Over-the-Shoulder Boulder Holder
No matter what you tote around, Acme Made accessories ensure you schlep in style. Got any computer geeks on your list? Pocket protectors and thick-rimmed glasses may be in, but real nerds can't hide their authenticity. Help 'em out with Acme laptop carriers ($130, Office, 2204 NE Alberta St., 282-7200) that look more like perennially fashionable bike-messenger bags. With the style of Gucci and the toughness of Carhartt, these bags will convert even the most hopeless nerd into a hipster.
It's a Spaceship, It's an Oven, It's a...Condom Dispenser?
Where we would be without German design? No Volkswagens, no liverwurst tubes, no front-row tickets to the Kraftwerk concert, and, finally, no rubber releasers for the holiday season. Fortunately for us, Germany keeps cranking out the Euro-chic. And Canoe sells this stainless-steel condom dispenser ($35, Canoe, 1136 SW Alder St., 889-8545), an ideal gift for your most, um, efficient loved one.
The simple fix for any wall problem is paper and glue, even if the goal is modernity. The new designers of wallpaper construct it with texture. Inhabit Wall Flats ($125, P.H. Reed Co., 1101 NW Glisan St., 274-7080) are made of molded bamboo paper pulp and have convenient peel-and-stick adhesive tabs. A box of 10 will cover 22.5 square feet in a Stanley Kubrick motif.
Hark! Hear the Trend
Little kids playing silver bells with tiny white gloves can only mean one thing: holiday programming at OPB. Classical bells imported from East Asia ($12-$24, Cargo, 380 NW 13th Ave., 209-8349) are the hottest trend in furnishing since the electric light.
Pisces, do not be afraid to access a Libra or Scorpio for help with light problems. Utilize them all with a zodiac light pull ($20, Cargo, 380 NW 13th Ave., 209-8349).
The Look Book
Ah, memories. Some we'd like to forget and some we'd like to capture in photographs and preserve in a gorgeous, sleekly designed photo album. For the forgetters, try a lobotomy or a couple of joints laced with something questionable. For the memories and photos you're a little fonder of, check out Kolo photo albums ($7.98-$53, Art Media, 902 SW Yamhill St., 223-3724) for their bright colors, easy page flipping and unique six-ring design.
Boxer briefs are a liberating combination of snug security and independent movement. The Boxer Shelf ($995, designpublic.com) is a three-paneled, movable shelving unit that liberates books, magazines and other displayed stuff from the coffee table. Each panel slots and locks in place to create a postmodern series of staggered squares that look like multiple drive-thru windows.
Holiday Lessons from the Dark Side
Holiday cheer is overrated. Travelers, soul searchers and Goth chicks will cry upon receiving a "small work" by Faryn Davis ($38-$94, Redux, 811 E Burnside St., 231-7336). These small ornaments explore themes like violence, beauty and transience, and are composed of cryptic messages and found ephemera cast in resin. Try hanging one of these beauties instead of mistletoe this year. When you get caught beneath it, kiss someone and repeat three times, "One day I will die."
Vases and cups by Diana Fayt ($22-$190, Imp, 1422 NE Alberta St., 282-7467) look like items from outer space, or like undiscovered flowering plants from the rainforests of some Third World country. Each one is a handmade, abstract shape etched with flowering bright color combinations and whimsical simplicity.
You Light Up My Life
Off-white? Be a little more creative with your switchplates. Robot Candy Light Switch Plates ($10, Greg's, 3707 SE Hawthorne Blvd., 235-1257) add just enough design and color to a room without looking gaudy.
GHOST STORIES FROM PARIS
The only thing more transparent than the skin of a Frenchman is the ghost of a Frenchman. Designer Philippe Starck created a haunting mirror called the François Ghost ($345, Hive Modern, 820 NW Glisan St., 242-1967), featuring a "wing-style" pattern to create greater depth and chilling reflections.
Spilling hot chocolate in bed isn't that bad when your sheets are the deep color of cocoa. Chocolat Chaud is a linen collection with a chocolate obsession. A hot piece of it is the Hotel Chocolate queen duvet cover ($170, French Quarter, 1313 NW Glisan St., 282-8200) made of Egyptian cotton.
Take This, Trapper Keeper
The 1990s were a fertile time for inventions. DVDs, Viagra, grunge music and dry-erase boards all hit the scene in one explosive decade. Russell and Hazel capture the true spirit of the '90s with their Signature Three-ring Binder ($18-$20, Office, 2204 NE Alberta St., 282-7200), featuring a dry-erase surface on its interior and tough Davey board construction. Also featuring a deluxe rubber band, these binders will help to keep all your failed dot-com stock portfolios in order.
The Gift that Grows
Everybody's got some weirdos in their life who think the holidays should be about more than consumerism and gluttony. How to shop for these martyrs? Try buying them a tree. Friends of Trees ($25, friendsoftrees.org, 282-8846) invites you to honor your loved ones by planting a tree in their name. The recipient of your gift will be sent an acknowledgment card and an invitation to plant the tree at the next commemorative planting, enabling you both to pat yourselves on the back.