Forget Black Friday. Cyber Monday sucks. In Orlando, there's no reason to give your cash to corporations if you don't want to; there are so many talented makers, holiday markets and new shops that you can keep all that money in the community – and if you take advantage of the suggestions on the next few pages, you can put those dollars right in the hand of the creator. What could be better?
ADORNJewelry is the classic holiday gift for the femmes in your life, and Orlando is absolutely packed full of talented jewelry makers. One of our very favorites is Shannon McRae, the artist behind the angular, minimal Lou Jewels line (myloujewels.com; a sampling of her work is shown above).
McRae's company is named after a rambunctious kitten named Louie, whose "curiosity caused me to take notice of things I'd normally overlook, like shadows and beams of sunlight." Any jewelry line named after a kitten is aces in our book, but it's McRae's minimalist aesthetic and unexpected geometric shapes that set her work apart from the rest.
For giftees with a different aesthetic, Gypset (gypsetco.etsy.com) or Rockhaus Metals (rockhausmetals.com) have a mineral-heavy, rich-hippie feel. Dear Prudence (dearprudencejewelry.com) offers sweet, girly, youthful pieces – as well as all the beads and findings you need to make your own. And if you've got real cash to drop, Orlando Vintage stocks the serious stuff, like vintage Bakelite bangles and chunky Navajo sterling-and-turquoise pieces (orlandovintage.com). Got a giftee with a mind of her own? Book her a class in jewelry design and fabrication at Crealdé School of Art (crealde.org).
- photo by Jessica Bryce Young
- Coffee tokens from Lineage, Easy Luck and Ace Cafe, with a cup by Koozeh Pottery
Don't take any wooden nickels – unless they're from Lineage Coffee Roasting, Easy Luck Coffee & Bodega, or any of the other coffee purveyors around town using the cup-token system. Easy Luck also stocks hard-to-find-in-Orlando coffee goods like Hario grinders, scales and kettles that we've had to resort to ordering online in the past (easyluckorlando.com). Lineage, of course, roasts and sells the best beans in town (lineageroasting.com), though the King State beans roasted in Tampa you can buy at Deeply Coffee (instagram.com/deeplycoffee) are also excellent.
- photo courtesy Hana Bui Ceramics
And since coffee's no good without a worthy vessel, a few suggestions for your best brews: Local brand Corkcicle makes a thermal tumbler that'll keep an iced cold brew chilly all day (corkcicle.com); cafe au lait drinkers will enjoy a bit of whimsy with a one-of-a-kind Cute & Clay face bowl (cuteandclay.etsy.com); and cups by Hana Bui (hanabuiceramics.etsy.com) and Koozeh Pottery (koozehpottery.etsy.com) are as minimal and pure as a carefully crafted pour-over.
One of the best ways to show love for yourself is to show love for your space, and hanging art is a great way to do that. Pictured above is the work of April Seelbach, which most Orlandoans only get to see "in the flesh" once a year at the Grandma Party Bazaar. She'll be there again this year, but you can also find prints and paintings on her site (april-seelbach.squarespace.com). Seelbach, a St. Pete native, says that "after driving across the country for the first time in 2014 I became addicted to life on the road"; she has since spent hundreds of hours exploring the byways in her seafoam Chevy Astro van and taking the photos that she uses as the basis of her handmade prints. And about that special desert daze that hangs over Seelbach's work? "The Southwest is just a truly unique place that has to be felt and seen to believe," she says. "After living in Florida my whole life, discovering those otherworldly landscapes was something special."
- photo courtesy Lake Fair Lane
For a giftee who takes pride of place more literally, turn to Shannon Staunton or Lake Fair Lane for custom drawings of special spaces. At shannonstaunton.com, find whimsical line drawings of places loved by every Orlandoan (like the Cameo Theater, Stardust or Will's Pub); at lakefairlane.com, postcards memorialize Rollins College, the downtown library and the College Park Publix. Best of all, both will make custom drawings of new homes, wedding venues or anywhere else near and dear to your heart.
For those new to town, there's no better gift than one of Hillery Powers' Orlando maps. The original Orlando neighborhood map is sold out (maybe someday it'll return?), but the Greater Orlando map is not just a good way to remember the directional difference between Winter Garden, Winter Park and Winter Springs, it's a pure beaut on the wall.
- photo courtesy Hillery Powers
The easiest choice by far for a gift that is a) locally made, b) Orlando-centric, and c) utterly delightful is a graphic tee by one of our city's wealth of talented T-shirt designers. Check out the modern-yet-nostalgic numbers from Orlando Shirts (orlandoteeshirt.com), whose fearless leader also graces this week's cover wearing another of her creations.
The perfect shroud for your favorite FloridaGoth™: Sleds' "Crypt Life" shirt (Sleds, aka Schiani Ledo, sells at ledodesign.com), or a typically philosophical take from the adorably moody Just Okay Things (justokay.co). And last but certainly not least, the hilarious Swan City (swancityorlando.com) demonstrates yet again their exquisite understanding of #OrlandoThings.
- photo courtesy Till Plant Co.
It's easy being green ... if you ask for a little help. Follow the helpful experts of Till Plant Co. on Facebook for daily plant-care tips as well as photos of their current stock and a schedule of their pop-ups, where you can purchase a perfect little specimen for your plant-loving friend. They'll also patiently answer questions and help diagnose any ailments your little green pals might experience: "We're always happy to help people find their green thumb, even if it's not a plant we sold them." Just message them on Facebook for consultation (facebook.com/tillplantcompany).
- photo by Jessica Bryce Young
- Hemleva enamel pins at the Heavy
Porch Therapy at East End Market (porchtherapy.com) and the Heavy (theheavywp.com) are the current It spots for fashionably leafy apparel – both for the plant and the proud plant parent (pots, vases and enamel pins aplenty). If your recipient is more of a spiky sort, the Florida Cactus nursery (2542 Peterson Road, Apopka, 407-886-1833) offers a gigantic selection of succulents at shockingly low-for-retail prices.
SERVICE, PLEASEFor some people, time is infinitely more valuable than stuff. You can't put time in a bottle, but for those people in your life, consider ponying up for a prepaid service from a local business, like City Maid Green (citymaidgreen.com), so you can give the gift of a sparkling-clean house full of the scent of natural essential oils. Other folks just naturally prefer experiences to things – maybe they're trying to streamline their living space or maybe they're just more evolved than the rest of us? – and for them, we recommend something that opens their eyes to a new adventure. Send them to Alchemy Hair Salon (above right, alchemyorlando.com), where they can get a fresh new cut or color or a whole brand-new lewk. Or schedule a tarot reading with Garrett Jurss of the Intrepid Hearts (instagram.com/theintrepidhearts).
Last: You can't fail with a gift card for a restaurant, but don't just grab one off the rack for a chain joint. Pictured above is Domu's hard card (domufl.com), but most local restaurants offer gift cards or certificates these days. Feeling spendy? Spring for a cute porcine-adorned Ravenous Pig card (theravenouspig.com). Less so? Pick up a "Cheesy Homies" enamel pin from Dixie Dharma (below; dixiedharma.com) and tack it to one of their gift cards. Instant stocking (and belly) stuffer!