CATALYST Gift Guide 2011

November 30, 2011

Jonathan Abbott

A compendium of ideas for those who don’t enjoy the simple pleasantries afforded by mainstream consumerism.

Every family has those people who are uncharacteristically difficult to shop for. They either seem to have everything in the world, or never know what they want. Some people just don’t enjoy the simple pleasantries afforded by mainstream consumerism.

As Joseph Campbell famously said, “Follow your bliss.” Help those on your gift-giving list to follow their bliss, too. Here are a few suggestions.

Cold-weather friends

Snowshoes—Wasatch Touring, $100-$300

702 E. 100 South. 359-9361. 

With the countless mountains and snow filled canyons surrounding the Salt Lake Valley, it’s hard not to go explore on a snowshoe hike. Check out for all sorts of snowshoe info (routes, tips, guides, etc).

Panda Poles—$85

For a great alternative to the standard aluminum or carbon fiber ski/snowshoe poles, consider bamboo. Designed by Utah’s own Tanner Rosenthal, and custom-built for you!

Ice Skating at Gallivan Ice Rink—Gallivan Center, $8. 36 East 200 South. 535-6117.

The merry men (and women)

These people love good conversation, and what livens up a conversation better than an adult beverage? Food, friends, family and a merry time is what these people are looking for.

High West Distillery Whiskey & Tour—High West Distillery, $30-$130. Free tours daily and a fine selection of whisky and vodka in downtown Park City. 703 Park Ave, Park City, UT 84060. 435-649-8300. Also available liquor stores

Beer Brewing Kit—The Beer Nut, $85-$300. A true beer drinker must sometimes foray into the realm of brewing to fully appreciate his or her favorite beverage

1200 South State Street. 531-8182.

Epic Beer + Cheese Tasting—Viking Cooking School. Wine and cheese is the traditional pairing, but Salt Lake City’s Epic Brewing Co. (awarded a top 5 place among new international brewers by suggests pairing cheese with wine. 2233 S. 300 East. 464-0113.

Gift Card to Squatters/Red Rock/Wasatch—

Squatter’s: 300 South 147 East, 363-2739, Red Rock: 254 South 200 West, 521-7446,

Utah-made wine from Castle Creek Winery—Believe it or not, you can order online—or buy it in liquor/wine stores, too, of course. 435-259-3332.

Food/wine classes through U of U Lifelong Learning

One of the best ways to get closer to the food you love is to learn how to make it. Classes on artisan bread baking, eating local, wine making, raw foods, green tea, cooking without a book, and many more!

Gift card to a great restaurant—Here are some of our favorites:

Pago: 878 S. 900 Ea, 532-0777,

Tin Angel: 365 W. 400 South, 328-4155,

Oasis Cafe: 151 S. 500 East, 322-0404,

Takashi: 18 Market Street, 519-9595,

Red Iguana: 736 West North Temple, 322-1489,

The Paris Resaurant/Bistro, 1500 South 1500 East, 486-5585,

The Copper Onion: 111 E. Broadway, 355-3282,

Knife kit or sharpening—Lorenz, $1.50-$15. If you wonder what this is doing in the food and drink section, you’re probably not a cook. Good cooks need sharp knives. And, ideally, someone else to do the sharpening. Take your personal chef’s here, and return them (quickly) with a bow. 213 E. 300 South . 363-2821.

Sweet Tooth

The holidays are extra sweet for these people, considering chocolate and candies are one of their favorite things.

Caputo’s Fine European Chocolate Tasting Class—Caputo’s Market and Deli, $25. Chocolate is no laughing matter, refine your taste. 300 S. 314 West, 1516 S. 1500 East, 215 South Central Campus Drive. 531-TONY, 486-6615, 583-8801.

Amano Chocolate and Factory Tour—Amano’s Chocolate. Buy online or at local delis and groceries. Or drive to Orem where the chocolate is made.

Red Desert delicacies—Red Desert Candy Company Can buy delicacies from this Torrey confectionary on their website or at local candy shops. 435-491-0017.

Musician/Music Lover

IOU for specific artist or season tickets to Red Butte Garden—Red Butte Garden

Justifiably renowned Red Butte Concert Series offers great bands, a great location and a guaranteed good time each and every summer. Single Tickets: $35-$70; annual garden membership ($35-$120) includes concert ticket purchase privileges. 300 Wakara Way.

CD Of The Month Club—KRCL, $240 or $480 (6 month or 12 month). Get the inside scoop on the latest bands in the indie world thanks to Salt Lake’s esteemed public radio station, KRCL.Must donate online to receive.

Music lessons—Acoustic Music

They also offer the best selection of acoustic guitars, mandolins, ukuleles and other folk instruments, as well as sheet music, tablature books and anything you could possibly need for your acoustic folk instrument. 847 East 400 South. 531-7066

Buy a performance!—Idlewild Performing Group

Idlewild performs traditional Celtic music in duo, trio, quartet, quintet or up to seven person group. They’re great fun at a music lover’s party.

Green Thumb

Red Butte Garden season pass (see what’s in season, take workshops), annual garden membership $35-$120.

Indoor/Outdoor Mushroom Patches—Fungi Perfecti, $25. An easy way to get lots of fresh mushrooms fast.

Bonsai Tree Kit—Paradise Palm: $30-$70. Continue gardening even in the winter; learn how to maintain a Japanese bonsai tree. Comes with video, handbook.

