From yule, to fuel, to cool, to school, here’s our first random rhyming list of gifts
For more than a decade here at the Dig, around this time of the year, we ran an annual feature called “Kiddie Kroakers.” It was a satirical list of banned presents for children, products that we totally made up like “MILF on the Shelf” and “Mister Dictator Head,” the latter of which we described as a Trump-orange spud that any kid can outfit like their favorite megalomaniacal leader.
Since salacious and indecent humor only stands to get us a whole inbox full of outrage these days, we ended that tradition several years ago. Instead, we now like to sprinkle several issues in December with actual gift ideas. We’re not saying they’re all safe for kids, but we can say that unlike the crap you will see in many other publications at this time of year, none of our choices were paid for by our sponsors.
Also, everything that we picked rhymes with “yule” in one way or another.
The Gift of Fuel
This holiday season, fight the corporate man with your coffee-themed gifts by eschewing Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts merchandise. Instead, head over to the Brighton section of Chestnut Hill Ave for a gift for your all of your over-caffeinated friends and family. Fuel America, aside from its great selection of coffee, sandwiches, and other cafe fare, also has a little store. This store features bags of ground coffee and single-brew cups, and Fuel’s classic signage style makes an appearance in the graphic design on the chest of a shirt. Fuel is a Boston-area only enterprise, boasting the Brighton location as well as a shop in Logan Airport. While Dunkin’ might be more ubiquitous, this is a prime destination if you’re searching for… more. The shop sells its own unique blends, as well as extremely giftable embossed mugs. -Jacob Schick
The Gift of Spool
With the full-out legalization of cannabis, you’re also no doubt hearing lots about hemp, its many uses, and how it will soon replace textiles that prohibitionist America has come to rely on. This isn’t hippy poppycock—it really is a phenomenal material and as kind to the ground in which it’s grown as it is to the backs its softer garment incarnations rests on. In the name of supporting the cannabis-oriented businesses that were holding it down in the area before we got recreational weed, we’re sending you to any of the Hempest locations this holiday season to knock out a bunch of shopping. From more crunchy fare to the outstanding Hoodlamb goods that all of their locations stock prominently, it’s not too late to catch this sensible, responsible trend at this still relatively early stage. -Chris Faraone
The Gift of Cool
You’ll have to go online for this one. Because while we first and foremost obviously want to encourage our readers to hit spots like JP and Davis plus open markets galore all this shopping season, there’s no way of getting around just how totally awesome Knockarounds are, just like there’s no way to get around having to order these shades on the internet. Here’s the thing—it would be extremely difficult for any one store to stock the whole rainbow of color and pattern combinations this California outfit can cobble. Since they’re customizable, there are literally thousands of ways you can tweak styles, and with prices as low as $10 you can get a pair for yourself as well as the person you are shopping for. -Chris Faraone
The Gift of Pool
Looking for a holiday gift that says, I love you more than your mother but also you should know that humans evolved from primates who ate shrooms and tripped balls? Look no further than the altered states starter kit. For a combined total of just $70 you can purchase somebody a 60-minute sensory deprivation tank session at Float Boston in Magoun Square, along with the original Altered States DVD! Watch Ken Russell’s classic thriller about going into a float tank and turning into a monkey, then go take a float and reconnect with your own mental. -Daniel Kaufman
The Gift of School
Know someone who wants to learn more about weed? Maybe work in the industry? Of course you do. Well, beginning in 2017, Mount Wachusett Community College in Gardner began offering an online no-credit Cannabis Career Training Program. Students learn from expert growers, chefs, doctors, lawyers, dispensary owners, and other professionals in the cannabis industry. It’s a collaboration with a private company called Online Cannabis Education and costs $299. There, students get a year’s access to self-paced classes and materials. And there are other options as well, like the Leaf Collaborative (TLC). Opened in 2012 as the New England Grassroots Institute, it offers eight-week programs that cost $800, as well as one-day programs that cost $100. Past workshops have included Cooking with Cannabis and Medicated Holistic Tincture and Salve, and it also hosts other events like patient support groups. -Katherine Isbell
The Gift of Buhl
Picture frames are often cheap, purchased last minute, or have no significant meaning beyond, I stopped by CVS on the way to this holiday dinner. Bill Phaneuf, the mastermind behind the local craft shop Frames With a History, hopes to change that. His Ayer-based store sells custom-made frames, mirrors, furniture, and home decor, all made of raw materials. Phaneuf builds items from antique pieces of wood, often dating back to the 18th century. We recommend checking out all their unique products at the base camp shop in Ayer, but in Boston you can also find them selling frames at SoWa Open Market on the weekends. Be sure to check them there along with countless other gifted artisans. -Morgan Hume
The Gift of Shoe
This may be a bit high end for what we typically hock in the Dig, but we also know from years of experience that our readers are shoe crazy, and perhaps even willing to break into the piggy bank for remarkable kicks. If you’re willing to step into the $200 range, we recommend that you go for a fitting in Bow Market at the casual lair leased by Adelante. Every panel of every pair of their several styles is artistically smooth yet striking, while the company boasts an exceptionally responsible model in which cobblers in Guatemala are paid and therefore given better “access to education, nutritious food, transportation, and more for them and their families.” You’ll still primarily want these shoes for the look and the experience of the custom fitting, but it’s nonetheless nice to know that the person who worked their ass off on your stitching was appropriately compensated. -Chris Faraone