It’s the most wonderful time of the year … to shop local!
As someone who grew up in Small Town, Alabama, with a grandfather who owned a hardware store and a mom who ran a gift shop, there wasn’t a day in my childhood that I don’t recall the importance of shopping small. But it wasn’t until I moved to Orlando that I finally saw it in action, and I began to understand why my family’s endeavors didn’t survive the arrival of Walmart.
There are SO many great small businesses to choose from around the City Beautiful and surrounding areas, so making the list was hard, but nevertheless, she persisted. 😉
The 2021 Pulptown gift guide down below is broken into different categories to help you find the perfect present for your loved ones. Are they a cocktail connoisseur? Orlando’s biggest cheerleader? Are they in need of some serious self-care? Maybe they’re a cookie aficionado or have a knack for entertaining? Scroll for our favorite picks — and let the gift-giving begin.
🍊 For the Orlandoan who wears their city pride on their sleeve
Literally wear your pride on your sleeve when you shop Swan City’s tees. (There’s also candles, pillows, posters, and stickers galore.) Freehand Goods has Florida gear on lock and Orlando Shirts is still cleaning out its final inventory. Speaking of city pride, shop the Orlando City and Orlando Pride online merch stores and really put on for your city. Or if you have a die-hard Orlando Magic fan in your life, you can always get them some new gear. And for those who wear their pride on their wall, grab a Steven Madow print.
🍸 For the casual consumer of alcoholic beverages
Make your way to Maffrey’s Good Goods in Ivanhoe to get your hands on these exclusive Elf-inspired infusion flasks by local cocktail mixer, Curious Botanicals. If wine is more your speed, you’ll want to make a stop at Golden Hour Wine in Baldwin Park, Modest Wine in Winter Park, Eola General in Eola Heights, Brix & Mortar Urban Winery in Sanford, Swirlery in SoDo, Digress in College Park,or Tim’s Wine Market around the corner from Maffrey’s. And if it’s beer you desire, we’ve got breweries and package stores (looking at you, Whippoorwill) out the wazoo.
🧀 For the foodie/entertainer
Know what pairs nicely with all those drinks above? One of these elaborate charcuterie plates or grazing boxes from Tessa’s Table, La Tabla, or Crave Grazing. And wanna know what goes great with cheese and meats? Olive oil from The Ancient Olive. Top it all off with some delicious kettle corn from Eat Project Pop (sorry, you just missed the pumpkin spice popcorn!).
🍪 For the sweetie with a sweet tooth
Look no further than Choco Loco Cookies, Phat Ash Bakes, and Gideon’s Bakehouse for the most decadent cookies in the biz. Meanwhile, Donevette’s Confections reigns supreme in cake pops and not many people do dairy-free popsicles better than Sweet Fleet. Speaking of dairy-free deliciousness, shop for gift cards at ol’ faithfuls The Greenery Creamery and Kelly’s Homemade Ice Cream. And if marshmallows are more your speed, grab a box from Sugar Rush or Wondermade. Also on our shortlist: Light on the Sugar, Sugar Dough Bakehouse, Sister Honey’s, Foodies Cafe, and Hungry Pants (it’s their sour orange pie for me!).
🕯 For those in need of self-care (my favorite section)
Girl, stop stressing and check out these essential oils and books at Yay! Tiny Shop in Ivanhoe Then make your way to Naked Bar Soap Co. to snag one of their Holiday Bliss Gift Sets — inside you’ll find coquito artisan soap, vanilla bath melts, and brown sugar fig body wash. After that, treat yo self and get your nails done, your hair did, and $50 flash tattoos at Pinkie Orlando in College Park. And don’t forget to grab some candles from Artifact Candle Foundry in Thornton Park on your way home.
🌵 For those constantly on pins and needles
The Keep Florida Freaky lapel pins by Secret Society Goods are the missing piece to your denim jacket. Or you can opt for one of these pins from Just Okay Things, which includes our personal favorite: the“It’s ok to be just okay” pin. As for needles (get it — cacti? Plants?), shop The Jungle Room (it’s newish in College Park!), The Heavy (in Winter Park, duh), Janet’s Dry Humor (in Audubon Park), or the new Succulents Empire (in Ivanhoe). Then snag this Coconut La Croix planter by Hello Happy Plants.
🐶 For your pals with pawesome pets…
Orlando is made for pet lovers and so are these ornaments from Margaret over at Do Tell Stationary and Designs. (She’s actually a pro at all ornaments, keychains, and wedding stuff alike, if you’re in the market.) Become the favorite aunt of your four-legged friends when you buy these treat boxes from Human Sweets and Doggy Treats.
