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Our Outside The Box, All-Local Gift Guide

From kitschy kitchen aprons to virtual-world experiences, there's something for everyone on your list.

IN INDY this season, there is so much to give. Why not think of another way to approach shopping this season? Sure, you’ll more than likely have to give something tangible, but maybe these gifts will build lasting memories.

Gifts For The Holiday Parties

Need a foolproof prezzie? Whether it’s a Secret Santa for the work gathering, a white elephant for your in-laws’ traditional game, or a little thank-you to bring to your neighbor’s soiree, we’ve got you covered.

Mystery gift guide bag with a variety of items including a book and small planter

Take the guessing completely out of the occasion for both you and the gift recipient with a Mystery Bag from Black Sheep Gifts.Photo courtesy Black Sheep Gifts

WHO KNOWS? It never fails, right? In the office Secret Santa, you draw the name of the coworker you actually know the least about. What to do? Order up the Coworker Mystery Bag. Just provide the most basic of info, and a fun gift that looks like major effort will be whipped together. Pick it up, or have it delivered in the Indy area for free. Starting at $25. Black Sheep Gifts, 5626 E. Washington St., 317-602-5442,

BUBBLED UP. The Cheers Gift Set is a gorgeous collection of four soy candles that seems ever so celebratory. Each tin has a 23-hour burn time, so whether your giftee lights Demi Sec Vintage, Blanc de Noirs, or one of the other bubbly-scented candles first, they’ll have ambience aplenty. $45. Bath Junkie, 741 Hanover Pl., Carmel, 317-805-1850,

MUFF STUFF. Everyone needs fresh new mittens when winter comes around again. It’s a practical, classic, and cozy gift. These alpaca wool, handknit Flittens are fleece lined and convert to fingerless for comfort and convenience. They come in several other colors. $29. Global Gifts, multiple locations,

an intricately cut wood board

This intricate wood tray might be too pretty to throw anything on.Photo courtesy Shine Home Design

LAY IT ON ME. This beautiful Mango Wood Tray has striking handcarved details, including an elevated rim and rounded edges. It would be perfect for serving artisan crackers or even as a standout candy dish. $21. Shine Design Home, 8594 E. 116th St., Fishers, 317-572-5546,

EMBELLISHED. For a budget-friendly yet personal gift, turn to this Hometown Ornament. If you have someone on your list that you’d like to get a “little something,” this is ideal. Other maps are available. $6. Time & Again, 230 S. Main St., Fortville, 317-747-0122,

HEAT WAVES. Small succulents and cacti have become super popular, and it’s easy to see why. They go with most any decor, are hard to kill—and they’re cute. Case in point: this Miniature Desert Landscape, a 5-inch cactus garden in a traditional terra cotta bowl. Add a green bow, and you’re good to go. $30. The Botanical Bar, 1103 N. College Ave., 317-319-9591,

RAISE A GLASS. A toast … to rocking around the Christmas tree (or whatever gets your gift recipient grooving)! We love the CHILL Double Old Fashioned Glass and so will they. It’s also available in CHEERS and DOUBLE. $16.95. Decorate, 708 Massachusetts Ave., 317-737-2109,

A green geode coaster

Prevent rings on the table; admire them on this coaster.Photo courtesy Vintage Charm

DOWN TO EARTH. Handmade in the U.S., the stunning Geode Coaster is a can’t-miss holiday party gift, whether presented singly or as a set of two or more. You’ll find it in other stone colors as well, all equally striking. $10. Vintage Charm, 130 S. Main St., Zionsville, 317-344-6304,

Gifts For The Delivery Junkie

Gifting a subscription this season lands right in the convenient-thoughtful sweet spot. You get brownie points for effort, but someone else is curating, packaging, and delivering. Win. And win. Here are the ones that we think are worth your money.

assorted pastel macarons

MAC OUT. Gallery Pastry Shop makes delicious French macarons daily in raspberry, lemon, salted caramel, white chocolate vanilla bean, and dark chocolate varieties. Through its Macs.Well division, you can arrange monthly shipments of these naturally gluten-free goodies for $25 per box of six assorted flavors or $35 per dozen. Bon appetit! 1101 E. 54th St., 317-820-5526,

FLOWER ON THE HOUR. Everything’s coming up roses with Bokay Florist’s flower subscriptions, which can be delivered weekly, biweekly, monthly, or quarterly. Choose from original, deluxe, or premium arrangements ranging from $35 to $60 per order. Bouquets of seasonal flowers and houseplant options are also available. 5890 N. Keystone Ave., 317-253-2323,

