Looking for unique gifts this holiday season? Buy local


Anyone who has ordered holiday gifts online knows that it’s hard to wonder if the item will actually arrive on time. It’s more than a little disappointing – especially for kids – to receive a late holiday gift days or weeks after the occasion, which adds to the ever-growing list of reasons to buy. local businesses this year.

Even if you rely on a global delivery service to bring the holiday spirit to someone’s door, get creative with your gift options by browsing our buying guide for unique ideas for friends and family. family.

For the best selections, shop early. And ship early!

Score big at these local holiday events

Want to do more than just your happy gift this year? Shop from artists and artisans at Holizaar Handmade Holiday Bazaar hosted at The [email protected] in St. Pete on December 11 from noon to 6 p.m. From homemade pickles to paper products, check out the complete list of suppliers.

Some people on your gift list just don’t want a lot of things for the holidays. Instead of tangible things, spend some quality time soaking up the essence of the holiday season with Westcoast Black Theater TroupeThe Holiday Musical Joyful! Joyful! at the Donelly Theater in Sarasota. With performances scheduled from today through December 30, you can enjoy gospel-inspired classics and pop songs that are sure to put you in a cheerful spirit.

In Clearwater, plan to visit The Market Elaine from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. on December 16, a courageous night sister to the city’s already popular The Market Marie. The Evening Market takes place outside of Station Square Park and features over 50 local vendors and artisans from Clearwater and the Tampa Bay area. Read more on this link: Clearwater Downtown Vacation Extravaganza.

Browse a variety of artist-created goodies in these galleries

Labyrinth studios is known for engraving, which makes it a perfect stop for a handmade holiday card. But merchandising is more than that, offering everything from screen-printed clothing to jewelry and other artwork for your walls. If your gift wants more practice, offer him a workshop (like ceramics or sewing) at the Labyrinth where he can create his own creation.

Do you have someone who likes the strange and the unusual? Or maybe you just want something weird to have a good laugh on your next White Elephant gift exchange? Come down with your dark side and head to Dysfunctional Grace in Ybor City to find everything from vintage clown tchotchkes to voodoo dolls to wild taxidermies and more.

Go green with these eco-friendly gift options

Of course, Clyde Butcher has two traditional galleries (one in Venice and the other in the heart of the Everglades on Tamiami Trail) where you can shop for his world-famous photographs of Florida’s natural landscapes, but you’ll get extra screams of excitement. from your family’s explorers by offering them a Big Cypress Swamp Walk. Butcher is known for wading chest-deep in the Florida swamps to get the best photographs of Florida’s unspoiled wildlife, and now you can too (well, maybe just up to your hips) on this guided tour. .

Everyone has a friend or family member who has a green thumb. Treat the plant lover you know – and friendly pollinators in your neighborhood – this year by gifting them a native Florida plant from Wilcox Nursery. Among your choices? A living southern red cedar as an alternative to purchasing a traditional Christmas tree shipped from the North. You can even plant red cedar in your garden after the holidays.

If you are looking for something nostalgic or an offbeat vintage decor, you are sure to find it and other surprises at Park Street Antique Center in Saint-Pierre. Filled to the brim with antiques from multiple vendors, it’s like an immersive art experience in itself as you browse through all of these relics from days gone by. Another advantage is that you might find unique Christmas material; they have a full room dedicated to him!

Local clothing options you won’t find anywhere else

Looking at current fashion trends, there is always a return to older styles. Instead of buying new clothes, you can reduce your carbon footprint by purchasing the awesome killer yarns that are handpicked at Frolic Exchange at Seminole Heights. You can also buy freshly made homemade creations using recycled vintage fabrics.

Looking to support black owned businesses? Stop African extravagance just north of downtown Tampa for clothing with bold, bold prints. The store also offers home decor and beauty products that you would be hard pressed to find elsewhere.

Edible gifts doomed to disappear quickly

Do you know someone who already seems to have it all? Give the gift of food. While homemade treats can be plentiful this time of year, give the delicious butterscotch of Caramel to go will give your gift something to eat and share immediately or to put away until all the guests in the house are gone.

Non-vegans might think that “vegan” and “baked goods” are words that should never be said in the same sentence. But with decadent cakes, donuts and other baked goodies, Valhalla Bakery in St. Pete is known for serving delicious vegan treats, even by non-vegan standards.

There is a reason why mead is known as the nectar of the gods. Its honey base makes it a sweet dessert drink that even non-alcoholic drinkers crave. Switch to alcohols from major brands, and switch Meadery Garagiste in Tampa Heights for specialty artisanal meads (also known as “honey wine”) with punchy flavors like Mixed Berry Cheesecake and Strawberry Ginger Lemongrass to make your holiday party even more lively.

Is there another local store or experience in the Tampa Bay area that you would like our readers to know more about? Please share in the Facebook comments section below.

Caitlin Albritton is a Tampa-based freelance writer with a BFA from Savannah College of Art and Design and an MFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art. When she’s not looking at art all over town, she can be found doing it. You can follow his visual art on Instagram @caitlinalbritton or on his website. Visit his recent line of inlays “portable paints. ”


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