The World-Famous Yinzer Gift Guide: 2015
Almost every one of these 16 gifts is made in Pittsburgh by Pittsburghers, and every single one is just the kind of unique and thoughtful gift any loved one would be lucky to receive.
It’s here! It’s here it’s here it’s here!
After three months of scouring and shopping and sleuthing my way through the Internet and the storefronts of Pittsburgh, I’ve selected 16 perfect Burghy gifts for those people on your list who are hard to shop for. Because aren’t those people just the WORST? You can do without the stress they cause you every year. You don’t need to worry, because this year I’ve done all the work for you. Almost every one of these gifts is made in Pittsburgh by Pittsburghers, and all of them benefit local companies, organizations and hardworking, creative Burghers who have dedicated countless hours to their passion for their craft.
And every single one is just the kind of unique and thoughtful gift any loved one would be lucky to receive. Shop small. Shop Pittsburgh. Shop the 2015 Yinzer Gift Guide.
1. Sugar Creek Candles
Put down that Yankee Candle. I’m not a “candle person” much the same as I’m not a “cat person.” (Aside: cats are creepy.) It was Curt Wootton AKA Pittsburgh Dad, who gave me the heads up on the Sugar Creek Candle Company in North Huntingdon, where every candle is poured. It was the Waffles N’at candle that intrigued me, the hilarious artwork and silly names that made me laugh and the delicious scents that hooked me. Now I keep my Waffles N’at burning all evening long most days. You can find all the Sugar Creek scents, which are clean- and slow-burning soy, at many local retailers such as Busy Beaver, Bed Bath & Beyond, Market District and more. Or you can order online. Butt Naked (hee), Monkey Farts (hah), and Waffles N’at (all pictured), are my three favorites and will bring a smile to the candle-loving Burgher in your life, regardless of gender. (Aside: banana bums are ADORABLE.)
(Starting at $10) [sugarcreekcandlecompany.com/]
2. Dave DiCello 4-print set
You know Dave DiCello. You’ve admired his amazing Pittsburgh photography and probably slammed a virtual heart on some of his pictures on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. He is the king of the Pittsburgh skyline. He recently partnered with Divine Mayhem Studios to open a pop-up storefront in Fifth Avenue Place, Steel Studios, and that’s where we chatted and came up with this four-print pack of his most popular selective-color prints. Together we came up with the idea to pull the yellow out of the bridges in addition to the red of the incline. That’s my absolute fave of the four. You can snag all four 8×10 prints for $50 and give them as a set to one lucky recipient, or split them up into four separate gifts. Buy online or stop in the store. They will come with white mats perfect for framing.
3. Upcycled Personalized Round Toggle Necklace from Wendell August Forge
I’m not really a jewelry-wearer outside of my wedding rings, but I LOVE this. I love everything about it. I love that the toggle clasp ring is stamped with the Wendell August name and year of establishment. I love the substantialness of the chain. Is substantialness a word that jewelers use? I love that it was made around these here parts. I love that it was upcycled from scraps of aluminum left over from other items the forge made. I love that it’s only $50. I LOVE IT ALL. Buy it for me. Or your mom or wife. Or sisters. Or me. Yeah, ME!
4. Pittsburgh socks gift set
It seems I have socks on this list each year, and for good reason! Regular socks are third only to underwear and coal for the worst gifts you can give or receive. But soft, Pittsburgh-themed socks? BEST SOCKS GIFT EVER. Grab this three-pack from Steel City Cotton Works and give all three to a loved one, or divide them up and put them in three different stockings. I promise you won’t be “that person who gave me socks. Ugh.” You’ll be “that person who gave me TOTALLY ROCKING SOCKS!” Are the kids still saying “totally rocking” these days? “On fleek” maybe? These socks are totally rocking on fleek. Did I do that right?
($24.99 for the set of three) [steelcitycottonworks.com]
5. Commonwealth Press Holiday Cards
If it’s a gift card you’re giving this year, from a local business of course, don’t just stick it in an envelope with a generic Hallmark card, you lazy jagoff. Instead, use any one of these screen-printed holiday cards from the quirky Commonwealth Press. Made right here in Pittsburgh, there are a bunch from which to choose. From “Wishin’ yinz a merry Christmas” to the “Have a nice winter” card featuring the quintessential parking chair, your friends and family will get a kick aht-a these. Pick and choose your favorites, or buy the set pictured for only $15.
