Monday, December 15, 2014

Canoga Park Quilt's 2014 Holiday Gift Guide

The yuletide season is finally upon us and whether you celebrate Christmas or even some other holiday, it's the time for remembering others. We sent our own army of "Santa's Helpers" into local Canoga Park businesses to uncover this year's best ideas in gift-giving for you, our readers - and they didn't disappoint. Fantastic, imaginative possibilities abound throughout our local boutiques, restaurants and specialty shops with countless ways to say "Merry Christmas" (or even some other sentiment) with just the right remembrance for friend, neighbor, husband - little ones, too! You'll find all these marvelous items and more as well as knowledgeable, friendly sales-help at each of the businesses listed below, so head over to any (or all) of these stores and cross items off your Christmas (or even some other holiday) list by shopping locally, right here in Canoga Park.

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WHIMSICAL OWLS ask "Whooo's calling?" on this delightful, colorful case that fits your mobile telephone. Sturdy plastic case snaps onto telephone, stays put. Dozens of other styles available. $5.99. Barsamian Cell Phone Accessories 4 Less, Kiosk 6 (Across from Kinney Shoes). Westfield Topanga Indoor Shopping Mall, 6600 Topanga Canyon Blvd.

GRANDDAD WILL DELIGHT in this duo of sweet treats he'll remember from the "good ol' days" of his youth - and probably be surprised to learn they're still available today. Pearson's Salted Nut Roll, in the bigger King Size, features shelled Virginia peanuts rolled around chewy nougat. Iron Man 3 Strawberry Bubble Gum Rollz has over 48 inches of bubble gum plus a free tattoo, packed inside a handsome carrying case sure to be passed on to future generations as a cherished heirloom. $1 each. Dollar Tree, Inc., 20936 Roscoe Blvd.

EVEN EBENEEZER SCROOGE will appreciate a visit from this Christmas spirit. Opulent Vodka, a taste as exquisite as its name implies, available in the handy 50 ml size for just $1.49. Concoct a Christmas cocktail "on-the-fly" by adding it to a bottle of Strawberry Nesquik for a drink as merry and pink as Santa's rosy cheeks, or just pound it straight while waiting for the bus. Liquor Mart, 7547 Topanga Canyon Blvd (at Saticoy).

A HANDYMAN is only as good as his tools, and the "do-it-yourselfer" in your life will certainly appreciate adding this collection of helpful implements - in darling miniature - to his tool shed. Set of four tools includes hatchet, pick-axe, crosscut saw and spade all in adorable pastel colors. Dainty in design yet easily hacks, picks, cuts and digs its way through the waxy "chocolate coating" of cheap dollar store Swiss rolls. Made of durable plastic. Just 89¢ for the set. Kake Kreations, 18986 Sherman Way.

LUCKY IS THE GUY OR GAL on the receiving end of these of yuletide delights. Available in charming polar bear and penguin motifs, "Happy Holidays" lottery tickets offer the chance at winning $2, $10, even $500. Simply use the edge of a coin or small plastic pick-axe to scrape off "magical" coating to reveal prizes beneath - three of a kind's a winner. As much fun to play as win. $1 each. • Chewy, delicious 3-1/2" Snack Stick comes individually packaged in festive evergreen-colored plastic wrap, sealing in flavors and oil. Made from meat and other ingredients. 39¢ each or purchase three for $1.17 Available at many 7-Eleven Convenience Markets including 21618 Roscoe Blvd., C.P. Calif.

'HAVE A HOLLY JOLLY DONUT' you'll sing as you give this delicious pastry along with warm yuletide wishes to your paperboy, milkman, or postman. Or leave one atop your blue bin as a "holiday hello" to the woman who goes through your recyclables at three a.m. the night before garbage day. Available in a myriad of flavors and colors. 70¢ each; discounts when purchased in multiples of 12. Jolly Donuts has two Canoga Park locations to serve you: 7249 Topanga Canyon Blvd. and 20901 Roscoe Blvd.

BEHOLD THE THOUGHTFUL party guest who brings her (oft-harried!) hostess a little something extra for the hors d'oeuvres platter: she's secured her place at the top of the guest list for all future functions. Hand-butchered salmon head perfect for the fondue pot, sliced thinly atop butter crackers - even breathes new life and flavor when added to a waning punchbowl. Why not bring two - one for the soiree, and one for your hosts to enjoy afterwards? $1.29 per pound. Island Pacific Supermarket, 20922 Roscoe Blvd. Canoga Park.

