The holidays are BACK BABY. They’re sparkly, cookie-filled, and a bit stressful – am I right? Well, to help relieve some of that stress, I’m back with another gift guide dedicated to the locavores in your life. I’m a fan of the occasional gift card, too, but you just can’t beat the warm and fuzzies that come with giving a gift that’s truly special and personalized. Atlanta is home to so many wonderful producers, artisans, and makers – you’re bound to find something that will make your locavore squeal with joy! And hey, maybe you’ll find a little something for yourself, too.
For the home bartender: 18.21 Bitters: bitters, shrubs, syrups
18.21 produces small batch cocktail additives in their cozy Ponce City Market storefront. For your friend who loves to host cocktail parties or pre-dinner happy hours, 18.21 is a wonderland. They have classic bitters, but the real joy of shopping at 18.21 is found in the zanier flavors like Earl Grey, Grapefruit Lavender, and Spicy Creole. For the holidays they’re offering various sets of bitters, like the bourbon and whiskey lovers bitters set with Prohibition Aromatic (notes of clove), Tart Cherry + Saffron, and Early Grey bitters. If Santa’s reading this, I want the gin lovers set! They also have gift sets that include glassware, only available at their PCM store.
You can also supply them with some great local booze to go with those bitters. ASW Distillery in the Armour Yards area makes tasty whiskeys like their Resurgens Rye and Fiddler Bourbon. They also sell tour and bottle combos making for a fun two-for-one gift.
For the caffeine fiend: Locally roasted coffee
I wasn’t always a coffee snob, and to be honest you can sometimes still catch me at a Racetrac indulging in a cup of coffee with a heavy pour of flavored creamer. But Atlanta is home to so many good coffee shops that either roast their own coffee or carefully source their beans from respected roasters, it’s hard not to become a little persnickety. My favorite locally roasted coffee is Batdorf & Bronson, a company that’s been roasting in Atlanta for over 20 years. You’ve probably sipped their java around town at their coffee shops, Dancing Goats, and various restaurants that carry them (i.e. The General Muir, Cafe Intermezzo). This time of year they have the holiday blend with notes of chocolate and dried fruit. You can grab it at Dancing Goats where you can also find cute mugs and other coffee accessories.
Another favorite local coffee roaster is Rev Coffee. You’ll find me here 5-7 times a week with my nose buried in my laptop (like right now), so you know it must be good. They also have a holiday blend with notes of roasted chestnuts and chocolate and cute retro-themed mugs, hoodies, and coffee brewing tools.
The shiny and new coffee spot, East Pole Coffee, has a coffee subscription service which is the gift that keeps giving. $20 per shipment gets coffee delivered to your loved one’s door once or twice a month. Keeping your friends and family caffeinated with excellent coffee is the greatest gift of all, don’t you think?
For the experience lovers: An animal encounter at the Georgia Aquarium
My first year living in Atlanta I celebrated my birthday in a BIG way: by swimming with the beluga whales at the Georgia Aquarium. It was really more like wading, you don’t get to jump in with the whale, but it was enough to make my heart burst with joy. I already loved the Georgia Aquarium thanks to my enthusiasm for sea life and appreciation of their conservation efforts, but this encounter endeared them to me even more. The beluga experience is currently on hold, but the aquarium still has otter, dolphin, and penguin encounters.
So many people are turning away from collecting material items and instead collect experiences. If you have an animal lover in your life, consider treating them to an animal encounter – it’ll make their year. You can pair it with Red Brick Brewing’s Sea Otter Stout, a special holiday collaboration with proceeds supporting the Aquarium’s conservation efforts. Also a great stocking stuffer!
For the home chef: sea salts and olive oils
It’s not funny how much I love everything Beautiful Briny Sea creates. But really, if you’re scratching your head wondering what to get someone who likes to cook (even their skills are limited to scrambled eggs and toast), then a gift set from Beautiful Briny is the way to go. Produced in their Grant Park studio, these salt blends are carefully prepared by a loving team who somehow cranks them out rapid fire. Each blend (and I’ve tried most, if not all, of them) is insanely flavorful and takes any dish to the next level. If you’re not sure which one to choose, start with the Adventure set with the Campfire, French Picnic (my fav!), and Magic Unicorn blends. You also can’t go wrong with the basics in the Kitchen Trio set: mushroom, lavender, and rosemary salts.