307 E. 300 South . 582-3212

Sustainability classes—U of U Lifelong Learning. Give the gift of bee keeping, botany for gardeners, raise poultry, furniture refinishing, irrigation, maximizing your garden, native plant propagation, vegetable gardening basics, the urban homestead and more!


Salvia Divinorum Kit—Elemental Inspirations. 2152 Highland Drive, 433-2280

If an intense psychospiritual journey is needed to jumpstart some change in your life, this central Mexican herb may be of service. Research advised.

Telluride Mushroom Festival admission—Register your adventurous friend (and yourself, while you’re at it) for the 2012 gathering of mycologists from around the country. August 16-19, 2012. Earlybird discount rate: $150.

Books by Terence McKenna or Alan Watts—Golden Braid: 151 S. 500 East, 322-1162,

Classes for dance fanatics

RDT Community School: Modern, zumba, African, ballroom, flamenco, prime movement. 138 W. Broadway, 297-4241,

Dance Crew: From ballet to break-dancing. 55 North Redwood Rd Ste. L, 718-7940,

DF Dance: Latin, ballroom, salsa, hiphop, swing and more. 2978 S. State St, 466-0490,

Health & Wellbeing

Tai Chi—Red Lotus School of Movement. Tai Chi is a great way to gain both mental and physical strength while relieving stress in an ancient fashion. Also offer classes on Wing Chun.

740 S 300 West, 355-6375,

Ayurveda—Shiva Centre. Benefit from this ancient Indian health system. From consultations to cooking. 2065 E. 2100 South, 485-5933,

Massage—Healing Mountain Massage School Clinic & Spa. Affordable student massages; how about a four-handed massage? Only $45. 363 S. 500 East Suite 210, 355-6300,

Brain Development Programs and Music—Advanced Brain Technologies

Programs include relaxation techniques, exercises to improve mental awareness,  and many more. A national company based in Ogden, Utah.

Gift certificates for fresh juice—Blue Star Juice and Espresso Bar

435 S. 400 West, 2795 S. 2300 East, 466-4280,

Omni Blender—This 3-horsepower machine with its seven year warranty could make anyone’s day better, starting with a breakfast smoothie.

Fashionista wanna-be’s

Maybe your woefully underdressed friend just needs a little shove in the right direction.

Pib’s Exchange Gift Card—Great place to purchase lightly worn fashionable clothes and costumes for your classy events.. 2310 S. 1147 East, 484-7996,

Hemp & organic clothes—Earth Goods General Store has a generous selection. 1249 South 900 East, 746-4410,

Session with a stylist—Intuition Image Styling, Auretha Callison. Check out her website—she may be just what’s needed to help your friend express her (or his) most authentic and powerful inner self. 694-8092.

Made with love

Worldly treasures—You can shop for hours in these stores, for handmade and native crafts to adorn a favored one’s body, shelf or wall.

Ten Thousand Villages: 1941 South 1100 East Suite1945, 485-8827,

Dancing Cranes Imports: 673 Simpson Avenue, 486-1129,

Global Village SLC: 400 South 361 West, 355-8500,


Tickets to Sundance Film Festival—The largest independent film festival in the world takes over Park City and many theaters in SLC and Ogden each January, bringing actors, producers, directors and possibly your lucky giftee to enjoy the mountains of Utah.

Purchase online at or look to local retailers like Trolley Square and the Tower Theater.

Utah Film Center membership—$30 and up. While most UFC films are free (most often shown at the Main Library), membership includes tickets to special showings, access to the film center lending library and the knowledge that you’re helping support what’s become a venerable institution in Salt Lake City and beyond. 746-7000,

Salt Lake Film Society membership—$50 and up. Our fave: the Chronik for two. $500 gets you both free admission to any Broadway or Tower Theatre film, including popcorn, and two Sundance admissions.

Gift cards for movies/dinner/drinks at Brewvies Cinema Pub—Purchase at location. 677 South 200 West, 355-5500,

Jonathan Abbott is a student at the University of Utah and an intern at CATALYST this semester.

Be a holiday catalyst: Locals share their Christmas ideas 

by Julie Hirschi

Saving money, supporting local businesses, giving back to the community and leaving less of an impact on the environment are all reasons that many people want to do something a little different this holiday season. By forgoing malls, parking lots and the frenzy of gift giving, many Utahns are choosing a less stressful way to give gifts this year.

“I do nearly 90% of my gift acquisition through an art and craft exchange started three years ago in reaction to Black Friday. Everybody brings hand crafted stuff and trades for gifts, everything from preserves and chocolates, all the way up to fine art, jewelry, glass, sewing, knitting—just about everything.”

 —Jodi Rusho, Salt Lake City

“We plan to spend less and encourage homemade gifts. Homemade gifts encourages real thought and planning plus the opportunity for more love to go into it.”

 —Kristyan Williams, Bountiful, 

“Instead of giving us a gift this year, our kids are to spend that money to go do a service for someone else, like Sub For Santa. Then they are to write a letter, or have the grandkids draw a picture, showing what they did and how they felt about it. That’s what we’ll open on Christmas.” 

—Dinah Svedin, West Jordan

“I’m doing recycling and reusing stuff for my Christmas gifts. I am using natural aluminum soda cans to make book marks and just use a lot of whatever I have around here and creating it into art. Reused, up-cycled, functional art, that’s what I call it.” 

—Bonnie Chapline, Salt Lake City