Whether you’re celebrating virtually or sending a gift to a loved one from afar, we’ve corralled our favorite local finds and experiences for everyone on your list, no matter your budget. Hopefully, these ideas will help you stress less and save time—and just maybe you’ll even discover a few goodies for yourself, too.
We’ve all earned an extra treat in 2020.
FOR HER (OR YOU)
It wouldn’t be a 2020 gift guide without a face mask, right? Opt for a design featuring Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, or even Dr. Fauci—they’re all handmade in Indy by Cindy Kitchel, creator of Lawrence Edwin Personal Gear.
Indianapolis resident Sloane Swayze’s engraved sound wave necklace puts a cool new spin on personalization. Just send her an audio clip—choose anything from the sound of a baby’s heartbeat to a favorite song lyric—and Swayze can transform it into a custom keepsake.
Sound wave necklace, $45-$55, SloaneJewelryDesign.com to order.
Pick up one of these Boss Babes coloring books for all your pals at Kristin Kohn’s Silver in the City boutique. Showcasing female powerhouses like Serena Williams, Dolly Parton, Beyoncé, and Mindy Kaling, the book also has mazes, puzzles, and crosswords.
Boss Babes coloring and activity book, $10.95 at SilverintheCity.com
Pam Rodgers’ artisan nail lacquer company Stella Chroma is making gift giving a little easier this year with her nail polish sets. Choose your favorite in-stock nail polish color, and it will come beautifully packaged in a gift box, along with her So Base-ic Sticky Base Coat and Fast Fingers Quick Dry Top Coat.
Nail polish gift set, $23 at StellaChroma.com
It’s always smart to keep an extra candle or two on hand in case an unexpected gift-giving occasion pops up—and these beauties not only smell amazing, they are handmade by women who have survived homelessness and addictions, with proceeds going to Wheeler Mission. Available in scents ranging from gingerbread latte to white sage + lavender, and in aromatherapy versions, too.
Candles, $8-$14 at restored-creations-wmm.square.site
When it comes to local menswear, whether you want a stylish pocket square or a tailored suit, J. Benzal, Ben Diallo’s private label company, is the place to find it. This snowflake-print bowtie is an apropos choice for the season, but everything Diallo designs is worth a look.
Snowflakes bowtie, $45 at JBenzal.com
FOR THE KIDS
McCordsville’s Nicole Lewis is the creative genius behind the Art 2 The Extreme line of rainbow crayons—check out this adorable bag of mini rock crayons, for example. If your little one made the naughty list this year, you can opt for the “North Pole Coal” set instead.
Chocolatier Julie Bolejack of Shelbyville has whipped up a delightful holiday calendar; behind each window is a scrumptious sweet, such as a gingerbread truffle, chocolate dipped salted caramel, or a brown sugar bonbon.
Advent calendar, $59 at ChocolateForTheSpirit.com
Bath bombs are always a good bet, and Lisa Beale of Fizzle Bathizzle whips up a variety of cheerfully-shaped tub treats made with essential oils and hiding fun surprises inside. You can opt for a single bath bomb in shapes like unicorns or basketballs, or splash out on a subscription where your kiddo will get two new fizzies every month.
Bath bombs, $6 each or $120 for a 6-month subscription at FizzleBathizzle.com
A year full of cupcakes might just be the best gift ever. For twenty bucks a month, you get a 6-pack of cupcakes (the flavors are predetermined by Classic Cakes each month, but gluten-free options are available), ranging from traditional bakery faves to flavors off the company’s secret menu. Your gift recipient can pick up their treats the first Friday of every month at Classic Cakes in Carmel—and if you buy a yearlong subscription, you get the 12th month free.
Cupcake Club subscription, $20 a month, email firstname.lastname@example.org to sign up.
Goose the Market is offering slow smoked hams finished with black peppercorns this holiday season. They’re fully cooked and ready to eat—or you can heat and serve with the St. Elmo Steak House Root Beer Glaze that’s included with each order.
Holiday ham with root beer glaze, $69 for half, $125 for whole at Goosethemarket.com
Being a “snack queen” sounds like a pretty great thing, so gift these cute slides from Jessica Landez’s Blue Peppermint Boutique in Fishers to the friend who most deserves to reign.
Snack queen fuzzy slides, $44 at ShopBluePeppermint.com
Pick up one of these stunning Marie Antoinette confections from Gwendolyn Rogers’ The Cake Bake Shop and you’ll be guaranteed to wow. Better yet, snag one for yourself too; the hand-piped macaron shells, filled with vanilla pastry cream, fruit, jam, and dusted with edible Pixie Glitter, are too good to resist.
Marie Antoinette, $10.50 each at the Carmel location of The Cake Bake Shop
Send a care package of Soup of Success (a non-profit based in Elkhart that aims to empower women, build self-esteem and develop independence) soup mixes to someone that’s far away and it’ll be like a warm hug in a box. Bonus: The company also offers cookie and brownie mixes if your recipient has a sweet tooth.
Soup mix, $7.99 at SoupofSuccess.com
Upgrade from a fruitcake—who actually buys those?—to a gourmet coffee cake from Sahm’s, made in collaboration with renowned local pastry chef Hattie McDaniel. With a new flavor every month, like caramel apple pie or maple bacon bourbon, there’s always something delicious coming on the horizon.
Coffee cake, $50 (monthly subscription packages also available) at ShopSahms.com
Pair this 16-ounce can glass with a six-pack of your recipient’s favorite local ale and you’ll be good to go. It was created by Sunday Afternoon Housewife owner Martha Latta, who designs and prints items in her home on the Near East Side of Indy.
IN LOVE can pint glass, $10 at SundayAfternoonHousewife.com
Little ones will learn the letters of the alphabet and a little something about the state on every page with this cute board book written by Indiana native Adriane Doherty.
ABC Indiana, $9.99 at Indiana.Gifts.com
Looking for a next-level culinary gift? Arrange for a private virtual class for your child or a small group (five people or less) with Candace Boyd Wylie, chef, creator of FoodLoveTog seasonings, and “Chief Spice Slanger.” You can customize the Zoom class to serve your recipient’s needs, whether they’d like to feel more comfortable in the kitchen or want to learn a few basic dishes.
Private virtual cooking class with Candace Boyd Wylie, price on request, email email@example.com for inquiries.
Crafty types will love making their own hand-poured soy candles at a 2-hour, instructor-led class at Carmen Randolph’s She SPOT Winery on North Franklin Road. They’ll learn how to melt, color, scent, and pour wax, and will leave with two 8 oz. candles and a few tea lights they’ve created—plus they’ll get to enjoy some wine and appetizers while the candles are cooling.
DIY candle making course, $35 at WineandCandlesLLC.com
Put on your jammies, grab your coziest blankets, and treat your family to a 35-minute socially distanced ride in the caboose of Noblesville’s beloved Nickel Plate Express to travel to a local version of Santa’s North Pole. While you enjoy the ride, you can snack on a cookie, listen to a holiday story, and sing carols. Kids will also be able to visit with Santa and take photos from a safe distance.
Christmas Caboose ride, $25-$100 per seat chosen (seats accommodate 2-5 people and are available on select Saturdays and Sundays) at NickelPlateExpress.com
An at-home chocolate tasting lesson from Joann Hofer of Xchocol’Art Gourmet Chocolate in Carmel includes three different types of chocolate, a tasting sheet, and instructions so that you can enjoy your own tasting experience. Send a kit to a couple of your friends or family, and then gather together virtually to walk through the nuances of each flavor together.
At home chocolate tasting kit, $23 each at XChocolart.com