Well, folks, officially we are here. THE HOLIDAYS. Can you believe it!? Exactly where in the Sam Hill did this year GO!? That means it is time to get your shopping hats on, get your final lists in order and get your asses out there and SHOP LOCAL, TAMPA!! Or, just shop online in your jammies - whatever works for you. We’ve got a new shop for you to focus some shopping on this time around and I think all you Tampa lovers out there are really going to get down with this blog entry.
We’ll start at the HB Plant Museum and gift shop at University of Tampa. This is THE perfect place to visit, take a tour and pick up some local gifts for outta towners and locals. When you think of Tampa … you think of the minarets at UT, right? So, why not go straight to the source? Since 1933, the Tampa Bay Hotel has been home to the Henry B. Plant Museum and The University of Tampa. The building, renamed Plant Hall, is a National Historic Landmark. The Henry B. Plant Museum holds the distinction of accreditation by the American Alliance of Museums. Its mission is to interpret the history and lifestyle of America’s Gilded Age and the life and significant contributions of Henry Bradley Plant to the development of Florida and Tampa Bay. Original furnishings and artifacts and a dynamic self-guided audio tour immerse visitors in the opulence of the 1891 Tampa Bay Hotel and its rich history.
If you’ve got family in town for the holidays, a trip to the museum is going to be THE perfect thing to do. Whether you are old and crotchety, young and hip, family oriented or a plain Jane/John, this place is hands down the coolest building in the city and anyone who visits gets a little awed by the old building. During December, you can pick up tickets online for $15 each and check out the Victorian Stroll. There are lots of Discount Days, Senior and Youth ticket options, so check out their website before going to get the best deal. The Victorian Stroll is a Christmas lovers dream! The building is decked out in trees, garland and fancy ornaments, giving you and your visiting fam a glimpse into what it might have looked like back in the day. They also serve complimentary cookies…so, there’s that.
The Museum gift shop carries one of my FAVORITE coffees in town. Ground locally JUST for the museum, Naviera Coffee, a staple in the Tampa Bay community since 1921, it is a medium roast ground, with a blend of Colombian, Mexican and Costa Rican beans (we’ll call them Costa Colexican beans). The store offers a wide variety of specialty gifts for all occasions and many items in the shop are made by local artisans and businesses in Tampa (that’s one main reason we love them). The other MAIN reason we love them is that you can find Hogan Made GLITTER Minaret tees here! That’s right…you heard me … GLITTER. Shiny, glittery, sparkly Minaret tees (I like to call them Glitterets). So, clearly, you can see the shameless reasons we love the H.B. Plant Museum Gift Shop!
Thanks to Hogan Made’s super-secret connections around town, we have recently been picked up by the Visit Tampa Bay retail store, Unlock Tampa Bay, in downtown Tampa. This is unofficially our OFFICIAL announcement. Visit Tampa Bay is NOT just a store, and that is why we are so honored to be a part of the retail side of things. Providing visitors and locals with all KINDS of fantastic resources on how they explore Tampa is just a smidge of what they do for us, but let’s keep our focus on shopping, shall we? The store itself is beautiful! With an open and airy feel, high ceilings and a simple, but beautiful décor allow you to browse the many fabulous products they carry without distraction.
Let’s check out their shirts…I know … I know … WHY would I want to give props to any other shirt company in town when I design and print the best Tampa tees around? Well, I’ll tell you. I really don’t consider it competition because, a) we all have our own designs and styles of tees and b) it’s OK to like more than one awesome tee company (as long as you like us the best)! If you like tees like I do and you like beer, you’ll have to check out Hop Cloth products at the Visit Tampa Bay Visitor Center and Gift Shop. They truly do have some of the best beer shirts in the state. They would make any craft beer lover a fantastic gift! For the more touristy gift, the vintage Tampa postcard-turned-mural tee for $23 is an awesome gift for your cousins from out of town that haven’t visited in so long you forgot what they looked like. This will be a good way to guilt them into coming down next spring. And, since we are all inclusive and love is love and all that good, fuzzy stuff, check out the Tampa Bay Pride V-Neck tee for only $19! You can get yourself all prepped for the Tampa Pride Parade, too.
But what about other stuff, Hogan Made!? Is that ALLL they have is shirts? No. There are TONS of awesome gifts here ranging from very inexpensive children’s gifts (kiddy clothes and books) to locally roasted coffee, adorbsy Tampa ornaments, stuff for pups, beer lovers, locally made art and jewelry to super tasty locally canned yummies (say…for Bloody Mary fixins). You can even check them out at the Winter Village at Curtis Hixon Park at their pop-up shop. If you're a risk taker, I suggest doing the shopping FIRST, then ice skating...you know just in case you have to have a holiday trip to the ER.
