Put a bow on that jawn

From Thanksgiving to Christmas Eve, the outside of Philadelphia City Hall is transformed into holiday central. The scene features a traditional German Christmas Village where more than 90 merchants sell holiday decor and gifts, toys, clothing, jewelry, artwork and crafts, day and night. Shoppers can nibble on seasonal treats and sweets while enjoying live entertainment and programs.

It’s the holidays again in Philadelphia. 

You know what time it is. It’s time for long lines at stores, rude people and a whole lot of tourists slowing down your usual commute. Turkey Day kicks off the start of the season, which for the next month and a half – at least – it’ll be Christmas songs on B-101.1-FM, Salvation Army peeps ringing the bells outside Target and Acme and whatever else you plan to spend tons of money on food that will ensure your re-New Year’s Resolution to lose a few pounds. 

If you live in the Whoville part of the city, you love all of this. If you don’t then…

When it comes to gift-giving though, it doesn’t need to be one-size-fits-all. In fact, Philly, and the small businesses that help drive it to ensure that if you’re going big box with your holiday shopping, you’re just being lazy. This year, our annual Gift Guide encompasses seven different personalities and the stores that cater to them. So you have no reason to say you couldn’t find the right thing, because consider this your push to get out and get something great. 

Gifts for the Spirited Drinker

Brew it yourself

If you’re looking to get into the beer-making business or just want to put a sweet little setup in your garage or basement, then you need to know what to do. One of the great things about Philly Home Brew is its selection of great books to get anyone started, and once you get started it’s also the marketplace to buy all the shit you need to jump off. This book from author John J. Palmer can get your special someone educated and Philly Home Brew can do the rest. | $24.99. phillyhomebrew.com

Make THE perfect cocktail everytime

Send your loved one back home with all the tools to make the perfect cocktail with this collection of DIY cocktail kits from Art in the Age in Old City. There are seven cocktails to choose from, like a good Moscow Mule or Bloody Mary, but we’re partial to the Hot Toddy given the season. Just know that if you too are a lover of a great craft cocktail, then you might find yourself spending way more at Art in the Age then you thought. Yeah, it’s that legit. | $24 shop.artintheage.com

Tough as nails

Philadelphia Distilling teamed up with Yards Brewery to make a malt whiskey. Yes, our jaws dropped too. These two titans of the Philly alcohol scene teamed up to drop this delectable jawn just in time for the holidays. It’ll have notes of flavorful malt distilled inside Philadelphia Distilling’s Fishtown HQ. It’s on a waitlist with just two allowed per customer, but this one looks worth the wait to drop that surprise on someone. | $45. bluecoatgin.store/products/tough-broad-malt-whiskey 

They can handle it

The mad scientists at Evil Genius keep coming up with the craziest in beers, they also create great tap handles to commemorate the process. Have someone with a great home tap setup? Get em one of these and a four-pack of something weirdly delicious from Evil G. and you’ll most definitely be the most authentic Philly gifter in the room. Unless of course, someone gifts Eagles season tickets. Then, yeah, you’re the second most authentic. | $30. evilgeniusbeer.myshopify.com

Gifts for New Parents

Make a Splash this season

Few things are more Philly than one of these from the Poppy store in the summertime. We’re talking Arctic Splash, not the onesie, but we love that there is a small Philly baby boutique paying homage to something so Philly. It’s soft for the little one and the parents will love it because in some small way they too can represent the block. Sizes for this one only remain in 12-18 months, so you’ll be shopping for the future if you’re buying for a newborn, which is smart thinking on your part. | $24. minnowlane.com/

Gritty gifts are great

OK, you didn’t think we’d go through this list without showcasing something featuring Philadelphia’s alter ego, did you? If you know a kid that’s getting into sports, loves Gritty or the color orange, consider this 100 percent cotton tee from the folks at Philadelphia Independents in Old City. In fact, peruse that store because it’s freaking awesome and caters to both old and new Philadelphia. | $24. Philadelphiaindependents.com

Gifts to ensure they never forget

Sure the Super Bowl win was two seasons ago, yes the Eagles are struggling. That special baby in your life knows neither of the following. What they will be is the coolest baby on the block caught sporting this awesome onesie commemorating that moment that led to the collapse of the Ritz Carlton’s awning, masses of people being tased and Jason Kelce screaming FUCK YOU from the steps of the Art Museum to 100,000 people. | $20. philadelphiaindependents.com

