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Operation Santa: Seeking out the perfect gift

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Posted: Friday, December 13, 2013 7:26 am

Lodi News-Sentinel writers, editors and newsroom denizens have thought long and hard about their holiday wishlists. Here’s what we’re asking for this year.

Mark Godi, Staff Writer

Sega Genesis Classic Console, $39.99 at Target on Kettleman. This baby has 80 games pre-loaded onto it of just the right difficulty. The Sega Genesis Classic is perfect for a little bit of fun should I have some downtime here or there. Alterd Beast anyone?

Round of golf at Micke Grove Golf Links, 11401 N. Micke Grove Road, Lodi. $29 walking (Open-11 a.m.) I’m not a very good golfer, but enjoy playing once every couple of months. The course holds a special place in my heart because my best round ever (88) was shot there.

Dinner date at Pietro’s, $40-60 for two, 317 E. Kettleman Lane, Lodi. The wife and I don’t get many nights without our little ones, so a restaurant dinner is always a treat. Gnocchi is my favorite.

Operation Santa: Seeking out the perfect gift

Double Cross: The True Story of the D-Day Spies by Ben McIntyre, $12.86 at Barnes & Noble in Stockton. I enjoyed reading McIntyre earlier book Operation Mincemeat: How a Dead Man and a Bizarre Plan Fooled the Nazis and Assured an Allied Victory. It’s a gripping non-fiction piece that will leave you astonished at just kind of trickery, and luck, went into fooling Hitler.

Operation Santa: Seeking out the perfect gift

I have hated wearing beanies since childhood . This is troublesome for someone covering Friday night football. A few years ago I found a black Smartwool beanie at Stockton Golf and Country Club and was in love. The weight of it and texture were perfect. I wore that thing all winter, until it got lost. (Smartwool Cuffed Beanie, $28)

Maggie Creamer, Staff

Operation Santa: Seeking out the perfect gift

As I dive more and more into artisan coffee, I’ve realized it’s time to step up my home brewing system. The Chemex Coffee Maker removes much of the bitterness from coffee and you can also buy natural filter paper. ($39.95, Peet’s Coffee & Tea, 5765 Pacific Ave., Stockton)

Operation Santa: Seeking out the perfect gift

Since moving to the Central Valley, I have become more aware of the idea of eating seasonally. This Eat Local calendar by Bay Area Maria Schoettler could be a little reminder on what to look for either at the store or the farmer’s market. ($34, General Store)

Operation Santa: Seeking out the perfect gift

For the holidays, I usually ditch the big-box stores, and one of the things I am always looking for is sustainably made and ethically sourced gifts. I frequently shop at Zanzibar Trading Company in Sacramento, and they recently had my favorite bicycle earrings. I lost one of my last pair, so I can always use backups. ($8, Zanzibar, 1731 L St., Sacramento)

Operation Santa: Seeking out the perfect gift

I love cheese. It pairs with wine, it pairs with beer, it pairs with water. I love it on crackers, bread or just on its own. But yet, I don’t really know much about it. So I’d love to take a class on the basics at Cheese Central with Cindy Della Monica. (Cheese 101, $25, gift certificates available, 11 N. School St.)

And if I’m going to have cheese, I might as well also grab a bottle of wine to go with it. I’ve recently been stocking my cabinets with Jeremy Wine Co. wine, but you can never have too much wine, right? One of the winery’s newest, The Lady, is delicious red blend of petite verdot, petite sirah and cabernet sauvignon. (The Lady Red, $25, 6 W. Pine St., Lodi).

Operation Santa: Seeking out the perfect gift

I’ve been swooning over purses by Katie Henry on Instagram. She crafts leather purses in Philadelphia and sells them in her online shop, MadebyHank. I love the idea that she makes each one by hand. (The leather flap crossbody in deep blue woven ikat, $75,

Pam Bauserman, Features Editor

If you love jewelry, specifically Brighton jewelry, you can buy charms that can fit on their necklaces or bracelets. I’m a singer so an ABC sing-along charm is just for me. This particular charm runs about $10 on the Brighton website. You may also be able to find what you are looking for at Spectator on Kettleman Lane.

Operation Santa: Seeking out the perfect gift

I heard about a book from a Facebook friend that sounds inspiring. It is a real-life story of a 4-year-old boy who slips from consciousness during an emergency surgery and enters heaven. He ends up living to tell about it. The book is called, “Heaven is for Real,” by Todd Burpo. You can find it at Vine and Branches for $17.99.

Operation Santa: Seeking out the perfect gift

Do you ever have to run out of the house quickly but don’t want to carry your big purse? This has happened to me a few times when all I want to carry around is an ID, some cash and my phone. This is where a cellphone wristlet will come in handy. Fashion Safari has some for $24.

