It's the most wonderful time of the year! In opposite land. Seriously, who among us actually likes Christmas shopping? 'Tis the season for gift cards you bought at the grocery store check-out lane as an afterthought, and semi-new objects lying around the house you're sure you still have the original box for somewhere. Tie a curly ribbon around those Isotoners, et voilà.
If you're like me, the joy of Christmas shopping past has given way to a dreadful chain-dragging task that sees you driving around town in a stupor only to be stumped time after time by what to give that one hard-to-shop-for person. This year, City Weekly contributors have taken the guesswork out of it by assembling a comprehensive list of ideas suitable for 10 different personalities.
I see you rolling your (snake) eyes, Oogie Boogie. Clearly this is just a way of appeasing advertisers, right? Wrong. No amount of chocolate coins can get you on this nice list.
Can't find what you want at Macy's, Mr. Kringle? Well it just so happens that Salt Lake City has an array of specialty retailers that'll be pleased as (spiced) punch to help you find something unique that'll stuff a stocking just right.
Put the cookie-cutter scarf set down. In these pages you'll learn how to up your Secret Santa game with fresh gift ideas for your co-workers. You'll also be able to wrap up a slice of nostalgia for former Beehive dwellers and keep noses Rudolph red with some boozy suggestions.
Yes, Virginia, there is overdraft protection available on your debit card. Luckily for you, our list for cheapskates packs a wallop with items priced at 10 bucks or less. We also set a festive table for the foodie and prop up a blank canvas for the art snob in your life. Music lovers, we give some love to you, too, because even auricles need a hand. And while our cynical journalist hearts might be two sizes too small, we haven't forgotten about the wee ones.
What's that, kid? You want an official Red Ryder, carbine action, 200 shot-range model air rifle? I respect your Second Amendment rights, but you'll shoot your eye out. Settle for a sampler of America's great outdoors instead with a National Parks Pass. Finally, no list would be complete without a few ideas for those you hate. That'll silent their night, alright.
Seriously, I could go on all day with these references.
So take it from someone whose beard doesn't have one of those things that goes over his ears: These items are sure to keep that special someone on your list rockin' around the Christmas tree year-round. Though, if they don't kick that thing to the curb by New Year's, you should really consider expanding your social circle.
Wow ’em without breaking the bank.
By Enrique Limón
Conceptualized just outside Bear Lake, Brick Capsules are pretty much metal boxes for you to store treasures to be revealed at a later date (you choose anywhere between 10-100 years). In the meantime, they're stored at the site that once housed Idaho's Bank of Montpellier as an homage to Butch Cassidy, who along with two other outlaws held up the bank in 1896, and according to lore, was forced to stash some of the loot inside a brick so it wouldn't weigh them down. Who on earth will find your "treasure" is unknown. The company's website suggests you hide "a poem, a wish, a hope" inside. Another option would be a flash drive loaded with news footage of Electoral College results being called in on Nov. 8, so one day extraterrestrials can understand the planet's demise.
878 E. 900 South, Salt Lake City. 801-538-0606, cahootssaltlake.com
Employ these bad boys when those cutesy chocolates fashioned to look like coal just don't cut it. Hang a couple on the office Christmas tree, scatter some in the break room and surreptitiously leave one behind on Beth from accounting's desk. Wait a few minutes and grin a Grinchy grin as what was perceived to be minty goodness quickly turns into a pungent horseradish roundhouse-kick to your prey's tastebuds. What's that, Beth? Your kingdom for some milk? Sorry boo, that's for Santa.
552 S. 602 East, Salt Lake City. 801-363-0828, cabinfevercards.com
Think of Daley's Clothing in Sugar House as a one-stop shop for the modern gentleman. It's stocked with everything from high-quality denim and flannel to vegan Dr. Martens, Biltwell moto helmets and boutique beard oil and hair pomade. Nowadays, however, no look is complete without a pin ... or five. Along with enamel and mini-button offerings, Daley's stocks Shrinky Dinks creations by local artist Chloe Monson that keep with her SLC Pink aesthetic and pay playful homage to the "badass ladies" that have inspired her career. Best part is, the arty accessories are Ula, the in-store cat, approved.
817 E. 2100 South, Salt Lake City. 801-735-1422, daleysclothing.tumblr.com
Adhering to the slogan "Perfection in confection," Taffy Town celebrates delivering the sweet goods for its 100th Christmas this year. To commemorate the occasion, why not gift someone special their gourmet salt water taffy? With an innumerable list of flavors in its roster (carrot cake being the latest addition), TT unloads this greatest-hits medley just in time for the holidays, packed with eggnog, cranberry, cookie and mint flavored taffy. It's perfect for when you want to say I care and I hope you lose a crown.
