Shopping with a Cool Cat.

Remember last year, when you promised yourself you’d get organized for the holidays earlier this year? Remember how you vowed to start your shopping in November and avoid the last minute gift buying at the all-night drug store? (When mom said she LOVED the grapefruit lip gloss, trust us, she was just being polite).

Well, guess what. Halloween is history and that means Christmas – with all its fun, festivities and general frolicking – is about oh, ten minutes away.

But don’t panic. To help you with some ideas and tips for where to find gifts around Calgary, we've enlisted some expert help: the Cat in the Hat.

Dave Kelly as the Cat in the Hat
Dave Kelly as the Cat in the Hat
OK, it’s not really Dr. Seuss’s favourite feline, but Dave Kelly, the man playing the cat in Alberta Theatre Project’s holiday performance, "Seussical The Musical" from November 25 to December 30.

Kelly, Calgary’s beloved star of the stage and TV screen, is in rehearsals for the show now, and it’s given him some excellent ideas for the gift he likes to give best of all – books.

“I love giving books. Of course anything by Dr. Suess or Canadian author Robert Munsch is awesome for kids,” says Kelly.

“You can’t really go wrong with books because they’re fun, they last longer than five minutes and they make people feel smart when you give one to them. ‘Oh, he thinks I'm literary!’”

Kelly goes “a little crazy” at Christmas buying books at his favourite bookstore, Pages on Kensington Road, just north of downtown.

For other one-of-a-kind boutiques and shops Kelly recommends staying in Kensington for a wander up 10 St., or heading down to 17th Ave SW, where you’ll find Gravity Pope, Kelly’s favourite shoe store (and home to some fanciful footwear that’s a little Dr. Seussish).

Those who enjoy festive lights along with their shopping may want to venture to Chinook Mall’s new underground parking lot, with its pretty lights that shine red or green to help you find a spot. Upstairs, the mall’s brand new expansion has loads of great stores including Calgary’s only Anthropologie and Urban Outfitters.

As for getting the right gift for that special someone, Kelly did have a great racket going for his wife, Blythe Butler. “I got her a charm bracelet at Links of London at Holts, but after a while it got a little too cliché because for about four or five shopping occasions in a row – whether it was birthdays or Christmas – I would just go and get her another charm.”

This year, Kelly knows he has to step it up. Not only is his wife’s charm bracelet getting crowded, she is going to deliver the best Christmas present ever, the couple’s first baby, due Christmas week.

“Is it tacky to combine the Christmas and birthing-baby present for her? Kelly Wonders. "They’re going to be close together.”

Esthetics at Stillwater Spa
Stillwater Spa
Here’s an idea, Dave: most moms we know love a trip to the spa. Sante in Mission or Stillwater at the Hyatt are two great choices. Or maybe try a gift certificate to CORE/TD Square downtown, Market Mall in northwest Calgary or CrossIrons Mills just north of the city.

As for the baby, Kelly could pick up a little welcome present at Kacz's Kids.

He isn’t quite sure yet what he may wrap up for his wife and their new baby this year, but Kelly THINKS he’s got lots of time to figure it out.

“I am totally a Christmas Eve shopper,” he says with a shrug.

Trudie Lee Photography; In Image: Dave Kelly (The Cat in the Hat) and Marcus Trummer (JoJo).
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