This store has been curated to my exact standards of awesomeness. I LOVE that they use local artisans to fill the store and I LOVE that the items are reasonably priced. If you haven’t been downtown to this shop, GO. I am not asking. I am telling you to GO. You will not be disappointed. So, pull up your shopping pants (you know…the cute ones you always wear with your favorite Hogan Made tee) and Shop Local, Tampa!
Seems like a lot of work to get holiday shopping done, isn’t it? I have noticed more and more (as I get older and older), that stuff doesn’t mean quite as much as family time. It seems like a trend for people my age (a..hem…29) and older feel the same. Personally, I live in an older house that, when built, people didn’t have more than 3 sets of clothes and 2 pairs of shoes. My closet space is valuable and at this stage of the game, I would so rather not receive a craptastic gift from a box store (unless of course you’ve heard me talk about how I REALLY need to get new underwear and toilet paper). I would so RATHER spend time with my family eating, drinking and being silly. So, in this thrilling episode of Shop Local, Tampa! we are going to explore how to make your holidays mean something a little more than who gives the most and best gifts (that would be anyone who shops at Hogan Made) and more about giving.
So, you might be ‘that’ family where mom goes COMPLETELY overboard with gifts and food while dad sits in the living room sucking down scotch on the recliner as the dog paws at his face to get those damned reindeer antlers off. You might be ‘that’ family who competes for who brings the most gifts, spends the most on those gifts and spends more on the wrapping than I do on a crappy pair of flip flops from CVS. Maybe you USED to be that family, but you are all entering the stages of your lives where you realize that you don’t NEED all that shit to have an AWESOME holiday. Maybe things need to change and YOU can BE the change this holiday season.
Here is my AbFab idea to change any family holiday into a feel good, charitable scene:
Sometime before the actual holiday, team up when you have everyone cornered…I mean together. Start talking about what charities people give to and why. Maybe ask Uncle Frank why he writes a $12 check to the American Fund for Children, Veterans, and Pathetic Dog Pictures. Maybe you could suggest something FUN! What if everyone around the table chose their favorite charity they’d like to support and put in $50? Maybe on Christmas day you could plan a tournament of some kind (board games, darts, egg nog style Olympics) and everyone had to play. Let’s say the winner is Aunt Jolene and she just LOOOVES her some big cat. Aunt Jolene can take all the money and donate it Big Cat Rescue. Or, maybe Cousin Bob is a veteran and wants to support a local VFW post or an awesome organization like The Stano Foundation. Suppose Auntie Clara recently had surgery on her eyes and after FINALLY seeing the neighbor’s pool boy clearly for the first time, wants to donate to the Lion’s Eye Institute. What if your brother, Joe, is a big fan of rescuing dogs, but after Hurricane Michael has one shy of being featured on Animal Hoarders: Buried Alive in Animal Poop. He’ll probably want to give to an organization like Love From Luke Dog Sanctuary.
Whichever team you’re playing for, should you choose this route, you will all be winners! Well, except for the ones that lose….you all will be losers. This is just ONE way to get down with the charity game for the holidays. Maybe you have a tradition of the big Trivial Pursuit game with that really close family friend that you’re not sure you should call an Aunt or Grandma. Just incorporate the grand prize as giving to charity. You might have an Uncle Tony that likes a good game of poker and cigar after stuffing his face with baked ziti, or maybe you take bets on when Aunt Patty will get drunk and end up face first in her soup. All of these things you can still do, while giving.
Another way to share the love at the holidays is to adopt a family from Metropolitan Ministries. Cater a meal for their family, grab some gifts, gift cards and games for the kids and maybe a spa day for mom, sports tickets for dads and spend your money where it will REALLY make a difference in someone’s life. You’d be surprised at how humble you become and how happy it makes you to do something like this. Now, we don’t want to go getting them a big ass frozen turkey if they don’t have an oven, or give them homemade food (because people are just weird about stuff like that from strangers). Find out specifics, like the age and interests of the kids, sizes of shoes, pants and shirts. Many times families will need simple things like backpacks, notebooks and pencils for school. If Metro Ministries doesn’t do it for you, check out the Salvation Army or even talk to your teacher friends. There are SO many families out there that would NEVER in million ask for help, but need it. And often times they have been saving since last year to make sure the kids have just a few toys each to open. There are a LOT of fortunate people out there that can help a family out. Maybe yours could be one this year?