TIDE-INGS OF GOOD CHEER are just three coins and a lever pull away. Your choice of laundry detergents clean, remove stubborn Snack Stick stains and lingering salmon head effluvia odor, leaving clothes looking and smelling holiday fresh. New "Ultra" Tide still has its fragrant Original Scent; Cheer imbues fabrics with a pleasing Fresh Clean Scent. Each convenient single-load box will launder a Santa's sack-size load of laundry. 75¢ apiece at Tu Casa Coin Laundry, 20907 Roscoe Blvd (behind Popeye's).

A TRIO OF THOUGHTFUL GIFTS await milady under the Christmas tree. New Choice brand Vagi-Cure Anti-Itch Cream offers fast relief from everyday itch. Freshens, too. • Made from genuine mechanically separated chicken, nourishing Crider Chicken Bologna, in the generous 11-ounce can, saves her time in the kitchen and makes holiday meals a snap. • She'll turn heads at your company Christmas party with these chic earrings in the shape of a man's mustache. By the fashion experts at Fashion Jewelry. All are 99¢ each at 99¢ Only Store, 20914 Sherman Way at DeSoto.

REMEMBER THOSE WE'VE LOST be they friends, relatives or, in the spirit of the season, even members of rival gangs. Charming 8-1/4" Sacred Heart of Mary candle burns for hours. Perfect for roadside memorials or overly religious home window display/fire hazard. $1.99 or 2 for $3. (Other saints available, too.)  • You'll save with - and savor - popular Swisher Sweets cigarillos, available in a multitude of aromatic flavors starting at just $1.19 for the handy two-pack. Walgreens Drugs, 7560 Topanga Canyon Blvd.

WHAT BETTER WAY to celebrate the birth of the our Lord than by nasally aspirating your own blessed child with this top quality Baby King Nasal Aspirator? Soft, pliable latex tip inserts easily in your choice of Baby's nostrils. Simply release pressure on the bulb and gentle suction action draws mucus, other fluids out of tot's nasal cavity. Dislodges stuck Legos and tiny mustache-shaped earrings, too. Available in both pink and blue. $1.10 at Pay 99¢ + or Less, 21828 Sherman Way, Canoga Park, Calif.

SANTA DOESN'T HAVE A MONOPOLY on elf helpers - Keebler's put their magical tree elves to work this season, too, crafting a delicious "snack pack" featuring eight delicious Cheese & Cheddar Sandwich Crackers. Made with real cheddar cheese, this is one gift that's sure to please even the 'Bah Humbug' crowd. 79¢ at Food Mart, 76 Gas Station, 21403 Saticoy Street.

WATER, WATER EVERYWHERE...but good enough to drink? Worry no more about rust particles the size and color of Cheese & Cheddar Sandwich Crackers plunking from faucet to the drinking glass via Los Angeles's charmingly quaint century-old waterworks and 7,200 miles of deteriorating pipes; say goodbye to drinking water with a layer of sediment at the bottom of the glass that looks like someone scratched a dozen "Happy Holiday" lottery tickets over them. Delicious flavorless water - remarkably harvested from LA DWP's own supply, but made perfectly potable through a secret filtration process - will be the talk of the season. Marvelous novelty gift that you "personalize" yourself by using your own empty milk or Tampico jug. And at 30¢ a gallon, you'll want one to keep in your own refrigerator! Glacier Water Machine (outside Vallarta Supermarket), 21555 Roscoe Blvd.

A FLAT TIRE can really take the air out of holiday festivities - the last thing anyone needs with a Christmas list a mile long and the nagging concern that the store'll run out of infant nasal aspirators before you can get there. Treat yourself to the gift of worry-free motoring with a gently used tire. Guaranteed 70% or more remaining tread ensures steady, safe driving on winter's slickest roads. Practical round shape fits easily on rim; lovely matte black color compliments most every vehicle. Eliminates painful embarrassment of changing tire in drive-thru line at El Pollo Loco while diners inside point, mock. And with prices starting at under $30, you don't have to be a "big wheel" to own one. Oaxaca Tires, 8313 De Soto Avenue, Canoga Park.

POSSIBILITIES ARE ENDLESS with handsome, sturdy cardboard boxes from your local box retailer. Available in "over 2,000 sizes" from the very small up to those roomy enough to accommodate used automobile tires. And assembly couldn't be easier: simply fold, press flaps down and secure with tape or mucilage - then fill with your choice of contents. 65¢ and up. Box City, 7008 Topanga Canyon Blvd., Canoga Pk. 4, Calif.

