 NE Sandy Blvd., 284-4693, and other locations) is the ultimate two-person strategic board game of superheroes and villains. Allocate your power points among your very own team of collectible Marvel or DC figurines--will you sacrifice the Hulk's defensive capabilities for brute attack strength, or will you favor lightning speed to get an edge over the Catwoman's devastating range? With rules that adjust to suit varying skill levels, this game is perfect for crafty kids and amateur adults alike. (LM)


Pin-Point Needle Box
Straight out of your childhood, it's the pin-point needle box. You remember, right? You put an object on it then turn it over, and the pins retain the shape of the object. Yes, they still sell these things, and they're as much fun as ever.

$18, Little Finnegan's, 922 SW Yamhill St., 221-0306.

Pottery Wheel by Curiosity Kits
Get your kids throwing something other than their food. This will spur your child's imagination, and you might even get a new vase out of it. The set comes with paint, brushes, sculpting tools and two pounds of clay.

$39.95, Thinker Toys, 7784 SW Capitol Highway, 245-3936.