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Adults can be difficult to shop for during the holiday season. However, a gift made by local Oregon artisans defies the cookie-cutter factor, and is also great for the community. It’s a win-win!
This incredible book illustrates the splendor of Portland — in quilts. You don’t need to be a quilt lover to learn all about the history of Portland and its geography, to meet its quirky residents and to enjoy the beautiful photos of our favorite places. It is a book for everyone who loves our city. ($28.95, http://www.piecesofportland.com and many local shops).
When we tried the Eastside Distilling Holiday Liqueurs, we all agreed: yum!!! Three flavors — Holiday Spiced Liqueur, Peppermint Bark Liqueur and Egg Nog “Advocaat” Liqueur — means there is something for every taste, and they certainly make the season bright. ($39.95, eastsidedistilling.com)
Fun for all ages, “ZooZoo” is something every Portlander should see. “ZooZoo” returns to Imago Theatre from December 11 through January 3, and brings with it, by popular demand, “Cats!”, in which Imago brings to life the antics of our everyday household cat in not-so-everyday ways. Don’t miss “Cats!” as they join the larger than life entourage of frogs, penguins playing musical chairs, acrobatic worms, insomniac hippos, polar bears, firefly bug eyes, hungry anteaters and a festival world that fills the stage with wonder, awe and humor. Kids go wild for “ZooZoo.” “Wow! Is all I can say about ‘ZooZoo’ … Every minute was engaging and hysterical … we were laughing out loud throughout the whole show,” says MommyPoppins.com. “ZooZoo” combines mime, dance, music and special effects for “a supremely theatrical spectacle ... the most purely gratifying moments of theatre I have ever seen!” says NYTheatre.com. This holiday season treat your family to the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of “ZooZoo”. Recommended for ages 3 to 103. (tickets available at Imago 503.231.9581 or online at ticketswest.com; imagotheatre.org)
Mimosa Studios welcomes painters of all skill levels to share in the fun of pottery painting. This is a place where both kids and adults discover the joy of making something all their own. And the results will amaze you! The studio boasts a cozy environment with lots of artwork and painted samples for inspiration. A very kid-friendly spot, Mimosa Studios is a great venue for children’s birthday parties, family outings and office parties. The staff is friendly, energetic and knowledgeable — happy to offer creative ideas and hands-on assistance. They specialize in putting children’s hand and foot prints on just about any ceramic piece. With hundreds of ceramic pieces and a huge selection of ornaments, painters will find the perfect gift for parents and grandparents at the right price. All you need is a little artistic inspiration, which is abundantly available at Mimosa Studios! (price varies, Mimoas Studios, 1718 N.E. Alberta Street, 503-288-0770, www.mimosastudios.com)
At the Stumptown Reclaimed workshop in the southeast industrial neighborhood, brothers John and Brennen Tamerlano create tables from local deconstructed wood that made the houses, barns and other structures that gave Portland its nickname, “Stumptown.” You can visit the Stumptown Reclaimed workshop to look at finished tables as well as tables that are in construction, and find a handmade and finished piece that is perfect for yourself or a loved one. ($300, www.stumptownreclaimedwood.com)
Order a custom quilt that serves both function and style. At Mama Jean’s Kind Threads, you can choose among a variety of Day of the Dead–themed quilts, complete with sugar skulls and colorful patterns handmade in Portland. (throw-sized quilt $200, www.etsy.com/shop/MamaJeansKindThreads)
Portland jewel Kiriko draws upon Japanese fabric-dyeing techniques, weaving and patterns to create truly authentic and beautiful pieces. Kiriko makes apparel, accessories and exquisite bags, using every single scrap of fabric and material to ensure that nothing is wasted. ($48, kirikomade.com)
Storiarts specializes in literary-themed scarves, t-shirts, pillow covers and more. Passages from classic works of literature like Sherlock Holmes stories, Jane Eyre, Alice in Wonderland, Dracula, and other titles are printed on handmade products, sure to delight any bookworm. These Oregon produced products are so popular, they are even sold in the Library of Congress!
