It’s that time again: time to either excitedly purchase gifts for your loved ones, or begrudgingly put off the holiday gift buying task until you’re frantically panning through your closet to regift the snowman soap dispenser your great aunt gave you two years ago. We’ve decided to make it easier on you by listing a few unique gifts that will seem like you planned this year’s holiday gift exchange as far back as Santa himself.
ArtWear Detroit offers unique gifts that are more than just clothing: they’re also art. Part of the Detroit Urban Design Studio, ArtWear takes local artists’ work and screen prints it on everything from hoodies to scarves to purses. Items currently for sale even include the art work of longtime BTL columnist Charles Alexander screen printed on bags, clothing and a metal cuff bracelet. The items range from $22.50 for an accessory bag to $82 for a women’s pullover hooded sweatshirt made of heavyweight super-soft polyester fibers; a $72, 65-inch silk chiffon scarf is also available featuring Alexander’s “Praises of the Moon” piece.
Items can be purchased at www.detroiturbandesignstudio.com; Detroit Urban Design Studio is located at 790 W. Lincoln St., Birmingham. Items are also available throughout the Metro Detroit area, with shops and galleries listed on their website.
Though tailored to men, another option for any male member of your “Festivus” list is a gift that seems like a gag, but is truly unique: Unzipped Citizen’s monthly subscription service for men’s underwear. As the company says, “It’s the perfect gift for the guy who doesn’t like to shop, but still needs the essentials.” The subscription starts at $24.95 per month and features top brands curated from all over the world. As part of a special Holiday 2015 promo, a 12-month subscription purchase will include one month free and a free stocking stuffer of designer socks. Visit http://www.unzippedcitizen.com/ to purchase the subscription or other male underwear items.
If your loved one prefers art to be seen and not worn, check out Pewabic Pottery. Pewabic in Detroit has long been a destination for unique art pieces, but you can be the one to bring that art into a loved one’s home. As part of its “Earthy Treasures” series, the 2015 holiday giftware from Pewabic features radiant winterberry red glaze, a new trio of snowflake ornament designs and more. The shop, one of three historic Arts & Crafts era potteries still in existence today, even offers a Detroit Tigers “old English D” ornament for the sports fan in your life; the ornament retails for $50. For the ever-burgeoning Michigan craft beer scene, a $60 handcrafted pint glass is also available. Items can be purchased online at www.pewabicstore.org, in store at 10125 E. Jefferson Ave., Detroit, or by calling 313-626-2000; some items are only available in store.
For art gifts with an even richer story, pick up some timeless art pieces by Urban Ashes. The Ann Arbor based shop creates unique picture frames and other home goods and furniture out of reclaimed wood, including frames hard-finished using a petroleum free finish. The business also employs Michigan’s transitional and disabled labor force. To find pieces near you, visit http://www.urbanashes.com.
‘Tis the reason for the season: cookies, candy and all things sweet. Wait, it’s not the reason? Gift givers will still find smiles and nary a “regift” when gifting edible presents.
Christmas cookies are traditional, but not everyone has the time to spend hours near an oven to provide them. Celebrated patissier Francois Payard’s newest books and at home macaron kits take the mystery out of at-home macaron making so anyone can enjoy them, regardless of their location. The kits, retailing at $22 for the “Makecaron” kit for novices and $49.50 for the more extensive “Macaron Kit,” offer gift-receivers the chance to make their own at home holiday concoctions. The latter kit in particular practically stocks a pastry chef’s kitchen with included 2″ piping bag, two 11mm plastic piping tips, food coloring gels, candy thermometer, pastry brush, dough scraper, macaron silpat and a USB drive with step-by-step instructions from “Mr. Macaron” himself. A cookbook, “Payard Cookies,” is also available for purchase. To order, visit http://www.payard.com.
The tried and true gift for every occasion, a gift box of chocolates is rarely unused (or unwelcome) during the holidays. However, LGBT gift-givers can go beyond wrapping a red ribbon around a Hershey bar; even the “finer” chocolates like Ghirardelli and local Sanders can be surpassed for a more special gift.
Valrhona is offering such specialness with their limited edition chocolates for the holidays. The bean-to-bar company (which plants, harvests and processes all of its chocolates) has collaborated with designer Christian Lacroix in their 2015 Holiday Chocolates. Wrapped in LaCroix’s signature lace pattern, these collections come in dark and milk chocolate. The Red Dark collection includes flavors like Earl Grey Tea, Arabica coffee from Ethiopia and Espelette. The pink collection contains a mixture of milk and dark chocolates and includes cappuccino, salted caramel and Grand Cru chocolates. It retails at $32 a box.
Additionally, Valrhona jumps on the subscription trend by offering a “La Selection” monthly subscription chocolate service (ranging from $142 for three months to $248 for six months). The chocolate enthusiast on your shopping list receives monthly installments of Valrhona’s best products like their caramelized milk chocolate, Caramelia (a Dominique Ansel favorite) and candied orange peels covered in dark Guanaja chocolate.
Visit http://www.valrhona-chocolate.com to purchase the gifts.
To keep the local angle for candy, AG Chocolates by cek in Jackson offers unique chocolates, including candy with screen printed images. A long time vendor at BTL’s Same-Sex Wedding & Anniversary Expo, AG Chocolates offers a variety of reasonably priced and delicious chocolates. For $19.99, a 15 count of handmade truffles make a great all-purpose gift from spouse to boss. The count goes up to 28 truffles for $34.99 and 48 for $54.99. For $2.99, chocolate suckers (which can include custom images and messages), make great stocking stuffers.
AG Chocolates by cek is located at 1920 W. North St., Jackson. They can be contacted at 517-917-3385 or [email protected].
They’re not just for Valentine’s Day anymore. Celebrate the holidays and the impending new year with a gift to keep you and your partner warmed up as the temperature continues to dip. Fun Factory offers high quality adult toys to serve as that stocking “stuffer,” or that secret gift once the in-laws go home. Called the “BMW of adult toys” due to its combination of German engineering with joyful experimentation, the gifts are pleasure products that are both superior and unique in design. Two in particular, “Smartballs” and “B Balls,” retail for $24.99-29.99 and $39.99 respectively. Each toy can be used by any gender-identifying individual in specific orifices, all designed to stimulate in a way that leaves your gift-receiver thanking you year round. Fun Factory products can be purchased at https://us.funfactory.com/en.
For an even more unique holiday gift… why not make your entire holiday party “romantic”? You can schedule a Pure Romance party by contacting Joanne Pierce at [email protected] and make New Year’s Even particularly festive for you and your loved one(s).