55 W. 800 South, Salt Lake City. 801-355-4652, taffytown.com
If the fine folks over at Time magazine are looking to reconsider their person of the year, they should look no further than their smartphones. The smiley brown icon became a silent but powerful symbol during the presidential election as hackers managed to place it as the banner image on Trump's website during voting day; parody artist Hansky created an impressive fly-ridden Trumpoo-moji graffiti hybrid in the streets of New York over the summer that went viral; and back in March, one local protested the Orange One's presence at the Infinity Event Center with a clever sign featuring the emoticon and the slogan "Dump Trump." Caca comrades, unite!
310 S. 700 East, Salt Lake City. 801-467-1574, trolleysquare.com/spark
Xmas cheers guaranteed to make your holiday spirited.
By Darby Doyle
If you only have time for one stop on your mission to outfit the cocktail-crazy cousin in your life, head to Boozetique. Conveniently located just around the corner from the top-flight State Wine Store on 3rd & 3rd downtown, Boozetique's owner, Ivy Earnest, has accumulated accoutrements for any wine, beer or cocktail occasion, from recycled Utah brewery label coasters ($9) to cocktail mixers ($12-$25) to a gorgeous selection of decanters ($30+) and vintage glassware. And she's got some of the best professional bartending equipment available in SLC; I've got the weighted Piña Founder's Tin shaker on my wish list ($27.99). For all purchases over $75, Ivy will put together a custom wood gift box with all the finished wrapping details included; you just need to sign the card.
315 E. 300 South, Salt Lake City. 801-363-3939, boozetiqueslc.com
Did you know that some of the best artisan bitters made in the nation are being bottled up right here in Utah? Three local companies—Beehive Bitters Co., Bitters Lab and Honest John Bitters Co.—have captured the attention of cocktail enthusiasts with rave reviews. Both Beehive Bitters and Bitters Lab are available at Caputo's Markets (caputosdeli.com) and Boozetique (see above). Honest John Bitters are available at The Rest (331 S. Main, Salt Lake City. 801-532-4452, bodega331.com) where the stellar barkeeps there will gladly set up a tasting flight (fee varies) if you'd like to try before you buy. bitterslab.com, beehivebitters.com, honestjohnbitters.com
Give the gift that keeps on giving: all the basic equipment needed to get going with craft home brewing starting with 5 gallon batches. Kit includes priming, fermenting and bottling equipment, a hydrometer and the other necessary gizmos. A homebrew handbook rounds out the education component. Add a gift certificate from The Beer Nut so your newly obsessed brewing buddy can keep going back for more yeast and geek out on supplies all year round.
1200 S. State, Salt Lake City. 801- 531-8182, beernut.com
An elegant and captivating spin on the traditional rocks glass, these delicate tumblers for sale at Hip & Humble are a terrific gift alone or gifted alongside an excellent bottle of whiskey. The trigonal nine-sided glasses tip by degrees to sit flat in every direction while the liquid stays in the 11-ounce glass (whoops! I meant to do that!). If you catch the light the right way, the cut crystal disperses light prism-like through the liquor during sipping.
Multiple locations, hipandhumble.com
Show your support for Utah-made gin and make a lady mighty happy with this women's-cut super soft poly blend tee. Bonus points: The very tasteful branding silkscreened on heathered gray looks great on everybody. Yeah, they make them in versions for dudes, too.
Wine education classes at Harmons Grocery include the best of both worlds: You can learn some tips on preparing stellar cuisine while also exploring the best wines from all over the world to go along with them. Book it now as a gift and go with your bestie to the Bangerter Crossing class in January featuring Pacific Northwest seafood paired with unique wines from the region.
For the highbrow hops-lover in your life, Epic Brewing has you covered. Fill up one of their convenient carry-out bags ($3.99) with six bottles of their award-winning brew ($3.15-$15.99) or equally enticing swag like T-shirts ($21.99), hats of all brim capabilities and glassware to ideally suit the brews you choose ($3.99-$5.99). Pick up a growler to-go for yourself while you're at it ($10-$30 for ½ gallon draft beer + $6 growler).
Epic Brewing Co.: 825 S. State, Salt Lake City. 801-906-0123, epicbrewing.com
The Utah craft distillery scene is booming in almost every booze category from bourbon to vodka, with local juice now available on the shelves of most State Liquor Stores. Even better? Go straight to the source while you shop: Treat yourself to a tour (book online first) and tasting, then pick up a bottle or two for gifting. In addition to that eggnog-ready bottle of rum, these spots have gift shops brimming with locally made mixers and righteous swag.
Sugar House Distillery: 2212 S. West Temple, Ste. 14, Salt Lake City. 801-726-0403, sugarhousedistillery.net
Dented Brick Distillery: 3100 S. Washington St., Salt Lake City. 801-883-9837, dentedbrick.com
Distillery 36: 2374 S. Redwood Road, West Valley City. 801-983-7303, distillery36.com
Outlaw Distillery: 552 W. 8360 South, Midvale. 801-706-1428, outlawdistillery.com
Go loco for locavores!
