Quirky is as quirky does

The Prague Post

Last-minute ideas to please the most persnickety people on your Christmas list

What’s the date? Don’t even think about it. You’ve already shopped for most people and found fabulously perfect gifts.

But then there are the “others.” They’re the ones who either have it all there’s nothing they want or they just have unusual tastes.

Whatever. They are on the list and a gift must be found.

Luckily we had your fussy friends in mind when we compiled this short list of our favorite places to find fun and out-of-the-ordinary items. The best part about everything here is that it’s all Czech-made adding a touch of local flair to your gift-giving prowess.

Pod Lampou Marionety
U Lužického semináre 5
Tel.: 606 924 392

Glass ceramics garnets and marionettes are typical Czech gifts. While marionettes might not be a good gift for everyone on your list there’s sure to be at least one person you know who would love to find one of these sitting under the tree. Especially if you go about buying said marionette in a creative fashion which is very easy to do at Pod Lampou Marionety.

These puppets are all hand-carved from linden wood hand-painted with oil colors and fashionably dressed in natural fibers like silk leather velvet and cotton. The attention to detail in these marionettes is impeccable; look carefully at their facial expressions and you’ll probably find one that looks like someone you know.

Quirk Alert: Check out the skeleton marionette, complete with scythe. Or for a more charming marionette, ask about the friendly biker.

Museum of Decorative Arts
17. listopadu 2
Tel.: 251 093 111

Teeny-tiny but oh so fun. The gift shop at the Museum of Decorative Arts packs an excellent gift purchasing punch. It also offers copies of historical Czech posters – primarily from the 1920s and 1930s. The museum also has a great book selection (in English); one of the most fun is on the history of Czech fashion. But you can also find books on glass architecture and photography. The shop is split by the massive staircase in the entrance. The afore-mentioned products are to your left; on your right is a selection of ceramic and glass offerings by local designers.

Quirk Alert: Czech art deco brooches. Also to your right upon entering; these are a combination of Czech Cubism and Art Nouveau. Very cool and very classy. The brooches make up most of the inventory, but there are some earrings as well. Prices range from 860 Kc to 2,100 Kc

Agentura Pro Vas
Rybná 21 Tel.: 224 819 359

For history buffs art buffs adults teenagers and souvenir lovers: Agentura Pro Vas has historical posters from the past 100 years. Pick out something in the Stalin range or perhaps an old Czechoslovakian advertisement. Agentura sells originals and copies in both large and small sizes as well as postcards and buttons. Oddly they share space with a children’s store. This store however has an extensive range of Lamaze baby toys. These are colorful squishy and very chew-worthy for the young gummers on your list.

Quirk Alert: Can’t pick just one? Every poster is unique, whether for color, design or topic. Copies are probably your best bet at only 80 Kc or 120 Kc, depending on the size. Originals can cost upwards of 10,000 Kc.

Bohemian Retro

This is an excellent choice for you armchair shoppers. Bohemian Retro doesn’t have a store. You simply visit its Web site send off an email letting the store know what you want and if it’s available workers will ship it to you.

Bohemian offers vintage clothing accessories and other collectibles from 1930s to 1970s Bohemia. Funky clothes and bags vintage buttons and material jewelry sunglasses – you name it it’s probably on the Web site. Bohemia Retro hosts shopping parties for those who feel the need to socialize. Bohemia keepers will have two remaining events in 2007 one at 6 p.m. Dec. 19 at Na Ceste Milicová 6 and one at 3 p.m. Dec. 23 also at Na Ceste.

Quirk Alert: The massive retro sunglasses collection. These are hilarious! Funky oranges and blues, huge lenses or sleek cat eyes; make your giftee feel like a movie star! Prices start at 350 Kc.

Haštalská 7
Tel.: 222 316 661

Stop here for unique wall art. Traditional has gathered the last remaining modrotisk printing blocks in the Czech Republic. They were originally used in the 19th century for blue printing traditional folk art cloths (also on sale here.)

Hand-carved from pear and plum wood these blocks were “rescued” from a former Austro-Hungarian factory in central Bohemia. They make excellent decorative art pieces. The shop also offers ceramics lace and wood products.

Quirk Alert: Any of the traditional wood block artifacts, 1,900-3,000 Kc.

Design Glass
U Lužického semináre 42
Tel.: 257 531 232

This shop is run by Kvetná a glassworks in Moravia. This is your best bet for the classy people on your list as the line tends to run toward the sleek and sexy. Vases and candle holders wine champagne brandy and other drink glasses as well as more glass-friendly household items are here. The store also offers a variety of local designers so be sure to ask who “did” your set.

Quirk Alert: The etched glasses. Simple scratchings of birds, leaves, flowers, spider webs and other sketches make these sets stand out, without the coloring so typical of other “”unique”” glassworks. Prices start at 800 Kc.