So let us guess… you spent a little too much on Black Friday and Cyber Monday (hopefully Small Business Saturday too!) but now you’re realizing that not quite everyone is checked off your list, and with the clock winding down, you don’t want to risk some Amazon store pulling the wool over your eyes with a slew of not-so-truthful product reviews. Well, you’re IN luck. We pride ourselves on shopping local, and specifically, from local artists this time of year. Here are 15 easy ways to get your loved ones gifts they’ll cherish for a lifetime (and you’ll feel darn good about too):
1. Gift the experience of the ARTS!
Purchase tickets or a gift certificate to one of our fine performing or fine arts organizations like The Grand, Delaware Shakespeare, First State Ballet Theatre, Delaware Theatre Company, Mélomanie… No matter what your friends are INto there’s a matching organization that would be grateful for your INvestment in their future! Not sure what that special someone might like? Email us at info@inWilmDE.com, we’re happy to help… Seriously.
2. Sip and Shop at the Annual Holiday Craft Show & Taste of the Holidays
INsiders have long known that the Delaware Contemporary is the spot to knock out lots of their holiday shopping early in the season, while also supporting artists and makers. Mediums range from jewelry to wood to paper. Some years back, Taste of the Holidays joined the already-successful first Friday event, offering $1 samples of adult beverages—perfect for helping you decide what to serve with your celebratory meal. Live music and food trucks make December 6 a one-stop night!
3. You’ll find something in the right size at Spaceboy Clothing
Would you believe the folks at Spaceboy already launched their DelaBear shirt in honor of the furry visitor we had in Trolley and Alapocas on December 4-5? This store is a go-to for Delaware-themed shirts, ever since Hollywood actor Ryan Phillippe wore a First State Spaceboy shirt on Saturday Night Live in April 2010. Find unique vintage pieces, jazzy sunglasses and even furniture at this Market Street gem. (And music and comedy some nights!)
4. Grab a gift card from a locally-owned restaurant.
Everyone likes to eat, right? Now the tough part… Choosing between the seemingly endless number of high-quality, locally-owned-and-operated eateries here IN Wilmington may be the hardest part. Nearly all gastropubs and fine dining restaurants offer buy-one-get-one deals this time of year (or some sort of extra buck bonus!). It’s especially helpful to have this idea in your back pocket for that last-minute gift you don’t have time to wrap—most city restaurants are open, at least for lunch, on Christmas Eve, and parking will still be free in the afternoon.
5. Feel all the feels at the INtheSpirit Holiday Party.
Nothing feels as good as generosity. This partnership between IN Wilmington and The Mill offers hors d’oeuvres, drinks, live music and The Mill Market – a pop-up shopping opportunity with local artists – with just a $10 admission that supports families in need. Donate a toy or clothing worth $10 and the December 20th admission is waived.
6. Fix a gift giving problem at the Wilmington Maker Holiday Market Happy Hour.
There has never been a better time to shop small, since handmade crafts, furniture and other products are plentiful. That’s not to say your options are a corncob pipe or a pinecone snowman – NextFab fosters technological and artistic innovation and entrepreneurship for a problem-solving community. Check out their members’ wares at this December 11 happy hour and open house for maker spaces. RSVPs requires.
7. Grab a growler, crowler or gift certificate from a local brewery.
Craft beer fan on your list? Stitch House, Wilmington Brew Works, Dew Point Brewing Company, Liquid Alchemy (okay, mead and cider BUT STILL)… The list of local brewers seems to be expanding daily and that means even more ways to break the beer-gifting mold and have a hoptastic holiday.
8. Market Made: 12 Days of Christmas
The focus is on Market Street – after all, the street name originated from it serving as the community’s market – from December 12 to 23. From half off Chelsea’s Delaware Destroyer Burger to Delaware History Museum’s BOGO Admission to UDairy’s Christmas cookie flight (plus four new ice cream flavors debuting on the 12th), you’ll enjoy discounts, special creations and special access to opportunities at eighteen Market Street (and nearby) businesses.
9. Make your own mug to gift at Pottery for Paws.
…while benefitting animals IN need with Mimosas and Mugs!
Pick a mug. Create a masterpiece with your paintbrush and sip a mimosa while your glazed-up creation gets fired. Paint it in a loved one’s favorite colors (or plan to keep it for yourself!) Makes a great group activity for gal pals, cousins, out of town guests – every Saturday until Christmas. 5% of total sales will be donated to guests’ favorite animal shelter: each piece gets a vote and the shelter with the most votes gets the donation!
10. Shop with the kids at Delaware Art Museum’s annual Winter Arts Festival.
The city’s premier art museum, unsurprisingly, curates the very best artists and artisans for their December 13-14 free festival. From fiber and paper arts to handmade jewelry to turned wood to watercolor, and even chocolates and honeys, you’ll want one of everything. Plus, enjoy school and community choir music, art projects for kids and a great café and cash bar for refreshments.
11. Pick up a gift certificate from a locally-owned spa or salon.
Little pamperIN’, anyone? This is a great way to remind your busy boo they deserve to treat themselves, too. Good news is, national chains in this industry are few and far between IN Wilmington, so you can easily grab a gift card for that special someone on your list on your next outing. Here are few we find to be quite INcredible: Pagave Salon, Cielo Salon & Spa, Fabrizio Salon & Urban Retreat Spa, and even Polished Salon (nails only) for when you have a spending cap.
12. Third Fridays, get odd with your people at Oddball Art Hall.
Escape the retail madness with this free night out. (Well, there will be vendors…but at least it’s not the mall.) Enjoy local artists, live art, and a DJ, and if you BYO art supplies, you can draw or paint from a live model. And bevvys: by December 20 you’re going to want a cocktail. Stay from 8pm to close or pop IN any time.
13. Enjoy a small-town experience just north of the city with Bellefonte Arts’ Holiday Marketplace.
Bellefonte is one of only a few arts enclaves in northern Delaware, and they always deliver excellent arts festivals and markets—in summer and winter. Bellefonte Arts is like a year-round version of their festivals, with a gift shop full of artisan, artist and maker work. Shop til you drop during this three day marketplace from December 6 through 8, and finish out Sunday with a LolahSoul Jewelry making class. Open late Friday for Art Loop, you can shop until 5pm on the weekends. (Open 10am Friday and 11:30am Sunday.)
14. A Love Story with Eunice LaFate Gallery.
Jamaican-born folk artist Eunice LaFate became a Wilmingtonian 36 years ago. She celebrates this history with “Coming to Wilmington…A Love Story” on December 14 through a reception with city officials, neighbors and friends. Complementing the reception, LaFate is offering an art sale, 11am to 4pm, all week long. Surely you know someone who loves the islands…this shopportunity to grab original art and limited edition prints will make them happy. RSVP required for Saturday event; includes Jamaican food.
15. Make the artsy person in your life happy with a gift from a museum gift shop.
Slip away from work at lunch and visit the gift shops at the Delaware Contemporary, Delaware History Museum or the Delaware Art Museum for unique items you won’t find at the mall. Delaware-themed goodies, reproductions from local collections or handmade jewelry, paper goods and accessories by local artists are a hit with homesick loved ones. These museums waive the admission if you say you’re headed to the gift shop.