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BroadwayGirl's 2013 Holiday Gift Guide!

They say it's the most wonderful time of the year. I can't say I disagree! The holidays in New York City are magical... ice skating at Bryant Park, the huge trees lit up in Rockefeller Center and Lincoln Center, and snow falling softly on Times Square (let's just ignore the black post-snow slush). New shows opening on Broadway just in time for the holiday crowds, and of course... the chance to scour the BC/EFA Holiday Gift Guide to find the perfect items for everyone on your list.

Each year, Broadway Cares/ Equity Fights AIDS creates a catalogue of exclusive items, along with a curated selection of music, books, and souvenirs from in and around the NYC theatrical community. Again this year, they've invited me to take a look and play with some of their signature items, so I can let you know what they've got from my first-hand experience! You can view the entire catalogue, and order your choices, online here: My favorite item every single year is the limited edition Broadway Cares Collection snow globe, which is nearly a foot tall and as gorgeous as ever. This year's scene shows classic Broadway characters engaging in a snowball fight on the corner of Broadway & 42nd Street . The Phantom takes a shot at Elphaba, Annie and a Mormon taunt each other with frozen ammunition. Spider-Man gets a snowball in the face! The scene spins slowly while "Winter Wonderland" plays. The perfect gift... if you can manage to part with it. (I generally buy one with the intention of gifting it, then end up keeping it for myself!) "The Broadway Cares Collection" is shorthand for the set of items created specifically for this catalogue. They're recognizable by the presence of show logos, representing every play and musical that appeared on Broadway in the past year. (Fun fact: this year's collection includes the logo of one show that DIDN'T appear on Broadway -- Pump Boys & Dinettes, which was originally slated to revive in March but was "postponed" to an unnamed future date.) One thing I love about this collection is that they cater to a wide variety of ages and tastes. For example, this year there are two different t-shirts -- one a bright baby blue and the other a more-subdued navy -- that are perfect with jeans. Add the white logo'd baseball cap, and you'll fit right in with sports fans who love their schwag! For a dressier look, I love the Collection's silk scarf. For anyone who loves the theatre but falls squarely on the "never wear jeans to a Broadway show" side of that debate, this is the perfect accessory. Flair without compromising traditional theatre-going classiness. Each year there's also a new tote bag, and this year's is my favorite yet. Canvas with red accents, it's perfect as a beach bag, a gym bag, a casual (big) purse, or of course, the way to transport the perfect Broadway gifts you've gotten for all of your family and friends. When you want to show off your passion at home, the Classic Collection (featuring the logos of favorite long-running shows) offers some new items that are quirky, and can actually make Broadway the theme of an entire room of your house: the kitchen! This year, the catalogue offers a brightly logo'd apron with matching oven mitts; stone coasters (set of four), and my favorite -- the delightfully kitschy Broadway logo Salt & Pepper shakers. You better believe I'm going to display these proudly year-round. (BONUS: if you want to extend the theme into your bathroom... behold, the Classic Collection shower curtain!!) A few years ago, I decided that, given the... let's say "cozy" size of my New York City apartment, I'd decorate for Christmas using a faux tree that stands about two feet tall (and folds into a box that fits under the bed). The small size makes it easy to decorate in my favorite theme. And the BCEFA catalogue comes through every year with a wide variety of fun ornaments to include. 1) The annual Broadway Cares Collection white glass ornament featuring the logos of all of this year's productions. 2) The Classic Collection's beautiful collection of Playbill covers. There are two sets of six; each ornament is a reproduction of the Playbill from one of Broadway's most beloved and longest-running musicals. This year, a new set features RENT, Beauty & the Beast, Mamma Mia!, Wicked, Miss Saigon, and 42nd Street. 3) Broadway Legends is a series of exclusive colorful glass ornaments limited to a small, numbered batch each year. The 2013 ornament portrays Julie Andrews as Eliza Doolittle from My Fair Lady. Also available are a few remaining Gwen Verdon (2012) and Bernadette Peters (2011). I reserve a special spot on my diminutive tree for these gorgeous women. It's always sad to say goodbye to the beautiful ornaments when I pack up the holiday decorations in February (what? It's not as if the plastic tree is going to die!) Luckily, as the snow melts outside, the inside of my apartment has already gotten hot. Broadway Bares, the annual nearly-naked BCEFA fundraiser, has again released a calendar that brings us New York theatre's most smokin' bodies all year round. I have 2013's hanging next to my bedroom mirror -- talk about inspiration to stay in shape! Keep the calendar for yourself, and order a set of Broadway Bares notecards so you can share the love with your friends. I like to use them as post-holiday thank-you notes, to really show my appreciation. (Several other themed card sets are available, in case Grandma prefers to be thanked with a Jay Lefkowitz drawing or a lovely, G-rated snowscape.)

I need not say more than this: The Broadway Cares/ Equity Fights AIDS 2013 Gift Guide has something for everyone.

Don't forget to buy a present for yourself!!

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