For the person who loves to cook but is also super busy, treat them to a box from PeachDish, Atlanta’s own meal subscription service. They partner with local chefs and farmers which results in a better than average boxed meal experience. Everything comes neatly prepped and labeled so it’s a big time saver on busy weeknights. You can check out the menu here.
For the cultured: museum memberships and theater passes
In a similar vein to the animal encounter, museum memberships and theater passes make excellent gifts for people who don’t need “stuff” but love supporting the arts. 7 Stages Theatre sells a season passport for $75. This gets one person access to all five performances, priority seating, open night toasts, and discounts on additional tickets. Alliance Theatre is offering the Impromptu Pass, allowing your loved one to have flexibility with which shows they see, when they see them, and can see the shows as many times as they want.
The High Museum of Art doesn’t have any holiday-specific offers, but they do sell memberships for various age groups that are totally worth getting. If someone goes to the High just a couple times it’ll be well worth the membership!
For the hostess/host with the mostest/most: locally made home goods
I’m not a Martha, but we all have that one friend who is. For the entertainer, I love anything by Mona Does Concrete. Mona Patel creates gorgeously crafted cheeseboards, coasters, and trivets from concrete and adds whimsical charm with hand-painted designs. Favorite items include this trivet with cherry blossoms, the “fromage” cheeseboard, and the spoon rest.
You can also make it easy for yourself and gift them a tastefully curated Georgia Crafted box. Founder Erin Bales Zwigart works tirelessly to make boxes with local products that anyone would love. Who could resist the “Just Add Cheese” box with a Georgia shaped bamboo cutting board, caramel peach spread and pepper jelly?!
For the wine-o: Tastings and wine club
Have a friend who is super choosy about which bottle the table orders at dinner? Or, maybe they’re not so picky, but just loves the boozy grape juice? Check out the 3 Parks Wine Shop’s wine club with monthly subscriptions and various packages. You could even go in on it with a few friends as a gift for each other! Wine tastings are fun, too, and no one does them better than the experts at Murphy’s in Virginia-Highland where they take place monthly. They usually cost about $26 and include discounts on the wines tasted in class.
For the sweet tooth: Xocolatl gift boxes
I’m not sure what sort of magic Xocolatl, based in Krog Street Market, puts in their craft chocolate bars, but they’re soo good! Their bars are made of dark chocolate sourced from sustainable and ethical farms and come in flavors like “Kissed Mermaids” with coconut milk and vanilla-infused sea salt, and more straightforward varieties like 85% Peru. Just in time for the holidays, Xocolatl has incredibly FUN gift boxes, like the Drinking Chocolate Lover’s Dream Box with an eight-ounce package of drinking chocolate mix, a package of Malvi marshmallows, cacao tea, tea strainer, and more.
For the philanthropic: donations to local organizations and tickets to philanthropic events
Some people truly don’t want anything or are that hard to shop for, but most everyone has a favorite cause. Often times you can donate to a nonprofit in someone’s honor, a touching and thoughtful act that’s sure to make that person feel good (and actually does good). You know which orgs or causes your friends and family care about, but organizations around the city I like to support include the Atlanta Community Food Bank, Wholesome Wave Georgia, New American Pathways, not to mention the Giving Kitchen.
If you really love them, you can buy them a ticket to some of the most happening philanthropic events around town. Tickets are on sale now for Team Hidi 6, the Giving Kitchen’s annual mega-tasting event, and go up $25 after Christmas (do you hear that, Santa?!). It’s always an amazing time with the best restaurants and bartenders from around the city bringing their A-game, live music, and unlimited booze, not to mention an exciting auction where packages go for thousands of dollars.
For the dog lover: locally made dog biscuits and rawhides
Who doesn’t love spoiling their pup? I know the way to my heart is through Poppy. Lately, she’s been really into Big Daddy Dog Biscuits made by East ATLien Lauren Janis. They’re all natural, organic, and come in different varieties including grain-free. We also love the raw hides sold at Whole Dog Market because they use bones from White Oak Pastures.