TEA TIME. Whether your loved one’s favorite cup of tea is Earl Grey, Lapsang, or Moroccan Mint, Tea’s Me Cafe provides a plan to try a trio of flavors each month. Tea’sing VIP Status membership includes a 1-ounce tea satchel and two sampler bags for $19.95 per order with delivery or pickup options available. A steeper, teaspoon, and coaster come with the first installment. 140 E. 22nd St., 317-920-1016,


Ash & Elm’s Fleeting Youth CiderImage by Baylie Blake

HARD CIDER. Be the apple of your friend’s (or family member’s) eye with a rotating selection of sparkling beverages from Ash & Elm Cider Co. Through the Cider Club, you can gift a quarterly set of four seasonal flavors (16 cans total) for $50 plus shipping. A one-month package of eight cans is also available for $25. Memberships include perks like discounts on restaurant purchases and online orders, early access to limited-edition ciders, and tasting sessions with the makers. 1301 E. Washington St., 317-600-3164,

JUICED UP. Drink up a healthy mix of certified organic fruits and vegetables through 317 Juicery’s recurring delivery service, offered in weekly, biweekly, and monthly increments. Choose any quantity and assortment of Beet Delight, Carrot Bliss, Grapefruit Gold, Sweet Greens, Ginger Sunrise, and Wheatgrass Wellness blends. A 5 percent discount applies to its regular pricing, which ranges from $3.80 to $8.55 per bottle. 317-701-0706,

DROP THE NEEDLE. Give the audiophile in your life something to sing about with regular vinyl and CD deliveries from Luna Music. Once a month, staff-selected albums or discs will be mailed to friends and family members for their listening pleasure. Pricing starts at $150 for a six-month vinyl LP plan and goes up to $275 for a full year of records. All subscriptions come with a bonus gift, so be sure to include your recipient’s shirt size. 5202 N. College Ave., 317-283-5862,

ATHLEISURE. Any fitness enthusiasts or on-the-go pals on your holiday shopping list? Treat them to stylish, comfortable new activewear every 30, 60, or 90 days with Green Apple Boutique’s Core Box subscription. Simply answer a few questions about workout preference, lifestyle, sizing, and favorite colors, and a stylist will send a custom selection of wardrobe items for review. A $20 styling fee applies to each order, and unwanted items can be shipped back with provided packaging and labels. 70 N. Main St., Zionsville, 317-586-8727,

a box spilling over with packaged meats

You might be sending the meat sweats with this Butcher Box from Turchetti’s.Photo by Tony Valainis

MEATHEAD. Get right to the meat of the matter and fill up your friends’ fridges and freezers with Turchetti’s Supply & Protein Service monthly butcher boxes. Choice cuts of Indiana pasture-raised, organic-fed beef, chicken, and pork are carefully frozen, packaged, and insulated to arrive fresh at Indy-area households. Choose from combo protein boxes for $70 to $90 or a 14-pound all-chicken selection for $139. 1106 Prospect St., 317-426-3048,

Gifts For The Local Lover

Our mothers always told us homemade presents are the very best kind. The handiworks of our remarkable local makers prove that mom is, in fact, always right. Here is where you’ll find that unique gift for that person on your list who has everything.

Shisha Candles has scents like A Trip to The Dunes, Walk on the Canal, and, simply, Indy.Photo courtesy Shisha Candles

LIGHT MY FIRE. As the decorative candle trend continues to blaze, Shisha Candles owner Alisha Thompson finds ways to craft cheekier scents one after another with bold labels to match. We’re obsessed with the heartmelting line named The Hoosier Collection, with such nostalgia-inducing scents as Late Night in Broad Ripple, with red wine, orange, and raspberry notes. Recalling a night on the avenue can come at a much lower cost than actually painting the town red. $25. 

ADORNMENT. WORN jewelry pieces are designed by artist Braydee Euliss in her home studio with a slow method using raw, industrial, and salvaged materials. This Deep Swing Two-Tone Necklace, for instance, is made with raw- and blackened-brass square tubes that cling to a silver wheat chain. Jewelry trends come and go, but Euliss’s modern, one-of-a-kind necklaces, earrings, and bracelets will always wear well. $175.

