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Gift cards suck: the Gauntlet gift guide

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No one wants, nor needs, a manicure set for Christmas. This is the peril of the typical newspaper shopping guide -- they suck because the gift recommendations are for old people.

In the interests of keeping families together this Christmas, the Gauntlet offers these suggestions.

For the artist

Head over to Nation, in the basement of Art Central, to pick up some sweet vinyl toys. The store features beautifully painted Bambi's Thumper statues, spot-on Simpsons toys and a whole bunch of gorgeous little figurines for less than 15 bucks. These are great decorations and conversation pieces.

For the photographer

Give the gift of lomography this Christmas. Go old-school with a toy camera like the Diana or Holga, loving recreations of the famous cameras produced in the late '60s. These cameras are a touch expensive -- usually costing around the $40 to $60 dollar mark at The Camera Store -- but take gorgeous photos. While it may be hard to get the negatives processed, the gorgeous over-saturated colours and always unique photos are a great gift for someone who wants to get back to basics in photography.

For the music geek

The best gift for the music fanatic in your life is a record player. Vinyl is back, and the crisp, warm tones are the reason why. Melodiya Records has some of the best deals on new and used record players in town, and a great selection of records. You'll probably spend around 100 bucks for one, so grab some cheap Christmas seven-inches to listen to when everything is all set up.

For the nerd

The best thing to get that cuddly nerd is something related to tabletop gaming. Words and Pictures, in the basement of Mac Hall, is one of the best places to check out for board games, RPG manuals and toys related to all kinds of nerds, especially those who have a love affair with dice. Prices vary, so ask the extremely helpful staff to suggest something a little cheaper if your wallet is light on cash.

For the fashion maven

17th Avenue is the single best place to look for some unique fashion designs. Stores like Blame Betty and Divine offer great deals on extremely fashionable items. If the present recipient is more interested in skate and snowboarding culture, Mission Skate and Snow is another great store right along 17th Ave. that has some great clothes from Circa, Burton, WESC and more. Expect to pay more for these clothes, but you have to suffer for fashion.

For the shoe-lover

The one-stop shop for shoes in Calgary is Gravity Pope along 17th Ave. They've got fancy shoes and fashionable sneakers, so head on down for some of the coolest shoes in Calgary.

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