So, go, little givers, and feel GOOD about the holidays for once in your life!
Before I decided to start my own business, I never really paid much attention to Small Business Saturday. Yeah, I saw the ads on TV that American Express pushed. Woopty doo. I was like, “Wow. Thanks AMEX.” Now that I AM a small business, boy does it ever mean something completely different to me! To combat big box stores, e-commerce, Black Friday and Cyber Monday, American Express started the holiday in 2010 and really has done some good things to promote shopping small. You’re welcome. History lesson complete. Now, let’s get to good stuff….SHOPPING!
Shop Small Saturday is November 24th this year (the day after Black Friday). So, rather than getting into fist fights with complete strangers at 4am outside Best Buy because their big door-busting, body crushing sale offers you $100 off an iPad, let’s be reasonable. Take your $500 that you were going to spend on that iPad that nobody really needs, and take it to the streets, people! Putting $500 into a small business only does one thing: It keeps small businesses IN BUSINESS! And let me tell you, $500 to a small business is like winning the damned lottery. $500 to Best Buy is like meh…we do that in a minute here *gum smacking sales associate in an ill-fitting, stained Best Buy shirt*. You can find some GREAT deals on Shop Small Saturday, because a lot of small businesses offer discounts, savings and incentives to shop small.
Shopping is hard, I know. Shopping requires a little thought and a little effort no matter where you shop or what you’re shopping for. You don’t go to the grocery store without a list, do you? NO! That is a recipe for disaster and you know it. You’d get there and you’d be hungry and you’d buy all kinds of weird things and get home and be like, “Shit….I don’t have any food in the house. I guess its Swedish Fish and wine for dinner again!”
So, let’s plan this out and think about 1) who you are buying for and 2) how much you want to spend on each person. Ok. Got it? Good. Let’s go. Scratch all the box stores off your list and let’s find some local shops that can handle all your holiday shopping needs!
One of my absolute faves is the Shop Hop – Seminole Heights:
‘Skip the madness that is Black Friday, and come out to support your local Seminole Heights businesses at the annual Shop Hop. Come get all your holiday shopping done, and then celebrate the holiday season at the after party with prize giveaways, live music, bogo ice cream, wine tastings, and much more.
Shop from 10-6pm at any one of the participating Shops, and they’ll give you a Bingo card to start participating. Then from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. go to The Graham Building for the after party at 6701 Florida Ave. The Grand Prize of (one of the many raffles) is a CRUISE FOR 2 from Graham Global Getaways!! We will also be having a Canned Food Drive for New Seasons Apostolic Ministries: Ronnie Felton Food Pantry. Most needed items: canned green beans, corn, yams, sweat peas. Please bring those to The Graham Building anytime that day!
For a chance to win big on Small Business Saturday, shoppers and diners must visit at least ten of these participating businesses on Nov. 24th during the 2018 Holiday Shop Hop: 2 Broke Spokes, Awoke @ Frank Albert Realty, Cleanse Apothecary, D & D Antiques and more, Forever Beautiful Salon & Wine Spa, Frolic Exchange, Health Mutt, Heights Meat Market, Jet City, Local Art @ Revolution Ice cream, Phoenix Glass Studio, Seminole Heights City Wine Bar, Seminole Heights Antiques, Seminole Heights Spa, Smoke Signals, Thrive: Garden and Water, Urban Bungalow, Valhalla Resale, Velo Champ Cycle Sport and Vintage Post Marketplace.’
You can find hundreds of local businesses at the Carrollwood Area Business Association’s website, as well. You can search from their directory to find just the right place for just the right gift! You can visit many of Tampa Bay’s local markets for unique, handmade, gifts as well. Try the Ybor City Saturday Market (Every Saturday 9-3pm), Tampa Indie Flea at Armature Works (Every Third Sunday 11-3p), Holiday Makers Marketplace (Every Weekend starting Friday, Nov. 24th through Monday Dec. 23rd during mall hours at Westshore Mall) and Tampa Market for Makers (Dec. 8th and 9th at The Cuban Club).
So, set your sights high this year for shopping small. Get out there and SUPPORT SMALL BUSINESSES! You will come away feeling all warm and fuzzy inside and freaking WIN the holidays at the same time. You’ll be supporting our local economy, making small business owners do crazy happy dances at the end of their days and you know you are SO gonna get yourself a gift for being such a good little consumer. EVERYBODY WINS. You’re welcome.
