Gift guides abound, I know, but I think we can all use ideas each year for fun and interesting presents to get for friends or family. It seems like the trend is toward giving experiences rather than objects, and I’m all for it. Of course, there are lots of fun things to give, too, if you’re willing to think outside the mall. For instance, you can…
Give the gift of local
Everyone says “shop local,” but it’s not just a phrase or a trend. Local shops help you a.) find some of the best gifts, and b.) support many local vendors. Try visiting:
- Swoonful Gifts at Igloo Letterpress – in their new space in Old Worthington! Look for cards, posters, and more
- Celebrate Local – an Easton mainstay featuring Ohio goods: everything from chips to chocolate, beer and wine, books and cards, body care products, and more
- Wholly Craft – one of my favorite Clintonville spots, featuring all sorts of hand-made goods from local vendors. They even do classes!
- Global Gallery – close to Wholly Craft in Clintonville, featuring lots of fair trade items
- Experience Columbus Visitors Centers – in the Arena District and in the Convention Center; both shops feature lots of Columbus-themed goods
- Local bookstores like The Book Loft or Cover to Cover
- Even get some breakfast-themed T-shirts (printed locally by Outfit Good!)
Give the gift of a class
Buy someone a class – better yet, sign up together!
- The Commissary runs a crazy awesome range of food classes and dinners, from pastry to tofu to Indian food to croissants to cookies to Chilean fare and beyond. New classes are being added all the time.
- The Kitchen does participatory dining experiences, where you can help prepare a group meal, then eat it!
- Igloo Letterpress offers classes in letterpress, bookbinding, design, and more
- The Cultural Arts Center, like many Columbus Recreation and Parks spots, offers classes in things like ceramics, enameling, jewelry-making, etc.
Give the gift of drink
The city has plenty of coffee shops, wineries, breweries, and distilleries to explore!
- Good coffee beans are on my Christmas list every year. I love new coffees; they’re one of those gifts that keep giving. Head to a local coffee shop like Crimson Cup, One Line, Brioso, Luck Bros, Stauf’s, or find beans from Thunderkiss or Roaming Goat. Get a passport from the Coffee Trail (it’s free) and take them to a couple stops to get it stamped.
- More and more breweries are bottling their beers. Get specialty beers from Rockmill, Wolf’s Ridge, Seventh Son, Actual, Sideswipe, Zaftig, CBC, Elevator. Pick up a Columbus Ale Trail book (also free) and take them to get a couple stamps on it!
- There are plenty of breweries canning, too! Grab a six-pack from Four String, Land-Grant, North High, Seventh Son, Elevator
- If you’re headed to a party, grab growlers from filling stations like Growl! or The Daily Growler. The Ohio Taproom‘s system ensures beer will stay good (un-opened) for up to 90 days in a growler.
Give the gift of food
More experiences! Enjoy a meal together. Explore somewhere new.
- Get a giftcard to a whole range of local restaurants. Explore great spots like The Guild House, Flatiron Bar & Diner, Salt & Pine, Copious, South of Lane, The Sycamore, Katalina’s, 101 Beer Kitchen, Starliner Diner, the list goes on and on.
- Need a starting point? Check out Dine Originals restaurants.
- The restaurants don’t have to be fancy, either! Consider giftcards to fast causals like Fusian, 6-1-Pho, or Bibibop.
- Better yet: pair a dinner or a class with another experience, like dinner and a symphony concert, or drinks and a distillery tour.
Give the gift of a tour
- Columbus Food Adventures (I’m biased here, of course) leads tours of neighborhoods, ethnic eats, food and taco trucks, coffee, meat, breakfast, brunch.
- Columbus Brew Adventures (I’m also biased here) will help you discover breweries, distilleries, and cider-makers across the city. There’s a brand new itinerary exploring Powell and Delaware.
- Schedule a tour and tasting at Watershed Distillery, Middle West Spirits (temporarily closed for renovations), or Brothers Drake. Some breweries offer regular tours of their facilities, too; Land-Grant does tours every Saturday at 3 p.m.
Give the gift of the arts
- There’s no shortage of arts and cultural events in Columbus. Trust me, I know; I help curate ColumbusMakesArt.com, a thorough listing of things to do across the city.
- Buy them tickets to an event: a Columbus Symphony or Promusica concert; a show at CATCO or Available Light or Columbus Children’s Theatre, a BalletMet or Opera Columbus performance
- Buy a membership to one of our great arts and cultural organizations: Wild Goose Creative, the Columbus Zoo & Aquarium, COSI, the Columbus Museum of Art, the Idea Foundry, Actors Theatre
- Buy movie passes for a local theatre: Studio 35, the Gateway Film Center, the Drexel Theater, the Grandview Theatre