By Alex Springer
Meat Shares from Beltex Meats ($120)
Remember when it was easy to get meat that wasn't juiced up with hormones and antibiotics? I sure don't. But the folks at Beltex Meats do, and they're looking to bring those days back. They only source humanely raised livestock, and their butchers pride themselves on their work as a whole-animal shop—none of the noble beast that gave its life for the sake of deliciousness goes to waste. Their monthly meat shares are perfect for that friend of yours who likes steak but hates factory farming.
511 E. 900 South, Salt Lake City. 801-532-2641, beltexmeats.com
We all have that one foodie friend that is on some sort of crusade to learn all there is to know about chocolate, cheese or craft spirits. Regardless of that friend's current culinary obsession, Caputo's offers several different classes in which experienced professionals like affineuse (your friend should know that word—unless she's a poser). Antonia Horne guides attendees through the nuances of tasting the local delicacies that Caputo's is so passionate about.
Multiple locations, caputosdeli.com
Katie Weinner is one of Salt Lake's finest chefs (you might remember the ass that she kicked on Top Chef back in 2014). When not teaching at the Art Institute of Salt Lake, she hosts some of the most imaginative dinner parties I've ever seen. Event locations vary, and guests aren't provided a menu, making the whole thing unfold like a surreal gastronomic dream. For the spine-crushingly cool couple in your life who is on the lookout for an unconventionally awesome date, look no further.
Locations vary, slcpop.com
For most of my life, I thought being passionate about food and being passionate about being active were mutually exclusive. After expanding my social circle, I've come to realize that people who happen to like riding bikes when they could be driving, really, can also enjoy a good snack. Even though I might never understand why some of my friends actually choose to run marathons, I plan on stocking them up with some bundles of organic, GMO-free nuts and dried fruit from Allgood Provisions.
Multiple locations, 855-856-0345, allgoodprovisions.com
Whether it's due to a traumatic experience with an underseasoned filet or the general ennui that comes from too many improperly poached eggs, not all foodies like going out to eat (mind blown, I know). For that friend who loves food but hates socializing, Dinner at Yours is a perfect option. Once you book, a trained chef will arrive at your door with everything necessary to whip up a gourmet four-course dinner. The chefs use the utensils that guests have on hand, and they even do the dishes when they're through working their culinary magic. How great is that?
1701 Student Life Way, Salt Lake City. 801-810-9547, dinneratyours.com
If you have a younger sibling, niece or nephew that has all the makings of a bona fide food snob, it's time to prep that kid for celebrity chefdom so they can buy you a Maserati when you retire. The Salt Lake Culinary Center offers a wide variety of junior chef classes that will serve up an awesome cooking-based educational experience for kids—or at least get them out of their parents' hair for a whole afternoon.
2233 S. 300 East, Salt Lake City. 801-464-0113, saltlakeculinarycenter.com
There are many items made by Amano Artisan Chocolate that will make the cocoa bean enthusiast in your life drool like a lobotomized dog. Founder and Head Chocolate Maker Art Pollard travels the world for the beans that make up his heady arsenal of chocolate bars, but his roasted Cocoa Nibs—made wth premium fair-trade cacao—will capture your chocolate-loving friend's heart. Twenty years into Pollard's "quest for the ultimate chocolate," the journey is complete.
450 S. 1325 West St., Orem. 801-655-1996, amanochocolate.com
Instead of embarrassing yourself by getting a nice Bardolino for a friend who actually prefers a full-bodied Barolo, hook them up with a membership to the Park City Wine Club. Not only do members enjoy monthly events in both Park City and SLC but they also get access to wine sales that aren't available anywhere else. Plus, it will give them the opportunity to hang with people who actually know the difference between a Bardolino and a Barolo instead of your uncultured, PBR-drinking ass. Chin-chin!
Christmas is for them too, we guess.
By Sarah Arnoff
Your little fashionista will definitely enjoy these kawaii-inspired minimalist designs locally screen-printed on super soft fabric. Influenced by her son's love of burgers, nature, outer space and doughnuts, Mochi Kids owner Amanda Stewart creates apparel patterns to be appealing to both kids and adults. Sporting a top adorned with a smiley cactus, gingerbread man or happy bowl of soba noodles, your lil' shorty will be the most stylish kid on the playground.
Though our world and our kids are getting more technologically savvy, iPhones and virtual reality games can't compare to sitting around an old-fashioned slot racing track. You might have to demonstrate how to physically hold the hand throttle, but if your kids can master configuring your Wi-Fi to set up your new Chromecast, they'll have this down in no time for hours of racing fun.
Hammond Toys, multiple locations. hammondtoy.com
Experimentation abounds with this multi-circuit science kit. Your future Nikola Tesla can assemble a gaggle of gadgets with the reusable snap circuits, including a lamp, FM radio and voice-controlled doorbell. This kit is as cool as it is nerdy, and users can discover the wonders of electricity by building the included example devices or create something completely new from the inner workings of their mad-scientist brains.
