The World-Famous Yinzer Gift Guide: 2013
If you read this list, it will be absolutely impossible to mess up your holiday shopping.
Do you even care what I write here in this preface, readers? I’m pretty sure I could write the word toot 400 times and you wouldn’t even notice as you scrolled down to the good stuff. What you really want to know is what awesome ’Burgh-made or ’Burgh-inspired gifts you can snag for your friends and family this year. Toot.
So, without further ado or toots, here’s the 2013 Yinzer Gift Guide. All the goods are affordable. All are ’Burghy or ’Burgh-made. All are guaranteed joy-bringers. All are coveted by yours truly. Toot toot toot toot.
Pittsburgh-made recycled fleece unisex convertible mittens
Baby, it’s cold outside in the ’Burgh from October until May. Don’t grab generic gloves from Target when you can gift your loved ones these handmade recycled-fleece convertible mittens. Sewn right here in Pittsburgh by an eco-friendly crafter, these comfy unisex mittens come in a wide variety of colors. I’m partial to this soft gray and mustard pair with exposed contrast stitching. Perfect for those cold Steelers and Penguins games — and let’s be honest, probably one or two frigid Pirates games in April. “Pittsburgh weather: if you don’t like it, wait 10 minutes.”
($35 by Xmittens on Etsy)
Pittsburgh skyline characters print
There are countless different artistic interpretations of our skyline, but put the buildings on stick figure legs and I’m all, “Awwwwwwwww!” This 8.5 x 11 art print by the Smalltower Etsy shop is perfect for framing and gifting to the ’Burgh lover who appreciates the lighter side of life. Look at the inclines. Look at them! I want to take them home and adopt them and feed them pierogies.
($20 on Etsy)
Fear the Beard socks
Brett Keisel’s luscious facial hair, keeping your tootsies warm. It sounds like a chapter from really disturbing fan fiction. These socks are appropriate for the Steelers fan in your life who has more black-and-gold gear than Dick’s Sporting Goods. The socks are casual enough to wear with your Sunday sweats yet dressy enough to wear with your good church jersey. They are made with spandex, too, so they’ll have some give … just like the O-line. Oh, SNAP!
($10 from My Fresh Factory)
Pittsburgh-made STAK Ceramics sketch tumbler set
I want to buy these and put them on my living room shelf and gaze at them while eating cookies and drinking wine. Or maybe I’ll put the wine IN them. I have big plans for these ceramic tumblers featuring the Clemente Bridge, the skyline and incline. Check out STAK’s entire collection of Pittsburgh-made ceramic gifts such as phone docks, bookends, vases, honey vessels and more.
($54 for the set or $20 each at STAK Ceramics, Andy Warhol Museum Gift Shop or WildCard in Lawrenceville)
Moop tiny clutch bags Nos. 1 and 2
I visited the Moop factory in Carnegie to get a look at the painstaking and detail-oriented process the company puts into making its line of bags for men, women and children. Each bag and purse is weather-proof, expertly stitched, functional and above all — AH-DORABLE. Unless you’re eyeing the bags for men, in which case I mean — MANLY AND HANDSOME AND RUGGED IN A LUMBERJACK KIND OF WAY. Crafted by a small staff right here in Pittsburgh with the finest materials means the larger bags can be on the pricey side, but these little clutches are affordable while still carrying the Moop name and quality. Each has space to fit most cell phones as well as small personal items — cash, cards, lipstick and more (cookies!).
($31 each on Moopshop.com)
Alternate histories of the world Monongahela Monster print
“Walking Dead” fans? Read to the end. What appears to be a reprint of a famous 1902 illustration of Pittsburgh’s famed confluence is — upon closer inspection — a first look at the mythical Minnie the Monongahela Monster, as imagined by local artist Matthew Buchholz. His other prints show a Godzilla-like creature stomping through 1876 Pittsburgh, a zombie outbreak in 1866 Pittsburgh and a few brain-hungry zombies about to surprise some regal ladies of early-1900s Pittsburgh. Buchholz also recently published a book filled with almost 200 pages of alt-history illustrations featuring Pittsburgh and cities from all around the world.
($20 at Alternate Histories)
Rachel’s Cure by Design “Pittsburgh Pride” bracelet
Pittsburgh-born and raised jewelry designer Rachel Tobin uses her talent for creating eye-catching baubles to do good. A portion of her proceeds are donated not only to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, but also — through her gorgeous “partnership bracelets” — to worthy local nonprofits such as Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC, Beaver County Humane Society and Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Greater Pittsburgh. Tobin has already donated more than $60,000! I love this “Pittsburgh Pride” bracelet, but be sure to look at the whole line of jewelry.
($40 at Rachel’s Cure by Design)
Nevermore Body Company Victorian era-inspired lotions and potions
Check out Nevermore Body Company’s line of locally made, cruelty-free, alcohol-free, vegan body care products that take you back to a bygone era. Men, tantalize with the faintest hints of chestnuts, whiskey, bourbon and amber — all without smelling like you’ve been morning drinking. Women, choose from such scents as Gypsy Rose, Dewberry, Apple Strudel or … are you sitting down? PISTACHIO COOKIE. Read the scent descriptions and pick one. Nevermore will package the items in an adorable felt tote that’s perfect for gift-giving. With almost 1,400 items sold via Etsy alone, this local business is on to something big. I’ve got my crow’s-feet eyes on the Carrot Eye Cream regimen.
($30 for the women’s basket of sugar scrub, mini butter, perfume oil and mini liquid soap or the men’s basket of aftershave, shave jelly and cologne oil)
JUST LOOK AT THEM. Adorable ornaments paying tribute to the iconic ketchup bottle and the traditional Christmas pickle. The ketchup box is printed with the words “Ketch-up on the Holiday Spirit,” while the pickle box comes with the story of the Christmas pickle tradition (not to be confused with the Green Weenie). Give these to the Christmas-celebrating, ’Burgh-loving, McDonald’s-hating person in your life. They will squeee. I mean it.
($15 each online or in the Sen. John Heinz History Center gift shop)
Pittsburgh Pottery “Yinz” mug
Pittsburgh Pottery has a wide range of ’Burghy gifts featuring words like “jagoff” and “jeet,” but this one is my favorite. Yinz. Yinz guys. Yinz friends. Yinz I love. We are family. While the company’s other pieces aren’t always in stock, this style of mug will always be available, as long as Pittsburgh Pottery can keep up with demand. Handmade right here in Pittsburgh, the mug is dishwasher- and microwave-safe; it’s great for the coffee or tea drinker in your life.
($20 at Pittsburgh Pottery)
Rational Act Pittsburgh confluence shirt
What can I say about this shirt? It’s perfect. An understated black-and-gold study of Pittsburgh’s famed confluence. This gift is pretty much perfect for anyone with a pulse and comes in two shades — black and yellow.
($22 at Rational Act Clothing in sizes from S-XL)