NEW YORK (TheStreet) - Last week Eric, my fiance, asked me what I wanted for Christmas. Truth be told, I didn't know what to tell him.
We are getting married next fall, so asking for housewares from Bed, Bath & Beyond (BBBY) or home decor from TJX's (TJX) HomeGoods (my go-to retailer) seemed silly since I'm having a bridal shower. I could've told him I wanted a gift card to Kohl's (KSS) or that I wanted to upgrade to the Apple (AAPL) iPhone 5s, but since it's a special year for us -- as in this is the last year we will actually have disposable funds considering how much the wedding is costing us and then we plan to buy a house after that -- I wanted to think out of the box.
It got me thinking, "Hey this could be a good story idea!!" So, what are some of the coolest gift ideas out there?
Following up on the "8 Black Friday Deals I Would Totally Buy" story, here are 10 gifts, in no particular order, that I would love to get but that I'm sure Eric would NEVER think to give me. He better read this story for inspiration!
Editor's note: Eric, you better get her at least one or two of these items. I'm not kidding.
1. Manhattan Helicopter Tour WITH Champagne
This seems totally awesome; I'm big into "experiences." I'm always planning something - trying a new restaurant, signing us up for some sort of cultural or historic tour, bringing us back to nature making Eric cringe (there's a story having to do with kayaking at night) or some good old fashioned fun.
Travelzoo launched its holiday gift guide late last month, and of course I perused the "curated selection of unique experiences" of my local area, New York City. I found more than one event that I would definitely splurge on, but wasn't so expensive that I would need to cut five more people off my wedding list just to pay for it.
The helicopter ride by Pegasus Flight is a 30-minute journey over the Manhattan skyline, in the daytime or evening and I'll get to sip champagne, all for $125. (Of course if my fiance wants to come along he will have to purchase his own ticket.)
2. Custom Pet Pillow
I'm extremely attached to my 14-year-old tabby cat, Travis. I've had him since he was five months old, he has traveled with me from Chicago where I got him, to my numerous apartments in Manhattan and Long Island. Most people like to say to me, "I'm not into cats, but I like dogs." However, 99.9% of the people that meet Travis fall in love with him, because he's very social and for some reason, even those who are typically allergic to cats, don't seem to be allergic to him.
I'm constantly taking photos of him and posting them to Facebook, because in my biased opinion, he is THAT good looking. So it should come as no surprise that that a pillow that has a photo of my beloved cat on it would appeal to me as a gift.
Uncommon Goods, a Brooklyn, N.Y.-based online retailer that sells goods made by local artisans, is selling a customer pet pillow for $145. All Eric has to do is submit a photo of Travis. The hardest part - choosing which photo!
3. Drosselmeyer's Caretta Shellfish Pliers
I live by the ocean; we eat seafood. I'm personally partial to King Crab, but any shellfish will do. The thing is, I'm forever getting myself and anyone within a two feet radius of me soaked from cracking shells. Drosselmeyer, the creator of the Caretta Shellfish Pliers, tells me that's because traditional tools to crack open shellfish have traditionally be "limited and awkward," according to its Web site.
The company recently launched the pliers as a "clean and elegant way to eat crayfish, crab and lobster," the Web site says.
The pliers are sold for $59.99 at a variety of upscale housewares stores, online and of course at Amazon.
4. Gift Certificate to BedandBreakfast.com
We love to take weekend getaways when we can. One of our favorite trips was a summer trip to Philadelphia, but I have visions of taking a trip this winter to a cozy bed and breakfast, where there's fresh snow on the ground, Christmas lights still lit well past the holiday season, and a fire waiting for us in a big gathering room. When I saw this, I knew it had to go into the list.
BedandBreakfast.com, a subsidiary of HomeAway (AWAY), is a directory lists more than 4,000 historic inns and guest houses in the U.S. and Canada. Eric can either book something online or purchase a Getaway Gift Card. The card is available in any amount starting at $25 with no blackout dates.
Even if Eric tends to be a last-minute shopper (is this a guy thing?), he can still get the gift card shipped for free by FedEx from Dec. 20-22 to get it in time for Christmas.
5. Spafinder Wellness 365 Gift Card
This is a no brainer.
The Spafinder Wellness 365 Gift Card ranges from $25 up to $1,000 in value. All women love spas, but what's even cooler about this gift card, which Eric can purchase online, is that it's not for a specific spa. The list includes day spas, medical and weight loss spas. I can use it for other wellness experiences, such as, nutritionists, salons and personal trainers, among other things.