Hammond Toys, multiple locations. hammondtoy.com
Babies tend not to care what types of gifts they receive and they could probably care even less about the kind of adorable hat Mom and Dad fit on their head and fawn over. These fun animal caps (unicorn, fox, raccoon and more) available at Babinski's Baby are the perfect intersection of cuteness and function, keeping baby's ears toasty with fuzzy lining or thick-knitted Icelandic yarn. You'll wish you had one to match.
1324 Foothill Drive, Salt Lake City. 801-583-2229, babinskis.com
After the whirlwind of the sugar-binging holidays is over, get your kids out of the house and into a new hobby with Utah Olympic Oval's short-track speed skating classes. Kiddos as young as 5 can strap on a pair of specialty skates (no need to buy your own; you can rent them at the facility) and learn essential short-track techniques on the "Fastest Ice on Earth." Enrollees should already be comfortable with skating basics. Hockey, figure skating and curling classes are also available.
5662 Cougar Lane, Salt Lake City. 801-968-6825, utaholympiclegacy.org/oval
Perfect for keeping little hands busy on the go, this mini doodle kit includes eight colored pencils, an eraser and pencil sharpener along with a coloring book of 18 images waiting to be brightened up. Tuck this kit into a handbag or back pocket in case of drawn-out doctor's office visits or to have on hand when your child's inner artist strikes. Pair with the vintage letterpress rubber stamp kit ($16) for extra creativity.
The Children's Hour, 898 S. 900 East, Salt Lake City. 801-359-4150, childrenshourbookstore.com
Herriman's Tiffany Lee Studios carries an array of themed peg-doll sets, from circus family to robots, but this set of blank dolls gives your child the chance to creatively envision your own family—or invent a new one. Complete with paint, brushes and five wooden dolls (you can request a custom item in the online shop to add more dolls as needed), kids will have oodles of fun capturing their own likeness or those of their family members. And they can play make-believe with their handywork for years to come.
A little bit of yarn here, some felt there, a touch of glue, and voilà: a soft, fuzzy friend of your own creation. This simple kit is great for crafty kids with a love for plush. Their new floppy-eared companion will accompany them on many an adventure and is sure to be a great snuggle buddy as well.
The Children's Hour, 898 S. 900 East, Salt Lake City. 801-359-4150, childrenshourbookstore.com
Do you hear what we hear?
By Randy Harward
Active audiophiles will enjoy these Bluetooth earbuds from West Valley-based Jaybird Sport. Snug-fitting and sweatproof, they come with three sizes of foam and silicone ear tips, and secure-fit ear fins so they won't fall out. A full charge provides eight hours of music, and they're compatible with any Bluetooth device. The connectivity, by the way, is excellent and you can even pair with up to eight devices at a time, and use the Jaybird MySound app to customize EQ settings. Now you can get funky while you get funky!
What else you gonna get your music-loving pal? But do you feel confident locating an elusive treasure to fill a hole in their vast, Viking-style hoard? Never mind what the previous list said, gift cards stimulate our instinct to hunt down our own discs, tapes and wax at local merchants like Diabolical Records, Sound & Vision, The Heavy Metal Shop, Raunch Records, Albatross Recordings & Ephemera, Graywhale and Randy's Records. Don't forget the stocking stuffers: Diabolical has 5-by-7 notebooks ($3) so both your music and your wishlist can be analog; Diabolical and Albatross offer tote bags ($12), and most local record shops have killer T-shirts. Check out Diabolical's holiday design this year, with a subtly be-mittened Baphomet on tees ($15) or sweatshirts ($25) in English or Spanish.
SLC musician and relentless tinkerer David Payne's (Red Bennies, Starmy) "hyperfunctional" guitars feature his innovative pickup-wiring method and handcrafted, frictionless, balanced-tension Fibralten vibrato system—plus in-guitar pre- and post-amps by local gear wizard Ned Clayton for an incredibly broad tonal spectrum. That means one guitar can sound thin like a Stratocaster or fat like a Les Paul. Payne's revolutionary "hyperdirectional" P.A. speaker cabinets work with room acoustics to become omnidirectional, shooting sound everywhere while retaining acoustic integrity. Their retro arcade look is pretty snazzy, too. Order now; it takes 1-3 months to deliver a guitar, and one month for the speaker. Now, If only they could improve your playing ...
Rest 30 Records, rest30.com
South Weber musician and amplifier maker Ryan Hawthorn (Pinetop Inferno) turns old suitcases into rad portable street-corner amps. In spite of its seemingly piddly 9-volt, ½-watt power, they're plenty loud and sound great. They come in three sizes, feature Warehouse Guitar Speakers American Vintage series speakers and offer color choices on the grill cloth, retro chicken head knobs and LED lights. Some stock is available on reverb.com. Custom builds take 1-2 weeks plus shipping time, if applicable.
