We may not have a Bloomingdale's, but Portland is one of only three cities in the whole country with a store completely devoted to the art of juggling. At Serious Juggling on Division, you can pick up a nifty beginner's set containing three high-quality beanbag balls and an instructional videotape. For your more advanced friends, or maybe that clown who used to hang out in your old neighborhood, you can buy anything from fire sticks to unicycles. And for folks you don't know very well, a set of spinning plates will set you back only five dollars.
Beginner's Jugging Set, $25.00 available at Serious Juggling, 5008 SE Division Street, 503-233-2577, www.seriousjuggling.com
Lock Pick Kit
Giving a friend the skill of lock picking is a gift that will, ahem, open a lot of doors. To get your friend started on his new hobby, show him how to make his very own skeleton key. Most padlocks have what are called "wards" that block the wrong key from releasing the "locking bolt." Overcome this by purchasing an everyday padlock and filing down all of the barbs and edges on the key--except those on the tip; these are necessary to click open the locking bolt--and voila. More sophisticated lock picks are necessary for more difficult locks.
Lock Pick Kit, starting at $9.95, lock-picks.com
Shot Glass Chess
How many times have you said about your friend fill in the blank, "My God, I wish that guy would do something besides drink?" While fill in the blank may not be ready to stop boozing, shot glass chess lets him drink while learning the militaristic strategies of chess. Each piece is a filled shot glass with the imprint of a pawn, knight, bishop or queen, and every time a player skillfully captures a piece, he must take a shot! A boon to poor players, a handicap to quality players; the drinking levels the playing field.
Shot Glass Chess, $55, www.drinkstuff.com
This novice taxidermy squirrel-mounting kit is perfect for anyone in search of a new skill. In just a few hours, anyone with a modicum of dexterity can mount and subsequently appreciate the beauty of a preserved squirrel in the privacy and comfort of home. Forever. This affordable kit comes with everything the burgeoning taxidermist needs to make a show. Who knows? A strategically bestowed present could land you a furry lamp or fluffy toothbrush holder next year.
Taxidermy Kit, $19, Van Dyke's Taxidermy (order by phone at 1-800-787-3355)