Gift Card Guide (2008 Edition)

Gift cards to Starbucks, iTunes, and Amazon might be an easy solution to your gift-giving conundrums but, they can be a little—how shall we put this gently?— boring, not to mention lazy. This holiday season, why not try one of these more inspired gift certificate ideas instead.

Cooking Classes: MacMenamin’s Grill & ChefWorks, whose interactive cooking events recently were ranked #1 on the Food Network’s Top 5 show, offers gift certificates to cooking classes held throughout the year. The restaurant also has classes designed exclusively for kids. Visit for schedules.

DJ Lessons: If your son or daughter is a wannabe DJ, let him or her learn from the best with private lessons from a celebrity DJ. The lessons, given in Manhattan, offer advice on everything from music theory to how to mix and beat juggle. Lessons start at $135 for one hour. For more info visit

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Hot Air Balloon Ride: Your recipient can float in an air balloon, courtesy of Above the Clouds, a Middletown, New York-based company, sipping Champagne and enjoying a light breakfast (if it’s a morning ride). The cost to you: $249 and up. Learn more at

Go Karting: For any four-wheel fans, a gift certificate for a go-kart race at Grand Prix New York in Mount Kisco is a great idea. Mario Andretti wannabes will get a uniform, a helmet, and a 10-minute crash course (no pun intended) on how to race. Prices start at $35.50 for one race, which includes a one-day membership. Each additional race is $25 and package deals are available. Go to for more.

Make Your Own Wine: At MYO Wine in Elmsford, students learn everything from crushing and pressing grapes to bottling and creating their own labels. The most popular gift certificate costs $375 and covers a winemaking course for two that yields two cases of wine. Courses in wine appreciation also are available and start at $85. Visit for details.

Inspired Generic: Notice the price of gas? Help a friend by giving him/her a gas card (you can spend any amount). Another good idea? Magazine subscriptions. If you’re not sure which mag to get, head to, which allows the recipient to choose their favorite. (They also offer e-gift cards, in case you procrastinated.) Of course, we highly recommend a subscription to this magazine (just click on Then there’s Netflix, which offers gift certificates ranging from one month to a full year of service. They can be used to establish new memberships or as credit to an existing account.

Our Best of Westchester Party is July 24!

Our Westchester Home Design Awards event is June 26!

Our Wine & Food Festival returns June 4-9!

Our Wunderkinds event takes place on May 23!

Our Best of Business Ballot is open through May 15!

Our Healthcare Heroes Awards event takes place on May 9!

Our Westchester Home Builders Awards take place on April 4!

Our Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Forum is March 14!

Unveiled: A Boutique Bridal Brunch is February 25!

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