The Reverse Holiday Gift Guide

We asked seven local experts about holiday gifts to avoid — and what you should buy instead.

The Perfect Gift for the Foodie
with Leah Lizarondo, Brazen Kitchen

Don't Get: “A big gift basket with a bunch of commercial, processed, crappy food.”

Get: “I would rather get one small, or even homemade, little special thing. If you’re going to do a gift basket, put some thought into it — even put it together yourself.”

Shop At: In the Kitchen, 1725 Penn Ave., Strip District; 412/261-5513,

The Perfect Gift for the Music Lover
with Flick, 96.1 Kiss

Don't Get: CDs. “Mom, seriously, I have iTunes. If I want the newest album, I’m gonna download it.”

Get: “Box sets are always cool. You might have all those albums, but with a box set, you can display it in your living room — it becomes a conversation piece.”

Shop At: Dave’s Music Mine, 1210 E. Carson St., South Side; 412/488-8800,

The Perfect Gift for the Sports Fan
with Rob King, Root Sports

Don't Get: Sports team doormats. “Who wants their team to be a doormat? And who wants to wipe their feet on a team logo? That just seems disrespectful.”

Get: “I love old sports prints — a framed black-and-white photo.”

Shop At: Reich PM, 308 Castle Shannon Blvd., Mt. Lebanon; 412/343-2626,

The Perfect Gift for the Outdoor Enthusiast
with Rob Walters, Venture Outdoors

Don't Get: A fleece pullover. “They probably already have 12 of them.”

Get: “A way of capturing your time while you’re outdoors. Either a waterproof journal, or a waterproof camera — even a waterproof case for your cellphone.”

Shop At: REI, 412 S. 27th St., South Side; 412/488-9410,

The Perfect Gift for the History Buff
with Andy Masich, Sen. John Heinz History Center

Don't Get: A Civil War T-shirt or sweatshirt. “I wouldn’t even wear it to bed.”

Get: The Civil War in Pennsylvania: A Photographic History. “Our researchers found 300 photographs of the Civil War that have never been published before.”

Available At: Sen. John Heinz History Center, 1212 Smallman St., Strip District; 412/454-6374,

The Perfect Gift for the Kids
with Bill Schlageter, Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh

Don't Get: “Toys that are tall on packaging and short on content.”

Get: Sketch pad, modeling clay, puppets. “Any type of toy that’s going to stimulate curiosity and imagination.”

Shop At: Children’s Museum Store, 10 Children’s Way, North Side; 412/322-5058,

The Perfect Gift for the Pets
with Heather Blum, Petagogy

Don't Get: Processed treats. “If you don’t recognize an ingredient, it’s probably not the best thing to pick up.”

Get: Fling-ama-String. “It has this string that just keeps rotating round and round — cats love it.” GET DOGS: Fluff-n-Tuff. “Customers come back over and over again saying, ‘These are the only toys my dog hasn’t destroyed.’”

Both Available At: Petagogy, 5880 Ellsworth Ave., Shadyside; 412/362-7387,

Categories: Style