It's down to the holiday wire, and we can't blame you if December went by so fast that you are up against a wall in the gift buying department. We're here to help if you still need something fast and foolproof.
Who doesn't love coffee? Nobody you want to be friends with.
To that end, Old City Coffee, with two locations — one at 221 Church Street and the other at Reading Terminal Market — has an excellent selection of holiday gift ideas. The cafe's Espresso Lover's Gift Basket ($85) featuring a half pound of freshly roasted Six-Bean Espresso, a half-pound of Viennese Sumatra, a stainless steel stovetop espresso maker and dark chocolate covered espresso beans, with all the trimmings, will have your acquaintances caffeinated well into tax season. The Iced Coffee Lover's Gift Basket ($75) is a willow basket filled with a Kinto cold brew capsule, a half-pound each of freshly roasted Reading Blend and LA Blend, two 14-ounce Luminarc working glasses with lids and two silicone straws. If coffee is too strong for those on your list, Old City offers a Tea for Two Gift Box ($55) with an eighth-pound each Organic Nilgiri, English Breakfast and Sencha Green loose tea, two Moroccan tea glasses, 100 natural tea filters, a mesh tea infuser and a five-pack of clover honey spoons.
If you have environmentalists on your list, CleanChoice Energy has launched an initiative for mindful gift-givers to give the gift of forests. By sending $25 in a friend's name, you can help reforest the Mississippi River Valley by offsetting one ton of carbon pollution. It's the perfect meaningful gift option for those who are unsure of what to get for an environmentalist, the anti-clutter obsessive or the person who already has everything.
Let's not forget the little one on your list. Sure the easiest thing to do is pick up whatever gadget or toy is all the rage right now, but some kids require a more thoughtful gift.
Philadelphia retail space, Tildie's Toy Box, 1829 E. Passyunk Ave, specializes in carrying gender-neutral toys and books aimed at engaging children in play through imagination, creativity and exploration. The store's philosophy is that all children should be allowed and encouraged to play with all types of toys, challenging customers to leave their preconceived notions about "girl's toys" and "boy's toys" at the door. Let children choose what looks like fun to them.
If the youngster on your list is intellectually above the average popular Christmas gift or a genius in the making, SmartLab Toys has the gifts for you. Squishy Human Body takes kids on a fascinating tour of the human body as they remove 21 realistic, vital organs, bones and muscles using the included forceps and tweezers; then, kids can rebuild the model from the toes to skullcap. For the more mechanically inclined Tiny Robot’s World's Smallest Robot Lab is a robotics kit that lets kids design and build miniature working machines from an assortment of real mechanical parts. All the while, kids are educated on and entertained by the fundamentals of mechanical engineering, gear ratios and tiny machines. If your little scientist has a glam-spa streak, the Spa Lab: Bath Bombs is right up their alley. Tweens can dig into this DIY science kit that lets them create fizzing bath bombs with foaming colors and special effects.
For the more grown-up tastes (teens to adults), run your Santa sleigh through South Street Art Mart, 530 S. Fourth St. The queer-owned retail space has walls and shelves loaded with cool and colorful products and fashions ranging from punk and edgy to nerdy and nostalgic. The store also carries prints and wares created by talented local LGBTQ artists. If your gift-giving needs a little bit of creativity and attitude, this is the place to go. You might end up inspired to redecorate your living space while you're there.
Long-running independent gay-owned and operated bookstores like Philly's Giovanni's Room (345 S. 12th St.) and Mt. Airy's Big Blue Marble Bookstore (551 Carpenter Lane) are always good for last-minute gift ideas for the friends and family of all ages. Giovanni's Room has the bonus of being connected to Philly AIDS Thrift, so clothing, music, art and many other items are available alongside a vast selection of books. Big Blue Marble offers a wide selection of reading material, including e-books and audiobooks, and has dedicated LGBTQ and kids sections, making finding gifts for the entire queer family easy.
Happy hunting and be safe out there. Happy Holidays!