HE NEEDN'T HAVE A VIOLENT STREAK to look good in a smart, stylish "Wife-Beater" shirt - nor even be married. (Many gents of the single persuasion are said to enjoy wearing them also.) 100% preshrunk combed cotton sleeveless A-shirt by Pro Zone can be worn as an undershirt below his button-down Oxford, as well. Generous length stays tucked in no matter how low he wears his pants. $1 each and available in all sizes from small to large. • Cool and refreshing with a clean, masculine scent, Men's Choice Arctic Blue After Shave is the choice of men. Pinhole pouring stopper prevents waste (and is easily removed for those who prefer a more concentrated, heady musk). Comes in the handy 5-ounce gift bottle. Only one dollar + tax. Super Dollar 7025 Topanga Canyon Blvd.

SANTA WILL SAY 'NAMASTE' (the word clever Indians use for 'thank-you') when he finds a cold, crisp bottle of Maaza lychee juice drink waiting for him on the hearth this Christmas Eve. Sophisticated glass bottle filled to the brim with 11.19 ounces of the exotic, never-too-sweet liquid - naturally chock-full of beneficial vitamins and proteins - made from lychee puree and other natural flavors. Imported. $1. India Sweets & Spices - "Spices of Your Life," 22011 Sherman Way.

BEFORE YOU BRING OUT the platters heaped high with rare, tender roast beef, spiced & glazed baked ham, and moist, delicious turkey, the first course, of course, in any holiday meal is soup. And who other than Amy's Soups to offer a wonderful base from which to start? There's none better than her low-fat "No Chicken Noodle" variety - a light, tasty and comforting "cure everything" soup in the handy 14.1 oz pull-tab can. Just add one 1/2 pound (or more) cooked chicken meat (or mechanically-separated canned chicken bologna), heat and stir - and you've got a hearty, satisfying "starter" everyone will enjoy. Or toss in a handful of 7-Eleven Snack Sticks for a new twist on an old favorite. Available for $3.29 in the soup aisle at Follow Your Heart, 21825 Sherman Way.

GIFTS OF TASTE AND DISTINCTION are what's in stock at Goodwill. In the bric-a-brac department, a wintery scene plays out in this Texas-themed snow-globe when you shake up a mini-blizzard and watch delightful and realistic "snow" flakes fall on the diorama within. Built-in plug at bottom slows remaining water from evaporating completely. Made of break-resistant plastic for years of enjoyment. $2.99. • A personalized mug fashioned in fine ceramic is just the gift for Murelle, featuring her name in classy, "old-time" lettering, and much of the rim still gaily trimmed in gold paint. A marvelous buy at just $1.99 - look for it in Housewares. Goodwill Industries, 7107 Owensmouth Ave.

IF PIPE-SMOKING POP is like most men, he'll occasionally put down his cherished briar for a bit and enjoy showing off cigarette-rolling skills he learned when he was his boy's age - just as his own dad did with him. Futurola brand medium size cigarette rolling papers are "super-thin"; yet burn slowly and evenly. Hand-crafted under the highest quality control standards and are a smart, economical gift at just $1.50 for the book of 50. Available from Lion's Lair, 22053 Sherman Way.

CURLING RIBBON may not be out but "curly" fries (the unique new spiral-shaped take on the popular French-fried potato) are definitely in this season especially when adorned as a festive, decorative spray atop a gift-wrapped package. Purchase small order for petite gifts, medium for mid-sized packages, large to accommodate your biggest presents. Hint: Order a larger size if unsure; extra coils can be draped on Christmas tree as a delicious and savory deep-fried garland. $1.89 to $2.69 plus tax. Arby's Restaurant, 7011 Topanga Canyon Blvd. "Roast beef sandwich a specialty."

POLLY WANT A RHOMBUS? Or a parallelogram? Or a trapezoid? Elegant pine blocks come in bright, gay colors and a host of fun geometric shapes. Pre-drilled holes allow wood to be strung quickly, easily on bird rope toy in an endless variety of different combinations, keeping Pretty Bird (and his strong, sharp beak) happily occupied for hours - while saving grandkids' precious fingers. Medium size blocks 50¢ each or 2 for $1. Discount Birds, 21731 Sherman Way in Canoga Park.

A LADY WITH A FLAIR for fashion knows it's the shoes that make the outfit. Fabulous black leatherette studded wedges by Alba feature hundreds of tiny metallic studs to glint, gleam and catch the customer's eye; no-scuff heels won't mar the stage. Sprained ankles and inadvertent appearances on "Ridiculousness" are a thing of the past: Wedge-style sole provide larger, sturdier base than traditional stilettos to land on at the end of a pole routine, yet are light enough that they won't inhibit throwing a leg - or both! - up into the air. Already broken-in and oh-so comfortable she won't even change out of them when she takes her fifteen and runs over to the pizza place next door for a quick slice. Available for $5 in Ladies Footwear Dept., Salvation Army Family Thrift Store, 21381 Roscoe Blvd.

