You know your friends will be enjoying several adult beverages this year, so why not contribute to the cause? City Beverage has everyone covered with Beer Gift Baskets starting at $13.99 and Wine Gift Baskets starting at $29.99. Each basket mixes and matches flavors of wine and beer with candy and decorative items.
3661 Shaw Ave., Hyde Park, 513-321-1192
For a shop with more history behind its wares, visit English Traditions for European-styled home furnishings and décor. While here, I found some cute little children Christmas figurines that were dressed up for the holidays, including a cute child dressed as a Christmas tree ($28) and one as a gingerbread man ($22). For more upscale selections, check out a framed collection of Beatles cards ($300) or a larger framed collection of English playing cards ($350).
2716 Erie Ave., Hyde Park, 513-321-4730, www.englishtraditions.com
If you’re the type of person who enjoys the uniqueness and quality of local hand-made arts and crafts, this new Northside boutique and gallery will surely interest you. Fabricate offers space for crafters and designers to showcase work, sell their stuff or swing by to pick up some supplies. Over the next month they’ll be featuring seamstress-inspired jewelry (earrings run $25-$50) by Charlotte E. Conway, she of a sewing family background whose pieces are one-of-a-kind. Fabricate will also feature items such as handmade scarves, bags, hair accessories, pottery and T-shirts by other artists, in addition to gift certificates.
4016 Hamilton Ave. (enter through Red Polly), Northside, 513-541-2394, www.fabnorthside.com
Walk in and you’re instantly welcomed by the friendly, personal and bright flowing garments. I found a swirling, free-flowing hippie dress in fall-friendly yellows and browns ($37.50) that would pair nicely with knee-high brown boots. Or contribute to breast cancer research with a gray and pink breast cancer support T-shirt ($32). By the counter, don’t forget to check out a selection of trendy rings ($14) to add to your purchase.
2037 Madison Road, O’Bryonville, 513-871-7879
Replicated art work can give your home a classic ambience for a fraction of the price. Shop Masterpiece Gallery to find handmade Van Gogh replica oil paintings for less than $50 — a great home décor gift for friends, family or even yourself. Select different sizes for different price points. For instance, a small (20-by-24-inch) painting is only $49.99 with the featured coupon ($99.99 original price). And the mini 8-by-10-inch size is only $22.49 with coupon (original price $44.99).
Tri-County Mall, Springdale, 513-432-8376
Mustard Seed Boutique
This trendy boutique is small and narrow, but a quick perusal of their items still results in a great selection of clothes and accessories. I found a gorgeous gray and burgundy ruffled dress ($38) that my college-age cousin will delight in. And an “I heart Ohio” T-shirt is perfect for the born-and-bred Buckeye on your list. Or contribute to the ongoing East Side vs. West Side debate with Alternative Motive Apparel “Best Side” T-shirts. If you’d like to shower someone with generosity, you can also find plenty of high-end items, like the gold sequin flapper-esque dress I found hiding in the racks for $148.
311 Ludlow Ave., Clifton, 513-221-4022, www.mustardseedboutique.com
This new arrival in the Oakley line of shops sells everything from baby and bridal gifts to jewelry and purses (a lovely blue/gray Sabrina purse was $110). While here, I scored a golf ball wine stopper ($28 for my aunt who loves hitting the links. There was also a wide variety of Christmas tree ornaments, one of which was a white, bristly star ornament ($8). But the most unique find was a set of four coasters ($46) made from Italian marble and topped with painted designs made to look almost distressed, giving these coasters an old-world feel. Nest’s owner and her husband make these coasters in Cincinnati, and they’re definitely one of the more unique gifts I’ve found this year.
3184 Madison Road, Oakley, 513-871-8852, www.nestgifts.com
Local artists unite at Originalities to sell their wares for unique hometown gifts. Jeweled picture frames ($40) would be a great present for teenage girls who change their featured friends monthly or daily. Or give fun fleece pillows in funky designs ($50 each) to serve as a focal point in a friend’s décor. For something more seasonal, check out their unique Christmas ornaments ($9).
2719 Erie Ave., Hyde Park, 513-321-7278
This cute little shop has a wide selection of fun giftables for the gardening enthusiast, grill master or outdoor aficionado of your choice. I fell in love with the wind chimes ($28) made of the thin lining of oyster shells usually discarded after shucking the oyster. There were also brightly colored garden globes ($30) and a bullfrog outdoor wall plaque ($48) that would make a great addition to anyone’s garden or outdoor pond. For those who like to entertain (outdoors or in), try the fun battleship ice cube trays ($8.50) or make-your-own frozen shot glass ice cube trays ($12).
16 E. 12th St., Over-the-Rhine, 513-744-9344, www.outsideinthecity.com
Holiday gatherings are fast approaching, so don’t be the guy or gal who shows up to a fancy party empty-handed. Swing by Renaissance Garden for a little something to brighten up the hosts’ home or address your own holiday decorating needs. They offer a wide selection of bulbs and branches, including Amaryllis and paperwhite bulbs, freshly cut evergreen branches, winterberry holly and red- and yellow-twig dogwood.
3209 Madison Road, Oakley, 513-321-2430, www.rengarden.com
Known for unique, trendy outfits perfect for club hopping at the Havana Martini Club or dining at Jag’s, Snap also offers some other delightful gifts for friends on your list who are too picky to purchase clothes. For the girly girl, check out their fun and feminine boxer shorts complete with gift boxes ($25). For the bespeckled BFF, grab a $25 canvas eye glass case. And for that club hopping wingwoman, check out their “Never on a Sunday” mini flask ($30).
2732 Erie Ave., Hyde Park, 513-871-8333, www.snaphydepark.com
Three French Hens
This new boutique off Hyde Park Square offers a wide selection of unique gifts and treats for yourself. Our favorite finds were the be.ology scarves ($43) with upbeat sayings on them, such as “be.happy” or “be.kind.” A little less expensive on the scale are colorful
postcards created by Dee Bathiany ($9)
featuring scenes from Rookwood Commons
and neighboring shops in Hyde Park.
3444 Michigan Ave., Hyde Park, 513-321-1161
Toko Kids and Toko Baru
I always peruse Toko Kids for my California nieces that have all the standard toys and games and are looking for something new. This year I found adorable infant ballet slippers ($32), perfect for my little princesses. Next door, at the more adult Toko Baru, I stumbled upon Momiji dolls ($18), miniature Japanese girl dolls that have almost a cult following in some communities. For more classic gifts, head to the back, where you’ll find large nightlights ($24.50) that, when plugged in, illuminate beautiful New York scenes or famous art works.
Tulips on Erie
This year I found that Tulips on Erie is prepared for all your holiday serving and entertaining needs. For instance, a brown platter with a travel motif will cost just $40 and includes a decorative silver cheese spreader. Or find a silver napkin holder with martini napkin weight ($58) that’s perfect for placing on your bar for imbibing guests.
2724 Erie Ave., Hyde Park, 513-533-1838