@hawthornelectricarts on Instagram
DOD guitar effects are manufactured under the umbrella of South Jordan-based Harman International. Their new Carcosa Fuzz recreates classic tones and enables new and freakier ones with its extreme bias control. EvilTone, founded earlier this year by engineering student Zach Griffen and former Harman engineer Jason Lamb (RIP) boasts six different pedals. Its 600-millisecond TapEcho is the standout. Smartly designed and made with "primo" parts, it gives you the classic short slap-echo, a feedback vortex, analog delay, tape warble and flanged vibrato.
Above all, audiophiles want perfect sound. But it doesn't hurt if your system looks awesome, too. So hit up E3 Modern for the coolest custom turntables and speakers in town. The massive, steampunk-ish contraptions in E3's downtown showroom (and the one across from the counter at Albatross) sound incredible and look like they could turn you into liquid at full blast. Each one is as unique as a snowflake. They might take up to six months to build, but it'll be worth the wait when you become the King of Rock Mountain and can turn your enemies into soup.
315 E. 300 South, Salt Lake City. 801-363-3939, facebook.com/e3modern
Upgrade your white elephant exchange now. Ask us how!
By Westin Porter
Looking for the perfect way to reward your cubicle partner for putting up with your Bernie Sanders email forwards all year like a champ? Look no further than Lindon, Utah's own Ashman Candle Co. We all know our workspaces can get crowded, especially when one of us had Indian food for lunch. What better way to clear the air than with one of these premium jar candles? Try my personal favorite, "Country Cottage."
Jockeying for position on that new-year raise? Christmastime could be the perfect time to end the work year right with your boss. Gift her or him this beautiful rustic picture frame from Salt Lake's own Signed & Numbered, and every time they look at that picture of their kids they put in it, they'll also subliminally be thinking of you. It might just be crazy enough to work—either way, it's a beautiful hand-crafted frame for an affordable price.
2320 S. West Temple, Salt Lake City. 801-596-2093, etsy.com/shop/signedandnumbered
If the name you drew for this year's office Secret Santa gift swap happens to be Ethel, Merna, Vera or Blanch; that is, if you happen to draw the sweet-old-office lady, then this Karbonz double-pointed needle set from local company Blazing Needles could very well just be the gift to get you buzz with the grandkids she's always talking about. Play your cards right, and this gift might just give back in the form of some new knitted sock creation come springtime.
1356 S. 100 East, Salt Lake City. 801-487-5648, blazing-needles.com
If your family is anything like mine, then every year you go through the painstaking process of choosing their gifts based on overheard conversation at Thanksgiving dinner. Sure, a gift card would make you both happier based on convenience alone, but you'll likely be shunned by your Italian grandmother for getting a Macaroni Grill gift card. Fortunately, your co-worker couldn't care less! Get them this gift card from Salt Lake County Center for the Arts and let them choose between great performances at Capitol Theatre, Abravanel Hall, the Eccles Theater and more!
A true gift from the heart for any co-worker who clocks in before 7 a.m., a 1-pound bag of whole or ground coffee beans from Ogden's Grounds for Coffee is sure to keep you on the up and up with your fellow 9-to-5ers. Serving northern Utah since 1991, Grounds for Coffee is a staple for anyone who commutes along the Highway 89 corridor from Davis to Weber counties. Earn even extra love and have your order shipped directly to your co-workers door. Pro tip: Don't be creepy when asking for their address.
Multiple locations, groundsforcoffee.com
Thank God you can co-exist with your Trump-supporting colleague by engaging in mindless hours of basketball chatter. The real beauty to giving someone tickets to a Jazz game for Christmas is that they are thereby socially obligated to take you to at least one of the games. So reward yourself; share an event that will likely become small-talk fodder for weeks to come with the co-worker you have literally nothing else to talk about with, and make the office cooler great again.
Look, we all do it. Every year we're forced into gifting something to someone we couldn't care less about. What's worse, we've all drawn the name of the one co-worker we despise for an office gift exchange: The bozo that takes the last cup of coffee without ever considering starting another pot; the one that destroys the bathroom without even touching the Febreze; the office supply closet hoarder (seriously dude, what do you plan on doing with all those butterfly clamps?) What better way to get your vitriolic point across than with everybody's favorite free gift from the '90s?
Multiple locations, deseretindustries.org
Office crush? Christmastime is the perfect opportunity to go from breakroom-smalltalk to bedroom dirty-talk ... right? In any case, this sassy "stretch peach lace top & tiny string thong" is sure to get the message across. Choose from a variety of womens' clothing here as well for more or less formal occasions. Just be careful Paula in HR doesn't catch wind. moldiegoldies.bigcartel.com
Create a holiday memory with a gift that celebrates creativity.
By Scott Renshaw
Even many lovers of art can be convinced that they themselves are not artists. Park City's Kimball Art Center provides year-round proof to the contrary. Family classes allow all ages to work together on learning projects like wheel-throwing pottery and creating gingerbread houses. Children and youth can participate in age-appropriate classes to learn sculpture, painting and drawing, while adults have opportunities to dig into the finer points of anatomy for drawing the human figure, screen-printing or portraiture. It's a chance to give a gift that could lead to the creation of other artistic gifts shared with the world.
