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Paper cuts 

Don’t fuss with fancy ribbons or tape—these gifts sparkle all on their own.

Gifts forever

Look down as you stroll through Victoria Park at the corner of Spring Garden and South Park and you’ll notice more than dirt beneath your feet. Hundreds of bricks on the walkway are engraved with the personal messages of people who’ve purchased Victoria Park Legacy Bricks since Feed Nova Scotia started the fundraising program in 1999. Proceeds are shared by FNS and the Spring Garden Road Area Business Association. FNS informs you when your brick is being placed so you can watch it join the others—including seven bricks for each of Marcia’s seven cats—at the base of the Robbie Burns statue.

Feed Nova Scotia, 213 Bedford Highway, 457-1900, www.metrofoodbank.org $60.

Gifts for drama queens

Live Art Dance Productions and Neptune Theatre have gift ideas for those who love the stage. Live Art presents contemporary dance shows at different venues in the city and offers holiday gift certificates for two tickets to one show or one ticket to two different events. Neptune Theatre’s holiday subscriptions include three tickets to any remaining shows during the 2006-07 season. Upcoming plays include Arthur Miller’s The Price and Nobel Prize-winner Harold Pinter’s Old Times, plus the musical Beauty and the Beast.

Neptune Theatre, 1593 Argyle, 429-7070, www.neptunetheatre.com $99. Live Art Dance Productions, 5183 Sackville , 420-0003, www.liveartproductions.ca $29.

Gifts for giving

A goat for your sister, two hens and a rooster for a friend, three guinea pigs for your boss. They may not need these presents, but in the developing world, many people want nothing more. On behalf of a friend or family member, purchase useful items like olive trees and antibiotics for someone in need from Oxfam, World Vision or UNICEF. The recipient gets a card explaining the importance of the gift—the hens and rooster (World Vision’s most popular gift) produce up to 150 eggs a year, providing food and income for a family.

Oxfam Canada, 866-572-2831, www.oxfamunwrapped.ca $15-$120. UNICEF Canada, 800-567-4483, www.unicef.ca $35-$355. World Vision Canada, 866-595-5550, www.worldvision.ca $30-$500.

Gifts for smarty-pants

Who doesn’t want to be a history buff or an art expert? The Nova Scotia Museum Pass provides unlimited admission to 27 museums in the province for one year. More fun than a history textbook, experience life on a 19th century farm, learn about Halifax’s connection to the Titanic and check out the oldest dinosaur fossils in North America. Membership to the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia includes unlimited visits for the year, plus advanced notice of and discounts on special events. Next year’s special exhibitions include Life as a Legend: Marilyn Monroe.

Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, 1723 Hollis, 424-7542, www.agns.gov.ns.ca $20-$65. Nova Scotia Museum Pass, 800-632-1114, www.museum.gov.ns.ca $37.50-$75.

Gifts for getting around

If you’d like to give someone a brand new Honda Jazz Scooter but don’t have the budget, you can give them a chance to win one. Halifax’s Centre for Art Tapes is selling raffle tickets to raise funds for their Local Artist in Residency and Media Arts Scholarship programs, and the prize is the scooter, on display now at FRED. CFAT is a not-for-profit organization that supports artists who work with audio, video and electronic media. The draw will take place on March 30, so your gift will also create some post-holiday excitement.

Centre for Art Tapes, 5600 Sackville, 420-4002, www.centreforarttapes.ca FRED, 2606 Agricola, 423-5400, Tickets $10 each/three for $25.

Gifts for left feet

Dancing lessons are the perfect gift for anyone who wants to get out there and bust a move, but needs a little help with the actual moves. Halifax Dance Association offers classes including beginner Irish step dancing, ballet and hip-hop. El Viento Flamenco has classes for singles or couples in the traditional southern Spain dance form. Capoeira Studio will teach you the dance of the same name, which evolved in Brazil when African cultures were brought together as a result of the slave trade. Who wouldn’t want a gift that improves your rhythm and cultural knowledge, plus gives you great legs?

Capoeira Studio, 2827 Isleville, 453-5765, www.Myweb.dal.ca/mfuentes/html/home $10 per class. El Viento Flamenco, 1246 Edward, 425-3480, elvientoflamenco.com, $140 for 14 weeks. Halifax Dance Association, 1505 Barrington, 422-2006, halifaxdanceassoc.ns.ca, $155 for 14 weeks.

Gifts that say je t’aime"

The person on your list who wants to say more than “bonjour” to their French ami, longs to speak like a local in Quebec or just wants to ignore subtitles, would love to receive the gift of language classes. Alliance Française and Université Sainte-Anne both specialize in teaching grammar and conversation, and offer beginner French courses once a week, starting in January.

Alliance Francaise, 5509 Young, 455-4411, www.af.ca/Halifax $240 for 12 weeks. Universite Sainte-Anne, 1589 Walnut, 424-2630, www.usainteanne.ca $150 for 10 weeks.

Gifts for green

The perfect gift for any recycling, transit-riding, pesticide-shunning person will help save the planet, starting right here in Nova Scotia. The Ecology Action Centre, the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society’s Nova Scotia chapter and the Nova Scotia Nature Trust each offer gift memberships that include subscriptions to the organization’s magazine or newsletter and invitations to special events. Mostly, though, the membership is a donation to good cause—they support projects like CPAWS’s effort to help Nova Scotia’s Piping Plover, EAC’s promotion of sustainable transportation alternatives and NSNT’s preservation of the province’s significant natural areas.

Ecology Action Centre, 2705 Fern Lane, 429-2202, ecologyaction.ca. $20-$60. Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, 1526 Dresden Row, 446-4155. cpaws.org, $10. Nova Scotia Nature Trust, 1657 Barrington, 425-5263, www.nsnt.ca $15-$50.

Gifts that sing

For someone who claims to be a rock star but doesn’t have the talent to back it up, your gift of music lessons could change everything. The Canadian Conservatory of Music offers private lessons including keyboards, guitar and singing. Buckley’s Music Education Centre has a package that includes four private lessons, plus rental of a guitar or drum kit for four weeks.

Canadian Conservatory of Music, 6065 Cunard, 496-6970, canadianconservatory.com, $30 to register, $19.50 per lesson. Buckley’s Music, 6208 Quinpool,429-1010,buckleysmusic.com, $95 for four private lessons plus instrument rental.

Gifts for the crafty

Gift certificates for Clay Cafe and The Loop Craft Cafe give someone the chance to create and take home an item—from a mug to a scarf—that will suit them perfectly.

Clay Cafe one-of-a-kind gift certificates are hand-painted on six-inch tiles, which can be used towards the cafe’s 300 different kinds of ready-to-be-painted pottery. The Loop’s gift certificates are good for buying supplies or can be used to pay for any of their three- and four-hour workshops, which include beginner and advanced knitting and crochet, as well as introductory classes in knitting socks, mittens and hats.

Clay Cafe, 6413 Quinpool, 429-2994, claycafe.ca, $10-$50. The Loop, 1547 Barrington, 429-5667, www.theloophalifax.ca Workshops $32-$40.

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