It’s that time of year again when we search for gifts for family and friends (and teachers and secretaries and the postman and so on). This year our selections focus on items locally made. Not only will you find something for everyone, but you’ll be supporting local artisans as well!
Beautiful wool and leather bags, some dip dyed with Indigo, from local, woman-owned handbag maker Azellaz bring a hip, artisanship vibe to your gift giving. Almanac Industries’ wallets, card holders, clutches and handbags made by a Baltimore husband and wife team who met in art school, offer classic, handmade Shinola-like quality at a fraction of the price. For the younger, hip friends and relatives on your list, Treason Toting Company will score you some style points when you gift their backpacks, Dopp kits, laptop sleeves, aprons and more.
Expert local jewelry makers offer rare and extraordinary pieces right under our noses. Rebecca Myers and Betty Cooke jewelry at The Store Ltd., both shops at the Village of Cross Keys, create some of the most beautiful jewelry in the country. For a more affordable option, Tigerlillyshop jewelry makes copper and bronze botanical pieces that imprint fern leaves, replicate branches, acorns and more.
Limited Edition Baltimore Silkscreen Prints: Charlie Barton, contemporary artist and owner of Art By Barton, produces hand-pulled, limited edition prints in his shop located in the Canton area of Baltimore (4401 Fait Ave). Raised by architects, Charlie has always been drawn to urban landscapes and architectural subject matters that are seen throughout his work. As a Baltimore native, much of his artwork is inspired by popular city landmarks we all know and love. You can shop dozens of iconic Baltimore scenes, like the Natty Boh Tower, Dominos Sugar sign, Patterson Park Pagoda, and the National Aquarium.
Not from Baltimore? You can choose from eight other cities, including Frederick, Harrisburg, Chicago, and Washington, DC. Each print comes ready to hang in a wooden or hand-welded steel frame.
Candies, Cakes & Goodies
We all indulge a little more over the holidays, so this is the perfect time to treat your friends (and yourself) to some of the delicious goodies that abound this time of year.
Smith Island Cake is the official dessert of Maryland (much better than Jell-O, the official dessert of Utah). With nine layers and an assortment of flavors, the cake impresses even the snobbiest foodie. The company makes the cakes on Smith Island, adding an air of authenticity. Mouth Party Caramels, made using a recipe handed down by the grandmother of the owner, have been a favorite since they came on the scene a few years back and remain a go-to for those looking for a special treat (Mouth Party recently moved to Timonium near another favorite confectioner, A. Kirchmayr Chocolatier). Save room for Natasha’s Just Brittle which offers delicious treats (Cracker Jack brittle!) all made from Natasha’s Hereford Road kitchen. Many wonderful ice cream companies have opened in Baltimore in the last few years, and a tub from any one of them would be a surefire way to win over the kids. Baltimore ice creameries Taharka Brothers and The Charmery and a new company Cajou Cream — cashew based ice cream — are our picks.
Savory Foods and Condiments
Not everyone has a sweet tooth. For those who prefer something savory, crabcakes from the world-renowned Faidley’s will make ANYONE who receives them happy. Plus, they ship nationwide! Savory foods also make good corporate gifts, family gifts or hostess gifts and both Kinderhook snacks (cheese nips) and Popsations Popcorn (try Crabby Caramel for a hometown twist) are sure to please.
Baltimore cafe and food shop Atwater’s offers the perfect pairing of sweet and spice. Its gift pack includes hot sauces and jam, such as a habanero sauce and peach nectarine jam. Yum.
Like sweets and snacks, we imbibe more drinks over the holidays. Gin, whiskey, brandy and more from the Baltimore Spirits Company (formerly the Baltimore Whiskey Company) and an assortment of whiskeys from Sagamore Spirit go beyond the every day and are sure to please cocktail lovers. To add a little more oomph to your gift, pair any one of the spirits with a Le Monade drink mixer. Stick with a holiday theme and give Le Monade’s Cranberry Sage mixer a try.
Any of the many local craft beers from Union Craft to Heavy Sea will be a hit, and some even offer special Christmas brews. Ask your favorite brew meister (or any liquor store clerk) about it.
We’re glad to see more local coffee roasters on the scene. Zeke’s has been the hometown favorite for some time, but if you want to try something new check out the woman-owned Thread Coffee. Working out of OpenWorks, they offer freshly roasted, transparently sourced coffee. Vent Coffee, which just opened a new space at Union Collective, has been around a little longer (since 2013) and offers a variety of flavors from beans around the globe.
Anyone under 18 and over four will like a skateboard from Bustin’ Boards, the local skateboard makers based in Port Covington (Kevin Plank’s an investor). One-of-a-kind stuffed animals by woman-owned Cotton Monster are perfect for the toddler set and crayons (some in fish and bunny shapes) and children’s activities from A Childhood Store will delight five to ten-year-olds.
Looking for more ways to shop and support locally? Check out the Green Spring Station Makers Market this Saturday, December 8 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Also make a visit to some neighborhood shopping centers like Ruxton Station and Wyndhurst Station to find smaller, local vendors.
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