1401 Kearns Blvd., Park City. 435-649-8882, kimballartcenter.org
Those who love browsing through artists' booths during summer farmers markets still have an opportunity to find unique creations from some of Utah's most gifted local artists. The newly minted Downtown Artist Collective is a co-op venture providing studio space and support for artists. But during December, it's also a place to shop for some of their work, from prints and paintings to small sculptures and distinctive crafts. If you have a chance to give a piece by Chris Bodily (his "Inevitable Decay" is pictured), Desarae Lee, Stephanie Swift, Chris Madsen and more than 20 other talented creators, why wouldn't you grab it?
258 E. 100 South, Salt Lake City. downtownartistcollective.org
While multiplexes seem to offer little more than disappointing variations on franchise themes and reboot/sequel/reboot "imagination," Salt Lake City's own nonprofit arthouse theater continues to serve up a variety of independent American narratives, foreign-language features and compelling documentaries. The Salt Lake Film Society's "Red Carpet Club" offers access to this content at a variety of levels to fit every possible budget for the aspiring Taratino on your list—from $60 for a year (discounted movie tickets and unlimited rentals from the Tower Video collection) to $5,000 (unlimited complimentary movie tickets for member and a guest, private Sundance Film Festival screenings, filmmaker luncheon and much more)—with several tiers in-between.
Is there a child or teen in your family who just can't stop singing, dancing and performing? Perhaps what they need is a place to nurture those gifts. Utah Children's Theatre offers September-to-May afterschool classes in acting and musical theater, as well as fixed-term summer programs, and even private voice lessons. If you're not quite sure which day or class is the best fit, buy a gift certificate ($10+) toward a future class. Let that singing include singing your praises for being so aware of their budding talents.
3605 S. State, Salt Lake City. 801-532-6000, uctheatre.org
The Utah Museum of Fine Arts is still undergoing renovation of its galleries, but the gift shop has re-opened just in time for the holidays, and just in time to enjoy its plentiful options for art-lovers. Pick up a coffee-table book celebrating significant local art works like Nancy Holt's "Sun Tunnels," or jewelry from one of many local artists. The shop is also a wonderful resource for parents trying to raise art-loving kids, with coloring books, puzzles, toys, games and books introducing youngsters to great works and the great artists who created them.
410 Campus Center Drive, Salt Lake City. 801-581-7332, umfa.utah.edu/store
The extraordinary experience of listening to some of the world's greatest compositions performed live might not seem like something you could wrap a bow around and place under the tree. But the Utah Symphony & Opera offers special $35 gift passes during the holiday season—each one good for a ticket in select Abravanel Hall sections for any Masterworks, Opera or Entertainment Series performance scheduled for the remainder of the 2016-2017 season (Jan. 7-May 27). Recipients simply need to call the box office to redeem for a specific performance, and let the miraculous music sweep them away. Hurry; they're available through Dec. 23 only.
Heaven knows that at this point in history, we can all use a little comic relief (when the comedy is actually intentional). Whether it's a local jokester or a nationally touring comedian, every weekend at the two Wiseguys locations—at The Gateway downtown, and on 25th Street in Ogden—you can find the makings of a hilarious evening out. Pick up gift cards in $25 increments, which can then be used to purchase tickets (reservations recommended), or for food and beverages to enjoy along with the show.
Have Beehive, will travel.
By Enrique Limón
Along with inversion and silent road rage, there are probably few things that scream Utah as much as fry sauce. Called "the most incredible condiment you probably haven't heard of" by Huffington Post, Salt Lakers have been in the know of this silky ketchup, mayo and spice concoction since the 1940s when Don Carlos Edwards, Arctic Circle founder, came up with the pastel sauce. Maybe he did it as a gag, maybe he wanted to introduce local palates to Argentine salsa golf or maybe it was one of those "You got peanut butter in my chocolate" moments. Whatever the case, it'll make your favorite expat's tastebuds sing and dance.
Multiple locations, acburger.com
As mentioned in the Cheapskate section, Cahoots has you covered for stocking stuffers with an OMG blushy edge. Your favorite Utahn living abroad (California is abroad, right?) will rejoice in partaking from this prohibitive flask. Bonus points if you accompany it with a bottle of local booze. For a double whammy, Distillery 36's small-batch "Brigham Rum" ($26.99) should do the trick.
878 E. 900 South, Salt Lake City. 801-538-0606, cahootssaltlake.com
Retailers like the above mentioned have the "SL,UT" game down. It turns out our city- and (red) state's initials make for a pretty giggle-worthy acronym. Who would've thought the Wildwood Hutch gift shop inside the Salt Lake Plaza Hotel, located just a stone's throw from the LDS Temple, would be in on the joke? Maybe they're not. Who knows? Other unintentionally ironic items for sale include gently used steamy romance novels and a magnet that states "Need Oxygen? Salt Lake City, UT."
