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Greatly Gifted 

Nestled amid Indianapolis' museums are art-world solutions for those who find themselves singing the holiday-shopping blues this gift-giving season. Stocked full of unique treasures at all price points, museum shops offer everything from high-end handmade jewelry to home décor items and plush stuffed dolls in the likenesses of master painters.

So, while mall lines grow and parking lots jam, savvy art-oriented shoppers can catch an exhibit--Matisse, Life in Color at the Indianapolis Museum of Art or the Eiteljorg Museum's contemporary art fellowship show, Red perhaps--and simultaneously cross off a few items on this season's to-do lists.

Taking my own advice recently, I dropped in on a few museum shops and came up with some gems I can afford and a few that will require deeper pockets than mine.

Here's what I came up with:

Indianapolis Museum of Art

   ·Love Replica: Robert Indiana-authorized Love replicas are made of anodized aluminum and come in red, silver, gold, green, blue and pink. Great for a desk or bookshelf and light enough to mail to that expatriate Hoosier on your list. ($68)

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   ·In addition to those, Indiana's iconic Love is offered on mugs ($12.95), note cubes ($11.95) and note cards. ($18.95)

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   ·For the Robert Indiana super fan, the IMA is planning a print retrospective of the artist's work opening in February, but its 152-page illustrated book, The Essential Robert Indiana (with images of Indiana by William John Kennedy, who photographed the artist in the 1960s) is available now. ($49.95)

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   ·Andy Warhol enthusiasts will become better writers with a set of Andy Warhol Philosophy Pencils. Each has a different Warhol quote, including "In the future everybody will be famous for 15 minutes," and "Wasting money puts you in a real party mood." ($8.99)

   ·Other colorful Warhol-themed options include sticky notes ($11.99), mini journals ($11.99) and a 200-piece puzzle. ($17.99)

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   ·Everybody has a Grinch on their holiday gift-buying list. John Updike's The Twelve Terrors of Christmas, with creepy drawings by Edward Gorey is just the right thing to put in a brown-paper package and tie up in a bow for him or her! ($9.95)

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   ·Bling is good, especially when it's designed by Chicago artist Patricia Locke. Sparkle isn't spared on these matching earrings and necklace, made of sterling silver, semi-precious stones, Swarovski crystals, pearls and glass beads. (Earrings, $120, necklace, $130)

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   ·Encouraging children to spend time with artists is a good thing. These masters are gone, but a child's imagination won't mind. Vincent Van Gogh, Andy Warhol and Salvador Dali plush toys make great bedfellows. ($20)

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   ·For a utilitarian, get an Indianapolis Museum of Art water bottle or travel mug. (bottle, $5.95, mug, $15)

Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art

   ·Add a little texture to a friend's room with horse hair throw pillows. ($100 and $80)

   ·Make doing business more stylish for the professional in your life with a tooled-leather three-compartment briefcase. ($335)

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   ·Wearable Native American art tugs at the heartstrings of jewelry collectors, especially those with a bohemian bent. This wide cuff with turquoise and spiny oyster, made in the American Southwest, will drop jaws.  ($1,800)

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   ·Leave the bow tie home.  Any black-tie soiree is more eclectic when someone shows up in a bolo tie, especially if it's a lapis and turquoise version created by Native artist Herbert Joe. ($1,300)

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Stay warm this winter under Pendleton wool blankets, all with Southwestern designs. ($228; they come in other sizes and patterns)

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Eugene & Marilyn Glick Indiana History Center

While the Basile History Market at the history center houses a variety of Indiana-made gifts and artwork, merchandise themed around Jean Shepherd's classic Hoosier holiday tale A Christmas Story is a big seller this time of year. Set in Hohman, Indiana, (a fictionalized version of Shepherd's hometown of Hammond), A Christmas Story describes the trials of 9-year-old Ralphie Parker, as he tries to get a Red Ryder BB Gun for Christmas.

Outside the shop is a re-created living room set that looks like it is right out of the film. Inside is a variety of memorabilia, including:

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   ·A 40-inch leg lamp replica of the one Ralphie's father wins in a contest in the story. He declares it "a major award" and then, to the dismay of Ralphie's mother, installs it in the family home's front window. ($249.95)

   ·A tabletop version of the leg lamp ($55.95), night lights ($11.95), a decorative leg lamp strand of lights ($24.95) and a leg lamp bobble, uh, shade ($19.95).

   ·A copy of the 1983 film A Christmas Story starring Peter Billingsley as Ralphie and Darren McGavin as his father. ($17.95)

   ·A box of A Christmas Story adhesive bandages for holiday accidents. ($6.95)

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About The Author

Cathy Kightlinger

Cathy Kightlinger

The first 20 years of Cathy Kightlinger’s career were spent as a newspaper reporter and columnist, so she is new to freelance writing. In her most recent role as The Indianapolis Star’s social columnist, Cathy wrote about fascinating people and parties, big and small. Fabulous shoes and contemporary art make her... more

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