The Spafinder Wellness 365 network, a global resource for the spa and wellness industry, connects consumers to over 20,000 of the world's leading spas, salons, fitness studios, wellness providers, and others.
6. Swiftwick socks
These look like great stocking stuffers for the avid runner that I am. Swiftwick socks are high-performance athletic socks that sell for less than $20 a pair. Made in the good ol' U.S. of A, Swiftwick socks are the latest in performance compression and moisture-wicking technology.
Swiftwick's VIBE line, is a high-performance sock that won't bunch or blister available for sale between $13 and $15, the line is great for runners who prefer a slightly padded foot bed with "major moisture-wicking technology," the company tells me. Actually this sock sounds perfect for me.
Another option could be the company's SUSTAIN sock line, created by post-industrial recycled nylon that appeals to the earth-conscious athlete, Swiftwick says, because no chemicals are used to wick away moisture, yet the socks still offers great compression and moisture-wicking capabilities. The socks sell for between $12 and $17.
The socks are available online or at specialty retailers across the U.S.
Eric is the first person that can tell you that I despise coffee, but I love tea. As we know evidenced by Starbucks' (SBUX) enthusiasm about Teavana, tea is a growing sub-category of the caffeinated drink segment. Teavana's newest holiday tea blends sell from about $8 to $20, include Orange Chocolate Sweet Spice, White Chocolate Peppermint and Jasmine Silver Needle.
Teavana also has a big selection of brewing and tea-serving accessories that would be great gifts for the person who is a tea lover such as pretty little bird or brocade tea tins, selling for $12.95. Or if Eric really wanted to go big, he could purchase the limited edition gold cast iron teapot for $149.95.
8. Primavera Natural Skin Care Products
Primavera natural and organic skin care products look perfect for some well-deserved pampering after a long day at the office!
The German company, which recently made its U.S. debut, takes pride in using the highest amount of certified, organic ingredients available.
This could be a great gift. I've recently gotten into essential oils and am exploring more homeopathic solutions to aches and pains as well as beauty and health regimens, so a gift from this skin care line could go a long way with me.
Some enticing examples include its Winter Pomegranate line for its antioxidant benefits and restorative Rose essential oil in products like the Revitalizing Intensive Renewing Cream, for $62, Revitalizing Serum, for $80, or Revitalizing Intensive Seed Oil Capsules for $98.
Primavera's ginger lime body care can bring the body and mind to life during the harsh winter months through ginger and lime essential oils as well as jojoba oil.
The Energizing Ginger Lime Body Wash sells for $20, body oil for $34 and hand and nail cream for $18. Or Primavera's vanilla and lavender essential oil-based line such as the Relaxing Lavender Vanilla body care selling for $20 to $34.
In a nutshell, I need this.
Between packing, airport security and carry-on guidelines, traveling is sometimes so annoying, to the point where I'd rather wait after my flight for my bags than have to figure out which of my toiletries is small enough to fit into the quart-size Ziploc bag that I can take on the plane with me. (I admit I'm constantly mistaking gallon size for quart size.)
Flanabags seems to be the answer for me. The TSA-compliant toiletry case that combines fashion with functionality, easy to carry and easy to pack. The bag currently sells for $19.95 and sells online.
10. A Date with Jon Bon Jovi
Probably not since he's married, but seriously, how about a VIP meet-and-greet with some of today's hottest rock stars?
For a die-hard Bon Jovi fan like myself and my best friend of 20+ years (roughly the amount of time we've loved the band), that would be ... the coolest thing ever.
Artists are increasingly offering VIP packages directly from their Web sites while others list their VIP packages through Ticketmaster or a site like VIP Nation, according to Lee Runchey, vice president of Chrome PR, an entertainment public relations firm in Beverly Hills.
Of course meet and greets vary according to artist and prices also can range upwards of several hundred dollars, depending if show tickets are involved. But the meeting typically includes a photo opportunity after the show, individual autograph session and a short chat with the artist, Runchey noted.
In addition, in an age where many (well-known) artists are now bypassing labels to appeal directly to fans for album or tour funding, another way to get a unique gift, ranging from autographed CDs to in-home concerts, is to look for artists who are using crowdfunding Web sites Kickstarter or Pledge Music , Runchey said.
Written by Laurie Kulikowski in New York.