Need some ideas for getting unique gifts this season? Here are a number of ideas from Columbus businesses to give as original and exciting gifts for the holidays.
1. Share an experience
Some of the best gifts are experiences you can share. Honestly, we all have enough stuff already. So why not give a gift that allows you and a loved one to make some memories together?
- Columbus Brew Adventures gift card. One of my favorite new ventures of the year (although I’m biased because you’ll catch me as a tour guide once in a while). Take a tour through Columbus breweries downtown or in Grandview, or trek further to Licking County (where you get some exclusive tastes) or southeast to Athens and Lancaster. These tours allow you to sample a lot of brews and meet the creative folks behind them. And it doesn’t matter if you’re new to beer or a seasoned aficionado.
- Columbus Food Adventures gift card. A terrific way to get a finger on Columbus’ culinary pulse. Take a walking tour of Short North, try Columbus’ varied ethnic eats, or sample Columbus coffee. Although some of the tours have gone on hiatus for the winter, you can still give a gift card and then look forward to their return in the spring.
- Go on a distillery tour! Both Middle West Spirits and Watershed Distillery offer tours of their facilities that include tastings.
- Brew some beer! Central Ohio’s first brew-on-premises shop, North High Brewing, opened this year. Go in with a group to brew a 15-gallon batch under the guidance of their experienced brewers.
- Give a gift card! Help someone explore local restaurants by giving them a gift card to it. Nearly every restaurant out there offers gift cards. If you need a good starting place, search the list of Dine Originals restaurants.
- Igloo Letterpress. Igloo uses honestly old school printing presses to create cards, posters, books, even wrapping paper. Check out their new gift shop, located in the old Snow House, or give someone the gift of a printing or book-binding class. Bonus: say hi to Mrs. Bfast w/Nick while you’re there!
- Wholly Craft. This Clintonville store is loaded with local goods. Odds are you’ll be able to find something for everyone on your list.
- Celebrate Local. Just because you’re out at Easton doesn’t mean you can’t shop local. Celebrate Local is packed with shirts, gifts, books, and food from all over Ohio.
- Alison Rose Tees. Located along Indianola in Clintonville, Alison and Nick screenprint shirts, bags, hoodies. They were recently in a car accident, and while they’re doing okay, they need all the help they can get to catch up for lost time and merchandise.
- Simply Vague. Two stores at Tuttle Place and Polaris, both loaded with local goods.
3. Get sauced!
In addition to our top-notch distilleries, Columbus’s beer scene is exploding. New breweries, brewpubs, and tap rooms are opening all the time. They offer the perfect gift for any craft beer drinker (or someone looking to convert from Bud Light to real beer).
- Bottles up! Look for local breweries that bottle and sell their beer, like Columbus Brewing Company, Elevator Brewing, Rockmill Brewery, Sideswipe, or Granville Brewing.
- Mix it up! Can’t decide on one? Make a mixed 4- or 6-pack at beer stores Crafted Drafts or Corner Stone Craft Beer & Wine.
- If you don’t have as far to go, fill up a growler at almost any of the breweries or at one of the new growler filling spots, like Savor Growl, Savor Market, and Studio 35 in Clintonville; The Daily Growler in Upper Arlington, The Ohio Taproom in Grandview. Most breweries, beer stores, and even some bigger supermarkets offer growler sales, too.
- And I don’t just mean alcohol! Pick up a bottle of your favorite sauces from local restaurants. Mikey’s Late Night Slice just bottled their Slut Sauce (“Don’t ask what’s in it,” says the bottle), available online or at any of their locations. And El Arepazo downtown and in Gahanna bottles their shot-worthy cilantro sauce, too.
- UPDATE: How could I forget coffee?! Give someone a pound or two of a new brew from Cafe Brioso, Stauf’s, Thunderkiss, or Back Room Coffee Roasters. We’ve become partial to One Line Coffee‘s iced coffee, which you can now buy bottled.
- Breakfast With Nick: Columbus. You knew this whole list was just a plug for my book, right? Right. The book is perfect for anyone who loves breakfast, or Columbus, or exploring new restaurants, or learning some history, or all of the above. Buy the book through my site, at one of the listed vendors, or find me at an upcoming book-signing.
- North Market Cookbook, by Michael Turback. Get some great ideas and recipes from the vendors at the North Market.
- Recipe For Joy, by Robin Davis. Robin recently jumped from being Food Editor at the Dispatch to senior writer at Kenyon College. Earlier this year, she published her new book connecting food, faith, and much more.
- Better yet: buy one of these books at a local bookstore like The Book Loft, Beehive Books, or Cover to Cover.