Keep it real. Shop Local, Tampa!
Ok, so … we’ve gotten through family (moms, dads, siblings and bff’s), we’ve talked about bosses. Now, let’s get to the REALLY annoying circle from the Circle of Gifts….Acquaintances and Co-Workers. This is THE most annoying group to buy for because a) it’s a damned GROUP and b) you really don’t know them that well (nor do you like most of them). It causes little pangs of anxiety to know you have to buy things in multiples, battle the box store parking lot and spend more money than you REALLY want to over the holidays.
We’ve budgeted about $7-12 for this category. Let’s say you have 10 people to buy for at work. That’s only $70 (and in the grand scheme of things, really not that much). Depending on their likes and dislikes, you can easily pick up some meaningful but inexpensive (that’s a big word for cheap-ass) gifts. Generally, you want to keep the playing field even in these situations because A-holes like Stan at the office might get offended if you buy something great for Greg, but Stan only gets the $5 AMC gift card with a puppy Christmas card you got free in the mail for donating to that dog rescue. While that’s fine and Stan might just deserve that, you know it’s going to cause all kinds of office dramatics once he starts bitching to Shelly in the design department.
While I am not a big fan of splitting things into “Girls” and “Boys”, sometimes you have to when the situation calls for it, so let’s just do it. For Lady co-workers, you might think about something along the lines of soap, lotions, lip balms and the like. For the Man co-workers, you could easily pick up things like say, food or gift certificates to kick ass places. Dudes don’t want your pinterestified coffee cup with the spoon dipped in chocolate that you stayed up all night assembling to spice up his coffee in the morning with a bit of milk chocolate. They don’t want stupid crap for their desks and they certainly don’t want soap (even though you probably have someone you work with who REALLY needs it). They want practical crap they can use or eat.
One thing no co-worker dude can really balk at is an ornament. This is a good gift for lady co-workers, too. Not just any ornament, though. You can pick up some great Ybor/Tampa themed ornaments at the Ybor Chamber of Commerce Visitor Information Center and Gift Shop for $12.99. They’ve got your basic cigar, the trolley and a host of other ornaments that represent Tampa. Another FAB gift that literally anyone would want (unless they have a gluten free, sugar free, cookie free diet) is a tin with delicious cookies inside with a super fantastic Ybor City light post design on it that was designed by yours truly! You can pick these tins of cookies up at the Visitor Center for $12. Ever been to the Columbia Restaurant and had their sangria? You can get the Sangria mix at the Visitor Center for $5. Stick this in cheap wine glass with a homemade card (that you can pick up at the Ybor City Saturday Market from Hogan Made for only $3.50) and your alcohol loving co-workers will tell you that you officially won the holidays. What about the 1905 Salad dressing that you would like lick off the bottom of the bowl after eating? You can grab a bottle of that and some all-purpose seasoning from the Columbia, too!
For the Lady co-works, let’s start with candles. What lady co-worker do you know does NOT like a good candle? Candles are a dime a dozen, but homemade soy candles could be just the ticket! Get a handful of them at the Visitor Center (made by the Seventh Avenue Apothecary) for $8 each. Get a bunch of different flavors and then once you give them to the ladies at work, they can feel free to trade up for the favorite flavors. Everyone is treated evenly and equally, so nobody’s going to pulling anyone’s weave out and HR won’t have to get involved. Soap is basically the same. You can pick up handmade soap at a host of places around town, but why not stop by the Ybor City Saturday Market and visit Jeannie at Soap Handmade by Jeannie? You can get so many yummy smelling soaps from her! For $6 each, you can get the entire office done! You simply can’t go wrong with soap. Another place to get great soaps is A Peace of Plant City. Jayme stocks the mother UP with some fine-ass soaps. You can get goat’s milk soap with a piece of Tarpon Springs sponge for $7.50 or without the sponge for $5. Either way, you’re going to LOVE these so much, you’ll walk out with an extra for yourself. Another fantastic and amazeballs gift you can get at the Ybor City Saturday Market is Hogan Made’s very own Tea Towel. You can get them for $10 with all your favorite Hogan Made designs. This might actually be the best idea. Scrap everything else I’ve talked about and just do this. Of course you are going to have that special someone at work that you like a lot more than all the other jackbags. You’ll have to work that outside the office for the best protection from prying eyes (Stan).