Operation Santa: Seeking out the perfect gift

Sometimes scooping ice cream out of the carton can be difficult. To scoop out your treat with ease, try getting a heavy duty ice cream scoop. These can be found at Lodi Cooks starting at $8.99 and up.

Operation Santa: Seeking out the perfect gift

Whether you are having a winter or a summer party, you may need an appetizer tray. There is one at Lodi Cooks called Appetizer on ice. In the summer you can put ice in the center to keep meats or cheeses cool. These run about $40.99.

Sara Jane Pohlman, Lodi Living Editor

Operation Santa: Seeking out the perfect gift

I spent hours this summer planting flowers and building my own planter box for the front porch of my apartment. Too bad I’m awful with plants and they all died withing two weeks. Maybe this indoor potted bamboo tree plant ($16.95, Weigum’s Nursery) will last a bit longer.

Operation Santa: Seeking out the perfect gift

Fiesty fighter Katniss Everdeen looks great in the Hunger Games films as played by Jennifer Lawrence, but I prefer her darker, more dynamic portrayal in the original story by Suzanne Collins. The trilogy comes in a hardcover box set for $29.98 on

Even though the final book was released over six years ago, I still wish I could have attended Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry with Harry, Ron and Hermione. With an authentic Ravenclaw House sweater and tie, I can at least pretend to be a student at the coolest school that never was. ($99.95,

Operation Santa: Seeking out the perfect gift

I love warm shoes I can slip on and off easily to make a run out to the truck, or to wear around my apartment. These Minnetonka faux fur lined moccasins look perfect. ($36.95,

Operation Santa: Seeking out the perfect gift

I don’t care if they are trendy, I’ve wanted a North Face fleece pullover for years. Cozy warm and easy to layer with jeans (also known as my daily uniform). This plum style is $55 at

Operation Santa: Seeking out the perfect gift

I’m no Martha Stewart, but I like to get crafty now and again. Bunches of Beads, a beadworking store in Downtown Lodi, offers gift certificates for classes on making resin jewelry or using a soldering iron. (Prices vary).

Kyla Cathey, News Editor

I’m a cat lady, so I always like gifts for my cats — or at least gifts that are somehow cat-related. And I always end up doing some dog- related shopping for my sisters.

Here are some ideas if you’re shopping for a cat lover:

Operation Santa: Seeking out the perfect gift

A cat tree gives cats somewhere to play and hide out, and if they’re good kitties, something to scratch besides the couch. There are a bunch of great choices in a range of prices over at Discount Pet, 1411 S. Stockton St., and Robinson’s Feed, 1150, E. Victor Road. They also have dozens of great toy options.

Operation Santa: Seeking out the perfect gift

One of the many hilarious shirts or totes from Cat vs. Human. My favorite? A Cats > You iPhone case for $17.

For more cute cat-related apparel, try Pusheen’s Marshmallow Nap, Baker Pusheen and Classic Pusheen T-shirts, $24 each, and plenty more at Hey Chickadee.

Looking for dog gear?

Operation Santa: Seeking out the perfect gift

Head back to Discount Pet or Robinson’s and pick up a Kong or Kong Wubba. They come in a range of sizes, colors and patterns and are virtually indestructible.

While you’re there, look for a fleece-lined dog bed to keep your furry pals warm through the cold nights we’ve been having lately.

Operation Santa: Seeking out the perfect gift

Hop on the Internet and go to Dog Is Good to find all kinds of doggie goodness, from toys for the pups to clothing for the humans. The “I Like Big Mutts” T-shirt will get a giggle, on sale for $12.99.

And while their merchandise isn’t necessarily pet-related, you might be able to make some good Christmas finds and help pets at the same time by heading over to Wags to Riche$, a thrift store run by PALS, at 101 E. Pine St.

Rich Hanner, Editor

I’ve seen bonafide contractors and handypeople tote along music boxes.

Operation Santa: Seeking out the perfect gift

Jobsite radio” is the common term.

So why shouldn’t a clueless fixer-upper wannabe like me be able to listen to tunes while I hammer, drill, saw or otherwise destroy things?

I may not know much about building and fixing stuff. But I do know Bosch is a good name. German engineering and all that. So my wish is for this sound machine that looks as tough as the blackbox on a Boeing 747.

I mean, the description says it comes in a “rubber/aluminum roll cage.”

How cool is that?

Plus, this baby has both 14.4 and 18 V power outlets. It includes a powered USB port. And get, this: It will play most SD/MMC cards and USB mass storage devices.

Do I know what any of that means?


I just want this. I want it bad. ($139 at Lowe’s.)



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