Baby buddhas

This Philly-based online shop is freaking awesome. Baby booty shorts? Harem pants? Finally, something parents can flock too that isn’t that Target brand Cat & Jack bullshit. Consider the Notorious BIG pants but make sure you buy a size up because, while awesome, Baby Buddha sizes tend to run a wee bit snug. | $30. buddhababe.us

Gifts for Old Philly

Bridging the gap

The Ben Franklin Bridge is one of the most iconic structures in the city and we’re sure a marvel for those architectural types, peeps into photography or just lovers of old Philly stuff in general. This screenprint featuring the 1920s-era construction of the Ben Franklin Bridge shows where it would start, end and the fact that it was originally called the Delaware River Bridge before the name change. | $34. jinxedphiladelphia.com/collections

Conversation starter

If you know a longtime Phillies fan, you know they regale the Series wins in 2008 and 1980. But you can have a laugh with these World Series pennants from 1983, the series in which the Phils were beaten in five games by the Baltimore Orioles. These pennants signify the Phils National League pennant, but at first glance kinda look like the Phillies actually won the championship. It’s like all those T-shirts that get donated to kids in third world countries of the losing teams, with this your special someone can feel like a winner. | $24. jinxedphiladelphia.com/collections

Get their popcorn ready

Normally we’d say be better than a gift card, but a gift card to go see an indie at any of the Ritz theaters in Philadelphia is a good ass gift. The Ritz is as iconic as any building in this city and if you’ve ever been to one before then just sitting in the seats tell the full story. You know how gift cards work, so you pick the increment and slide this in the stocking or envelope of someone special this season. | You pick the price. landmarktheatres.com/ 

Gifts on the 1s and 2s

Old Philly, new Philly doesn’t matter. Repo Records on South Street is a staple. It’s one of the most recognizable record stores in the city and it hasn’t changed its tune in decades. If you have someone special who loves to spin 45s, or still revels in playing CDs, snagging a few tracks from this store is sure to make you the needle to their record. Also, this shop has a pretty sweet T-shirt collection to choose from. | Prices vary. reporecords.com/shop 

Gifts for New Philly

Pack it up

Philadelphia’s treats are aplenty, but someone not familiar with the City of Brotherly Love probably doesn’t know that. Give them an assortment Philly goodies courtesy of the Pennsylvania General Store inside Reading Terminal Market. Tastykakes and Goldenberg’s Peanut Chews are just a mere sampling of what to expect in these gift baskets that open Philly’s horizon way beyond this newcomer’s front stoop. | $79.38. mercato.com/shop/pennsylvania-general-store  

Introduced to the region by German (ÒPennsylvania DutchÓ) settlers in the 18th century, pretzelsÑdough twisted into three loops, then baked, salted and served hardÑquickly became a favorite local snack. Now, of course, thereÕs the famous Philly soft pretzel, purchased from street vendors or from bakery storefronts such as the Philly Soft Pretzel Factory. No matter what form the pretzel takesÑbraided, sticks, nuggets and bagelsÑitÕs often accompanied by mustard.

Eating Philadelphia

Get a gift both you and your special someone can benefit from, a food tour of Philadelphia. Philly Food Tours allows you to pick a neighborhood and hit up a number of spots as you learn about your surroundings and the history of the establishments there. You’ll probably need to bring the Pepto, but trust us, it’ll be worth it. | Starting at $29. phillyfoodtours.com/tour-calendar/ 

Snuggle Philly

While we’re willing to venture that no old school Philadelphian frequents the Independence Visitors Center, it’s a sin because its gift shop is actually on point. Of all the things in there, we’re kinda partial to this Philly pillow as we’re thinking New Philadelphian, probably new construction home, so use this Philly pillow on your new couch from Raymour and Flanigan. | $49.99. giftshop.phlvisitorcenter.com 

Memory box

Exploring Philadelphia is fun and the memories from those explorations are one someone is going to want to savor. With this travel book, those moments can be accurately captured in addition to future travel plans, favorite meals and more. It includes travel tips around Philly and tearsheet postcards. Get this and expect a thank you letter because with this, there’s no excuse. | $9.99. headhousebooks.com/book/9781516264520 