But, now we’ve discussed these smaller, less expensive gifts, right? You’re thinking ok, this seems a little skimpy, right? No. It’s not skimpy damn it, it’s a locally handcrafted gift for Christ’s sake! Make sure you grab a business card from whomever you are purchasing from and include it in the gift. This will a) show your co-workers you didn’t just go to Starbucks and get them a gift card while rolling your eyes and b) will spread the good will of small business throughout the city! There are lots of ways to spruce up a smaller gift. You could get a cool soap holder, a handmade wash cloth/scrubby or an awesome book of matches for the candles. You can also stop by Hogan Made’s booth at the market and grab some blank notecards with all your favorite Hogan Made designs. Who knows, if you are really super nice maybe the owner will give you a discount … maybe tell that witch you read her blog….just sayin’
Ok, we started talking about Christmakwanzukkah a few posts back, and now we’re getting back to it. Every year, you want to get together with your friends regardless of their holiday affiliation, to celebrate with lots of food, drink and laughter, right? Of COURSE you do. You’ve probably got a bunch of ‘couple friends,’ so, splurging on a nice bottle of wine per couple is easy, even and nice. Everyone gets approximately the same thing for the same price and slap that puppy in a wine bag and BOOM! But, why just zone out in the wine aisle pushing a giant shopping cart full of wine and having Mary the checkout lady raise a judgy eyebrow at you? Let’s get back to shopping local.
Nowadays, it seems like everyone is into art. There are literally hundreds of artists within a 5 mile radius anywhere in Tampa. Check out your friends’ houses. Check out their style and figure out what they like. There are so many cool home décor items that people make that fit nice and easy into this budget of the Circle of Gifts (not sure what that is? Start from post one and catch up. We don’t have time for this).
Home décor can be a great, personal and fun thing to give as a gift. Wood signs are all the rage and will likely never go out of style. I’m going to put this one in the category of Wood Sign Art….well, because that’s what it is. Check out The Pickle Shop! They have hilarious, beautifully crafted (and sometimes custom) works that are super reasonably priced. You can easily spend $35 and get THE perfect sign for your super inappropriate friends.
Unique Necessities can spruce up just about ANY room with some fabulously fun throw pillows. Catherine makes THE best pillows in town. They are fun, bright, and handmade! She also makes earrings that are simply to die for! You can find her at local markets around town, so that will give you one more reason to get out and Shop Local, Tampa!
You live in Florida. You love Florida. You love supporting our local artist community. Why not buy that special someone in your life a beautiful piece of art? Over the years, I’ve come to appreciate those artists who TRULY capture what Florida is all about. From our swampy waters of the Everglades, the crystal clear waters of our rivers and our unique wildlife to the simplicity of a Live Oak, our community is bursting with fantastic artists! I’m listing just a FEW of my favorites below, but these are just a FEW of my faves:
If you’re thinking none of these fit the interior décor of Bob and Linda’s new SoHo apartment, then just do a quick google search for local artists…you’ll find something! A few more you can check out (that are some of my faves), would be Diane Valerius Radel,
Now, you know there is always a chance a rando’s gonna show up at something like this and Rando Rhonda is going to come baring some fabulous homemade, gourmet olive oil she pressed herself with fresh rosemary and some other shit in it. You don’t want to be upstaged by Rando Rhonda. Nope. This is a competition, right? Ok, so you’ve got to arm yourself with the right weapons. Make sure you’ve got enough Rando Rhonda gifts laying around that you can throw the most vomit inducing cuteness together in a jiff and make it look like you spent thousands of dollars AND hours on it.
Gift basket ideas for couples could include anything from wine and fancy pants wine glasses, to beer and cheese or even some movie tickets. It’s always good to have these fine items around for the Rando Rhondas that show up. Just have one at the ready by the door, so that when you go to one of your many holiday shindigs, you’ll be armed with all the right tools. We’ll go into more detail about where you can find some fine, local and ultra-tasty treats next time, but you can use your imagination and start getting some ideas.
Until next time, Shop Local, Tampa!
Alright. We’ve got moms and dads done, so let’s look at Siblings, Great Friends and BFF’s (most of the time these can all be interchangeable on the Circle of Gifts). As for budgeting, this group is not quite as close to the center of the Circle of Gifts as mom and dad, so we’re going to allot around $30-50 to them. And, if you don’t talk to your siblings or whatever, get over yourself and get them a damned gift.