($4.50 each or five for $15) [compressmerch.com]
6. Audra Azoury Pittsburgh-inspired ornaments
I’m kind of freaking out over these ornaments by local jewelry designer Audra Azoury, and you’re probably going to as well. They are stunning. I don’t even know what else to say. I have held them in my hands. They are perfect. Perfect representations of all your favorite iconic Pittsburgh places. Coming out of the Fort Pitt Tunnel, the view of the incline from Mount Washington, ice skating at PPG, PNC Park, Heinz Field, a throw-back to the Igloo, SANTA OVER DOWNTOWN. Good luck choosing. I promise these are the kind of ornaments that will become family heirlooms, so buy enough to give one to each of your children. Each ornament comes in an adorable little fabric Audra Azoury-branded cinch bag, perfect for gifting.
(from $24 each) [audraazoury.com]
7. Blush Pearl Double Wrap Leather Bracelet by The Pretty 1
The woman in your life will tell you … rose-colored jewelry is IN, and this beautiful bracelet from The Pretty 1 is pretty much perfection. Made right here in Pittsburgh with Swarovski pearls and crystals, it’s a stunner and just the kind of gift a woman likes to find when she opens that long narrow box. Because they are handcrafted, no two are exactly alike, which means you’re giving her a locally-made one-of-a-kind piece to cherish as much as you cherish her. Did I just write a Hallmark card? I think I did. Check out the entire The Pretty 1 jewelry line. So many gorgeous pieces to choose from. My second favorite is this amazing In Bloom Crochet Necklace/Bracelet combo. Stunning.
8. Gantry Natural Horsehide Card wallet by Homestead Supply
Carrying a bulky wallet or purse can be a real pain, literally. From men lugging their George Costanza-esque wallets around in their back pockets to women carrying everything but the Keurig in their giant purses. For the person in your life who likes to simplify, or has embraced carrying only the absolute essentials, you’ll want to snag Homestead Supply’s Gantry Natural Horsehide Card Wallet. Perfect for slipping in a few bills and important cards and ID, this wallet will be customized with the color and thread of your choice. And best of all, made in Pittsburgh by Pittsburghers. This is one piece sure to be held onto for a long time as the leather ages beautifully.
9. Yinz Might Be From Picksburgh 2016 Calendar by Randy Bish of the Tribune Review
I’m not going to spoil what hilarious and perfectly illustrated Pittsburgh treasures you’re going to find within Tribune-Review cartoonist Randy Bish’s 2016 Yinz Might Be From Picksburgh calendar, because part of the fun is flipping through and being surprised at the vivid colors and memories that pop off the pages. This is the perfect gift for co-workers, ex-pats for whom you need an easy-to-mail gift, or pretty much any Burgher in your life. It can be hung in a cubicle, a break room, the kitchen, the home office, ANYWHERE. And at only $10 each, you can grab one for all of your best office buddies.
($10 on Ebay) [ebay.com]
10. Music, art, or writing journal with historical Pittsburgh map
The gorgeous vintage map of Pittsburgh hard-back cover is just the first thing that makes this gift great. The second is being able to choose what type of paper with which you wish to have it filled. For artists, doodlers and free spirits, choose the blank pages. For musicians, choose the guitar-tab pages or the music pages. Designers will love the graph paper and writers the lined paper. I contacted the seller to be sure he can meet your needs before Christmas, so get those orders in ASAP and watch eyes light up at what will become a treasured possession for any creative person in your life.
11. Perfectly Simple hand-painted earrings
Perfectly Simple earrings by Katie has a huge selection of locally crafted earrings, from fun to fancy, so picking my favorites was pretty much impossible. She’s got sugar skulls, music notes, mustaches, football and Mickey Mouse, and her Jack Skellington series seems to be a very popular buy. She has sparkles for the holidays, neon for the funky, and these adorable baseball earrings that I cannot get over. The Pirates fan in your life will flip over them. But I couldn’t choose them over her newest design, hand-painted wood earrings in trendy colors such as coral and turquoise, so I picked both! God help you in making selections for the earring-wearer in your life. But at 8 to 10 bucks a pop, you can grab several sets just to be safe. P.S. YINZ EARRINGS!