Gifts for Philly animal lovers

Give em a bone

The holidays will be a festive time for the pooch in your life as well courtesy of this big ass bone from BoneJour pet supply in Old City. Actually, we’re not sure if it’s a big ass bone, but it better be for what they’re asking for it. However, the Benebone Bacon Flavored Chew Toy looks legit. If you have the dough to spend on Fido, we say if he’s been good to you then be good to his ass back. | $72.99, shop.bonejourpetsupply.com 

Cat lovers unite

You know what would be nice for the cat lover in your life? How about treating them to a day of coffee and conversation – with cats. Kawaii Kitty Cafe in South Philly makes great milkshakes is a great hangout and perfect for those who want to spend all day playing with their own pussycat. Or a ton of others if that tickles your fancy. Have a number of cat friends? Cat-nip their gift in the bud and make this a group outing. | Prices vary. kawaiikittycafe.com/reservations 

Give the gift of goats

If you know a yogi who allow loves animals and they haven’t tried Philly Goat Yoga, then you my friend, just provided them with the best gift ever. Baby goats definitely allow you to open up heart center and find some comedic relief during all those downward dogs. Again, we’re not big fans of the gift card, but you can put one in this great looking tote for them to sport as they head to that first class. | $30. phillygoatproject.org/product-page/goat-toat 

Picture them and their pet

We all have that person who LOVES their animal. Why not allow them to look beyond all those pictures in their phone and get one taken by a professional photographer? Pet Imagery, by Lauren Kaplan Photography allows your special someone to share their love for their favorite animal and cherish it forever. Sound cheesy? It is, but it’s not your gift, it’s theirs. | Prices vary. petimagery.com/pet-imagery-services/  

Gifts for Sports fans

One Philly AF T-shirt

The design of this one says it all. Cop this and your significant other will be a PIMP at both Phillies and Flyers games. Also, they can wear knowing that both the design (artist Keni Thomas) and the printing (South Philly’s Aceface) are 100 percent authentic Philadelphia. Plus we don’t know anyone who isn’t obsessed with super soft cotton T’s so this one is a win-win. | $32. shibevintagesports.com/collections/shibe-vintage-sports 

Grab this just for kicks

If you have a soccer fan either from Philadelphia or who loves Philadelphia, they probably know about the Brewerytown-based soccer shop Live, Breathe Futbol. Just in time for the holidays, LBF dropped its Fall 2019 collection and it’s pretty fire. We especially like this homage to heavy metal, which we never thought soccer was able to do until we found out about LBF. This and more up on their site now. | $35. livebreathefutbol.com

Warm and laced

Ladies love the Sixers and what’s not to love this year? For the first time – in a long time – it looks like we might be going after it all. Make sure she’s looking legit at the game with this gem from Mitchell & Ness. It’s a Hardwood Classic design, so it’ll set her apart from all the other ladies wearing the basics, she’ll be warm and you’ll be her favorite. She might even invite you to a game or two. OK, one game those tickets aren’t cheap, shit. | $90. mitchellandness.com/women 

Just coastin’

These might be the greatest things we found. Coasters commemorating great plays in Eagles history? Not only will you nail the gift for your special someone, you’ll probably want to buy these jawns for yourself. Hand-etched on slate, these are sure to be conversation starters and your person’s party. Assuming they’ll ever actually want to use these. | $32. etsy.com/listing/256654548/greatest-eagles-plays

Gifts for those who hate gifts

Consider making a donation for those who don’t need anything to give to those who do. Of course, there are the obvious ones like Philabundance (food) and Broad Street Ministry (shelter, food), but consider donating to the emergency fund at the Philadelphia Corporation for the Aging, which aids in assisting Philadelphia’s senior population to keep the lights on and houses warm. There’s Juntos, which aids immigration activism, there’s Roots 2 Rise, which brings yoga into underserved neighborhoods. We could use this entire issue to tell you about all the great charities in Philadelphia, but hope that with these few to consider we’ve inspired you to act. 


  • Kerith Gabriel's Headshot

    Kerith Gabriel is the former editor-in-chief at Philadelphia Weekly but somehow hasn’t figured out that means he doesn’t have to write nearly as much. As a routine contributor, journalism has been in his blood since his beginnings as a sports writer over a decade ago for the Philadelphia Daily News.

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