There’s no telling where our favorite local retailers will take you.
There was a time, long ago, like, way back. Way way way back. No electricity way back. You know. Then. Whenever then was. Like … a billion Tuesdays ago. Well, maybe not a billion. That would be silly. Anyway, when then was then, holiday gifts were different. Weird. Like mittens woven out of rabid ferret hides or an empty clay jug with a crack in it. Meat. Sometimes you would just get a slab of meat.*
Our guess is it was somewhere around that time when our ancestors invented gifting. And holiday shopping. Which, even then, was easier when the town crier offered choice ideas for who to get what for wherever, and what could be procured for whom. “Where can I find a wheelbarrow,” someone would say. “Over there,” he’d answer, pointing to the wheelbarrow store. Simple.
Basically, what we’re saying is that things haven’t changed all that much. As such, we identified a brilliant trove of cool stuff, mostly found in our very own South End village surrounding DigBoston HQ (with some online gems and other ‘hoods sprinkled in) for this year’s gift guide–moose antler whiskey flights, long underwear (yes, with the butt-flaps), even some stuff that may just become self-gifts. We couldn’t find any ferret mittens, but follow these leads, and there’s no telling where our favorite local retailers will take you.
*Ed note: Purely speculative historical analysis. We really did look for ferret mittens, though.
FOR THE SUIT
Ox Horn Suede Shoe Brush
If you haven’t noticed, a dirty suede shoe is no laughing matter. Well, it is to you. But to that family member who wears them daily along with a suit and other strange office-wear (see: ties), it’s not. Enter this English natural boar-hair bristle’d brush with a handle made from polished ox horn. This is what ox horns were invented for. We think.
[Available online at SirJack's, $75, sirjacks.com/ox-horn-suede-shoe-brush]
FOR THE HEMINGWAY DISCIPLE
Stag Horn Whiskey Flight
Can you afford this for that one person in your life who lives by a similar mantra that dictated Papa’s actions when it revolved around presenting high-end whiskies as a tasting flight in 4oz tulip glasses upon a genuine each-one-is-unique Scottish stag antler? Mm, probably not. Is it totally awesome, and would be a gift someone deserving will truly cherish (and be obligated to break out whenever you’re around)? Hell yes.
[Available online at SirJack's, $495, sirjacks.com/stag-horn-whiskey-flight]
Getting thirsty yet? Break for a nice boozy, heady, mind-numbing beer.
FOR THE MIXOLOGIST
Vintage Mid-Century Brandy Snifters and Shot Glasses
A home wet bar is a personal thing. So when it comes to finding unique additions for the budding mixologist friend, it’s key to set your gifts apart. And where others go for shot glasses from the Niagara Falls gift store, you find sets of four mid-century Mad Men-ish vintage shot glasses and brandy snifters. That’s just how you do things. Period.
[Available at Acquire, $50 for set of four/$35 set of four, 61 Salem St., 857-362-7380, acquireboutique.com]
Jackson Cannon Bar Knife
And if for some reason that same friend already has a fully stocked vintage barware supply, you can step things up a notch by procuring this multipurpose bar knife designed by local bar maestro Jackson Cannon (The Hawthorne, Eastern Standard) made from moisture repelling Cocobolo wood, and high carbon steel that’s been cryogenically tested. Whatever that means.
[Available online at Mr. Murphy Knives, $79, rmurphyknives.com/store/jcbk]
FOR THE SNOW BUM
Toddland Thermal Onesie Longjohns. With Butt-flap.
There was a time in our country when heading out for a day of shoveling, sledding, skiing, or other cold weather-based activities were met with throwing on a pair of slip-on longjohns and getting down to business. And luckily for whoever is on the receiving end of this gift, those days are back thanks to these camouflage ones with Old Glory sewn onto the chest. With butt-flaps. Because America.
