We might be coming up on the most wonderful time of the year, but let's be honest: It's also the most stressful. One aspect of this holiday season that should be a breeze? Finding the perfect gifts for your loved ones. Or, at least it should be after you read through our 2016 gift guide.
You'll find something for everyone — from the man who has simple taste to the woman who (seemingly) has everything. Here's your guide to locally sourced presents from least to most expensive, you know, because we care.
If your loved one enjoys being outdoors, consider a gift that will bring the outside in. Alexandra Bowers uses what she finds in the desert as inspiration for her wood-burned art. Her coasters depict everything from plant and animal life to Arizona's outline framing a cactus, and we swear they'd look great on any coffee table.
They say love Phoenix or leave Phoenix. But sometimes, you can do both. And Brendan McCaskey of Jar of Buttons creates the perfect bits of wearable Arizona pride to serve as a reminder of where the Phoenician-at-heart on your list came from. Or, perhaps, from where they've never left.
Watercolor is having a moment. Somewhere along the line, whimsical color and cactus joined forces, and the world was never the same. We aren’t sure, but honestly, we wouldn’t be surprised if Pink Puddle Studio was the start of the craze here in Phoenix. And that’s perfectly fine with us, because we’ll never get over her technicolor desert flora.
The Neapolitan Novels at Changing Hands
$17 and up; available in store or online
If you’re like us, you were heartbroken when the Neapolitan dinner event, celebrating Elena Ferrante’s latest release, was canceled earlier this month. Thankfully, the event will be rescheduled. In the meantime, you can get everyone in your life hooked on the Neapolitan Quartet from one of the best authors in modern times.
Tickets to Matilda at ASU Gammage
$20 and up; available online or at the box office
The four-time Tony Award-winning musical based on Roald Dahl’s story of a quirky, fantastical girl is coming to Tempe, and we already know the musical theater lover in your life wants to go. Surprise him or her with tickets to Matilda The Musical, and we bet they’ll think you have a little magic of your own.
A Galeana Candle from MADE Art Boutique
$22; available in store
When you’re headed to that special holiday party this season, don’t get caught showing up at the door empty-handed. Choose from any of the unique scents of locally made soy candles from Galeana, and we’re sure your host or hostess will feel fully appreciated.
A shave from The Local Barber and Shop
$25; available in store
This season, give the man in your life a bit of nostalgia by gifting an old-fashioned shave at the Local Barber and Shop. From the vintage chairs to the top-notch service, this place harks back to the days when a barbershop was more than just a place to get your haircut — it was a community.
An airplant from Dig It Urban Gardens
Up to $30; available in store
If you have someone on your gift list this year who doesn’t have the space for a full-on green house or maybe doesn’t have the green thumb to support one, consider giving an airplant. Besides looking super cool, airplants are notoriously low maintenance. Heck, they don’t even require a pot or soil. Just place them out on a surface exposed to indirect sunlight, submerge them in water a few times per week, and they’re good to go.
A gift card to Frances Vintage
Prices vary; available in store
We know how hard it is to shop for someone who seemingly has everything, and when finding the right gift for those people, we always resort to a gift card to Frances. This favorite boutique has something for everyone. The #getoutside user, the hip dude, the new parent, and the lady who always has the best accessories will definitely find something they’ll love. And gift cards are always the right size and style, right?
Tickets to Corks & Cactus at Desert Botanical Garden
$35 for member, $40 for nonmembers; available online
Saturday and Sunday, February 18 and 19, 2017, the Desert Botanical Garden will be mixing up a few of our favorite things: wine, live music, and gorgeous desert scenery. Tickets to the event include samples of 40 different wines each day and the opportunity to purchase any of the 80 featured wines.
A Soleri Bell from Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art's gift shop
$45-$110; available in store
When talking about quintessential Arizona artists, Paolo Soleri is sure to crop up in conversation, and probably sooner rather than later. So if there’s a self-proclaimed Arizona art fanatic in your life, you pretty much owe it to them to gift a piece from this iconic artist.
Sometimes, a blank wall doesn’t call for a colorful painting. Sometimes, it calls for an intricate, Anthropologie-esque wall hanging. And that’s where Robyn Parker’s Woven By Ro comes in. If you can’t wait for her Etsy shop to update December 1, check out what Parker has to offer at the next Phoenix Flea on November 26.
Read on for art class packages, jewelry, and a splurge or two.
A class at Shemer Art Center
$55-$245; register online
For some people, being gifted an experience is far more meaningful than receiving a physical item. And if that’s the case for your loved one, check out the variety of classes available at Shemer Art Center. You could give the opportunity to learn everything from the basics of drawing or pottery to photographic transfers and watercolor painting. Keep an eye on the Shemer Art Center website because they’re always adding new classes.
