Niagara Gazette


December 9, 2013

WEIRD AND WONDERFUL: Gift ideas from our flurry of holiday marketing emails

Niagara Gazette — Tis the season that all the newsrooms around the nation are getting inundated with a flurry of press releases offering great gift ideas.

Some are wildly inappropriate, such as a new toilet that prevents clogging because it comes with a second drainline. To be fair, that pitch just happened to come during the holidays. And perhaps it’s not a bad gift idea for those who are clog inclined.

But, for the rest of us who are simply seeking something to buy grandma this year besides her favorite perfume, or who are seeking something beyond a new tie for Uncle Harold, we’ve collected a few weird and wonderful ideas from the press release barrage.

See what you think of these:

X-ray art

For a gift you can be sure won’t be duplicated, check out the gift ideas from Radiant Art Studio. Baby ultrasounds can be transformed into holiday ornaments, sun catchers or T-shirts, by these artists who use the medical technology to create art out of X-rays of just about anything, including your own image of a favorite body part.

The sonogram art sells from $20 up, but the artists are open to commissioned work and special requests. Check out the website at Radiant Art Studios was formed by Dr. Paula Fontaine with computer technician and freelance artist Joseph Moisan as a way to bring a unique new art form to the forefront of the art world.

Headlight headbands

These lighted headbands are handy for a variety of reasons, from using as a flashlight during a power outage, night of camping, or simply leaving your hands free to read in bed. Or buy one for every member of the family and play hide-and-seek after dark. This one comes with three AAA batteries and can be purchased for around $4 at

Fondue for two

Chocolate lovers will appreciate this little, easy-to-use fondue cup. Throw some chocolate chunks inside, light the little tea light candle, and dip a favorite cookie, cake or fruit to create candy nirvana. There are two fondue forks included but if there’s no one to share with, two-handed dipping is encouraged. From Swissmar, this gift idea can be found at many of the box stores and on foraround $10.

Frozen soup

Oprah called this soup one of her “favorite things” this year. It’s Sarabeth’s Tomato Soup. Chosen to be a part of Oprah’s 2013 Favorite Things list, the soup is from award-winning jam maker, pastry chef and Manhattan restaurateur, Sarabeth Levine. Her soup ships frozen in a three-pack microwavable 24-ounce plastic container, along with six buttermilk biscuits for $43.95. It’s 100 percent natural with no preservatives. For more gift ideas from Sarabeth visit

Car mice

Blongmall from China is one of the many retailers selling hot-rod car mice, for use in place of your boring everyday computer mouse. Blongmall has positive ratings from purchasers, but there’s lots of other Chinese sellers offering all kinds of car mice. There’s even airplane mice, too. The mice start at about $4 on eBay, just search the words “car mouse.”

Necklace saver

If you know someone whose jewelry box is a tangle of necklaces, this gift is logical, affordable and pretty. Priced at $6.95, the Necklace Saver prevents jewelry chains from tangling. Made of shimmering organza in pastel colors, the Necklace Saver can function as a necklace’s holiday wrapping or can be stuffed inside a stocking for an add-on gift every necklace-wearing woman could love. You just slide the necklace through the sleeve, secure with its clasp and tie the ends of the Necklace Saver into a bow to prevent the necklace from sliding out. Visit

Grill robot

This is the most expensive item on our list, but for the family member who loves cooking on the grill outside, this could be just the favorite gift of the season. The Grillbot is similar to those little automated vacuum cleaners that have been fashionable for the last few years. After the grilling is done, this little robot does all clean-up of the greasy grill. Turn it on and let it scrub so that the chef can sit down and enjoy that perfectly cooked sirloin worry-free. The Grillbot sells for $99.95, and you can find them in a variety of colors at


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