122 W. South Temple, Salt Lake City. 801-521-0130, plaza-hotel.com
Again, though locals never think of them, hotel gift shops carry a bevy of items—both cheesetastic and not—that are sure to bring a smile to giftees' faces. Perfect for just about anyone, Granstville's The Kristal Co. specializes in festive creations made from a special brine solution using salt from the Great Salt Lake. This keepsake is sure to last through generations. How do I know this? It looks pristine and the back of the case says ©1984. Available at the Sundries Shop inside the Little America Hotel.
500 S. Main, Salt Lake City. 801-596-5845, saltlake.littleamerica.com
Few things evoke instant nostalgia quite like ghost signs, and SLC letterpress artist Peder Singleton sought inspiration in one of the biggest ones around—the old Even Ritz Classic Bowling sign—for a limited-run of letterpress prints. "Bowling alleys and motels have incredible signs with such rich character," Singleton says. "They just have stories of their own. So, I found a way to photograph and reproduce them with some character of my own." Other sign-inspired pieces showcase Holladay's Villa Theatre and Sugar House's Steering Stark signs.
Laptops, windshields, notebooks, your little brother: They could all use a little sprucing up during the winter months. That's where Sticker Art, featuring original illustrations by Kayla Edgar, come in. Instantly evocative of the scenery that makes us all glad we live here, Edgar's colorful stickers depict everything from camping, van life and climbing Indian Creek's Scarface. Equipped with three layers of UV protections, these silk-screened vinyl stickers are guaranteed to last. You can find them online, as well as select brick-and-mortar locations like The Queen Bee in Ogden.
Sure it's cool to display local art on walls, but how about wearing it? Illustrator and muralist Trent Call came up with this design alongside fellow artist Patrick Munger during an exhibit at Captain Captain Studios in 2009 and decided to bring it back in wearable form. "The idea came from a little bit of thought, but mostly play. It's simply two iconic symbols of Salt Lake mashed together," Call says. "There's something about Brigham Young's head on the Morton Salt Girl's body that just works." We agree.
Put down the popcorn tin and head out.
By Dylan Woolf Harris
The state has five jaw-dropping national parks inside its borders: Zion, Bryce Canyon, Arches, Canyonlands and Capitol Reef. And the National Parks' America the Beautiful pass is the perfect way to introduce Utah's newcomers to the beauty displayed in the Southwestern deserts. Annual passes are $80, but they will get an entire vehicle of guests into each park. And, of course, the pass will allow entry into any of the national parks outside Utah's borders, which can be reason enough to pack up for a road trip and head toward Grand Teton, Death Valley or Mesa Verde, to name just a few.
Don't be tricked into thinking Chapul's cricket-based protein bars are simply a chirpy novelty. These locally made snacks pack a punch of vitamin B-12 and iron, they are a sustainable option for protein and they help illuminate the world's diverse and spectacular culinary traditions. The flavors each pay homage to a region of the world that eats or once ate insects. Chapul's flagship bar is a peanut butter and chocolate concoction named after the indigenous Chaco people that used to eat crickets. A $13 four-bar sampler pack—one in each flavor—is a fitting gift for one whose sense of adventure extends to his or her palate.
For the adventurer who is seeking gear that is as unique as it is functional, try gifting them Cotopaxi's Luzon del Día. This backpack is a replica of the store's popular Luzon daypack, but because the del Día is stitched together from pieces of extra fabric, no two bags are identical. The versatile bag is an 18-liter backpack, complete with a spot for a water bladder. These items go for $49.95 at Cotopaxi's downtown headquarters or ordered online. Coto gear can also be found in select retailers such as REI and Nordstrom. Consider it the gift that keeps on giving as Cotopaxi, whose motto is "Gear for Good," sets aside 2 percent of its revenue to offer grants to an array of organizations in developing countries.
74 S. Main, Salt Lake City. 844-268-6729, cotopaxi.com
Hidden in Utah's mountains and deserts are enough caverns to keep a spelunker's sense of adventure satiated. But a scuba certification will help them explore the underwater depths, such as the Homestead Crater in Midway. Numerous places offer scuba classes along the Wasatch Front—Neptune Divers, Dive Utah and Scuba Utah are a few. Depending on equipment rentals and the number of participants, beginner classes can vary anywhere between $350-$500.
neptunedivers.net, diveutah.com, scubautah.com
5. Custom-Built Bike ($65+)
Whether pedaling a trail in the canyons or cruising around the city's bike lanes, Salt Lake has emerged as a bicycle city. If you know a person in need of a new set of wheels, Crank SLC has a cool solution: custom-built bikes. This type of gift will work best as a voucher, however, because in order to construct the perfect bike, Crank will need to talk to the owner regarding the intended purpose, design, size and price range. Crank specializes in road and adventure bikes, which are designed for on-and-off trail use. The shop lists its basic build at $65, but the cost will vary greatly depending on the bike.
