2013 gift guide: Experiences
Lindy and Grundy classes
For anyone who's ever fantasized about being a butcher — or at least wanted to know more about making sausage or where those various cuts of meat originate — Lindy & Grundy, 801 N. Fairfax Ave. in L.A., offers a variety of classes. Whether it's basics like Poultry 101, Going Whole Hog or Sausage-Making, or an extensive Apprentice Program, there's something for everyone who loves meat. Prices from $100 to $750, at lindyandgrundy.com.
Knife sharpening and classes
Give Jonathan Broida of Japanese Knife Imports in Venice two hours and he can teach almost anyone some respectable knife-sharpening skills. And you can bring your own knives and stones too. Sign your giftee up for a class after the new year (right now Broida and his wife are busy having their first baby). From $150 at Japanese Knife Imports, 1501 Main St., No. 105, Venice, (310) 399-0300, JapaneseKnifeImports.com.
Wright weekend escape
The Frank Lloyd Wright Preservation Trust, the nonprofit that manages some of the famed architect's most noteworthy buildings, will celebrate the 125th anniversary of the Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio in Oak Park, Ill. Splurge and send your architecture buff to the All Wright 2014 Housewalk, and he or she will get a peek inside the house as well as at least 10 other Wright buildings in the Chicago area, including the Rookery, Unity Temple and the landmark Frederick C. Robie House. One-day walk is $125; a four-day "ultimate plus" package that includes additional receptions, outings, three nights' lodging, dinner in a Wright house and a private tour of the Robie House is $2,850. And, yes, the event does sell out. flwright.org.
The setting above the Pacific in Malibu is gorgeous, the food is delicious and there are workout opportunities all day. But at the Biggest Loser Resort, there's encouragement more than competition, more spa than boot camp. Companions who might not need to lose weight but want to shape up are welcome too. $2,995 per week (other packages available), at biggestloserresort.com.
Jam of the Month Club
What says love quite like a jar of Sqirl jam in your mailbox each month for a year? Find out which month the mind-blowing Blenheim apricot jam is set to be delivered and wangle yourself a breakfast invitation. $180 for a year, $90 for six months and $60 for four months at sqirlla.com or at the restaurant, 720 N. Virgil Ave., Los Angeles, (323) 284-8127.
Don't know your band saw from your panel saw from your compound miter saw? The 1-year-old Community Woodshop in Glassell Park is a shop class for adults. Gift memberships provide experienced DIYers access to cool equipment; gift certificates for classes help newbies get up to speed. "We walk you through the most common cuts and what each machine can do," organizer Scott Stevens said. Workshops cover making cutting boards, spice racks, end tables, foot stools, modular shelving and more. $100 to $350. 2558 N. San Fernando Road, Los Angeles, communitywoodshopla.com.
After a season of pies and cakes and other diet-wreckers, a class in raw food could put 2014 on the right track. Classes at Matthew Kenney Culinary in Santa Monica emphasize organic, unprocessed, plant-based foods. Topics include raw food basics, chocolate, sushi and fermented foods. Weekend workshops, $575; three-hour classes, $175, at matthewkenneycuisine.com.
It's too bad we can't give our loved ones happiness, but a subscription to the meditation app Headspace can at least provide what it calls "a gym membership for the mind." Science backs up the value of meditation too. Co-founder Andy Puddicome provides downloadable guided meditations daily, and there are plenty of extras, such as reminders to be mindful. From $44.85 after a free trial, at getsomeheadspace.com.
The Tasteful Pantry takes the label reading out of the equation for people on gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan or other special diets with a specialty subscription service that will customize its boxes of chips, nuts, cookies and other treats. Good as a gift to a college student who might otherwise make less terrific snack choices. There's also a more indulgent one-time holiday box. $21.99 per month, or $22.99 for a single box, at tastefulpantry.com.