We spend a few minutes on Thanksgiving remembering what we’re thankful for. But the next day (or maybe even that night), all many can think about is what they want give and receive for Christmas. Why? Because nothing really beats the looks on the faces of your family and friends as they unwrap a gift that’s perfect for them.
No, in our guide, you won’t find any LCD flat screens or $2 Justin Bieber CDs. Instead, you’ll find nearly 100 gifts from more than 60 of Utah’s locally owned shops. Buying local is a good thing, in that it creates jobs, boosts the local economy and preserves neighborhoods. But don’t make the mistake of thinking it’s a joyless, necessary task, like sorting bottles for recycling or carrying eco-friendly tote bags to the grocery.
Local stores do it better. Better attitudes, better atmospheres and better products that you won’t see on the shelves of big-box stores all add up to a better holiday season, both while you’re shopping and on the celebratory day itself.
To make it easy, we’ve divided our recommended gifts into three categories: everyone, girls and guys. You’ll probably even find something for your own wish list.
Everyone | Girls | Guys
Starstruck Frame $19
The best gift is the gift of yourself. Apply that saying literally by giving your significant other a shot of yourself looking your best—surrounded by your other worshipful admirers so he knows never to take you for granted.
Two Dancing Cats, 1790 S. 1100 East, Salt Lake City, 801-485-0554
Mr. Tea Mug $16
Quit yo jibber-jabber about standard stoneware. Afternoon oolong gets a boot to the ass from this Mr. Tea mug.
Squack Doodle, Etsy.com/shop/SquackDoodle, and at Craft Sabbath Holiday Boutique, Dec. 2 & Dec. 9, Salt Lake City Main Library, 210 E. 400 South, Salt Lake City
Sabino “Torso” $1,035
Marius Sabino became famous in the first half of the 20th century for his use of beautiful translucent, blue-hued glass, often inspired by Art Deco sensibilities. He was most sought-after at the time for massive chandeliers and light fixtures; this decidedly Grecian piece would’ve probably been sold as a paperweight. Now, it’s a breathtaking piece of fine art for the collector in your life.
Retrospect Water & Light, 68 E. 700 South, Salt Lake City, 801-517-3876, RetrospectWaterAndLight.com
Modern First Editions $10+
It may be impossible to recapture the wonder of meeting beloved characters and worlds for the first time in a favorite novel. But owning a first edition can make someone feel as if they were there at the story’s birth, a witness to the moment these ideas came into the world.
Ken Sanders Rare Books, 268 S. 200 East, Salt Lake City, 801-521-3819, KenSandersBooks.com
Vintage Camera Pencil Sharpener $14
Anyone who still uses pencils probably would appreciate this pencil sharpener in the shape of an old-school camera. Its crank handle and knob, which adjusts the sharpness of the pencil, ratchet up the excitement of pencil-sharpening to previously unheard-of heights.
The Library Store, Salt Lake City Main Library, 210 E. 400 South, Salt Lake City, 801-524-8238
Bamboo Socks $4.99
What—socks? For Christmas? Before you throw this guide down in disgust, realize that these are no sad socks from a department store. Made from 80 percent bamboo, these locally manufactured socks are lightweight, super-soft and moisture-wicking. Once they go bamboo, they’ll never go back.
All About Socks, Multiple locations, AllAboutSocks.com
Oil & Vinegar Variety Pack $30-$35
Expand someone’s palate with a set of infused balsamic vinegars (aged 18 years) and olive oils in such tasty flavors as dark chocolate and blood orange. Jasoh has more than 30 flavors, so you can create a custom box or choose the “favorite” pack for a surefire foodie hit.
Jasoh, 195 25th St., Ogden, 801-399-0088, Jasoh.com
Craptastic Guide to Pseudo-Swearing $13
Anyone from Utah has heard their share of not-quite swear words—”Oh, heck!” But when it comes to translating the PG gibberish being spewed by the angry returned missionary in the neighboring cubicle (“Son of a biscuit driver!”), Brigham Young grad Michelle Witte can offer complete fluency with this friggin’ hilarious book, breaking non-swears down into categories like “classics,” “sexy talk” and even “safe for church.”
Hip & Humble, Multiple locations, HipAndHumble.com
Caffe Ibis Coffee $10.50-$13.50
Locally owned and operated in Logan, Caffe Ibis specializes in triple-certified, organic, Fair Trade and Smithsonian shade-grown coffee from around the world. Yeah, yeah, you’ve heard that kind of stuff a million times before. But you probably haven’t heard of coffee like Highlander Grogg, a liquor-flavored coffee reminiscent of the Scottish Highlands, or Jingle Bell Java, with notes of caramel, vanilla, cinnamon, pecan and warm rum—yum.
52 Federal Ave., Logan, 435-753-4777, CaffeIbis.com
Trophy Bottle Stoppers $8-$10
Everyone will feel like a winner when you present them with a unique bottle stopper made from vintage trophies. And if you pair the gifts with actual bottles of wine, you’ll be a winner during the holidays.
Unhinged, 1121 E. 2100 South, Salt Lake City, 801-467-6588, UnhingedSLC.com
Ogden Is Awesome Shirts/Hoodies $20-$30
Say it loud and say it proud! It looks like the kind of retro gem you’d pull off the rack at Savers, but the Ogden Is Awesome T-shirts and hoodies are brand-new, majestic seagull and all.
Grounds for Coffee, 3005 Harrison Blvd., Ogden, 801-621-3014, GroundsForCoffee.com
Tea Tins $2.95
Tea: It’s not just for sipping while under a blanket anymore. Easy to make and available in thousands of varieties, it’s just the thing for a cold day at the office. Slip a few bags of his favorite blend into a decorative tin, perfect for tucking into a desk drawer or setting next to a pencil cup.
Beehive Tea Room, 12 W. Broadway, Salt Lake City, 801-328-4700, BeehiveTeaRoom.com