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Black Friday: Magazines do legwork for shoppers

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Published:   |   Updated: March 14, 2013 at 01:47 AM
TAMPA -

Perhaps you already finished your holiday shopping list.

But it's a good guess more than a few families are asking, "OK, what the heck are we getting Dad this year?"

After scouring the retail market, consider this advice: Seek out the gift lists in good magazines.

They spend all year assembling fantastic lists based on their target audience — Field & Stream vs. Real Simple — and organize items into categories like "50 under $50," or "Gifts for the crafty tween."

The print versions are easiest, though many magazines have online versions, too.

Here's a sample of the best we found:

1) ShopSmart: Produced by the relentlessly objective people who produce Consumer Reports, this magazine leans more feminine and focuses on shopping. Lists this year include: "Gifts that give all year," like a membership at FilmMovement.com, which ships DVDs fresh from the film festivals, or ForTheMakers.com, which sends a craft/fashion kit once a month. There's also a category listing gifts that give money to charity with each purchase, like GiftsThatGive.com Christmas ornaments and Proctor Silex juicers.

2) Real Simple: The gold standard among millions of American women. The whopper holiday edition includes pages of funky gifts for guys, like a hand-crank radio and tough-yet-soft cashmere gloves. There's a page of items for crafty tween girls, like how to bedazzle their iPod earphone cables, and a great list of DIY projects to give, such as jars of spice-infused olives and the Italian joy Limoncello). Real Simple also picked up a hugely popular columnist, Catherine Newman, to write a question-and-answer column and has a well-researched list of charities for holiday giving to support causes such as clean water, the arts and disaster relief.

3) Wired App Guide: We recommend actually buying this issue for the iPad or iPhone fanatic in your life, along with an iTunes gift card. There are 413 reviewed apps in a wild variety of topics. Calendars & Scheduling, Cocktail Recipes, Music Discovery, Household Chore-Tracking for kids, TV Streaming, Video Games and finally Sleep Aids.

4) Garden & Gun: A magazine for those who live stylishly outdoors and occasionally shoot things — but only in the finest hunting garb. The December issue features a "Made in the South" section with fascinating items like handmade wooden rockers from Alabama, Cobra Rocks Boots from our favorite Texas town, Marfa, Nelson's small-batch bourbon from Tennessee and vintage road sign creations from Nashville.

5) The Simple Things: A sharp-yet-cozy new magazine "celebrating the things that matter most." Issue No. 2 has holiday gift pages that include funky items like boiled egg holders, an "Odd Couple" bench with two back styles on the same bench and retro-style water glasses that look they are made from wine bottles.


rmullins@tampatrib.com (813) 259-7919 Twitter: @DailyDeadline

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