A BOULDER GIFT IDEA you're not likely to find than this magnificent sedimentary rock, hewn by innumerable particulates and rushing waters of perhaps centuries in a river. Unbelievably beautiful with rich, exquisite detail; one-of-a-kind rock will complement the decor in any large fish tank, fresh or salt water. For the holiday season, put it to work on the appetizer tray, letting guests enjoy mashing salmon head into paté themselves, or glue on funny craft-store googly eyes and substitute for traditional Christ-child figure in the manger for a modern, avante-garde take on the traditional Nativity scene. Many sizes, colors and geological classifications available, starting at $1.89 per pound. Aquarium City, 21723 Sherman Way, Canoga Pk.

A BRIEF HISTORY OF TIMELY GIFTS is sure to include this pair of men's underpants smartly fashioned by the experts in masculine underthings at Fruit of the Loom. Woven from 100% cotton and imported from faraway Honduras, these briefs feature an "elasticized" waistband that fits snugly around the mid-section - never pinches! - as well as a double layer of material in the front to cradle and absorb. Sold singly on oversized hangers, each pair of briefs features its own individual imperfections as well as a hand-written black 'X' across the company logo inside - making every one a truly a one-of-a-kind present. Available in the following sizes: XL. 99¢ at Fallas Paredes, 21035 Sherman Way.

PUSSY WILL PURR in eager anticipation of a fancy salmon dinner (in sauce!) formulated just for her. Purina brand Friskies Buffet cat food in the single-serving can is a busy hostess' lifesaver as well when used to extend the paté - party guests won't suspect a thing and we won't say a word! Many varieties available, each only 79¢ for the 5.5 ounce can. • You'll feel like you're "puttin' on the ritz" without putting out your pocketbook with Payaso - the Mexican snack cracker with the funny clown on the package. Over four ounces - that's 40 crackers - and all for just 69¢. Try sesame variety too, for that distinctly "south-of-the-border" flavor. De Soto Plaza Market, 8935 De Soto Avenue.

THE FRESHEST IDEAS IN GIFT-GIVING are often the most obvious. What more appropriate present to bestow on friend or loved one this season than one of Car-Freshner Corp.'s Little Trees™ air fresheners? Aromatic, regal 'Royal Pine' is truly the scent of the season, all bedecked in Christmas green. Fragrance aplenty so it lasts weeks. Use handy attached string and hang as an ornament to imbue an artificial tree with the pleasing smell of the real thing without messy falling needles, pine borer infestations. Or dangle on rear-view mirror to eliminate the odor of the salmon head left in the car the night before the neighbor's party. $1 in coin at Fiesta Car Wash, 21403 Saticoy Street, Canoga Pk. (Look for the dispenser with the pretty blonde gal on it.)

WHAT'S CHRISTMAS WITHOUT COOKING? And this time of year, she'll be doing plenty of it, so she'll appreciate either (or both) of these indispensable cookbooks. "Too-Good-To-Be-Leftovers" helps the lady of the house turn even last night's missteps into tonight's masterpieces. (We know a lot of husbands who will appreciate that!) "Quick & Easy Cookbook" gives her more time for shopping, cleaning, decorating the house - and less time in the kitchen - with tasty recipes designed with simplicity in mind. • The bar-b-q season may be far away, but hubby will be all set to take over (outdoor) cooking chores next summer with this unusual gift: a set of ten corn-on-the-cob holders. Exquisitely detailed corn cob design in rugged plastic with two sturdy metal prongs ensure corn stays put. Comes in handy see-thru carrying bag. Cookbooks, 50¢. Corn cob holders, $1/set of 10. Assistance League of San Fernando Valley Thrift Shop, 22335 Sherman Way, #B, Canoga Park. "In the Ralphs Shopping Plaza."

Attention Retailers! If you've a product that you'd like to see showcased in next year's edition of the Canoga Park Quilt 2014 Holiday Gift Guide, please send a sample of the item along with product specifications (including price), your business name and street address to Canoga Park Quilt Holiday Gift Guide Editor, Canoga Park Quilt Holiday Gift Guide, Dept. CPQHGG,, Canoga Park, Calif. For perishable food items, please send at least three (more if particularly delicious), and attach sufficient dry ice to email to prevent spoilage.

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