There are two weeks left in 2014. Chanukah began on tuesday. Christmas and Kwanzaa are just a week away, and Festivus poles are popping up in hipster abodes and a few state capitols, alongside Nativity scenes. No matter what people are celebrating, the gift giving has begun.
The Twelve Days of Christmas begins in a week. The old repetitive carol of that title (and best sung by The Muppets and John Denver) provides the inspiration for our list of twelve west coast products that represent the local scene with practical sophistication better than Lords-a-leaping and Geese-a-laying. These items make great last-minute gifts and stocking stuffers for men and women. They won’t take up a lot of space, but can make a big impact. They may also make good gifts to yourself when the dust settles, because it’s better to give than receive, and doing both simultaneously is just great.
12 SELEUŠS Chocolate Truffles
These perfectly crafted confections dispense with gimmickry and stick to a perfect balance of rich chocolate and fine ingredients, like Greek rose essence, raspberry brandy, coffee blends, local honey and coconut rum. For the cocoa connoisseurs in your life, they really are the finest around. Ponder buying one of SELEUŠS’ 24-piece sets online. With four boxes of six assorted flavors, you can treat a friend and yourself to a dozen. Read more.
Find them at Finerie CoLAB (1921 2nd Avenue). 24-piece truffle set: $108
12 Months of Kinfolk
No, we won’t attempt to countdown on a number theme (though we did consider it).
This quarterly magazine is the premier guide to slow lifestyle, based here in the Pacific Northwest (Portland, Oregon to be precise). Kinfolk uses clean, sophisticated design to spread the gospel of simplified and thoughtful style, especially in food and entertaining. For hosts with the most and for those who need to learn to make a proper toast, each month is a seasonal guide to living and eating well that can be referenced and cherished year-round. Read more.
Purchase subscriptions and back issues on Kinfolk’s online shop. $60 for a one-year subscription.
A Coulee Scarf by Lindsey Bender
Shopping for accessories is a lot easier than shopping clothing, as fit is much less of an issue. This is especially true of scarves, which can be wrapped and tied according to the bearer’s tastes. The soft, lightweight wool gauze scarves of Coulee are each unique, hand-painted with non-toxic dyes by Lindsey Bender, so they are an especially nice way to choose a look that is just right for the recipient’s personality and palette. The material allows them to be worn year round—especially in our milder winters. Read more.
Find them at Juniper (3314 E Spring St). $156
Handmade Cube Soaps by Blackbird
Men’s fashion boutique and apothecary Blackbird has moved online with its thoughtful selection of handcrafted goods, including its luscious soaps made right here in Seattle. From rose to resin, licorice to tomato leaves, the all natural scents and smooth blend of oils and clays leave skin fresh and soft. Bonus: The stamped cube shape looks great in a soap tray and doesn’t slide away easily. Read more.
Find them online and at local boutiques, like Glasswing (1525 Melrose Avenue). $12
A Year of SIFF Membership
The Seattle International Film Festival is perhaps the region’s biggest annual event, drawing hundreds of films and thousands of viewers every year. The whirlwind of events is a little more manageable and affordable with a membership. The membership also gives the bearer discounts at SIFF Cinema, which is one of the best places in town to catch notable mainstream and independent films. It pays for itself very quickly for those who see a lot of film, so consider one for yourself, too. Read more.
Sign up and purchase ticket packs online. $55 for one-year membership at the Enthusiast level.
A Tiny State Pendant from OhSoAntsy
Seattle-based artisan Jessica Angel‘s gold and silver charms are a subtle, sweet way to pay homage to your favorite state or country. For college students representing their home away from home, travelers who fell in love with scenes (and faces) abroad, and people who like to show hometown pride, the jewelry of OhSoAntsy is a genuine but not ostentatious way to spread the love. Read more.
Find them at Moorea Seal (2523 3rd Ave). Prices vary. $65 for gold WA state pendant.
