The arrival of 2020’s holiday season comes after a whirlwind year of COVID-19, protests against police violence and an anything-but-ordinary election cycle. Local businesses in Athens are still recovering from losses in the spring and summer while facing more uncertainty in the new year.
The holidays might look a little different this year, but if you’re planning to celebrate by getting gifts for friends, family, roommates, a significant other or even a pet, The Red & Black has created a gift guide that supports local businesses and nonprofits.
For almost anyone on your list: Bear Hug Honey’s gift sets, starting at $10
Bear Hug Honey, a specialty honey and bee-themed shop downtown, sells honey products, skincare products, pottery and apparel. The store offers a variety of gift sets that could be fitting for anyone on your list. The “Athens Georgia Gift Box,” which includes a 16 oz. jar of honey, a watercolor print of the Georgia Theatre, an Athens coffee mug and peach lip balm all for $49.95. The Big Dawg Gift Box is $39.95 and includes a 16 oz. jar of honey, a Bear Hug Honey coffee mug and an Uga tea towel. Both sets would be perfect gifts for recent graduates or anyone who loves the Classic City.
For the ultimate Georgia fan: merchandise from The Red Zone, price varies
What better way to surprise the University of Georgia football fan in your life than with a UGA-themed Christmas sweater or beanie to keep them warm this winter? The Red Zone, a UGA merchandise store in downtown Athens, offers a variety of UGA products. Even if you’re shopping far from Athens, the shop has an online store with dozens of listings to help you find the perfect gift.
For the R.E.M. fan: the READ jigsaw puzzle from The Very Good Puzzle Company, $30
Fans of the Athens rock band R.E.M. might be familiar with the band’s 1990 READ poster, which pictures the four bandmates with their favorite books. Athens-based puzzle makers, The Very Good Puzzle Company, turned the iconic design into a 1,000 piece puzzle, a cozy indoor activity for cold winter days. The proceeds from the puzzle will be donated to the American Library Association and Books for Keeps, an Athens nonprofit that works to give children more reading opportunities outside of the classroom.
For the stay-at-home chef: The Athens’ Quarantined Musicians cookbook from Nuçi’s Space, suggested $10 donation
During the COVID-19 lockdown in the spring, many Athens musicians went from playing regular live shows to hunkering down at home. Eddie Glikin, an Athens-based musician and Lisa Anger, his fiancée, noticed their musician friends had taken up a new hobby— cooking. Anger had the idea to compile the recipes into a cookbook and turn it into a fundraiser for Nuçi’s Space, which was a “no-brainer,” she wrote on the cookbook’s listing. For the suggested donation of $10 to Nuçi’s Space, you’ll receive a PDF of the cookbook,which could be printed and bound to make an even more personalized gift.
For the caffeine addict: Jittery Joe’s coffee beans and grounds, starting at $13.99
A tin of Jittery Joe’s coffee grounds or even a case of K-Cup pods would make a great gift for the friend who can’t go a morning without a cup of coffee. If you’re looking to spend a bit more money on your favorite coffee-loving friend, Jittery Joe’s also offers a three-month gift subscription for $87, where the recipient will receive two 12 oz. containers of coffee grounds.
For the foodie: A membership at Daily Groceries Co-op, $20
Looking for the perfect gift for someone who’s always running to the store? A yearly membership at Daily Groceries Co-op costs $20. In addition to 5% off all local grocery items and 10% off wellness products on Wednesdays, members can attend board meetings and vote for the co-op’s board. Supporting the grocery store also gives back to the community.Daily Groceries supports a variety of charities and nonprofits like the Food Bank of Northeast Georgia, the Athens Anti-Discrimination Movement and Athens Land Trust through their Daily Change, round-up at the register program. If you’re wanting to support Daily Groceries, but not ready to commit to a membership, the store also offers t-shirts, reusable bags, skincare products and other local goodies.
For the beer connoisseur: Creature Comforts’ Table Beer supporting Giving Kitchen
Creature Comforts’ signature Table Beer is back just in time for the holidays. The beer is “meant to be enjoyed with friends around the dinner table,” said Creature Comforts in an Instagram post. By picking up some Table Beers for your holiday gathering or as a gift for a friend, you’ll be supporting the community as 100% of the profits from the drink’s sales go towards Giving Kitchen, which provides emergency financial support to food-service workers.
For the movie-lover: a private movie screening at Ciné
Sometimes experiences—a trip to a favorite restaurant or going to a concert or a movie— can make better gifts than material items. Ciné, Athens’ independent art-house theater, started hosting private screenings as a way to reopen during the coronavirus pandemic. The private screenings are $150 for two hours, but split among 10 people (the maximum number of people allowed per screening), it comes out to $15 per person. If you prefer to watch movies on the comfort of your couch, Ciné also offers a virtual cinema experience where viewers can rent the films while still supporting the theater.
For the old soul: Athens’ vintage clothing and vinyl shops
If there’s an old soul in your life who loves all things vintage, check out some of Athens’ vintage clothing or vinyl record businesses to find the ideal gift. Lo Yo Yo Stuff Records and Wuxtry Records have a fairly large selection of vinyl, and vintage shops like Dynamite Clothing and Agora Vintage have plenty of vintage clothing and jewelry. Shopping secondhand is a good way to give old objects a new home, and it’s also good for the environment.
For the bookworm: Avid Bookshop’s Snail Mail and subscription services, starting at $15
Avid Bookshop offers several ways for you to surprise far (or not so far) away friends and family with books in their mailbox. With the Snail Mail Surprise, you select the type of book you’d like mailed (hardback, paperback, new, used, etc.) and fill out a form describing the recipient. Avid Bookshop’s staff members will pick out the perfect book based on the given information and ship it. If one book isn’t enough, the store also offers a subscription service (three months, six months and one year) where recipients will receive a new, handpicked book every month.
For the art collector: products from local artists and musicians
If you’re wanting to shop local on an even smaller scale, consider buying gifts from local artists and musicians. You can use social media to connect with local artists, or even type in “Athens, Georgia” in the “Shop location” filter on Etsy to find sellers based nearby. You could also consider supporting musicians by buying hard copies of their albums or merchandise. This is a good way to support the Athens art community, while also getting some one-of-a-kind gifts for your loved ones.
For The Red & Black reader: A front page poster or T-shirt
The Red & Black online merchandise store offers front-page posters and apparel perfect for The Red & Black reader in your life. Support the independent student newspaper by getting some merchandise for anyone on your list.