👗 For your fashionable friends and sustainable shoppers…
Shop The House on Lang in Mills 50 and Dora Mae Jewelry in nearby Ivanhoe Village for the latest trends, and then head to Hellcats in Winter Park for some dark designs. Peruse The Owl’s Attic and The Lovely Boutique in Audubon Park and my all-time favorite, Etoile Boutique in The Milk District, for both chic mid-century decor AND vintage boutique clothing. And if you wanna shop frugally and simultaneously give back to the community, peep Out of the Closet in Mills 50. You can also support local thrifters online like Brie at Thrifters High, Brittany at Shop Gasco, Alyssa behind Venom Denim Vintage, and the folks of The Conscious Bum.
🪑For the fixer-uppers, stay-at-homers, and the DIY-ers
Looking for the most perfect rattan set or unique bar cart that won’t break the bank? Go to Warehaus in College Park, The Boho Bedside online, or Echoes of Retro in Ivanhoe. Also on the shortlist: Adjectives Market, Atomic Junkies, and Orange Tree Antiques Mall & Vintage — all with locations in Winter Park.
🍏 For your friend who love a good cleanse
Give the gift of juice. Let’s face it, they’re going to need it. Orlando has some great juice spots including Grounding Roots, New Moon Market, Raw Juice Bar, and Juice Bar. Get them a juice cleanse, a gift card, or make ‘em a juice basket.
☕️ For all the caffeine fiends
Get your coffee-loving friends the gift of unlimited coffee consumption by buying them a gift card or coffee coin to any of our great coffee shops: Qreate Coffee, Lobos Coffee Roasters, Cafe Linger, Lineage, Credo, Craft + Common, Deeply Coffee, Easy Luck, Cups and Pups, Framework, CFS Coffee, New City Coffee Co., Bynx, Foxtail Coffee Co.… this list could go on forever. Barnie’s Coffee & Tea currently has three holiday gift sets for sale including one dedicated to its infamous Santa’s White Christmas Coffee. Don’t even get me started on the bubble teas and the matcha houses.
📚 For the bibliophile in your life
Did you know your local library has a used book shop? Why give your money to Jeff Bezos when we have libraries, Writer’s Block Bookstore, and Spiral Circle Bookstore at our disposal? Buy a book from a local author. For history buffs, try Rick Kilby’s “Florida’s Healing Waters”. For book club, try Kristen Harmel’s “The Book of Last Names”. For something suspenseful, try David James Poissant’s “Lake Life”. For an Orlando-themed read, get your hands on Nathan Holic’s “Bright Light, Medium-Sized City”. And support Burrow Press, Orlando’s longtime local independent publishing company, with a paid subscription.
🎶 And the melophiles…
Head to Bynx, the coffee shop/record store/bookstore in the 420 building in South Eola, for its rare, one-of-a-kind books and records that will have you in your giftee’s good graces forever. And for new and used vinyl and all sorts of different audio formats, check out the music-lovers’ longtime, go-to stop, Park Ave CDs.
☀️ And the outdoorsy types…
Give the gift of the great outdoors, starting with the Florida State Parks Passport, which doubles as a guide to the “real” Florida and an annual membership to all state parks across the state. Or opt for an annual pass to the Central Florida Zoo, a membership to Leu Gardens, or an annual pass to Wild Florida’s drive-through safari. Our friend Dorsa at WOW Rolling wowed us last year when she combined two of our favorite things and made it a business: thrifting and skating. Her talents have only grown in the last 365 days — check her out for all your second-hand skate and cool vintage find needs. And for those who like the thought of the outdoors but prefer to sweat it off inside, purchase a pass to the indoor rock climbing gym, Blue Swan Boulders.
🎙 For those looking to level up their skill sets…
Sign ’em up for voice lessons from Central Florida Vocal Arts. Get ’em on the air with podcasting sessions at Venture X and production by Brand Crumbs Media.
🛍 Wanna shop in one stop?
Can’t decide? Get a hodgepodge of gifts when you buy a curated box of local goods like these from Expressions Gift Co. and Box the City. Catch-all stores like The Neighbors + Good Crowd Shop Co + Maffrey’s Good Goods + Yay! Tiny Shop + Misc. Market + East End Market + The Heavy are good places to shop for stocking stuffers, ornaments, cards, and one-of-a-kind gifts — and they all carry some of the local brands mentioned above.
📅 Or make it an event
Holiday markets are where it’s at, starting with this weekend’s return of East End Market’s Evening Exchange. Then mark your calendars for the annual Grandma Party Bazaar happening in Audubon Park on Dec. 12 and the Milk Mart in the Milk District coming up Dec. 19. It’s considered Orlando’s laziest Sunday market. Featuring over 125 vendors, food trucks, and more, it’s an event you won’t wanna miss!
Last but not least…
🎁 Wrap it all up by visiting Paper Goat Post. They’re the go-to biz for gift wrapping and paper products! Then put on the finishing touches with Orlando-made gift tags from Toasted Paper Goods on Etsy — 8 for $6 or 16 for $10 and a holiday card from Pretty Peacock Paperie.
And word to the wise — sharing is caring. Forward this to your friends so they can shop local too!
“Thanks to our sponsor, The Milk District, for making the 2021 Pulptown Gift Guide happen.