So, the Siblings, Great Friends & BFF group (we’ll call them the SGFBFF), we can branch out a bit from the big ticket items for moms and dads. These will be people around your same age and have lots of similar interest that you have, so the SGFBFF’s will be much easier to figure out. We’ll start out easy with books. With the varying interests that people have and let’s hope that your circle of friends is smart enough to stick their noses in a good book once in a while, you can head to Inkwood Books and start the hunt! Let’s make a day of it!
Inkwood Books moved from Hyde Park to Tampa Heights, so you can really make a day out of this trip. You know, plan ahead, get some shopping done, and grab a drink and a snack and resume shopping! You need to keep your strength up, right?
We’re going to start the day out right by heading over to the Hall on Franklin to grab some coffee and a snack. I’m going to recommend the Cold Brew Coffee from KOFE a) because if you’re hip and know what’s good for you, you get the Cold Brew and b) it’s STILL too freakin’ hot out to be walking around with hot coffee. Now, let’s grab some Churros (no, we are NOT getting the damned fruit bowl, Stan. We’ve got SHOPPING to do and we need to carb load). From the Hall on Franklin you can waltz on over to Inkwood Books – the best little independent book store in town! You’ll find best sellers, fiction, non-fiction, cook books, history books, books for kids and teens and so much more!
After you shop for books, you’re generally hungry for a snack, so you can head over to Heights Public Market at Armature Works and grab something there. You can also think about getting gift certificates from many of the super tasty eateries under their roof. Steelbach has a great brunch menu and anyone would love to chow down on some tasty breakfast vittles with a gift certificate. You’ll find everything from pizza at Ava to vegan delights at Ichicoro to healthy juices at Swami Juice. For whatever taste you’re looking for, you’ll find something for everyone here. And, you might as well grab a drink at the Fine & Dandy Cocktail Emporium. You've had a long day of shopping. You deserve it!
Now that we’ve got the toughest person on your list out of the way (dad), let’s talk about moms. What kind of mom do you have? Is she a bookworm, an artist, an athlete, a people person? Or is she one of those REALLY annoying people who are all of the above?
Some moms are easy: They get their nails done, hairs did and toes ready for flip flops on the regs. Boom! You can go to any of her favorite spots and grab a gift certificate. Other moms ain’t got time for that business. When they’re done for the day, they want to come home, kick off their shoes, take off the spanx and get into some yoga pants (and not necessarily to do yoga).
We’ve already established that you probably are going to spend a little more on mom than the average bear, right? So, let’s set a budget for $50-75 for mom as seen in the Circle of Gifts (Figure 1 from our first post - yes, I expect you to keep up… so go back to the beginning and read so we’re all on the same page here … we’ll wait).
Regardless of what your mom type is, you’ll want to make the trip to Plant City to a little hidden gem called A PEACE of Plant City. “But that’s so faaaarrr.” I can hear you whining from here, so just stop it. This store is a fantastic one-stop-shop for moms, sisters, bff’s and co-workers. Owner, Jayme, knows just what kinds of things a good Southern girl likes! You can get everything strawberry (shirts, souvenirs, hats, jewelry and more), organic soaps, lip balms and lotions and so much more. There is something here for everyone’s budget from lip balm to unique, locally made art and of course Hogan Made tees!
Do you have co-workers, friends, or the annoying secret Santa that Stan from the office suggested? A PEACE of Plant City stocks more adorable jewelry than Florida has oranges, so you could easily pick up some fun blingy or bohemian, fun and flarey, sparkly and stupendous styles for your friends from $7 and up. This is a great place for co-workers and friends that are like not REALLY good friends, but you kinda feel obligated to get something for because you know they’ll be at the same holiday gathering … there are lots of great handmade soaps and lotions priced very reasonably for just about anyone on the Circle of Gifts (yeah, even Stan – jackass…why’d you have to bring that stupid secret Santa thing up, anyway…just ANOTHER thing I have to think about). So, check your list before you go and I guarantee you’ll mark several people off your list.
Sometimes Mama Bear wants something fun, gunny or just plain silly and girly. I have a few great ideas from A PEACE of Plant City. Keep mom’s favorite beverage cold this 30 oz “Because I said So #MomLife” super fancy sippy cup for $30.99 (we all know it’s going to be white wine – it holds 30 ounces for shit’s sake).
Another great Mommy gift is this super cute Tiny Bar ‘Mama’ necklace for $45.10.
A PEACE of Plant City will be hosting a Holiday Craft Fair on October 20th from 9AM – 6PM. Check out their Facebook Page for details!
