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Gifts for your co-workers, cousins and compatriots

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Kurt Armstrong

Buying gifts for co-workers, cousins and friends can be tricky—and easily overlooked. But they shouldn't. Here's the deal: if it's a person with whom you regularly drink beers, run trails or see movies with, you should probably buy her a modest present. Similarly, if it's someone you know will buy a gift for you, then definitely anticipate and preemptively return the favor. Limiting gift-giving to $50 is reasonable; spending more can overstate your relationship, and make the recipient feel awkward. Often, a $5 to $15 gift will suffice for that friendly acquaintance or close-ish cousin.

For a woman friend, think useful, day-to-day, fun items. Bike commuter, or just bike-curious? Try the bright and easily rechargeable Blackburn Flea 2.0 USB bike light ($30, Hutch's Bicycle Store, 725 NW Columbia or 820 NE 3rd St.); they come in an array of fun colors and are easy to swap from bike to bike. A red-flashing rear light is also a thoughtful gift ($25 Blackburn Voyager 2.0 at Hutch's). While you're in the bike shop, pick up a bell, too (prices vary).

If your pal is a coffee drinker (pretty likely), keep her on the good stuff with a bag of local coffee beans ($12-$14, Backporch, Lone Pine, Strictly Organic and Thump all do a fine job, and Palate sells Portland's delicious Stumptown beans). The AeroPress is a quick, easy and clean way to make a fantastic cup of coffee for one ($29.99 at Newport Market, 1121 NW Newport Ave.). A glass Bodum Bistro Teapot makes a handy gift for coffee and tea drinkers alike ($40 at Ginger's Kitchenware, 375 SW Powerhouse Dr.). And can anyone really have enough mugs or water bottles? (Answer: No!) Treat her to the best insulated (and locally made) vessel on the market—the Hydro Flask 18-ounce wide mouth bottle with handy Flip Lid ($23.99, hydroflask.com and various locations in town).

Since we live in the Land of Microbrews, a tasty specialty beer is a smart choice (various prices, great selection at The Brew Shop, 1203 NE 3rd St.). But wait! Is she gluten free? Better get a bottle of vino instead. Try the 2012 Malbec from Maragas Winery ($25, at local grocers and at maragaswinery.com). If booze doesn't seem appropriate (Mormons, minors and AA members, for example), flowers pep up the holidays and homes (beautiful bouquets start at $35, Donner Flower Shop, 605 NW Newport Ave.).

For the reader, go with a book from one of the many award-winning authors who has either visited Bend or is scheduled to do so soon: Cheryl Strayed (Wild), Rebecca Skloot (The Immortal Life of Hernietta Lacks), or Sherman Alexie (The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian) (generally $25 and under at Dudley's BookShop Café, 135 NW Minnesota Ave.).

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