My 2016 Cleveland Gift Guide: Give a Little CLE this Holiday!

Sunday, November 27, 2016

First things first: This post is not sponsored in any way. It's just a list I cultivated, of gift ideas, products, & local companies that I like, & no one is paying me to say so. I think that's important to say when sharing content like this.

With that out of the way: Here are 15 of my favorite Cleveland-themed gifts, whether they're made here, feature here, or otherwise celebrate life here. As you stock up on holiday gifts for the Clevelanders in your life, consider adding one of these unexpected CLE gifts to the mix - & hey, if you're not sure what to buy me, well, I want just about everything on this list!


Weird Beard Candle Co. Peanut Butter Coffee Porter Soy Candle

Forget BuzzFeed's "homesick" candle recommendation (since when does Ohio smell like honeysuckle?) & go a little bit more legit. If you've ever enjoyed a pint (or two or three) of Willoughby Brewing Co.'s Peanut Butter Coffee Porter ($14), you'll love the scent of the 8oz soy candle it inspired. I burn it throughout the winter to keep my apartment smelling cozy & delicious & extraordinarily Clevelandy.

The 2017 Cleveland Independents Deck

I received this in my stocking last Christmas & was so excited - what a cool idea! A bunch of independent Cleveland restaurants banded together to create this deck of cards - 52, like a normal deck - that offers savings at 49 of Northeast Ohio's best restaurants. The deck itself costs just ($30), & each card saves you $10 on any $30 food purchase (tax & gratuity not included) at a different local joint. There are even two jokers so you can get repeat savings at your faves!

Ohio-Shaped Beercap Map

Put your favorite state on display alongside all your favorite craft brews! This beercap map has room for 93 caps, & I personally like the vibe of the wooden ones ($39) - which is good, because their steel option ($49) isn't available in the shape of Ohio. Confession: I'm eyeing one of these as an eventual gift to myself, but then I'd have to stop drinking more than just Miller Lite & Dortmunder Gold... 


Personalized shipments from Cleveland in a Box

I've now sent two of these customizable Cleveland boxes as gifts, one to a friend living out of state & another to friends who just bought a house. Choose from their selections of local & iconic Cleveland goods, from Dichotomy Popcorn to Cleveland tees to Pope's Hot sauce & beyond. It's $30 for a box of five items or $50 for a box of 10 - & they ship worldwide! 

Limited-Edition Jewelry from Bombay Taxi

This online boutique owned by my friend Shibani, an Indian immigrant & bad-ass Cleveland entrepreneur, carries limited-edition pieces hand-crafted by Indians artisans & imported from India. The ring I just bought from her is no longer available (because limited edition!), but my other faves are the Ilene ring ($25), the Huma ring ($30), & the Jiah necklace ($35). Support a Cleveland biz & invest in some year-round sparkle. 

"Cleveland 'Til I Die" Shirt from Fresh Brewed Tees

I always joke about how much people from Cleveland love wearing their Cleveland pride across their chests - but it's true, & I'm one of them. This company is one of my favorites of the many T-shirt companies out there, &this tee ($26.99) is just one of a few that I own from them.


Booze from Cleveland Whiskey

This local booze brand came onto the scene in 2013, & its patented technology to accelerate the maturation and flavor development of distilled spirits has earned it kudos from Forbes & Thrillist. This year, Cleveland Whiskey was named Whiskey Innovator of the Year at the 2016 Berlin International Spirits Competition. Pick up a bottle & take a swig of the Buckeye State.

Ohio Print Coasters from

This set of five exquisitely carved wooden coasters ($40) comes from the shop of one of my favorite Instagram accounts, @ohioexplored. They're made to order, which gives you just barely enough time to score them in time for holiday delivery - but they're pretty enough to be worth the wait. 

Subscription to Cleveland Magazine

Full disclosure: I interned here in the summer of 2007, just before I first moved to D.C., & it marked the summer I fell in love with the CLE. I still read the magazine religiously to see what's new & cool not just in Cleveland but across Northeast Ohio. A new yearlong subscription is $14, which is 75% off the cover price. 

Cocktail Goodies from Pope's Kitchen

Your booze deserves the best - & the Clevelandiest! Put together a gift basket of mixers from Pope's, a growing regional brand that uses fresh local ingredients in all their products. Try the Bloody Mary or chill a little with the Mellow Mary ($4-$11); get sugared up with the Strawberry Daiquiri mix ($11); or go a little unusual with a syrup like like lavender lemon or orange habanero ($10).

"Happy in CLE" Necklace by Oceanne Jewelry 

There are tons of of Cleveland-themed jewelry designers out there, but this French artist is one of my favorites, & I just love this delicate, gold-plated bar with hand-stamped lettering ($44). If you're looking for other state-themed jewelry, try the Ohio Love necklace ($30), the silver Cleveland Babe necklace ($44), or the Cleveland is My Paris necklace ($48).

Tickets & Memberships

Instead of loading up your loved ones with more stuff, consider investing in experiences instead. Check out tickets to shows at Playhouse Square or Cavs games, or memberships to any of Cleveland's many museums, the Botanical Gardens, the Zoological Society, the Great Lakes Science Center, the Cleveland Orchestra... the list is endless.


Great Lakes Brewery's Beer School

By now, most Cleveland's have been on GLBC's brewery tour - but did you know you can step it up a notch? Beer School ($35) provides a full tour of the production brewery & a tasting of six beers. plus a two-hour course (snacks included!) on the history of the company & the brewing process. All guests leave with a T-shirt, a tasting glass, and some serious beer knowledge.

A Christmas Story Leg Lamp

As I demonstrated in last year's leg lamp round-up post, Clevelanders love their leg lamps. The movie A Christmas Story was filmed in my neighborhood, actually, & is now a local museum. The full size is 50" & costs a whopping $199.99, but if that's too much for you, try the other options, including a desk lamp ($99) & a nightlight ($14.99). Careful, it's frah-jeeee-lay!

The Guardians Wall Clock by Christina Sadowski

This Etsy seller has tons of Cleveland-related inventory, but this 10" wall clock is my favorite ($45). It's available in black or white frames, with hands to match, & featuring a gorgeous image of the Guardians of Traffic that watch over downtown Cleveland's Lorain-Carnegie Bridge.

There you have it! Will any of these make it under your tree this year (or next to your menorah, depending on how you handle the holiday season)? And if you've got Cleveland favorites, tell me: What other CLE-themed gifts would you add to the list?

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