What about local museum gift shops? My mom is a big fan of these places because most of the time you can’t find this stuff anywhere else. It’s like an untapped fountain of unique gifts (you’re welcome)! You can check out the Tampa Bay History Center, Ybor City Visitors Center (an official retail outlet for Hogan Made shirts – just sayin’), Columbia Restaurant gift shop, H.P. Plant Museum (where you might run across a Hogan Made shirt, tea towel or pillow – ahem!), or the Tampa Museum of Art. You’ll find a wide variety of items as well as a wide price range for just about anyone’s budget. These places are not just for tourists to shop for souvenirs.
Go, now, little shoppers, and Shop Local, Tampa!
So, you’ve probably got plans for some kind of Christmanukka gathering with your friends and maybe a few people will be there. You love them all dearly and would love to spend hundreds of dollars on all of them, but let’s get real. We’re at the Good Friends & Bosses ring of the Circle of Gifts. Our budget dollars are getting lower ($15-30) the further out from the center we go. I put bosses in this category because you don’t want to be the cheap ass that gets them a “Best Boss” coffee mug, but you really don’t want to spend an arm and a leg on them. Just think, in 3 years are you even going to still be at that job? And if so, do you want to lock yourself in to a $50 gift every year for this person? The answer is, “probably not,” at least to the later.
So, let’s get started. Boss gifts can be sparingly generic. You don’t want to be BFF’s with the boss, but you don’t want to come off as completely thoughtless and cheap (unless of course Stan is organizing the ugly sweater party with Dottie from accounting, and then we’re talking $5 gift cards to TGIF’s).
This is where a trip to the Ybor City Saturday Morning Market will come in handy! Whether you work for a boss man or a lady boss, you can find middle of the road items under $30 without a second glance when you shop at local markets.
For the Lady Boss:
Earrings are always a nice gift. You can just look at the person and see what style she likes. You can get unique earrings at lots of wonderful vendors, like Full Circle Creations, Rockman Studios, Tres Claudine Artisan Crafted Jewelry and Reusin by Susan. You probably don’t want to get the Lady Boss a necklace – too personal – but bracelets and fun earrings are a good bet.
There are also lots of great vendors that make soaps, lotions, lip balms and candles that would make a nice ‘basket’ you could throw together for a reasonable price. Check out Soap Handmade by Jeannie, Body Silk by Robin and The Good Stuff (really nice soy candles that smell fresh and not perfumey).
For the Boss Man:
Beards are in. Does the Boss Man have a beard? You can always get him some organic beard oil from every other booth at almost any market these days. A lot of them have “manly” soaps and lotions with black labels to make them look manlier than manly so men will use it and not think they are turning into a woman. I would recommend a specific vendor, however, my lady beard has yet to come in and I don’t expect it to anytime soon. This is just a suggestion. From a lady. Without a beard.
Boss Man are more likely to like sports, so stop by and see Creations by Robin and her awesome employees. She hand paints signs with all your favorite sports teams (and all their rivals). She also makes signs for the home, so this could go for the Boss Man or the Lady Boss. Either way, stop by and tell her Meghan sent you ... and then watch her run!
Food is always nice, if you know their preferences. It’s almost EASIER at local markets to find your gluten free, vegan, soy injected, no-turkey-but-fish-is-ok, lacto-pesca, anti-zucchini, going vegan for the holidays, vegetarian sometimes, only red meat diets. This is where all the off the eaten pathers go for this stuff! This is where small businesses are experimenting with new ideas, fresh foods and tasty tidbits. You’ll have to wait until the last minute to purchase any food gifts, but a few suggestions to start would be The Happy Baker (with some of THE tastiest tiny loaves of Pilgrim Pumpkin Bread you’ll ever have). If they have their little oven out at the market, you'll probably smell the bread cooking before you see them in their orange aprons! Or, grab some cupcakes from Angie’s Cupcakes – you may need to get a baker’s dozen, because I will tell you now at LEAST one will be gone before you get them home. A DELISH vegan option is A3 Confections. Yes, vegan CAN be delish, so pipe down there, meat lovers. Stan’s probably a meat lover that hates vegans. Red velvet. You’re welcome. Also, check out Mammoth Foods for their hummus. Pick me up a bucket while you’re at it.
Of course, I can't possibly leave out the suggestion of a Hogan Made shirt as a gift for the boss! You can also find Hogan Made at the Ybor City Saturday Market. And, look! You are already on my website, so SHOP NOW!!
You can find a lot of the above-mentioned at the Ybor City Saturday Market, and Tampa Indie Flea is always a great source of reasonably priced gifts.
