Normally, Christmas time has a way of sneaking up on me and I’m running around in a panic on December 23rd, tossing random objects into shopping carts in a fury and crossing names off my shopping list. This year, I wised up and got ahead of the game and had nearly everyone’s gifts in the bag by late November. Hopefully you did the same, and if not you’d better get on it, Buster, because the big day is less than a week away. To help you get started, here are a few unusual last-minute gift possibilities with a bit of North Idaho flair.
Just in the St. Nick of time for Christmas, the Museum of North Idaho has published a new book that should have your family’s local history maven singing “Joy to the World” in delight. In “When the Mill Whistle Blows”, lifetime Coeur d’Alene resident Larry Strobel looks back on the early days of the city by the lake, starting with the town’s formation in 1888 and leading up to the 1950’s when the transformation from logging boomtown to tourist Mecca began. The book is available through the museum and most area bookstores.
Why not snap up a luxurious Riverstone Condo for your loved one this holiday season? Word is that they’re going cheap right now so get one while you can. Heck, buy two. Movie fans, Red Robin Burger lovers and those who enjoy large, empty plots of land will love that their new place is so accessible to all of these things. If that’s just a hair beyond your budget, I might suggest schlameel-schlamzeling into Shirley & Laverne’s new thrift store on North Fourth in Coeur d’Alene. A twenty dollar bill should be enough to get everyone you know that multicolored 80’s gem sweater they’ve been pestering you for, and still have enough cash left over to throw in some old copies of National Geographic or used Hanson CDs as stocking stuffers.
Nothing says “Holly Jolly Christmas” like a visit to the Sun Meadow Nudist Resort near Worley. For free-spirited souls, the clothing-optional environment adds an unusual touch to ordinarily mundane holiday festivities. Certainly, building a snowman and wassailing in your birthday suit promises to provide some unforgettable holiday memories, and when certain body parts are ready to turn blue and fall off, you can come into the lodge and enjoy the warmth of the hot tub and the $7 homemade soup and salad bar special. Just make sure old Uncle Walter doesn’t get too familiar with the rum balls.
Speaking of Uncle Walter and rum: Liquor. Whose family doesn't grow closer (or further apart) while getting sozzled around the glistening tree or menorrah? Bardenay's signature distilled rum should mix real nice with some homemade hot buttered rum batter and would look perfect wrapped in a red bow and a tag that reads "To Nana with love". On the other hand, your little brother was bad and all he deserves is a bottle of Idaho Gold in a brown paper bag from the Sherman St. Liquor Store. Or just take everyone out on the town Christmas eve so they're as hungover as you at family brunch the next morning. Mik-n-Mac's will have full DJ action, the Corner Bar will probably have karaoke with Marj, and don't forget to pop in and say "Hi" to the lovely ho ho ho's at the Torch.
Filmed several years ago in and around Coeur d’Alene, the film “Teenage Dirtbag” was released on DVD in October, and can be found online and at some local video outlets. The plot will appeal to the angst-ridden teen lurking inside everyone on your shopping list. It’s an enjoyably dark drama that tells a tale of unrequited love between a Coeur d’Alene High cheerleader and an antagonistic stoner dude. Writer-Director Regina Crosby, it’s based the story on her own experiences at CHS in the late 80s, and it’s a slow-burner of a flick that will get under your skin and provoke an emotional response much deeper than you might originally suspect. Plus, it’s fun to check out all the familiar local landmarks that pop up in the background of many shots.
Also on the video tip; insomniacs, those who love the mind-numbingly mundane and kitschy as well as those who do a lot of walking around should appreciate the gift of “Perils for Pedestrians” back episodes on DVD, available through the show’s website. Regularly shown at 3 a.m. on cable-access channel CDA-TV 19, charismatic bespectacled host John Z. Wetmore (pictured left) travels the land and interviews people on the street about the dangers of high curbs and dilapidated sidewalks. Gripping.
That impossible-to-shop-for punk rock cousin will raise her fist in appreciation when she unwraps a copy of “Enemies” this year’s release by Scatterbox, Coeur d’Alene’s very own loveable scallywags. For those who prefer their tunes to be a little more radio-friendly, look for “Sketches”, the debut disc of soulful pop from Ron Greene, also a Coeur d’Alene resident. Both CDs are available at the Long Ear record store.
You’d be forgiven for thinking that big antlered “Mudgys” roamed the lush pastures of Moose Meadows Ranch in Athol. Wrong, alpacas do, and they’re probably as naked as patrons of the nudist resort, freshly shorn to create some of the goods sold in their Alpacas-n-More Country Store. Combining the joy of alpacas with our state fruit in a gift basket, Moose Meadows’ “Taste of Huckleberry” includes the obligatory huckleberry products, including syrup, jam and honey as well as pancake and scone mix. More importantly, it also contains an alpaca fur teddy bear, alpaca cookie cutters and alpaca finger puppets. With all these supplies, the recipient of this gift can throw a fully unique theme party for New Years Eve: “Alpaca-Huckleberry Fantasy”.