[Available at Sault NE, $42, 577 Tremont St., 857-239-9434, saultne.com]
FOR THE SYLISH HIPSTER
Officina 189′s Custom Italian Single-Gear Bicycle
It may surprise you to learn that far across the ocean in Italy…hipsters exist. Just, Italian hipsters. And just like our own, they favor single-gear bicycles, so it’s no surprise the ones in store at Officina 189 in the North End are just stunning examples of the form. If you don’t like what you see, you can Skype with Milan-based bike designers right in the store and design your own. Er, your friend’s own. Okay, your own.
[Available at Officina 189, $2,200-3,500, 189 North St., 857-233-4300, officina189.com]
FOR THE FLASK-ER
Smathers + Branson Cross Stitch Skull and Crossbones Flask
If you ever wanted to picture what a handy stainless steel 6oz hip flask would look like if it was designed by a couple of Bowdoin College grads involving full grain leather trim and detailed needlepoint stitch work with a little skull and crossbones on it. Well…here you go.
[Available at Sault NE, $65, 577 Tremont St., 857-239-9434, saultne.com]
Holiday shopping is exhausting. Let’s go browse some art.
FOR THE RUGGED STONER
It’s hard not to laugh at a buddy who was so dead set at getting that campfire smell of woodsy musk permeating every room in the house by setting little campfires on the rug and practically burning the house down. So once said buddy repairs the fire damage, present these packages of 20 incense sticks that are 100% plant based and smell like bamboo, tree sap, and wood. On fire. If he still burns the house down, tell him there’s something wrong with him.
[Available at Sault NE, $10, 577 Tremont St., 857-239-9434, saultne.com]
FOR THE CREEPY UNCLE
Naked German Terrarium Figurines
It’s terrible that everyone has that one uncle who is just a little…off. So to keep him off your back and preoccupied with working out his sexual demons the way Dark Helmet did with dolls in Spaceballs, you can pick up a couple of truly weird and hilarious mini German terrarium figurines designed to be placed in sexual positions. This whole entry makes us generally uneasy, by the way.
[Available at Sault NE, $15-20, 577 Tremont St., 857-239-9434, saultne.com]
Photo credit: Larissa Burgess
FOR THE ARCHITECT MAN-CHILD
Treehouses Of The World Book
Treehouses are like supermodels. At their best they are gorgeous, you’ve always wanted to have one, and sometimes you can find a lot of pictures of them in a book to give to a friend who’s into them. So here’s a cool book about beautiful treehouses built around the world. Sadly, some are nicer than where you live.
[Available at Sault NE, $37.50, 577 Tremont St., 857-239-9434, saultne.com]
FOR THE CANDLE FREAK
Pendleton Wollen Mills Candle Holder
Exclusively found in town at Uniform, this is pretty much just what it sounds like. A charming little wool turtleneck for a single candle (yes, there’s a pocket to hold a book of matches at all times) with all the classic outdoors-y look and construction from your friends at Pendleton Woolen Mills. Friends with wool are the best friends to have.
[Available at Uniform Boston, $59, 511 Tremont St., 617-247-2360, uniformboston.com]
Photo credit: Larissa Burgess
There is a small percentage of Americans that can’t locate a candle to fill the above holster without some help (we’re talking about that one friend of yours who accidentally put mustard in his Cheerios last week). For that person, give them one of these Andover, MA hand-poured soy wax Yuthica candles with the above gift. Find one that smells like smart. They may need it.
[Available at Gifted, $22, 2 Dartmouth St., 617-716-9924, madebymarie.com]
FOR THE WET SKATER
Tretorn Waterproof Rubber Sneakers
Sometimes you want a boot. Sometimes you want a rain boot. Sometimes you want a sneaker. And sometimes, just sometimes, you want something that’s sort of all of those things. But sharp looking, too. And when you find just that, as you will with the Tretorn Skymra Gore-Tex mid-height kicks here, you’ll have found the perfect gift for someone who does a lot more in their sneakers than you do.
