Bitch in a Box: Holiday Gift Guide, Pet Lover's Edition!

Well, Thanksgiving's over and the holiday season has officially begun. No matter what you celebrate this time of year, chances are you're going to need to buy a gift for someone, and that's where our "Bitch in a Box" series comes in! Between now and the end of December, we (Bitch HQ staff and interns) will be taking turns writing themed gift guides designed to please even the scroogiest feminists on your shopping list. To kick things off, here's my guide to gifting for the pet lovers in your life—be sure to add your own suggestions in the comments!

Regular blog readers will not be surprised to learn that I am a big fan of pet-related gifts, since I slap photos of my dog Edith (pictured above and below) up here whenever I get the chance. If you know any pet lovers, giving them a gift that celebrates their love of animals is a great way to personalize things, especially if it's handmade. Of course, if you're a pet lover yourself then you'll probably want to make gifts for your own pets, which is another fun way to celebrate the holidays (and hey, you know they won't be re-gifting that sweater the way your friend might be). Here are just a few suggestions:

(This particular roundup focuses on dogs and cats, but if you've got different pets in mind most of the ideas should still work with a few modifications.)

Embroidered Pet Portrait.
If you're crafty at all, embroidering a portrait of someone's pet can be really fun and it isn't too expensive (keep in mind that you can stick with just an outline of said pet and make the stitching pretty simple). I've made portraits of my mom's dog and my boyfriend's cat, and both gifts were huge hits. If you give the gift to someone who does not embroider, however, they might not understand how long the project took you to make, and you may end up awkwardly *informing* them of the hours you spent on it in a moment of weakness. (Yes, I have done that. Twice.) Here's a great video from CRAFT to get you started, though there are many ways to vary the instructions:

Suitcase Cat Bed.
My friend made these for her cats and they are ridiculously cute and stylish. You can customize them to fit your gift recipient's home decor, and as long as you have access to a thrift store that sells suitcases they aren't too pricey.

You can buy suitcase pet beds on etsy from Vintage Renaissance, or there are easy instructions to make your own at The Stir.

Dog Bless Print.
DIY is great, but sometimes you just want to order something that someone else made. Well, former Bitch Art Director (and current artist friend) Briar Levit has an awesome print for sale at her etsy shop that fits the bill. Bonus feature: This works for just about any breed of dog lover, so you can gift it to multiple friends!

Crafty Pet Sweater.
Let's face it: Animals look adorable in sweaters. If you're like me and find animal sweaters to be super cute but just a little too precious to be worth the $40 they often retail for, you can make your own out of a second-hand human sweater. An easy pattern for a felted dog sweater can be found at ehow (though you need wool for felting) and a pattern for one that's a bit more stylish can be found at Craft Stylish (not just a clever name). To make one for Edith out of a sweater I bought at Value Village for $2, I kinda combined the patterns because I liked the idea of hand-stitching the edges in a contrasting color. Here are the results!

Et voilà, a pet-friendly holiday! Of course, these are just a few ideas to get your started on the path toward a four-legged Winter Wonderland. If you have any pet-themed gifts you'll be giving (or hoping to receive) this year, share them in the comments section!

by Kelsey Wallace
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