Colonel De Spice Store: Custom Gift Boxes
Spice up the season with a stop to Colonel De’s spice store in Findlay Market, offering custom gift box choices full of spicy goodies. The Cincy Favorites box ($25) includes Cincinnati chili seasoning, Simon and Garfunkle vinegar, Zydeco Stone Ground mustard in classic, honey, dijon or horseradish flavors and a Colonel De apron that says “Nothing Beats a Good Rub.” Or upgrade to the Colonel Knowledge box ($50) that also includes OTR Butt Rub, 513 Seasoning Salt, Colonel’s Smokey Rub, blueberry mint vinegar and Uncle Otis’s BBQ sauce.
Findlay Market, 1801 Race St., Over-the-Rhine, 513-421-4800
Contemporary Arts Center: Gift Shop
Support the arts by shopping at the Contemporary Arts Center this holiday season. You can pick up T-shirts from exhibitions by Carlos Amorales or Shilpa Gupta ($35 each) or shirts with the CAC building design ($18). For wall décor, check out the Make Art Not War poster ($15). Pick up a gift card for those hard-to-buy-for folks or check out the Disappearances exhibition from Shinji Turner-Yamamoto (through Jan. 30).
44 E. Sixth St., Downtown, 513-345-8400
Daveed’s at 934: Catering
Enjoy the delicious dishes you get at Daveed’s? Bring home that taste with catering from the local Chef David Cook. This holiday, try duck with Vermont white cheddar garganelli pasta, Cassoulet with Avrils Bratwurst and his famous Short ribs. The upscale restaurant also sells Daveed’s Italian Olive Oil ($12) or will create a personalized gift basket of sauces, salsa, all-purpose seasoning rub and wine.
934 Hatch St., Mount Adams, 513-721-2665
Gilson’s Engraving: Customized Gifts
Personalize this year’s gift with a stop to see Tony Gilson, who’s been in the business since 1974. Start your own holiday tradition with a customized train or Christmas bell ornament ($14.95 and $20, respectively) or wind up the Santa Space Ship musical ($60) to hear “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” play from his futuristic container.
7116 Miami Ave., Madeira, 513-891-0730
Hemptations: Hemp Hats
As the name implies, they specialize in items made from hemp, which is known for its durability and anti-bacterial properties. Hemp is used to make warm hats ($15.37-$49.37) to keep out winter’s chill, beautiful jewelry ($8-$30) and eco-friendly paper ($6.37-$19.37). The body products at Hemptations are cruelty free, and some are even vegan and organic.
2034 Madison Road, O’Bryonville, 513-871-4367
Indigenous: Pottery from Kentucky Clay
Outfit your home with pottery, glass and metalwork pieces from local and regional artists. Whimsical stocking stuffers include the store’s wide range of handmade ornaments ($10-$30) crafted from blown glass, fused glass, metals, clay and mixed-media and designed by more than 20 artists. Leandra Drumm of Akron creates modern etched glass pieces, including a “Have a little fun” party bowl ($36), while Elaine & Bill Snell offer their decorative metal tree sculptures ($45-$300), including the “Olive Tree.” To get really local, check out the fun and functional pottery ($15-$100) from Paul Borian of Falmouth, Ky., who uses local clay to create pieces on a kiln that runs on bio diesel (french-fry grease).
2010 Madison Road, O’Bryonville, 513-321-3750
Inner Peace Holistic Center: Bamboo Massage
The hot new massage treatment at Inner Peace incorporates bamboo, and this season you can get a half-price one-hour bamboo massage (reduced from $90 to $45). Inner Peace envelops you in a warm ambience while using various lengths of bamboo stalks to provide a deep tissue massage that soothes away tension and helps increase circulation, sensory nerve perception and lymphatic drainage.
708 Walnut St., Downtown, 513-784-0403
Jungle Jim’s: Nibbler Gift Baskets
You can get a variety of international treats for yourself at Jungle Jim’s, but it’s also a great place to get gift baskets for anyone on your list.
