Life Arts

Thinking Outside the Holiday Gift Box: A Baker's Dozen Unique Ideas

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But while this video may not portray real farm machinery, it IS real animation! Extraordinary animation, in fact. And if there's any question about whether we create our own reality or not, this seems to answer the query succinctly and affirmatively.

"Digitally Obsessed" reviewer Dan Lopez says, "Almost hypnotically, the videos undoubtedly will draw almost anyone into them. You'll want to spy just how a certain instrument functions, or how realistically it vibrates or operates. The little details pile up to a bewildering technical achievement."

Aqua-Harp by Animusic

Clips have appeared in news shows on PBS and CNN.

Animusic's third DVD has just been released. It includes previously released animations re-rendered in full HD (Blu-ray) along with bonus material: interviews, slide shows, set construction shorts, and more, and is bound to captivate anyone on your gift list, especially animation fans, kids, parents, grandparents, musicians, home theater enthusiasts, teachers, gamer or anyone intrigued by the unique.

Cathedral evironment for Mussorgsky's "Pictures at an Exhibition" by Animusic

Shop and see clips at

Assorted holiday confections by The Royal Chocolate by Meryl Ann Butler

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13. No One Knows The Truffles I've Seen

If all else fails, there's always chocolate. The Royal Chocolate offers an assortment of delights, including their signature product: handmade Belgian chocolate caramel apples in 12 gourmet flavors plus a rotating seasonal flavor. Every apple is layered with caramel, and various types of chocolate, along with nuts, spices and other delectable condiments. Each finished apple is a lovely work of art that theoretically serves 4-6, but it's easy to imagine eating a whole one!

Gourmet Caramel Apples by The Royal Chocolate by Meryl Ann Butler

 Founded 4 years ago by Brenda Tusing and Terry Restin, The Royal Chocolate has just won the Retailer of the Year award for their large region in Virginia.

  "I am a woman of many moods, and they all require Chocolate."

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If you are lucky enough to live in or visit the Virginia Beach area, you can sit by their cozy fireplace and sip a cup of their signature Maya Spicy Hot Chocolate" m-m-m-m, a delightful surprise of Mayan spices enveloped in sultry richness, it was the best hot chocolate I've ever tasted!   It is also available as a powdered mix and can shipped, along with many of their products. They ship seasonally. Shop at

Out-of-the-box thinking makes holiday giving more fun for everyone, so fill your season with some fun and quirky surprises!


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Meryl Ann Butler is an artist, author, educator and OpedNews Managing Editor who has been actively engaged in utilizing the arts as stepping-stones toward joy-filled wellbeing since she was a hippie. She began writing for OpEdNews in Feb, 2004. She became a Senior Editor in August 2012 and Managing Editor in January, (more...)

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