Everything is better with some greenery, especially in the dark and dismal winter season. At jpants.com you can find plant kits that will add some life and color to your office desk or empty counter space at home. Choose between small plants like the Bonsai Tree Kit, or a 4-Leaf Clover Kit that will grant you or a loved one some luck! (from $29, www.jpants.com)
Portlanders take pride in their gardens, and a locally made, reclaimed wooden birdhouse makes an excellent addition. Constructed delicately by hand and made to order, these birdhouses are made of completely natural materials and feature a weatherproof finish —perfect for Oregon’s everlasting rainy season. ($55, www.etsy.com/shop/ChristopherOriginal)
A piece of artwork makes a unique and personal gift, and it’s even better when it’s local! Taylor Rose is an artist from Bend who makes beautiful multimedia art prints. Rose capitalizes on themes of nature and mysticism, and her prints range from quirky and silly to awe-inspiring. Prints capturing folksy forest scenes, cute characters and mythic landscapes are perfect for a nursery room or even a living room statement piece. All prints are made using pencil, pen and ink, watercolor and/or digital mediums. ($30, taylorrosemakesart.com)
Locally made jewelry is a thoughtful and unique gift. My Favorite Button sells beautiful handmade bracelets and necklaces, and specializes in rings. Each piece has an antique feel; rings are made from materials like glass, rhinestones and metal. Also available are vintage reproduction rings. ($25–$30, www.myfavoritebutton.com)
What beer lover wouldn’t want a set of handcrafted, etched tap handles? Bearded Boy Designs laser-etches handles made of materials such as walnut and oak, often from salvaged trees in Portland’s neighborhoods. Order a personalized design of your choosing. ($40, www.etsy.com/shop/BeardedBoyDesign)
Give anyone who loves to bake the gift of fun kitchenware! Adorable oven mitts come in fun characters like cats, foxes, pirates and even zombies and vampires. Collision Ware also has a wide selection of pot holders and traditional mitts. ($24, www.collisionware.com)
Herb’s Daughter shaving soap is naturally and locally made, and makes a great gift for a whiskery loved one. This shaving soap is long lasting and very moisturizing. Available for the holiday season is a kit, including an Italian brush. ($25, herbsdaughter.net)
While it may be tempting to turn to the toy aisles for the latest and hottest toy, instead give a child a sentimental, quality gift from local craftspeople this holiday season.
The Wood Toy Shop features pieces that are all handcrafted right here in Portland. With a selection of boats, race cars, trucks and even a catapult toy, there is something for any little one. Each reclaimed-wood toy is sanded by hand and finished with non-toxic mineral oil. ($24, woodtoyshop.com)
Written by Portlander Colin Meloy of the band The Decemberists, and illustrated by his wife Carson Ellis, “Wildwood: The Wildwood Chronicles” is a series of children’s books inspired by the magic of Portland’s urban forest. Three books in the series have been written thus far, all driven by humorous and whimsical stories. This series makes a great gift for your little imaginative loved one this holiday season. ($17.99 at bookstores, wildwoodchronicles.com)
Nursery mobiles made by Portland company Maraki and Co. are bold and bright, and come in several colors and patterns — but our favorite is the Viking ship motif. Each mobile is made by hand with cardstock and features a geometric circular design. Custom orders are available. ($49, merakiandco.wordpress.com)
The happiest auto cascading toy you ever saw. Solid wood, non-toxic painted, adorable little self-propelled speed cars. Safe for your little one to explore the textures, shapes and colors as they watch the flow of traffic down from the clouds. Built to last. 10.2 in. x 9.8 in. ($49.95, SpielWerk Toys, 3808 N. Williams Ave. #121, spielwerktoys.com)
From Eugene, Oregon, Mary’s Softdough has been sold in local markets since 1988. You can choose from an array of naturally scented doughs with essential oils like lavender, rose and peppermint. Also available are large tubs of solid-colored dough, and even a rainbow tub. ($9.95, softdough.com)
Yellow-Scope was founded in 2014 by two scientists/moms whose mission is to encourage more girls to pursue the sciences — still a male-dominated field. Each science kit is assembled by hand in Portland and is designed for 8- to 12-year-old girls. Girls can design their own experiments, or conduct one of the 19 included in the kit, which teach about chemical reactions, molecular motion and the effect of temperature.
