Plus, tell us something good.
By Colin Deppen
Hey there, and welcome to Tuesday. The holidays will be a bit different this year, and many of us will be celebrating without the people and traditions that usually mark the season.
The good news: Gift-giving is a tradition that can easily overcome the distance between us and our loved ones. And it’s a great way to support your favorite local makers and small businesses.
Read on for some of our favorite gift ideas for 2020 — and let the giving begin.
(📸: Incline illustration)
🎞 Rent a movie theater for a private screening. Row House Cinema, Lawrenceville's premier independent movie house, is renting out its theater to families/pods of up to eight people, with more than 400 movies to choose from. The cost is $99 for premium Film Club members, $129 for regular Film Club members, and $149 for everyone else. Book your experience here and be forewarned: Slots are going fast — and in some cases are already gone.
🖼 Museum memberships are the gift that keeps on giving. Carnegie museums are operating with COVID-19 protocols in place, but you don't have to go anywhere to get something out of membership during this pandemic. That's because there are plenty of virtual events being hosted by Carnegie museums, often with discounted rates or free access for members. Here's a list of members-only events currently being offered, and here's more on membership rates and options.
🧀 Spread good cheer with charcuterie and the picnic people at Blanket and Board. No, it's not picnic weather right now — but what better way to fend off a winter of discontent than with a gift certificate for one of Blanket and Board's awesome and artful spreads. And if you can't wait, just get one of their picnic baskets delivered to your home and eat it there. Learn more about Blanket and Board here, and request a gift certificate by emailing them here.
🎟 You don't need a passport to visit the Strip District, but your family and friends will want this one. For $20, the Shop The Strip: Passport Booklet has deals for 75 Strip District businesses, including BOGO cocktails at Kingfly, free hotcakes at Pamela’s P&G Diner, Parma Sausage deals, and more. The booklets are for sale at Allegheny Coffee & Tea Exchange, The Pennsylvania Market, Grandpa Joe’s Candy, and others. You can also grab one online here.
🛍 Boost your favorite Oakland businesses and the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank as a bonus with The Shop2Help Oakland Gift Card Program. How does it work? Spend $25 and get $35 in value, with 25 meals donated to the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank. That's what we call a holiday win-win. Learn more here.
🍝 Give the gift of handmade pasta from the folks at Forma Pasta — which just opened a new retail store in Allentown. But you don't need to leave the house to order their 2020 Holiday Bundle, which comes with four pounds of dried pasta, three jars of homemade sauce, and January's Fresh Pasta Box of the Month. Shop here. Retail price is $75.
🍿 "Pittsburgh Pothole Filler" is the gift that keeps on giving — especially come springtime. No, it's not actual cold-patch, it's popcorn dunked in dark chocolate and a team effort from Pittsburgh Yinzer Greetings and Sarris Candies. The packages are an added bonus, with artwork by cartoonist Rob Rogers. Buy at Giant Eagle, select Hallmark stores, or online here. A six-ounce package retails for $9.95.
📬 Ship a sampling of the most iconic Pittsburgh foods from the 'Burgh Bits and Bites tour to someone you know. Your purchase directly supports seven small local businesses. Retail price is $60. Shop here.
🥃 Gift a custom cocktail kit from Kingfly Spirits in the Strip District. It's got everything the merry mixologist in your life could ask for — local booze, bar tools, and more. Kits can be purchased online here and start at $60.
🍺 If you've got a craft beer enthusiast on your list, First Sip Brew Box has you covered. The Pittsburgh-based subscription service delivers monthly showcases of different breweries in a box complete with beer gear, branded glasses, stickers, other swag, a delicious treat that’s hand-picked to pair, or a lifestyle item that’s crafted with malts and hops. Learn more here. Prices start around $24.99 per month.
☕️ Adda Coffee and Tea House is making it easy this year. They've got subscriptions available for locally made coffee, tea, work-from-home snack baskets, and more. Browse here. Prices vary.
💝 Buy a handmade mask (or bow tie) for someone you love from Homewood's own Knotzland. Shop here. Prices vary.