One popular item is the 21-piece Nibbler packed with fresh fruit, Walkers shortbread cookies and Ghirardelli and Lindt chocolates ($49.99); a 12-piece Nibbler runs $29.99. Those with a sweet tooth will delight in the best-selling Chocolate Fantasy gift box ($59.99), a collection of light and dark chocolates that include Ester Price, Godiva, Lindt, and Guylian treats as well as candy bars from Lake Champlain, New Tree Sexy and Ritter, plus one pack of Fazormints.
5440 Dixie Highway, Fairfield, 513-674-6000
King Arthur’s Court: Singalong Star Microphones
For the budding builder and animal lover in your life, check out the Haba Eeny Meeny Miny zoo blocks. This set of 25 ($49.99) rectangular pieces and lovable animals will entertain and delight little ones for hours. The pop princess or prince will love the Singalong Star Microphone ($44) with an adjustable stand, flashing lights, crowd sounds and back-up music to accompaniment his or her arias.
3040 Madison Road, Oakley, 513-531-4600
Koch Sporting Goods: Phiten Tornado Necklace
This tightly-packed store allows you to indulge your love of youth, college and professional sports. The Phiten Tornado Necklace ($39.99) is shaping up to be a hot item this year, as are the Power Balance bracelets ($24.99). Koch also has everything you need for the upcoming ski season, including apparel, boots, skis, helmets and bindings.
131 W. Fourth St., Downtown, 513-621-2352
Little Mahatma: Earrings from Nepal
Specializing in handmade sterling silvery jewelry, Little Mahatma sells a range of designs at various price points for that special someone on your list. Some popular pieces include filigree drop earrings ($38) and large hoop earrings made of hand-etched silver ($78), both from Nepal. A smaller pair of engraved hoop earrings from Thailand is $28. Stop in to see their unique collections of jewelry, art and artifacts.
1205 Vine St., Over-the-Rhine, 513-723-1287
Little Sonoma: Wine Gift Baskets
The best part about Little Sonoma is its friendly nature and welcoming staff. They’re best at helping you create a custom gift basket mixed with wine and gourmet foods. Or choose pre-made gift baskets like the romantic Taste for Two ($45), which includes a bottle of McManis Cabernet Sauvignon and dual wine glasses for sharing on the spot, plus crackers, a gourmet cheese spread and chocolate truffles for dessert. For the avid wine drinker on your list, try a wine album ($29.99) to effectively keep track of the various wines tasted and devoured.
6078 West Chester Road, West Chester, 513-942-9463
The Pink Box: Gloves, Scarves, Shawls
Pretty in pink is definitely the mantra of this cute little shop in Hyde Park Square. Pleasantly packed with designer-quality jewelry and apparel, I quickly found on-trend angora fingerless gloves ($18) for an upcoming holiday gift exchange and a delicate rose scarf ($25) for myself. Also popular are their name necklaces, just $10. And an asymmetrical sweater-shawl with side buttons is one of their hottest items this season. Perfect to ward off winter’s chill, this sweater can be monogrammed ($75) or not ($65).
2643 Erie Ave., Hyde Park, 513-531-0032; 6929 Miami Ave., Madeira, 513-271-9600
Red Tree: Handmade Gifts
This coffeeshop/gift shop serves up warm coffee and delicious treats while also offering handmade gifts for the holidays. The on-trend Snugs ($23) are fingerless gloves hand crocheted by Angela from aandboriginals. Katie Schwartz of Luvkt presents her vibrant hand crocheted animals ($21-$32). Each animal is made from 100-percent recycled yarns she gets from old (sometimes ugly) sweaters bought from thrift & consignment stores that she transforms into colorful characters. The store also sells handmade jewelry by Megan Busch ($18-$53).