Natural Soy Candles by Marigold and Mint
Boutique florist Marigold & Mint has collaborated with local artists and designers to create its first line of candles, just launched last week. They have already proved wildly popular, which comes as no surprise, given the care and craft that goes into them. The candles are locally produced and come in four scents: rose germanium and chamomile, carnation and lavender, cedar and smoke, and—naturally—marigold and mint. Read more.
Find them at Marigold and Mint (1531 Melrose Ave) and The London Plane (300 Occidental Ave). $18 for 3oz candle, $40 for 9oz.
A Day at Banya 5
This is the only item on the list that might be given in gift card form, but it was impossible to resist including for a couple reasons: All the holiday parties requires added detox time; all the holiday stress demands deep relaxation; all the cold, wet weather is best counteracted by a good warm soak. The sauna and spa spaces at Banya 5 make it all readily accessible. Located in South Lake Union, it can make an especially good gift for friends in tech and biotech working in the neighborhood. Read more.
A Set of Scrappy’s Bitters
Scrappy’s Bitters are some of the finest in the world, and they are produced right here in Seattle. From aromatic blends to lime to cardamom to lavender to chocolate to celery, the range of flavors allows something for everyone with consistently high quality. Just a dab will do ya, so Scrappy’s gift sets make perfect additions to a home bar. The Scrappy’s Exotic Mini Set includes lavender, chocolate, cardamom, and grapefruit bitters, all of which can blend in cold and hot beverages, making them a seasonal treat that will probably need to be restocked before spring returns. Read more.
A Bottle of Dry Fly Whiskey
It’s rare to find a truly craft-distilled bourbon, as a lot of product is just rebottled from larger producers. Dry Fly from Spokane Washington is a rare breed of farm-to-bottle spirits that uses all local grains and botanicals to create its clear and brown liquors. Its recent addition of bourbon is still young, but delicious, smooth and authentic. You may also want to look for its smaller batch Creel Collection whiskeys. As Washington emerges as a new center for distillers, Dry Fly is leading the way with delicious and authentic offerings bound to please. Read more.
Dry Fly is widely available in Washington state, so shop around.
And a bottle in a Squalor Harbor Bag
The Shipyard Bag by Squalor Harbor is perfect for toting a bottle of wine in the spring and a thermos of spiked coffee in the winter. Handmade in the USA, the bag has been produced in a limited batch with the recent launch of the Squalor Harbor brand, a collaboration between Kirsten Anderson (of Roq La Rue gallery) and artist Derek Knobbs. Rivets and grommets reinforce the denim and canvas bag, with thick, comfy rope handles. It’s going to look especially good when the weather warms up, and so as gifts go, it’s a pleasant reminder that this winter and the holidays too shall pass. Read more.
Find it and other Squalor Harbor Swag through E. Smith Mercantile (208 1st Ave S) or Roq La Rue gallery (532 1st Ave S). $300 for one of this very limited run.
Last but not least…
So you still don’t see anything that sounds right for a certain someone? Well, you probably know something that this person will use, but it might seem mundane, so you shy away because it seems thoughtless. Here is your license to go with the obvious:
Funny, Sassy and Humorous Tags from Paper Hammer
That person who is impossible to shop for probably knows it. They might even be self-conscious about it, so putting yourself out to come up with some grand idea can be awkward for everyone. So go with what you know will please them, then add a personal touch to acknowledge that even though it is mundane, it comes from the heart and a place of recognition. You know each other well enough, so dispense with the affectations and bring on a fun, old-timey, letterpress tag from Paper Hammer. The downtown purveyor of all things perfectly paper has gobs of tags with a lot of fun phrases for adult beverages and objects, like “I did not regift this,” “Mother’s little helper,” and “You are *so* worthy.”
For wine and booze and food lovers, there are a lot of apt options to attach to their favorite bottle or package. These are also great to add a personal touch to host and hostess gifts when you are bringing to a party any time of year—especially if you have to grab something on the go and don’t have time to wrap anything—so grab a bunch to have on hand. For $2, they are worth the investment.