BLAC's picks of gifts that recall the past, anticipate the future, or live smack in the moment.
Detroit History Tours Gift Certificate, $25-$500
Have you got a history buff in the family? Better still, a history buff that loves Detroit? Then we've got the perfect gift for you. Up to 18 months after date of purchase, she can choose between The Detroit History Club's slew of walking and bus tours, like The Golden Era of the Automobile Tour or Felonies and Misdemeanors: The Detroit Cops and Mobsters Tour.
African Ancestry Gift Certificate, $25-$299
Give the gift of identity this holiday season. This genealogy research company uses DNA to trace a single lineage not just back to Africa, but more often than not, they can pinpoint your country and tribe of origin. Check out BLAC's profile of the company in our November issue. With your generosity, he can order an ancestry test kit or some dope heritage-inspired merch, like a T-shirt, an Africa-shaped necklace or a journal.
Defining Moments in Black History: Reading Between the Lies, $10.99-$13.74, Amazon
In this best-selling book, writer, comedian and lifelong civil rights activist Dick Gregory offers his candid – and often humorous – take on the key moments that dog-eared black history, from the Dred Scott decision, to the Harlem Renaissance and beyond. This is just right for that aunt who likes her history lessons stuffy-free, to the point, inspiring, entertaining and, most importantly, from someone who represents our perspective.
Vintage Belt, $28, Lost & Found Vintage, Royal Oak
This beaded belt of metal is perfect for your fashion girl. Circa 1980s, it's unique, but because everything comes back around, it still feels fresh and fun. She can pull it through the loops of her favorite jeans or add a little something to that dress that's just begging for a statement something.
Tandem Skydiving Jump, $159, Groupon
Maybe she's always been the daredevil of the group, or maybe you just think it's time she get up, get out and do something. And if you're going to do something, why not fly? Motor City Skydiving in Fowlerville will strap an experienced skydiver to her back, take her up over two miles into the sky, and then they'll both freefall at 120 miles per hour. Staying grounded is overrated.
What Do You Meme?, $299.99, Target
Is there anything more "right now" than getting sucked into the rabbit hole that is internet memes? One pic turns into two turns into three hours. This adult party game allows you to invite your friends and family into the abyss, whilst testing your own meme-creation skills. Cards Against Humanity and Apples-to-Apples style, each competitor plays a different phrase against an image, and the funniest one wins.
Sage Derby, $12.44/lb and Cotswold Cheese, $12.95/lb, Devries and Co., Detroit
If your family tends to operate on CP time, then the food probably isn't done yet. These cheeses are the perfect small gift for your hostess and they serve double duty as a tasty snack while everyone waits for the cornbread to cool. The Sage Derby is made green and marbled by the addition of sage, which also gives it a subtle herb flavor. And the Cotswold is a mild cheddar, punched up with onion and chive.
Heng Balance Lamp, $69.95
See the light in a new, futuristic way. The Heng – "balance" in Chinese – lamp provides a "warmly inviting" light made of a natural beech wood frame. To turn it on, connect the lower ball to the one on top, and because they are magnetically attracted, the connection will allow the lamp's LED light to shine. According to the website, "The idea behind the Balance Lamp was to create a permanent light fixture that would bring a magical ambiance to any space. A unique and yet a simple light that would inspire the senses and ignite the imagination." It's a nice, minimalist addition to any home.
Storycorps, Free App
If you've ever chatted with a grandparent and thought that these stories should be shared, then you've come to the right place. StoryCorps works to "record, preserve, and share the stories of Americans from all backgrounds and beliefs." Use this app to tell your family's stories and what better time than during a holiday gathering? According to the website, "The app guides users through the interview experience, from start to finish with easy-to-use tools to help you prepare interview questions, record high-quality conversations on your mobile device, and upload the audio to the Library of Congress" and StoryCorps' online archive.
Escape VR Gift Certificate, $50-plus, Oxford
Forget jacking into a game console or messing around on your phone. This is the real deal, a virtual arcade. You can give it as a gift to someone, or tag along. It's a virtual reality station – they call it an Escape Pod – that includes an 8 feet by 8 feet "play area that allows the user to interact" with the environment. You'll have up to 30-plus games to choose from, and best of all, it's only about an hour from the city.