PUMP UP THE VOLUME. Add Jessie’s Magic Powder Starter Kit (from the owner of Rooftop Fruits) of dry shampoo to your beauty arsenal. The silky and translucent formula consists of all-natural, finely milled powders that have serious absorption power. The cute pump bottle is aerosol-free and refillable. Get ready to let your (revitalized) hair down at those holiday parties. $52. 1058 Virginia Ave.,

FEEL GOODS. Salt & Ash is Fountain Square’s newest store after its soft opening on Small Business Saturday. The little shop sells handcrafted soaps, scrubs, bath bombs, and lotions. The products with all natural ingredients are good for those with even the most sensitive skin. And eco-responsible packaging is good for the planet. Be kind to your dermis this winter with the comforting Milk & Honey Hand & Body Lotion. $20. 1006 Virginia Ave.,

The state of indiana with peony flowers on it is one our fave gift guide items

Indiana Peony State Flower Pin

PUT A PIN IN IT. Illustrator Whitney Bennett is the designer behind whimsical Lil Boat Boutique products. Our favorite state flower enamel pin is available for preorder. The Indiana Peony Pin is gold-plated with a navy backdrop, pink blossoms, and verdant leaves. The back is double-posted with pink rubber backings, so the 19th state will securely festoon your lapel. You’ll also find stickers, magnets, and postcards with the floral Hoosier State design. $12.

SEW ON AND SEW FORTH. Cover your back this winter with a Quilt Coat from Reclaim and Rethread. You might spot designer Jessica Cottongim making her way around the state in her psychedelically painted bus-boutique selling her reconstructed quilted fashions. Cottongim merges a few trends: the revival of patchwork patterns, the return of ’90s street style, and an appetite for slow fashion. Talk about making a blanket statement. $160.

TAKE A SPIN. Don’t glaze over the selection of beautiful pottery from Prairie General’s house brand, A Question of Eagles. The modern plant parent will home in on their Horizon Planters among the mix of grooved mugs, tumblers, tableware, and home accessories. This store at the 54th and Monon Shops is packed with sustainable and practical gifts. Planters start at $36. 1057 E. 54th St.,

Crystals in someone's hair

Tuck crystals in your hair for an ethereal, chic vibe.Photo courtesy Salame Jewelry Designs

POWER UP. One could put flowers in their hair … or they could put beautiful crystals in those luxe locks. Dazzling natural quartz and amethyst stones are turned into one-of-a-kind hairpins by Rana Salame Striedinger. The pins can be tucked into braids, buns, and topknots, or to keep bangs at bay. Choose from silver, gold, or rose gold for the wire wrapping. $16.50 for two.

Gifts for the Foodies

Sure, we’d all like to gift that lover of local dining and drinking a Saturday night reservation for two at The Fountain Room, tab paid. But if you need to keep your gifting a bit more modest this year, look to our picks. They’re all sure to charm even the pickiest of self-proclaimed foodies.

Goose the Market basket is the perfect addition to any gift basket

Goose the Market is one gift basket sure to be devoured in no time.Photo courtesy Goose the Market

BASKET CASE. Goose the Market, a perennial cheerleader for local foods, assembles hefty Indiana Gift Baskets that range in price and scope, from Build a Board cheese and charcuterie box to a sweet all-local assembly of Frittle, Broad Ripple Chips, Tinker Coffee, Just Pop In popcorn, and Smoking Goose salame. Baskets start at $70. 2503 N. Delaware St., 317-924-4944,

CRUMBLE. The Ooey Gooey Butter Cookies stacked next to the cash register at all three area Rosie’s Place locations are an impulse buy well worth the indulgence. For those on your list who don’t have easy access to the cafe’s signature confection, a dozen of them presented in a giftable tin will more than do. And Rosie’s will ship them to the lucky recipient’s door. $53.50.

BITTER SWEET. Step away from the bottle of wine. Instead, surprise them with a bottle of Roasted Pistachio Olive Oil or, our favorite, Cherry Bourbon Balsamic Vinegar. Oh, and wondering what Fleur Del Sel, the “caviar of salts,” tastes like? Sidle up to the tasting bar, where you can sample whatever you like. Starting at $17.64, depending on size. Artisano’s Oils & Spices, 1101 E. 86th St., 317-251-4100,

HATS OFF. Among the eye-catching merch from a near-westside brewery known for its artful can designs, Guggman Haus Brewing’s Retro Blue Tree Pom beanie has a wintry forest-top scene woven into the pattern, a work of art that warms the noggin. $24. Guggman Haus Brewing Co., 1701 Gent Ave., 317-602-6131,

SMORGASBOARD. Charcuterie has become The Thing, and with it, an abundance of accoutrements. And let’s not forget about the trending butter board versions and their spinoffs. The Charcuterie Boards from local craftsperson Lauren Henry are the ones we want at our parties, though. The wooden boards adorned with vibrant swirling accents are both beautiful and practical, made to last for years. Custom pieces are available upon request, too. Starting at $40.

