The A.V. Club’s 2012 surprisingly specific (and Milwaukee-centric) last-minute gift guide
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- Great job, Milwaukee! Milwaukee is one of the most romantic cities in the U.S., apparently
- Celebrate Valentine’s Day with A.V. Club Milwaukee’s “Love Stinks” week
- The A.V. Club’s 2012 Milwaukee New Year’s Eve bar guide
Scrooges rejoice: The onslaught of holiday cheer will soon be at an end. But before that day of crumpled wrapping paper and crushed dreams arrives, there are sure to be some last-minute gifts that unexpectedly pop up. Whether you’re giving because of a guilt of reciprocation or the random luck of a Secret Santa/White Elephant gift exchange, the easiest way to look good while having no idea what to get someone is to shop local. Prove you love Milwaukee by keeping these local businesses open until the end of the year.
For the mom too afraid to venture any further into the city than Bayshore Mall: Coffee table book from the John Michael Kohler Arts Center in Sheboygan
This is a double-down move—not only does it support a local business but it also supports local artists. Mom will leave it on her coffee table for the next year as a subtle hint to dad to sign up for that joint pottery class.
For the brother who insists he could have done a full flip off that bike ramp you built behind your parents’ house if you would have let him: Day pass to Ray’s Indoor Mountain Bike Park in Brown Deer
The time has come where most of the kids in the BMX generation are more likely to own a BMW instead. (On a related note, most kids know Tony Hawk as “that video game guy” rather than “that Thrasher guy.”) So let your brother relive his glory days by spending a day at this indoor bike park that simulates all the places it used to take hours to discover and lie about back in the day.
For the sister who buys better presents for her dogs than she does for you: Freeze-dried dog food combo pack from Fresh Is Best in Riverwest
Holidays are often associated with indulgence on rich foods, yummy candy, and whatever shows up in a gift basket at the office. Pets should have a chance to horn in on the action with this shop’s collection of healthy, fresh, and friendly alternatives to the stuff picked up at the local big box store.
For the dad who doesn’t realize drinking Pabst Blue Ribbon is cool nowadays: Six-pack of craft beer from Milwaukee Brewing Company in Walker’s Point
The spirit of Milwaukee’s brewing heritage lives on in the many craft breweries that have sprung up in recent years. Most cities also have plenty of brews, but Milwaukee’s history somehow makes beer taste better. The delicious concoctions like Louie’s Demise don’t need any help from the ghosts of Pabst and Schlitz, but if dad is getting wrecked on Christmas Day anyway, he might as well do it with the good stuff.
For the kid who is asking more questions about the Avengers than you can handle: Trade paperback from Lost World Of Wonders in Greenfield
Thanks to the pop-culture explosion of comic book movies, the comic book store isn’t the weird-smelling, lit-like-a-crypt experience it once was. Getting a kid their first comic book is still a great way to set them on a path of good reading scores—and with the nerds’ ascendant, the key to a life of carefree blogging and Internet celebrity.
For the college student who can’t make it down to IKEA (or afford the furniture there anyway): Rocket ship egg whisk from Hot Pop in the Third Ward
This Third Ward boutique offers plenty of quirky house wares for those gift receivers who recently moved out and don’t really need boring cookware. It’s also perfect for recent divorcees who didn’t pick up a spatula yet. The store also features decor from local designers that offer cool, new ways to make an apartment seem friendlier.
For the co-worker whose business cards you really admire (Look at that subtle off-white coloring. The tasteful thickness of it. Oh my God, it even has a watermark.): Business card case from Broadway Paper Company in the Third Ward
Business-related Christmas gifts are difficult, walking the line between an inside joke and the soulless plastic of a gift card. Broadway Paper offers many paper-related solutions thanks to the always-undying need for offices and paper products. The shop also features dozens of Christmas cards created by local designers, perfect for last-minute cards or early prep for next year’s holiday.