Design  |  Features

2013 Gift Guide for City Dwellers

December 5, 2013  |  2:23pm

Living in a city isn’t easy: the five flights of stairs you need to trek to get to your apartment in that charming pre-war walk-up your broker couldn’t say enough nice things about, the bus and two trains you need to take during your hour and a half commute to work, the (nine times out of ten) furry, unexpected house guests that greeted you at midnight last night. Sometimes it feels like urban living is one curve ball after the other.

You might not be able to change the city you—or your city dwelling friend—live in, but this holiday season, you can definitely help make life in the big city a little bit easier. The following ten items were chosen with one aspect of the difficulties of city living in mind.

It could be the lack of trees that is making you nostalgic for yours days back in that small town you grew up in in Maine, the fatal marriage of wind and rain that keeps seeping through your backpack when you’re on your way to work and ruining all of your belongings, or the taxis that won’t stop honking their horns when you’re trying to concentrate — each of these gifts were chosen as a solution to a problem.

10. The Pebble Watch – $150

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Save yourself some trouble—and avoid “apple pickers” a.k.a. smart phone thieves with a smart watch. The Pebble Watch forwards texts right to your wrist and is compatible with apps. Give your city-dweller friend the gift of easing their paranoia in a crowd. The Pebble is also ideal for anyone who has ever fatally left their phone in the back of a taxi.

9. Bushmills x Grado Labs Headphones – $395
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One of the worst parts of living in a city is the noise. Whether you’re dealing with the repercussions of deciding to move in above an Irish pub or are plagued by nightly sirens that never seem to end, headphones will come in handy. These headphones by Grado Labs and Bushmills are made from recycled whiskey barrels and designed in part by actor Elijiah Woods. Perfect for the whiskey-loving urbanite with a LOTR obsession.

8. Fresh Fox Portable Hand Sanitizer – $5
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When you’re spending all day on the bus or the subway, gripping greasy handrails thousands of others have touched, you’re going to want some hand sanitizer. Portable hand sanitizer disguised as a seemingly sedated and yet endearing little fox in a scarf, is practically made to be a stocking stuffer.

7. Felix Rey Bubble umbrella – $65

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The bubble umbrella is perfect if you’re walking through large groups of people in the rain. You bump into someone with a bubble umbrella? The sanctity of your umbrella-space is still preserved. They’re also sturdier than the average, which means a gust of wind won’t upturn it, and you won’t stab a stranger in the eye with an errant metal rod. This Felix Rey version complete with a giant kissy face is the perfect novelty accessory for a rainy day. Even if you’re blocks from home and miserable — no one will ever suspect.

6. Slide Frame Case for iPhone

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Whether you’re working with a Charlie card or Metro card, they get lost. While an iPhone wallet case poses some risks (e.g. if someone’s going for your phone, they’ll get your whole wallet along with it as a bonus), an iPhone card case is all pragmatism. You’re probably holding your phone on your way onto the train anyway. Now your card’s right there. Functionality meets floral print in this version by Vera Bradley{device}&mr:adType={adtype}&origin=pla&gclid=CPvglrqilbsCFYWDQgodUS0AVA.

5. Timbuk2 Custom Messenger Bag – $189

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The city dweller is often a commuter and commuting usually means lugging things back and forth. That said, backpacks often are an inconvenience, especially in large groups of people. In situations like these, a messenger bag like this one from Timbuk2 goes a long way. It was invented by a former bike messenger and can be customized right down to the color of the binding. It even includes a special pocket for laptops and tablets.

Q&A A Day Notebook – $17

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Metropolises are notoriously ripe for writers—cities inspire, get the creative juices flowing. Why not have a notebook as creatively styled as the thoughts you’re putting inside of it? The Q&A A Day notebook from Anthropologie asks daily questions that prompt journal entries, like, “How happy are you?” or “What’s the most expensive thing you’ve bought this week?” Whether it’s a description of the strange man you saw on the subway or that genius idea for a new iPhone app that popped in your head, sometimes you just have to write something down. This quirky take on the classic journal is the ideal time capsule for capturing a year-or-so of living in the big city.

3. Mophie Juice Pack – $69.95

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The Urbanite needs their phone. They’re constantly using Hopstop, GoogleMaps, and listening to music so they don’t have to talk to people they pass on the street. All this phone use drains a lot of battery. So, save your metropolitan friend (or yourself!) a trip to a coffee shop for the sole purpose of charging their phone and get them a Juice Pack, a protective phone case with a built in battery pack that gives your phone up to an 80 percent longer battery life.

2. Zombie-arium – $145
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It depends on the city, but many of them are lacking a lot of green. After years of city life, the cosmopolitan person may only vaguely remember what an abundance of nature actually looks like. The Zombie-arium is a pint-sized moss garden in a jar complete with a very tiny zombie, and is a whimsical blend of fantasy and greenery. DIY terrariums are also available, if you prefer a less gory nature story.

1. iWavecube – $105

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Living in a city often means living in small quarters. As in, your sink may be in your shower, and your bed may fold out of the wall, small quarters. Extra appliances like microwaves often take up too much space and are either foregone, or put in unconventional places. The iWavecube is less than a foot wide, and does away with that problem. Now you can zap those frozen dinners to your heart’s content, and never have to worry that you’re taking up too much counter space.

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