A Holiday (Gag) Gift Guide. Straight-outta-Queens Edition.
They’re a bit redundant at this point, but I just wouldn’t feel like a real blogger if I didn’t come up with my own holiday gift guide. I’m a big believer in shopping local and supportive small business owners, so my list focuses on products and services available in my own neighborhood.
Just in case you don’t know much about it, let me give you a brief rundown on the dynamics of my very special neighborhood. I live in Astoria, Queens, which is just a few subway stops outside of midtown Manhattan. Astoria is extraordinarily diverse, which is my absolute favorite thing about it.
While it’s traditionally known as the big Greek neighborhood in New York, it also has a really large Middle Eastern population as well as European, South American and Bangladeshi communities. We have more small businesses than national franchises here, which keeps the neighborhood authentic, diverse, dynamic and interesting. The restaurants are outta sight, and we just have a lot of good stuff here (even if the stuff on my list is largely tongue-in-cheek).
That said, welcome to my neighborhood. Here are some great gift ideas for all the queens in your life.
BEAUTY TREATMENT GIFT CERTIFICATES
I had my first massage in one of these “body work” spas a few weeks ago, and let me tell you, that tiny Asian man pounded into my aching neck and back like I was a piece of pork tenderloin. $35, 45-minute deep tissue massage
Get your gal back in fightin’ shape with a set of well-groomed brows and a hair-free upper lip. With a $4 price tag, a service at this place makes for one hell of an impressive stocking stuffer. After she’s been waxed and buffed to a high sheen, take her out for a kebab at the corner meat cart for an additional five bucks. Call it one of your 12 dates of Christmas.
Every lady will tell you–there’s simply nothing worse than posing for your Tiny Prints family Christmas card with your roots undone. This photo is going to be stuck on 60 refrigerators for the next 20 days, give or take. Before sending your season’s greetings, treat your sweet to a day at the salon for a fresh dye and dry. Sneak a pack of ciggs in her purse for an extra special touch. They’re up to like $11.50 a pack in the city. That’s a pretty good gift in itself.
Some say only tourists would be caught dead in an “I heart NY” t-shirt. Au contraire, my friend. Deep down, we all want to look like we just tumbled off Canal Street. Three for $10. It is also a really good neighborhood in which to buy a burka, if that is your cultural dress.
Every girl’s crazy ‘bout a sharp-dressed man (or woman). Put a vest on it. Put a bow-tie on it. Put a baseball cap on it. All items, $5
…the look on her face when you walk in the room looking this fly—PRICELESS.
AN ENGAGEMENT RING
Listen fellas. You and I both know there is nothing more original than a Christmas morning proposal. Skip the long lines at the mawl and get her something big and shiny from Paulie down the street. Your girl will know she picked a winner when she finds out you traded all her old gold to pay for it.
You could go the predictable route and hide it in a piece of fruitcake or put a pair of antlers on her collie and tie the ring around its collar, but if you really want to make the moment magical, pop the question while crammed in coach so the stewardess can announce your happy news over the PA system. “HE went to Steinway Street.”
This photo is apropos of nothing, but this guy kept yelling, “Lady, take my picture! Lady, take my picture!” and it just felt right to include him in this round-up, as it seems his store has plenty of good holiday deals going on.
(As he put his two fingers in the air, he solemnly said, “God Bless America.” He was really very sweet.)
I can’t speak for every woman, but I always feel my absolute sexiest in the period between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. Between the avalanche of eggnog, my cookie-a-day habit and the chestnuts roasting on an open fire, all I really want to do at the end of the day is slip into a silky red nightie trimmed with marshmallow fluff and pleasure my elf.
You won’t need any mistletoe with these stockings. You know what I’m talking about.
So when Santa sweeps through Astoria, Queens on his sled led by 12 Halal goats, I hope my garden apartment is on his sleigh-dar. I’ve been good this year, big guy. Don’t leave me out in the cold. And Santa, please ask my landlord not to increase the rent come January. Thanks!