3210 Madison Road, Oakley, 513-321-8733
Schneider’s Sweet Shop: Seasonal Delights
Originating as a neighborhood candy and ice cream store, this shop now specializes in chocolates, succulent candies and seasonal delights. A one-pound pack of their decadent fudge ($9.49) mixes three flavors: chocolate, vanilla and peanut butter. For a limited engagement around the holidays, pick up peanut brittle for $13.95/lb. Another holiday special is a three-pack of stacked boxes that hold assorted chocolates, opera creams and turtles ($36.25) or assorted chocolates, chocolate covered cherries and chocolate covered nuts ($36.79).
420 Fairfield Ave., Bellevue, 859-431-3545
Stop AIDS: Trees, Wreaths, Diva Dazzle, Gay Bingo
The nonprofit agency Stop AIDS sells Christmas trees and wreaths at Findlay Market each year, and volunteers will be there every Saturday (8 a.m.-6 p.m.) and Sunday (10 a.m.-4 p.m.) through Dec. 19. If glamorous fundraisers are more your pace, join the Diva Dazzle at 7 p.m. Dec. 4 at Memorial Hall in Over-the-Rhine. Featuring cabaret performances from local divas, dinner, drinks and a silent auction, this event commemorates World AIDS Day and helps support the organization as well as those affected by AIDS. Tickets start at $45 and go up to $150 for VIP box seating. The next day, put on your game face and play gay bingo 6:30-9:30 p.m. at Below Zero Lounge in Over-the-Rhine. Admission is $20.
Stop AIDS, 220 Findlay St., Over-the-Rhine, 513-421-2437
Taft Museum of Art: Shirts, Notecards
Celebrate your love of art by proudly wearing a Taft Museum T-shirt ($18.95) while enjoying your membership ($45 individual, $60 family/dual membership) to this iconic piece of Cincinnati history. If you’d like to display your love of the Taft through hand-written notes, purchase a “Treasures of the Taft Museum of Art” stationery set for $9.95 or send your Christmas cards on “An Antique Christmas” stationery set.
316 Pike St., Downtown, 513-241-0343
Taste of Belgium: Pumpkin Waffles, Macaroons, Desserts
The delicious waffle shop in the heart of Findlay Market is serving up pumpkin waffles just for the holidays, along with a holiday price: 12 waffles for $30 (normally $36). They also recently introduced vegan waffles and are taking orders for holiday desserts, including pumpkin, pecan and Dutch apple pies plus New York-style cheesecakes, buckeyes, fruit bars, cookies and special order cookie and sweet trays. Another unique gift is a box of six French macaroons ($12), protected in an elegant gift box. Holiday macaroon flavors include chocolate candied orange, eggnog, espresso, gingerbread, pecan pie and peppermint.
Findlay Market, 1801 Race St., Over-the-Rhine, 513-381-3280
Tulips on Erie: Pig in Tutu Ornament
This quaint shop has plenty of fanciful holiday decorations and gifts to both give and receive this holiday season. For a friend who recently moved to Cincinnati, I chose a Patience Brewster pig in tutu ornament ($32) to celebrate Porkopolis. Those who shun the cold might enjoy a mod hat ($37) from Tara Knits. The store also has adorable children’s books and toys as well as a bar area fully stocked with cocktail accessories and servewear.
2724 Erie Ave., Hyde Park, 513-533-1838
Unheard Of: Hats, Tees, Shoes
Jazzing up downtown, Unheard Of offers fun graphic tees and hats as well as bright, stylin’ shoes. Pick up a vintage Reds or Bengals hat ($34.99) to show off your cool retro style, then pair them with a Young & Reckless tee ($29.99). They also have a great selection of rare colors and styles of New Balance, PUMA, Nike, Vans and PF Flyer shoes.
323 W. Fourth St., Downtown, 513-744-9444
Urban Eden: Contemporary Crafts
This contemporary crafts and fine art shop offers plenty of stocking stuffers and gifts made or designed locally. Pottery pieces by Jaime Iliff are hot sellers right now, ranging from cups and mugs at $15 to larger items that are $95, as are framed photo tiles of birds or graffiti ($85) from artist Robert Giesler. The store also sells local history books and jewelry from local artists.
1313 Main St., Over-the-Rhine, 513-621-EDEN