12. Mister Rogers Sticky Note Set
“A sticky-note set. Really, PittGirl?!” Really. Not just any sticky-note set; this incredible Mister Rogers-themed set that comes in adorable book format. It includes six different types of notes. You’ve got the main sticky note that allows you to choose what message you want to convey. Then you’ve got the cardigan cut-out notes, and finally, four character sticky tabs perfect to replace those boring “Sign here” yellow tabs you’ve been using. “But who in the world would I give this to, PittGirl?!” Literally ANYONE. Teachers and professors will flip over it. Kids will go crazy leaving sticky notes all over the place. Your boss will become kinder and gentler when leaving you reminders, and your co-workers will probably crack you up with the myriad fun ways they find to use this notepad. Just trust me. Buy a bunch of these and be awesome. Pair them with the Mister Rogers Encouragemint tin and be extra awesome.
($6 at the Heinz History gift shop or online) [shop.heinzhistorycenter.org]
13. The Wright Stuff raw honey products
Don’t even give me that look. We already had this discussion with the sticky notes. You gotta just trust me sometimes. I know what I’m doing here. Honey. YES, HONEY. Now, this isn’t just any honey; these raw honey products are the result of the hard work put in by bees cared for by WTAE’s own Michelle Wright, hence the name The Wright Stuff (I’m not gonna lie; I’m singing NKOTB right now.) When she’s not sitting behind the anchor desk, Michelle is busy as a bee(keeper). She offers a full line of products, including light, dark and lavender-infused honeys, as well as lotion and Wright Stuff-branded merchandise. You can also buy honeycomb. I had to Google it. You can EAT honeycomb. What you want to do is grab one bottle of each honey, pair it with the lotion and perhaps the honey infuser for the perfect sweet gift. And then you get to tell the recipient that Michelle Wright from WTAE made it just for them. Right here in Pittsburgh.
(from $8) [thewrightstuffhoney.com]
14. Better Call Sauerkraut Saul or Igloo ultra-soft t-shirts
I’m probably reaching for a niche market here, but if you’ve got loved ones who love the Pirates and the award-winning series Breaking Bad or its spinoff show Better Call Saul, they are going to love this hilarious “Better Call Saul” shirt from Pittsburgh Shirt Co. featuring the one and only Sauerkraut Saul. Why call Saul? Because you need dinner. Because you want to know who has the best odds at winning the next pierogi race at PNC Park. Just don’t call for legal advice. That is ill-advised because pierogies are terrible at law. Choose in ultra-soft red or yellow. Or go for their bamboo (for softness) shirt with the throwback Civic Arena print.
(Starting at $10) [etsy.com]
15. Studebaker Metals Braddock Cuff
You’ve heard of Studebaker Metals by now probably. Owners Michael Studebaker and Alyssa Catalano are crafting heirloom-quality metal pieces in their shop which recently relocated to Braddock, where they now have a brick-and-mortar storefront. In honor of their new hometown, they’re offering the Braddock cuff, a beautiful unisex piece in brass, copper or silver; it comes stamped with “Braddock” as well as “Studebaker.” The great thing about buying this particular cuff is that profits are donated to the Braddock Youth Project, so your purchase not only lets you cross one off the gift list, it lets you do some good too. Be sure to shop their other cuffs, belts, necklaces, grooming tools and more.
(from $50) [studebakermetals.com]
16. Pittsburgh-themed Adult Coloring Book
Relax. Adult in this case doesn’t mean what adult normally means when it comes to publishing. Adults, as in people over the age of 18, have recently come to understand the therapeutic power of markers, and I don’t mean sniffing them. If there’s an adult or teen in your life who lovingly caresses new markers the way Gollum took to the rings, then you’re going to want to snag this Pittsburgh-themed adult coloring book for them. You won’t find giant swaths of space fit for a toddler’s manic crayon stylings. Instead, this book features places such as the Strip, Oakland, Kennywood, Polish Hill, the Horne’s tree and other Pittsburgh faves using rather tiny intricate spaces that come together to create beautiful pictures perfect for hours of therapeutic coloring. Pair it with a giant pack of new markers from your local mom-and-pop art supply store.
($12.59 on Amazon) [amazon.com]