749 S. State, Salt Lake City. 385-528-1158, crankslc.com
It's that time of the year when the mercury dips to frigid lows, so wrap up a present that will keep your outdoor-loving pals bundled. A classic beanie is ideal for keeping one's ears toasty, and Velo City Bags sells crocheted headwear that is locally crafted. Not only is the material 100 percent acrylic but it's also animal-friendly. Beanies only come in black, though, and can be purchased from Velo City Bags' online store.
Few cities are lucky enough to have a stunning mountain range as its backdrop. But it's not until you explore the many trailed ridges and crevices that you understand how special this place is. Hiking the Wasatch, written by John Veranth, remains the hiker's Bible. Veranth, past president of the Wasatch Mountain Club, has an extensive knowledge about the mountains and conveys it in easy-to-understand prose.
kingsenglish.com, kensandersbooks.com, wellerbookworks.com
Sledding down a snowy slope is as classic a winter image as candy canes or stuffed stockings. Plenty of stores stock their shelves with sleds, tubes and toboggans. Dick's Sporting Goods, for example, has a healthy selection that includes the triangular DBX Sub Zero Snow Tube for $20. This gift is for taking out on one of the valley's many snowy hills (snow-gods permitting).
Multiple locations, dickssportinggoods.com
How to get the message across once and for all.
By Ryan Cunningham
Bringing your own booze to a holiday party is a polite gesture. It says to the host, "Thank you for inviting me into your home on this august occasion of celebration and cheer." But bringing over a few Bud Light Lime Raz-Ber-Ritas says something entirely different. It says, "I don't respect you as a human being, so here's an abundant supply of a beverage that tastes like a mixture of fruit punch, rubbing alcohol and sadness. Enjoy! Where's the beer?"
At fine State Liquor Stores everywhere, abc.utah.gov
Here are two things that are pretty useless: Christmas-themed Christmas gifts and all holiday music except for The Drifters' version of "White Christmas." That's what makes A Cabbage Patch Christmas—available at Randy's Records—such a cruel offering. I especially recommend this inexcusable novelty album for parents with young children. Perhaps suggest digitizing it so the kids can jam to this irrelevant pop culture relic on their grimy iPads for the next seven months. They'll thank you for it. Just kidding—they'll curse your name, but hey, there's a reason they're on this list anyway.
157 E. 900 South, Salt Lake City. 801-532-4413, randysrecords.com
I don't know for sure, but there's a chance this Filipino snack food is legally prohibited from using the word "cheese" in its product name. What I do know is that the 60-gram bag of "cheese flavored corn curls" somehow packs 20 grams of saturated fat, according to its nutrition facts ("nutrition," lol). That's exactly 100 percent of a person's recommended daily value. Give this chizzy treat to someone who deserves to die a slow, cardiovascular death.
Southeast Market, 422 E. 900 South, Salt Lake City. 801-363-5474, southeastmarket.com
In this "high-voltage martial arts drama," a squad of undercover agents are plagued by a series of mysterious assassinations. So naturally, the experienced law-enforcement professionals turn to karate champion Matt Logan (played by actual karate champion Chuck Norris) to solve the case. I picked this 1979 craptacular motion picture from a box filled with countless VHS tapes for sale at Utah Book & Magazine because it was still in its original plastic wrap—people love brand new stuff, right?
327 S. Main, Salt Lake City. 801-359-4391
If you're trying to find the perfect gift for an asshole, here's something that's made specifically for assholes. Dude Wipes are like baby wipes but for grown-ass men. According to the product's website, they're 25 percent bigger than most wipes, unscented and completely flushable. You can pick up a 48-wipe pack at your local grocery store, but I recommend gifting a "Dude Squad" subscription to serve as a monthly reminder of where the recipient can stick it.
Available at any Smith's location, smithsfoodanddrug.com
Sometimes the noblest gift we can give someone is a humbling reminder of the frailty of our existence. One day Betsy was alive and well, barking at strangers and futilely chasing birds in the backyard. Now she's dead, and all that remains is this solid stone plaque commemorating her disconcertingly short life. Oh Betsy. We hardly knew ye. Seriously, I have no idea whose dog this was.
Multiple locations, deseretindustries.org
Here's what's going to happen: The gift recipient will lift this trophy out of its cheap gift bag, examine the impressive accolades, and feel a sudden rush of crushing disappointment after they realize they'll never be as good as Beazer. They'll never know what it's like to achieve and sustain such an untouchable level of excellence. They'll feel the full heft of that first-place trophy and awaken to their own insurmountable mediocrity. No one beats Beazer. No one.
Multiple locations, deseretindustries.org
The beauty of this gift is that it turns the recipient into a stone-cold liar the moment they accept it: "No sir, you did not meet Vanna White at RC Willey. You know what else? You've never met Vanna White. Period. And I wouldn't be surprised if you've never even set foot in an RC Willey. You don't even know who Vanna White is, do you? How are you gonna pour coffee into that mug when it's already full of LIES? You disgust me."
Multiple locations, deseretindustries.org
Happy Christmas to all (except poor Betsy), and to all a good night!