A hungry girl's adventures in Cleveland and beyond.

Local Last Minute Gift Ideas

Christmas is right around the corner. Are you done with all your shopping? If not, here's some last minute ideas that will fill your stockings and help you shop local:

1. CIFF Membership
The Cleveland International Film Fest is a Must Do for me every year. Join me and other independent film buffs in March or you can still get your hands on tickets for a few of the Film Feasts. You have until Weds. at 5pm to ensure holiday delivery.

2. The Deck from Cleveland Independents
Perfect for the foodie on your list or someone who doesn't like to cook. It's 52 deals at local restaurants for $29.95 + shipping.

3. Cooking class gift certificates
There are so many great places to choose from in the CLE+
  *Loretta PaganiniViking at Legacy Village, and Western Reserve in Hudson are classics.
  *Two options for cooking classes at home are Chef Kimberly McCune Gibson of Hungry Bee Catering and Chef Jason of Molinari's - both will come to your kitchen and cook up at a feast to remember. 
  *The Chubby Cook is a newcomer that looks to be a great addition to the mix. Use coupon code HOLIDAYS2011 thru 12/25 and save 10%. Or if you prefer, use the code ALF2012, 40% of the cost of the class will be donated to Hungry In Cleveland's American Liver Foundation fundraising efforts.
  * The Tri-C Hospitality Management Center is another new place to attend a class. Taught by Chef Brandt Evans of Pura Vida. The facilities are amazing and I'm sure the food will be too.
  *For the vegan on your list Foodgazi is the place to go. 
  *Another great Lakewood destination is Gatherings Kitchen. Check out I Heart Cleveland's blog about it here and you can enter to win tickets too. If you stop by Weds. 12/21 they are offering free sticky buns and coffee to sweeten the deal.
  *For a weekend destination, you can visit Gervasi Vineyard in North Canton. They have a winery, restaurant and villas to compliment your cooking class and make it into a weekend getaway.

4. Sports tickets
Whatever the sport your favorite fan cheers for, Cleveland has a team for you. Browns, Cavs, Indians and the Monsters are the big boys. Maybe Roller Derby is more your style? Don't forget about the minor league and college teams too. For more ideas, click here. Put the tickets in a box with a t-shirt or other gear.

5. For the coffee lover, get a gift card from your favorite local coffee shop (PhoenixErie IslandCivilization and Gypsy Beans & Bakery are some of my favorites.) add it to a basket with a double walled travel mug, some sweet treats and some whole beans and you have something that will be appreciated for a long time.

6. NEO Food Tours has lots of tours and events to choose from in 2012. I've attended several of their signature walking tours and have enjoyed them all! If  you missed my blogs about my adventures with the NEO folks you can read them here -  Public SquareGordon Square and Tremont.

7. For the foodie with a big heart, try Dinner in the Dark. You get to try the food of our area's top chefs and help a charity in the process. You don't have to worry - you won't actually be eating in the dark, the title refers to the chefs and menu not being revealed until you arrive. Next one is in January at Fahrenheit. I plan on being there - my first! You can order tix here
8. For the bottled water addict, help them help the environment by buying them some cool reusable portable water bottles and either a Brita Water Pitcher or a filter that goes on their faucet. Or you can get them the filter and bottle all in one. They also have these super portable collapsible ones for people who don't want to carry the empty bottle around:

9. If you know where they get their hair and nails done, a gift certificate to their favorite place is always appreciated. I like to wrap it up with either some funky new nail polish or fancy hair supplies so they have an actual gift to open.

10. Holidays are stressful and a great gift to help your loved one unwind is a spa gift certificate.  Spa West rocks and they even have a special where you can get a 20% bonus card when you purchase a gift certificate of at least $100. Mario's has multiple locations in the area. Dino Palmieri at La Place, Zen in Ohio City, and Charles Scott are other good choices. Groupon is offering a deal today to Europa Spa in Beachwood.

11. I'm a wine lover and always appreciate a good bottle as a gift. Match it up with an aerator or other useful wine accessory. My friend recently got me something like this drip catcher pictured and I love it! Miss WineOH has some good suggestions on her site and will also be hosting her famous Wine and Cupcake events in the New Year - contact her directly for details and tickets.

12. Touch screen gloves seem to be on everybody's wish list thanks to our obsession with our smart phones, iPods, and tablets and our frigid NE Ohio winters. 

13. How about a pass to one of our fabulous local attractions? The Greater Cleveland Aquarium is opening next year and the people on your list would likely love to check it out. You can give a gift membership to the Cleveland Museum of Art by clicking here. The Cleveland Natural History Museum is always fun. You get purchase a membership hereGreat Lakes Science Center is another cool place, especially for the kiddos.

14. For the chocoholic - Lilly Handmade Chocolate in Tremont is a must! Her candies are bite sized works of art and delicious! For the holidays, she is even whipping up rum balls.

15. Indians Snow Days run until January 16th - snowtubing and ice skating in the middle of Progressive Field is fun for all ages.

16. If you have a new driver on your gift list, get them road ready with a gas card, local map or GPS and a car safety kit.

17. Act quick for a Groupon deal that is sure to please - a wine class for two from American Wine School being held at Lago in Tremont.

18. For the Cleveland ladies on your list, shop at La Femme de Cleveland. Use coupon code CLEVELANDLOVE and get 15% off your order. There's a giveaway that ends on Tuesday too.

19. And for those who like to make something tasty, check out Food 52's edible gifts.

20. The Greenhouse Tavern is offering up a free bottle of wine with $100 in gift certificates. Who wouldn't LOVE THAT!

And here's one gift you should NOT be giving - a pet! Too often pets are bought as gifts without considering the long term commitment that they include. Our shelters are filled with young dogs and cats that were discarded when the owners grew tired of all the work, time and expense they involve. Plus, the busy holidays are the worst time to get to know a new pet. The crappy weather doesn't help either if it's a new puppy that needs to be taken outside. If you really want to add a pet to the family, consider purchasing some accessories like bowls, leashes, toys etc to wrap for under the tree and then visit your local shelter after the holidays.
Hope this helps you get all your shopping done and enjoy the holidays!