Next time, we’ll get back to the Christmakwanzukkah party your friends are throwing.
Ok, now that we’ve got your list sorted that out, let’s get down to business and start with family; Moms, dads, siblings, cousins, uncles, and sometimes BFF’s. These are the closest people to you. Let’s figure you will likely spend a little more on moms and dads, so we’ll budget them for $50-75. Now, if your dad is difficult to buy for (because whose dad ISN’T?!), we’ll need to think outside the box. Dads are big ol’ mushy balls of bear hugs and love. I’d say 9 times out of 10 they’d rather DO something with the family than receive a gift. Am I right? So, let’s talk DOING. All of the DOING ideas can be done as a family gift, a gift for mom and dad, given as gift certificates or just go spend some time with the fam!
To Do’s With Dad:
Straz Center – You can get gift certificates in any amount! If you want them by Christmas, you’ll need to order them before December 20th. This would be a great Mom & Dad Date Night gift (yup, made you just vomit in your own mouth, didn’t I? You’re welcome).
Tampa Bay History Center – Dads and dudes love this place. They have pirates, cigars old maps, and all kinds of dude things. They don’t have gift certificates, but you can purchase tickets or even think about a membership as a gift (Individual is $55, Companion is $75).
Tampa Theatre – Does dad like movies? Does he go often? Does he like free refills on popcorn and soda? If you’ve answered yes to all these questions, then you should get him a FAN level membership to the Tampa Theatre for $50-90.
Tampa Bay Water Bike Co. – Want to dork out with dad? This is PERFECT! You can do an hour to an hour and a half from $30-80. Think of the Instagram pics you can post and send to your cousins! They offer discounts to teachers, military and seniors and you can book online! They are located downtown, so you could easily make a day out of it by hitting up the Columbia Café for a snack afterwards!
eBoats Tampa – Biking on the water too much work? How about renting an eBoat for an hour? For $80 you can enjoy downtown Tampa from the river. Once you’re done, you can run up to Ulele or Armature Works and grab a beer and a bite!
To Gets For Dad:
Dad don’t wanna DO? Then how about a good book from Inkwood, a Grumpy Grouper shirt from Hogan Made or nice Arturo Fuente cigar from King Corona Cigars? Is dad a beer drinker? Maybe he’d like a fat little growler full of some tasty local brews? You can grab one from Bru Growler Bar in Odessa. There are SO many mouthwatering craft brews in town from which to choose, you could even put together a ‘Beer Bucket’ with some snacks, his favorite brews, beef jerky from Stanford’s Jerky and cheese from the Cheese Lodge (both of whom you can find at local markets regularly). I mean, really, y’all could just get this for me instead of dad.
Friends of Hogan Made, I am happy to announce that you need look no further for holiday shopping advice, as I have done all the hard work for you. Welcome to Hogan Made’s SHOP LOCAL, TAMPA! This is your go-to shopping guide for the holidays (and I mean every holiday). You could say this is a SHOPPING GUIDE FOR YOUR COMMUNITY!
I’ll be doing a series of short blog-like entries to help you make sure you are buying all the right gifts for all the right people at all the right places in plenty of time for the holidays! I’ll include links, gift ideas, and all the information you’ll need to get your shopping job done.
Why such a list? Because I see similar lists every year with the same ol’ same ol’, many of which are, um, not so local, and wildly overpriced for the number of people you need to buy for. My list is going to include authentic local makers, artists, food vendors, things to do and local businesses. I want it to compel people to shop local and support businesses while suggesting reasonably priced gift suggestions.
So, let’s get started. First, let’s look at your list. You’ve probably got the family first, then bff’s and close friends, then you start talking about acquaintances and co-workers, and then there are those people who get you something and you’re like, ‘DAMN! Now I have to get a gift for Stan because he got me something!’ You could potentially be looking at 20-30 gifts on your list. Even at $10 a pop, you’re already into the hundreds of dollars! We’ll need to organize your list into a tier system. Sounds complicated, huh? Well, it’s not, so calm down. You basically think about your list from closest people to you to the farthest from you (Stan). (See Image 1)
Obviously, you can put your own budget into the circle of gifts, but you get the picture. You could even figure out what your total holiday shopping budget is and work from there. Say you're on a very small budget this year. What to do?! No worries, we'll be sharing plenty of ideas to get you on your way and on your budget. I think for now, though, let's focus on the center of our circle - FAMILY. We'll be posting our very first entry in the next few days, so make sure and check back to see what we've got in store!