Aglamesis Bros.: Tower of Favorites
Ice cream might be considered a summer time treat, but in my family we crave it year round. That’s why we love an outing to Algamesis each season to taste their special holiday flavors. This year, you can indulge in rum raisin, cinnamon and the Brothers’ butterbeer concoction that pairs butterscotch ice cream with smooth root beer syrup. Order six pints of your favorite flavor to be shipped anywhere in the continental U.S. ($95) or splurge for the “Tower of Favorites,” which features layers of their deluxe assortment, milk chocolate pecandes, dark chocolate opera creams and dark chocolate non pareils ($60).
3046 Madison Road, Oakley, 513-531-5196; 9899 Montgomery Road, Montgomery, 513-791-7082
Building Value/WRC: Gifts from Recycled Material
In 2004, the Easter Seals Work Resource Center founded Building Value to salvage reusable building materials and resell them to the public, helping cut down on unnecessary landfill waste. This year, people in the WRC’s Building Ability program are selling handcrafted products from recycled materials at the Building Value location in Northside. These gifts include executive ink pens ($25) made from recycled flooring and scraps of wood, animal rockers (small $59, large $69) made entirely of reclaimed wood (which can be custom designed to your specifics) and Adirondack chairs and rockers ($125-$150) made from recycled wood from local full-house deconstructions. These items are made by people with disabilities working with the Building Ability program. All proceeds feed back into the organization tio fund job training opportunities and programs.
4040 Spring Grove Ave., Northside, 513-475-6783
Coney Island: Commemorative Bricks
This Cincinnati favorite has a long track record of making people happy, and now you can help keep that tradition going with their 125th Anniversary Commemorative Brick Program. Each 6-by-6-inch brick displays your 4-line, 14-character personalized message for $75, a portion of which will be donated to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center
6201 Kellogg Ave., Anderson Twp., 513-232-8230
Mica and Mica 12/v: Local Sourced Accessories
For unique fashion and furnishings, many of which are from local sources, try Mica. New homeowners might appreciate the “Vine” wall sculpture ($84), a curving cone-shaped decoration handmade from white wool by Cincinnati-based artist Kelly Salchow that adds a dimensional accent to freshly painted walls. Frequent shoppers will love the Tang tote ($52), made of 100 percent wool with leather handles. This grey bag has off-white puffy flowers for a light-hearted look during gloomy winter days. Another bonus: Mica offers wedding, baby and gift registries so you can tell family and friends exactly what you want this season.
2039 Madison Road, O’Bryonville, 513-533-1974; 1201 Vine St., Over-the-Rhine, 513-421-3500
Mustard Seed Boutique: Party Clothes
This trendy boutique offers a world of new designers and styles once you step inside. While their inventory is also evolving, they do have fun items for all those upcoming holiday parties. For instance, a black and cream floral top ($38) pairs nicely with a Nanette Lepore black velvet skirt with embroidery detail ($84). Accessorize with a black leather vintage Coach bag ($38.40). When the winter sun does peek out, make sure you have your vintage aviator Ray-Ban sunglasses ($84) on hand.
311 Ludlow Ave., Clifton, 513-221-4022
Nest: Nappa Firelight
A popular gift item this year at Nest is the Nappa firelight ($28-$80), a decorative ceramic container holding a metal insert filled with flammable gel that, when lit, gives off a beautiful glow and warm and inviting décor. With no odor, you can burn this light indoors or out, and it crackles to provide a sitting-by-the-fire feel without the hassle of burning embers. If you have a hostess with the mostess on your list, shop Nest’s selection of Cali ceramic serveware. This beautiful line is made in the U.S. and runs about $42-$100.
3439 Michigan Ave., Hyde Park, 513-871-8852
Carole Paine: Gift Certificates
Give your loved ones freedom from holiday blues or chronic aches with Carole Paine’s traditional Chinese acupuncture sessions. Choose the $90 gift certificate for a new patient and receive a consultation and one acupuncture session. Returning patients will delight in the $70 gift certificate for one session.
5400 Kennedy Ave., Pleasant Ridge, 513-317-3660
Bob Roncker’s Running Spot: FiveFingers Shoes
If you’ve seen people walking around in barely-there shoes this year, you’re not alone. The Fivefingers shoe has become an instant hit and is being used by runners and walkers alike to stimulate the muscles in your foot and stay exercised. Ranging from $89 to $110, these shoes help improve balance and agility and are a fun conversation starter. Roncker’s is also the Official Training Program of the Flying Pig Marathon and can offer tips, running routes and advice for runners and walkers look to tackle this year’s Pig. The $100 program fee includes a training shirt, socks, 10 percent off at all Running Spot locations and more.
Switch: Table and Desk Lamps
Light up your loved ones’ lives this Christmas with innovative lighting designs from Switch. To add a little pop of color to your rooms, look no further than the Kovacs table lamp (under $100), which includes a fluorescent light bulb in your choice of red, blue, green or white — ideal for adding a little holiday cheer. Also popular this year are the micro Tolemeo desk lamps (Reg: $325; on sale for $295); available in seven different colors including black, yellow and blue, they shed light on your favorite work space.
1207 Vine St., Over-the-Rhine, 513-721-8100