Mapping Your Way to Awesome Holiday Gifts

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Did I scare you all with last week'??s post on fanciful holiday lighting? Is the frozen bird in your freezer beckoning you in your dreams? Or are the sounds of Christmas music starting to haunt you as you walk down the aisles of your local grocery store? If any of those were the case, guess what, it'??s November! And you know what November means right? Next month is Hanukkah and then Christmas. Time to start making the lists and pounding the pavement (be it brick and mortar or the world wide web) to fulfill those Christmas wishes.

Steve and I like to keep things simple. We'??ve started spending less money on our friends and family and have begun to spend more time with them. Granted it makes our social schedule look like cartoon characters died a very colorful death on my iCal screen but every moment is well worth it. Let me say though, this expenditure of time doesn'??t keep me from buying a few gifts for some of my closest family (and a few of my clients who'??ve kept me around another year longer).

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The result is that I'??m always on the look out for something interesting. Something personal. And of course, something that doesn'??t require me to spend too much time pursuing it. Just kidding! I'??m a natural shopper and enjoy the hunt as much as the catch. Not that I have any qualms against such things as gift cards, but I feel that a gift that reflects something a little more tends to stick around much longer and continues to elicit memories long after the giving is done.

This is precisely why I love maps. Maps are cool.

Maps are even cooler when they'??re pinpointed to a specific place or event in a person'??s life. Birthplace. First Date. First Kiss. Marriage. Adoption. Should I continue?

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Growing up my mother used to make these playmats that had a 2-dimensional town screenprinted onto its surface. I used to play for hours with my Hot Wheels cars across their soft streets. Even better, imagine if those streets and roads and boulevards were of a child'??s actual neighborhood?

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Or to commemorate a move? A paper map, embroidered with a route of travel, be it across the city, across the country or overseas. I'??d love to see the route picked out with the end point being a house with a heart inside. Of course this works for travels as well. For me, it would be of our Christmas travels to Paris.

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For those of us in California, it could be a depiction of a person'??s favorite beaches or surf spots. I have to say that I'??m in love with the use of typography as a map boundary. Something about the bold use of font speaks to my inner font-lover while the use of such places as Coronado to bound them all in gives me warm fuzzies of the beaches there and the many drinks had with friends at the Del.

Wait'?¦ does this mean I'??m going all soft on you guys? Oh well'?¦. Pass me another map and we'??ll be just fine.

Images via Factory 20, Felix Street Studio @ Etsy, Boardstiff @ Etsy, Martha Stewart, Orange & Park

Brandon Smith is principal of the San Diego based spatial design company D.Coop. Focusing on sustainable, workable, and budget friendly design, he provides In The Box solutions to Out of the Box questions. You can follow him on Twitter @dcoopsd.

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