A necklace by From The Reliquary
$60 and up; available online
Local jeweler Alex Ozers has made a name for himself in the jewelry world by creating unique pieces inspired by the desert landscape he grew up in. With hammered metal and gems cut at jagged angles, his stunning pieces are simultaneously delicate and armor-like. No matter which piece you choose to give, it’s sure to catch eyes and start conversation.
A T-shirt from Phoenix General
$65 and up; available in store and online
Everyone needs a solid, well-made T-shirt in his or her wardrobe. And we’re not talking about the ones that come in a Hanes packet from Target. We mean something that can work for catching a movie with friends and grabbing drinks with coworkers. And Phoenix General has no shortage to pick from. Just think, you’ll be giving something that will never go out of style.
May Lindstrom Honey Mud mask from Citrine Natural Beauty Bar
$80; available in store or online
If your loved one isn’t willing to treat themself, sometimes you have to do it for them. And a great place to start would be giving him or her the Honey Mud mask by May Lindstrom from Citrine. A beauty bar staff member said most of the shop's personnel use it about once a week, so you know it’s good. And if you really want to score points, have a bubble bath waiting when you gift this.
Phoenix Art Museum membership
$80-$750; available online
This holiday season, you could give someone a gift once, or you could give something that your loved one will be able to use again and again all year long. With any level of membership to Phoenix Art Museum, your gift recipient will get unlimited free general admission, 10 percent off at the Museum Store and Palette restaurant, and invitations to members-only events. It really is the gift that keeps on giving.
A tie from The Clotherie
$135 and up; available in store
Sure, giving someone a tie is usually associated with Father’s Day, but we believe there is no wrong time of year to give a little wardrobe upgrade. Especially if it’s a tie from The Clotherie. Just step into the swanky menswear store at Biltmore Fashion Park and allow one of the charming, knowledgeable staffer to help you pick a tie that’ll definitely impress the man in your life.
Season tickets to Ballet Arizona
$178-$548; available online
Going to the ballet has always been a special occasion. You get dressed up, have a drink, and watch talented dancers defy gravity while a beautiful score plays in the background. You could treat your loved one to that experience every time Ballet Arizona has a new performance with season tickets. Besides receiving 35 percent off single tickets, you’ll also be giving tickets to The Nutcracker and An Evening at Desert Botanical Garden.
A pair of Midcentury Modern chairs from Modern Manor
$200 and up; available in store
If you’ve got a Ralph Haver lover on your gift list this year, we know they’ll absolutely love a pair of vintage seats from the midcentury Mecca that is Modern Manor. But just know, you’ll definitely walk out of the store with the perfect chairs, but you’ll probably also have a carful of other unique finds. You’ve been warned.
It can be somewhat difficult to describe Ashley Macias’ work. It’s other-worldly yet organic, bold yet somehow familiar. But no matter how you describe it, her work is undeniably intriguing and would stand out in any room. Contact her to discuss commissioned work and to get an accurate pricing based on the size and style of piece you want. She will also be posting about available prints on her Instagram soon.
A cuff from Heard Museum’s shop
$285 and up; available in store and online
There are certain combinations that are synonymous with Southwest style, and one of the most iconic is silver and turquoise. The shop at Heard Museum carries bracelets in a wide array of sizes and styles that feature these two materials, all of which are sure to make a statement.
A portrait session with Mike Olbinski
$400; contact him through his website
You know Mike Olbinski’s work even if you don’t realize it. He’s the photographer who captures the breathtaking images of Arizona’s monsoon and dust storms. And when he’s not chasing storms, he also captures equally stunning images of families and couples. We the chance to have your portrait taken by this Emmy-winning photographer is worth much more than a thousand words.
A spot at NINE Retreat
$1550; register online
In this day and age, it is far too easy to feel disconnected, lost, and overwhelmed. After feeling this way herself and seeing so many women in her life going through something similar, NINE founder Kym Ventola decided to create a space for women to refocus. If the 2017 Retreat, happening April 27 to 30 in Greer, Arizona, is anything like last year’s, the woman in your life will leave re-energized with a community of strong women supporting her.
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A custom door from Porter Barn Wood
$1750 and up with installation; call 602-738-1456 to set up an appointment
The designers and builders at Porter Barn Wood take reclaimed wood and give it new life. And if you want to go all out this year, consider giving a one-of-a-kind door that could become the focal point of a room. Obviously, the price of the piece depends on the size and style desired, so meet with one of Porter Barn Wood’s designers for a consultation.