🔨 Check out Braddock's own Studebaker Metals for hand-forged cuffs, rings, bracelets, necklaces, earrings, keys, and more. Shop here. Prices vary.
😃 Buy something beautiful at Blakbird Jewelry, where artist Selima Dawson uses recycled metals and more to create one-of-a-kind jewelry for every occasion. Browse here. Prices vary.
✡️ Consider pajamukkahs from Pittsburgh-based Chosen Threads or handmade and personalized mezuzahs from Pittsburgh-based designer Cathy Frank. Learn more here with the Pittsburgh Jewish Chronicle's 2020 Chanukah gift guide.
👛 Browse limited-edition reusable handmade bags (for eco-friendly gift wrapping), zipper pouches that can be used for anything from cosmetics to fiber arts projects, reusable cloth face masks, and special home decor items from Pittsburgh's own OakAndArbor. Browse here. Prices vary.
🛍 Find something wearable at Handmade Arcade, "Pittsburgh's biggest holiday craft show." The beloved marketplace for local makers, artists, and artisans is back and going virtual this year. That means you can browse ceramics, clothing, jewelry, toys, and more from the comfort of home. Start shopping here. Prices vary.
💛 Show Pittsburgh makers some love by buying a box of Pittsburgh-made gifts from Love, Pittsburgh. Shop here. Prices vary.
🍵 Celebrate Turner's Tea — everyone's favorite sugary beverage, and one with a surprisingly strong merch game. Browse the entire collection here.
👟 Steel City has a whole line of Mister Rogers merchandise. From socks to shirts to masks. Browse here. Prices vary.
📸 Support Pittsburgh artists this holiday season by buying their work. May we suggest photographer Carla Cardello, whose work you've seen in this newsletter many times under the @CityLifeAdventures Instagram handle. Check out Carla's Etsy store here. Prices vary.
🛁 Stuff those stockings with vegan and vegetarian, lightly scented, and environmentally conscious soaps and candles from Pittsburgh's own Pip & Lola’s. Shop here. Prices vary.
💌 Get your greeting cards and more at 1FlyChicken, a local maker of handmade gifts, art, cards, and "miscellaneous magic." Shop here. Prices vary.
Then help us do more work like it by becoming an Incline Insider. Your support of $8/month makes it possible for us to keep amplifying the local businesses in our community.
🎤 Join the latest installment of "What Black Pittsburgh Needs To Know" from 1Hood Media — multiple dates (Online)
🎄 Get into the holiday spirit with "Liza, with a Tree! A Holiday Drag Variety Show" hosted by Schwa de Vivre (Online)
🎶 Tune in for a free livestream of Pittsburgh Opera's Soldier Songs, a libretto about the soldier’s experience (Online)
🎩 Get tickets to see actor Scott P. Calhoon portray Charles Dickens in this one-man performance for the holiday season (Online)
🎉 Hear breathtaking renditions of holiday classics with Pittsburgh Opera's resident artists at the Holiday Hoopla concert (Online)
👀 Peek inside one of Pittsburgh's most unusual mansions — the Bayernhof Museum — with this Doors Open Pittsburgh virtual event (Online)
🎭 Join the Riverfront Theatre Company for a virtual performance of the holiday classic A Christmas Carol (Online)
✋ Get your stampers ready for a virtual Bingo bash benefitting the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation Western PA/WV chapter (Online)
(📸: Incline illustration)
Since it’s the season of giving, we want to look at the good things 2020 gave us. No doubt, it’s easy to find the bad things in this difficult year. But what were the good things that happened?
Maybe you took a cool trip pre-pandemic. Maybe you adopted a pet. Maybe you got really good at making sourdough bread. Maybe you made a virtual pen pal. Maybe you voted. Maybe you taught your Grandma how to use Zoom. Maybe you got into the habit of making your bed every morning. Maybe you saw a shooting star. Big things, little things, good habits, we want to hear about ‘em and share them here with our Incline community to end this year on a happier note.
So, what’s your good 2020 story? Hit reply to tell us and we might just feature your answer later this month. ✨
Thanks for reading to the bottom and see you back here tomorrow.