Each year, the holiday season brings festive cheer, tacky lights, an excuse to eat literally all the Christmas cookies, and the inevitable stress of finding thoughtful, creative gifts for friends and family. If the thought of heading to an overcrowded mall or generic big box store is enough to make you swear off gift giving altogether, take heart. Richmond is full to the brim with creative locally-made gift options. From feisty growlers to surrealist mugs, there’s something out there for every lady on your list.
So, this holiday season, take advantage of the inspiration and talent of your fellow Richmonders and buy local. Not only will you support the small businesses that make up the foundation of our community, your gifts will be every bit as unique and special as the wonderful women in your life.
Of course, this guide represents only a small sample of the amazing local retailers in Richmond. To find more local artisans and businesses, visit rvamakerfest.com, richmondcraftmafia.com, or retailmerchants.com.
RVA Holiday Gift Guide for Her
1. We Can Do It Growler, $60, Shine Vessels (shinevessels.com)
This insulated 64-oz growler is the perfect gift for anyone who divides her time between upending the patriarchy and sampling flights at local breweries.
2. Fig & Sage Candle, $22, Square Trade Goods, squaretradegoodsco.com
These all-natural soy candles not only smell amazing, with delightful scents like rosemary mint and fig and sage, but they are also hand poured right here in Richmond. And with a 55-hour burn time, they’ll last well past the holiday season.
3. Luna Crossbody Purse, $132, Awl Snap, awlsnap.com
It’s hard to get more iconic than a leather crossbody purse. This delicate option, handmade at the Awl Snap studio in Richmond, goes with everything and will be an instant staple in any woman’s wardrobe.
4. Reclaimed Walnut Serving Board, $50, Drocy Woodworks, drocywoodworks.com
This gorgeous serving board, made from reclaimed walnut, would make the perfect gift for anyone who loves to entertain, or simply likes to eat a lot of fancy cheese.
5. Grapefruit, Rose and Bergamot: Room and Linen Spray, $18, Maven Made, mavenmaderva.com
If you know someone who swears by natural remedies, she’ll adore this brightly scented room and linen spray, which not only boasts antimicrobial properties but also increased happiness and positivity with every spray.
6. Milk & Honey Moisturizer-Mayan Coffee, $14, Apothec, 412 Libbie Ave., 441-1508, shopapothec.com
This lush hand and body lotion, locally crafted with coconut milk and honey, is an affordable and thoughtful twist on a classic holiday gift. Find it online, or at the brand’s namesake Libbie Avenue location.
7. Richmond Church Hill Restaurants Print, Lightbox Print Co., $30, lightboxprintco.com
Even the most adored restaurants come and go. This print, with hand-drawn illustrations of nine Church Hill institutions, is a great snapshot of Richmond’s current foodie renaissance, and a great gift for anyone who lives for the RVA food scene.
8. Quirk Hotel Paint by Number Kit, $29, Wehgo, wehgo.com
If you know someone with artistic aspirations but limited confidence, these delightful paint by number kits will allow her to unleash her inner artist. There are travel, animal, and still life themed kits, but this Quirk one would make a fabulous gift for any Richmonder who has paid a visit (or two) to the trendy hotel’s rooftop bar.
9. Beaded Fringe Necklace, $18, Tailor, shoptailor.com
Jewelry can be an overdone and uninspired holiday gift. But this sweet beaded necklace, from Richmond based Tailor boutique, will stand out for its perfect mix of style and originality.
10. Happy Clay Frida Mug, $38, Happy Clay, happyclay.patternbyetsy.com
If you’re looking to gift a mug this season, skip the mass-produced options, and opt instead for one of these exuberant, hand crafted pieces from Richmond-based, New Orleans-influenced Happy Clay. The Frida mug, in particular, will make even a cup of morning coffee a little more soulful.
RVA Holiday Gift Guide for Him
1. Denim Dopp Kit, $39, Shockoe Atelier, 13A S. 15th St., 269-0851, shockoeatelier.com
This Richmond-based company specializes in handmade, luxury denim. However, if your gift budget is a little tight this year, consider this affordable, travel-friendly dopp kit, made with leftover denim from the downtown workshop.
2. Railroad Spike Coat Rack, from $140, Phoenix Handcraft, 1607 Altamont Ave. (by appointment only), 888-9778, phoenixhandcraft.com
Any transportation buff or rail romantic will fall in love with this reclaimed railroad spike coat rack. Hand forged in Richmond, these modern, sculptural pieces are as gorgeous as they are functional.
3. Virginia Tobacco Blossom Shave Cream, $14.99, Gingerly Skin Care, gingerlyskincare.com
This Henrico-based skin care line makes the perfect stocking stuffer or Secret Santa gift. Not only do their products, like this Virginia Tobacco Blossom shave cream, smell incredible, they’re made with humane, all-natural ingredients to make him feel as good as he looks.
4. Jalapeno Chow Chow, $9.95, Wild Earth Fermentation, wildearthfermentation.com
Spice fiends and Southern traditionalists alike will go nuts over this funky, spicy spin on traditional chow chow. Made with a mix of vegetables and a lot of passion for fermentation, this tasty topping can also be found at the South of the James Farmer’s Market.
5. Excursion Coffee Kit, $45, Blanchards, 1903A Westwood Ave., 687-9443, blanchardscoffee.com
Some people like coffee. Some people live for it. This travel set, complete with a portable AeroPress coffee maker and two 12oz bags of Blanchards beans, is the ideal gift for the latter. Give the gift of caffeination and you’ll have a friend for life.
6. Diagonals Cutting Board, from $125, The Timbered Wolf, thetimberedwolf.com
This hand-crafted cutting board, made locally from padauk, figured walnut, ash, and white oak, is the kind of gift that any home chef will treasure. With multiple sizes available as well as custom orders, there’s a board out there for every budget and style.
7. Crunch Dynasty Topping, $9.99, Crunch Dynasty, crunchdynasty.com
If you have a friend or family member who puts hot sauce on everything, he will go nuts over this spicy, crunchy topping. With bountiful heat and exotic Asian flavors, this is the kind of stocking stuffer that becomes a lifelong obsession.
8. Virginia Field Guide Print, $35, The Wild Wander, thewildwander.com
Local shop, The Wild Wander, sells gorgeous, intricate prints, paper goods, and gifts designed by Richmond-based illustrator, Clare Cline. Any nature lover or proud Virginian will love this delicate field guide print depicting flora and fauna native to our great state.
9. The Put It In Your Pipe and Smoke It Mandle, $12, Burn Down for What Candles, burndownforwhatcandles.com
There are candles, and then there are mandles, like this sweet and spicy Put It In Your Pipe and Smoke It option by Richmond based Burn Down for What Candles. Gift one to any man in your life with a healthy sense of humor and a love for smoky, manly scents.
10. Horn Glass, $12, Vasen Brewing Company, 3331 Moore Street, 588-5678, vasenbrewing.com
There are regular beer glasses and then there are Viking inspired horn beer glasses, like this one from Vasen Brewing Company. Clearly, the second is the better option for any guy who dreams of fjords. Pair it with a hearty ale and an enthusiastic chorus of “skål.”