Don’t forget about your furry friends this season! Treat your pet to natural dog treats, or dress your cat up with a bow tie for your holiday party.
Shaggy Dog Bakery, located in Damascus, offers a variety of flavored dog treats made with all-natural ingredients and without additives or preservatives. Unique flavors like Apple Carrot and Pink Salmon Sweet Potato are made in different sizes for big and little dogs. If you live within 30 miles of Shaggy Dog Bakery, treats can be delivered to your door for free! ($9.95, shaggydogbakery.com)
Hosting a dinner party this holiday season? Now your cat can dress the part. Cat bow ties come in colorful patterns and solids, also available with matching collars. ($20, sweetpicklesdesigns.com)
Spoil your furry friend with a handcrafted wooden pet feeder. Feeders come in cute shapes like a cat, fish or bones, and are also available in innovative and space-saving designs. ($50, woodinyou.com)
Take your small dog on the go with pet slings made in Troutdale. Available in many different colors and patterns, the slings are made of a soft fleece and feature an adjustable strap. ($15, www.etsy.com/shop/CocosCanineCreations)
Give the gift of an experience to an adult or child. Here are educational, artistic and exciting classes offered in the Portland area.
Here at Portland Family, we love Horse Sense. This nonprofit rescues horses who need a second chance and pairs them with all kinds of riders, with special programs for at-risk kids, low-income, disabled and elderly riders. Give your loved one the opportunity to saddle up this holiday season.
Art Design Portland (ADX for short) is a workspace environment where professional craftsmen, entrepreneurs and designers can share their creativity and love for art. At its southeast location — which features a fabric, wood, and metal shop — you can learn woodworking, sewing, 3-D printing, and welding skills among a variety of classes.
At the Merry Kitchen on the northeast side of town, children of all ages can learn cooking skills from registered dietician Julie Merry. Schedule your child for a class and they will have the opportunity to engage with other children, learn about nutrition and food preparation and make their own meal! Each class ends with a meal party, and your child will get to take home new recipes to practice with you. Also offered are child/parent classes, private sessions and birthday parties.
Blow your own vase, ornament, dish, tumbler and more at Live Laugh Love Glass located in Tigard. Classes are taught to all ages, making an excellent gift for a child or adult, or for a day of family fun!
Searching for a great local charity to give to this holiday season? Here are organizations that are doing amazing work within our community.
Rose Haven is a day shelter for women and children who have faced abuse, homelessness or other traumas and difficulties. Make a donation, volunteer or drop off needed items like hygiene products and socks.
Boys and Girls Aid is a service in Oregon that seeks to provide every child with a stable and permanent family. This organization also provides safe housing for children in need.
Operation Nightwatch aids Portland’s homeless citizens, providing warm blankets, meals and medical care, and also seeks to relieve the incredible loneliness that comes as a result of homelessness, providing a social and comforting environment.
This Portland-based charity serves rural children in Guatemala, teaching literacy in schools and libraries. Child Aid believes that through literacy, children can learn personal empowerment as well as gain the skills necessary to improve their lives.
This nonprofit advocates for solutions to pressing environmental issues around the Pacific Northwest, helping individuals and local businesses practice sustainability, as well as assisting elected officials to create meaningful and effective policy regarding our climate.
On-The-Move is a program that enables those with disabilities to actively participate in the community by going on group hiking trips, visiting farmers markets and local art galleries, and more.