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Forever Young Information

Canada's Adult Lifestyle Publication

Christmas gifts with a difference

By Liz Campbell

This year’s holiday gift guide has something for everyone on your list – from the eco-junkie to the golf nut, from those who are interested in the past to those demanding the latest in modern technology, we have it all. We even have gifts that give back.

Trace your ancestors waaaay back

We’ve all wondered if there isn’t just a little Neanderthal in our family tree – look at Uncle Hugo! The Genographic Project is an ambitious attempt to answer fundamental questions about where humankind originated and how we came to populate the Earth. National Geographic’s Dr. Spencer Wells and his team launched the first designed Genographic Project in 2005. Geno 2.0 is based on new technologies and insights that have since emerged. Using an exclusive, custom-built genotyping chip, they test nearly 150,000 DNA markers to provide unprecedented ancestry-related information. So you can trace the migration paths your ancient ancestors followed hundreds—even thousands—of years ago. Learn what percentage of your genome is affiliated with specific regions of the world. And you can connect with other Genographic Project participants, helping to fill in the gaps in the human story. A portion of the proceeds from Geno 2.0 kits are channeled back into the project to support additional research and to fund cultural conservation and revitalization efforts for indigenous communities around the world through the Genographic Legacy Fund. It’s a truly unique gift. $199.99 at nationalgeographic.com

Helping the planet

Ten Thousand Villages, the oldest and largest non-profit, Fair Trade organization in North America, sells artisan-crafted personal accessories, home decor and gift items from around the globe, creating opportunities for artisans in developing countries to earn income by bringing their products and stories to our markets through long-term, fair trading relationships. This necklace was once a discarded bombshell. In Cambodia, a country filled with as yet unexploded landmines and with the highest proportion of amputees in the world, artisans shape bomb pieces into symbolic jewellery. They work with the Halo Trust, a de-mining agency trying to make the land safe, recrafting the ugly remnants of war into beautiful jewellery – one shaped like a Peace Dove and the other a Tree of Life. Available at five stores in Southwestern Ontario or at www.tenthousandvillages.ca

Beadware: Lookin’ good Feel good too

BeadforLife is a nonprofit organization that works to provide help for women in extreme poverty in Uganda by teaching them to craft beads out of recycled paper. These are shaped into stylish necklaces, bracelets and earrings, which are then sold online and through Bead Parties. The profits return to Uganda to fund health care, housing, and business training initiatives. Prices range from $5 to $30 and each is a unique creation. Visit www.beadforlife.org

GPS rangefinder for world-wide golf

An easy-to-navigate GPS rangefinder with a high-resolution, colour touch screen, GolfBuddy World has the capacity to hold 40,000 courses in its internal memory, and comes preloaded with more than 35,000 courses worldwide. Don’t forget to load the courses you intend to play before you head out on vacation! Anti-glare technology allows the image to remain completely visible in bright sunlight. And there are no subscription fees. You can score for up to four players and track your stats. $299 at golf pro shops or online at www.golfbuddyglobal.com

Just suck it up

James Dyson has taken on hand-held vacuum. OK, giving a vacuum cleaner as a gift doesn’t seem very cool, but the new Digital Slim is the best thing since Cecil Booth told his wife he’d figured out a way to suck dirt off the carpet. That was 1901 and it needed a horse to haul it around. Today’s Slim weighs less than five lbs., has a long aluminum wand and a motorized end, all of which makes stair cleaning and quick pick-ups so much easier. And Dyson’s cyclone technology means terrific suction, no bags and a grateful giftee. $450 available at stores across Canada and at www.dysoncanada.ca

Life beyond Netflix

Fringe Festival fans will love this. Give an award-winning film every month from film festivals like Sundance, Toronto, Berlin, Venice, and Cannes, as well as films that have won or been nominated for their country’s equivalent of the Academy Award. Members of Film Movement’s Film of the Month Club also receive exclusive discounts on the catalogue of previously released films. The films are theirs to keep and share; nothing to return. Memberships start at $42.99 (Additional shipping & handling is $8.86) for three months to $134.99 (Additional shipping & handling is free) for a year. Streaming is also going to be available in Canada in early 2013: $34.99-$99.99. Available at www.filmmovementcanada.com
 
Vinyl is back

It’s a whole new way to recycle old discs. Record bowls are custom-made from old vinyl records and make a useful repository for your keys or snacks. The record is molded into a useful bowl shape; production time can take up to three weeks before the item ships. The available titles range from ABBA to Wings with dozens more like The Beach Boys and Michael Jackson in between. Pick your favourite artist or group (sorry, no Beatles) for $35 at www.wearyourmusic.org and check out other funky, music-related gifts.

It’s in the bag

It all began with Crocs. Those wildly personalized shoes opened the door to other cool accessories. Optari's Backpacks, Sol Totes and Wristlets are affordable, durable, waterproof and easy to clean. And each can be customized with your choice of Fobbz or Mini Fobbz, colourful charms with a rivet in the back of the charm that plugs into the holes on all Optari products. More than 70 shapes, animals, sports, flowers, initials, and more make each bag personal, distinctive and just plain fun. Prices range from $9.99 for the wristlets to $29.99 for backpacks and the fobs are $4.99 each. They ship to Canada. www.optari.com

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