[Available at Uniform Boston, $150, 511 Tremont St., 617-247-2360, uniformboston.com]
FOR AN IRREGULAR FRIEND
Good To Go
Traveling can take a lot out of you around the holidays, and specifically, after the New Year. Or rather, it puts a lot of things in you (read: cheese…a lot of cheese stuffs) which has a tendency to stay within you, uncomfortably so. Shitting. We’re talking about needing to shit regularly. And that’s what this pack of all-natural time released laxative pills derived from stuff like cereal, coffee, and salads do. Which are the regularity trifecta, apparently.
[Available online at Good To Go, $14.99, begoodtogo.com]
Speaking of food, let’s go eat our feelings. We deserve it.
FOR THE MAVERICK
Randolph Engineering Platinum Anniversary Limited Edition Sunglasses
Flying jets is hard. There’s a lot of stuff going on. Buttons to push, sticks to yank, and other things that also sound kind of dirty. Anyway, that explains why the military contracts Randolph, MA’s Randolph Engineering to supply killer aviator shades to their Top Guns, and these limited edition badboys using baoynet style arms wrapped in leather are designed especially for military pilots. And whether going 85mph in a Chevy or Mach 5 in a jet, the sun in your eyes just sucks.
[Available online at Randolph Engineering, $450, shop.randolphusa.com/anniversary-aviator-p5887]
FOR THE SOCCER HOOLIGAN
New England Revolution Holiday 4-Game Gift Packs
People are either into soccer around here, or they’re not. And when they’re into it, specifically our beloved New England Revolution, one game is a nice gift. But four games is nicer. And the Revs are offering a holiday gift pack that includes four seats at different seating levels, which also come with bonuses like a winter hat or a Diego Fagundez fathead. Which is like a bobble head. But…fatter. Yeah.
[Available online for the New England Revolution, $92-114, revolutionsoccer.net]
FOR MR. SAGGY PANTS
Plan Work Local Laser Cut Leather Belts
Belts. Everyone needs at least one. These are made locally using high-grade leather, and are laser cut. In belt world, laser cut is the way to go.
[Available at Uniform Boston, $59, 511 Tremont St., 617-247-2360, uniformboston.com]
FOR YOU FOR SHOPPING FOR EVERYONE
Late Night Last Minute Package at Hotel Commonwealth
You’ve been shopping hard. You go out to celebrate spending so much money on loved ones that you spend some more at a bar in Kenmore Square. Then, you meet someone at the bar. Suddenly, you need a room (because, hey, it’s you). Boom: stop into The Hawthorne and you can get a special rate on whatever is available after 10pm at the adjoining Hotel Commonwealth. The late-night package also leaves you with some posh toiletries, a late check-out, and room service’d breakfast from Eastern Standard. Yes, you can re-gift this one to yourself twice in one week.
[Available after 10pm until Dec 31 at Hotel Commonwealth (inquires at The Hawthorne), $199, 500 Commonwealth Ave., 617-933-5000, hotelcommonwealth.com]
FOR THE FOODIE CARD SHARK
2014 City Dining Cards
Think: fifty $10 discount cards at local spots–each worth $10 off a food bill of $30 or more. Watering holes including M3, El Centro, and The Friendly Toast. There’s even two wildcards for freebies at Grillo’s Pickles and Kickass Cupcakes. Free pickles = one helluva gift.[Available online at City Dining Cards, $20, citydiningcards.com/catalog/p-100017/city-dining-cards-boston-edition-2013-2014]
FOR THE JIM KOCH IN TRAINING
Group brewing sessions at Hopsters Brew and Boards in Newton.
Everyone has that one friend. The beer snob one. The one that has all manner of insider-y fact nuggets and long-winded diatribes on what makes a great beer great. Well, here’s their chance to knuckle up and get three cases of their very own suds going at Hopster’s Brew and Boards in Newton, where they’ll choose the on-site ingredients needed for over 30 different styles (ie: Irish Reds, Belgian Farmhouse, Wee Heavy Scottish Ale), get all the bottles and custom labeling provided, and even a beer concierge. Yup. Beer concierge.
[Available at Hopster's Brew and Boards, $150-200, 292 Centre St., Newton, 617-916-0752, hopsters.net]
You’ve done good. Now let’s go drink our faces off.