You've been here before. Your office's Secret Santa exchange is underway, and once again you're stuck with the creepy guy in Accounting. Or you've checked off all of your family members' names from your list...except your wild and crazy cousin. Or maybe you're just looking for the perfect gift for your significant other.
Joonbug's got you covered. Whether it's for the bro pack or the travelbug, we've come up with our best bets for a great gift-giving season. Just find out what your unsuspecting recipient is into, and we'll take it from there.
For the Party Animal: Talk about perfect timing -- the biggest party day of the year is right around the corner. New Year's Eve bashes will be raging all over the world, and no city throws a celebration like New York. And wouldn't you know, Joonbug is hosting some of the hottest countdowns in town, including shindigs at Capitale, Chelsea Loft, and The Empire Room at the Empire State Building.
If the object of your affection already has New Year's plans, they'll surely be in need of a way to remember the festivities. Lomography's collection of cameras are not only fashionable, they're old school. The analog cameras (yes, they use real film!) come in a range of throwback styles, from Hello Kitty to the classic black "Sprocket Rocket." Buy one at Joonbug favorite Fab.com, where they're on sale through Thursday ($59-$92), or go the cheap route and buy your friend the Hipstamatic app for their iPhone ($1.99). They'll thank you on New Year's morning.
For the Theater Snob: If you haven't been paying attention, the hottest play of the young Broadway season is easily "Venus in Fur." The David Ives play about a gifted actress with a penchant for S&M has been a star vehicle for Broadway newcomer Nina Arianda, who has received rave reviews from anyone that matters. You can buy tickets here, but this gift might have to come early: the show closes on December 18.
For a gift that gives well into 2012, try an Off-Broadway membership. We recommend the lineup at New York Theatre Workshop, which includes John Carney's "Once," with original music by Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová. If those names sound familiar, you were probably watching the Oscars, where the musical pair sang their bestselling track for the film version of "Once." The musical continues at NYTW through New Year's Day, followed by productions of "An Iliad" and "Food and Fadwa," all included in the company's membership packages.
For the Explorer: People who have caught the travel bug are always the hardest to shop for. Flights are too expensive, and you can't just give them another neck pillow (models have made them permanently creepy). Luckily, there are adventures to be had in your own backyard. Excitations.com offers year-round getaways in New York, including trips for two to wolf sanctuaries ($50), "behind the scenes" aquarium tours ($65), and hot air balloon rides ($590).
If your loved one is already planning a trip, treat them to a perfect night in. BedandBreakfast.com offers cheap rates to quaint B&Bs around the country, even in big cities. The website also offers gift certificates for the indecisive. Top it off with a copy of "Best American Travel Writing 2011," and your Secret Santa recipient can thank you for their inspiration for dozens of trips to come.
For the Artist: Trying to gauge someone's taste can be nerve-wracking, especially when your gift will live on someone's wall. Take stress out of the equation and give your artistic friends the chance to create their own work: the 92nd Street Y offers art classes across an array of disciplines, from fine art to cartooning. Students can also try their hand at ceramics, photography, and jewelry making. Prices range from $185 for a 4 class session to $500 for 13 weeks.
If your subject is a bit more crafty, a cheaper gift could suffice. Consider a DIY stocking stuffer, like a paper watch that can be designed and re-designed to the owner's satisfaction.
For the Host and Hostess: For those that prefer partying in their own home, the right supplies are essential. Make their tough job a bit easier by finding the perfect drinking set: a classic martini kit ($49) by Martiniware.com is the perfect way to make their guests feel at home. Throw in a bottle of gin, and you should be one of those guests in no time.
In the hopes of inspiring monthly parties, hook up your hosts with a wine club membership. Wine of the Month Club is the original, and can be joined for about $20 per month. With their membership card, oenophiles can get substantial discounts on fabulous wines and accessories.
For the Sports Fan: As backyard football games go into hibernation, give your sports fan a culture shock: award-winning documentaries about sports. ESPN's "30 for 30" series is now available on DVD, and includes the work of 30 big-name filmmakers, from Barry Levinson to Ice Cube. The whole series can be purchased for $119, though purchasing the two volumes separately for $50 each is more cost effective (though you don't get the extra ESPN swag).
While football and hockey are in full swing, and basketball is finally about to get underway, the holiday season can leave baseball fans...well, out in the cold. Fix that with a gift subscription to MLB.tv, which allows your fellow fanatic to track every game of the season on the Web. The package is only $24.99, which should more than cover the thanks you'll get -- both during the holidays and when the season starts.