KITCHEN ARMOR. That home chef in your life can always use a new apron. The TAG Nutcracker Girl Apron is fun and festive. It’s 100 percent cotton for easy washing, and the neck size is adjustable. $36.99. The Accent Shop, 1480 E. 86th St., 317-844-4150,

CHOP CHOP. For that really special foodie on Santa’s Nice List this year, consider an Ash Blaed Knife. It’s the perfect gift for the person who appreciates the importance of high-quality kitchen tools. The slicing-and-dicing dynamos are handcrafted in McCordsville. High-carbon steel blades are housed in polished, found-hardwood handles. Each one comes with an unconditional lifetime guarantee, as well as free maintenance and sharpening. You’ll find more options than you can shake a steak at, from American chef knives and boning knives to mushroom-foraging scalpels and paring and pocket knives. Starting at $225.

Gifts For The Doers

For recipients who don’t need any more things, an experience is the way to go.

People with VR gear on

Go on a conquest with a group up to six at Sandbox VR.Photo courtesy Sandbox VR

IS THIS REAL LIFE? Battling monsters and bad guys, playing sports, wandering a fantastical world, and even working out come to life in entirely new ways when you don virtual reality glasses. And if you’re leery of shelling out $400 (at least) for Meta Quest 2, let your recipient test the waters at a local virtual reality arcade. Sandbox VR (850 Massachusetts Ave.,; $50-55 per guest), Press Play Gaming Lounge (1004 E. Main St., Brownsburg,; $10 for a 15-minute session), and The Virtual Galaxy (291 Shiloh Crossing Dr., Avon,; $12 for a 15-minute session) offer dozens of games—and gift cards.

A woman holding a cocktail glass

Raise a glass to Mixo owner Katie Slonim.Photo by Tony Valainis

CHEERS! The only thing you provide in a Mixo Indy experience is your kitchen sink. Owner Katie Slonim handles the rest—glassware, tools, ingredients, ice, and, most importantly, expert instruction. Two-hour, two-drink, in-home sessions require a minimum of six people, or really shake things up for your budding bartender with Mixo 101, a four-week course in February that culminates in a cocktail competition. $75 per person for in-home classes, $450 for Mixo 101;

THE ART OF COOKING. Fine dining and fine art pair beautifully at the Harrison Center’s Art Dish dinners. A local chef provides a multicourse meal, while an area artist joins guests for thoughtful conversation around a communal table that descends from the ceiling. Next up is January 9 with artist Johnny McKee and chef Andrew Whitmoyer from Black Acre Brewing; more 2023 dates TBA. $150 per person. 1505 N. Delaware St., 317-396-3886,

DREAM TOUR. It used to be that only select VIPs had access to the basement of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum where an exclusive collection of vintage cars and racing artifacts idled. Now though, the Basement Collection Tour, a 30-minute, no-photos-allowed journey through racing history, is open to anyone, the perfect warmup lap to month of May festivities. $150 per person. 4750 W. 16th St., 317-492-6784,

Climbing is the main attraction at North Mass Boulder but one of its owners says that most of its visitors have never touched a rock wall.Photo by Tony Valainis

THE CLIMB. Introduce a new way for workout enthusiasts to level up their routines. North Mass Boulder is primarily a place for bouldering, which is rope-free climbing using hand and foot “rests.” But there’s also yoga, group fitness classes, free weights and a cafe. How-to sessions are available; stop in or call for gift certificates. 1411 Roosevelt Ave., 317-953-6667,

INDULGE. How do Tanzanian cacao beans differ from Peruvian beans? Find out in this sweet session at SoChatti inside the Circle City Industrial Complex. Sample four chocolates, each paired with a pour of vino; snack on charcuterie; make chocolate-drop candies with dried fruits and nuts; and tour the facility to see how the goods are produced. $100 per person. 1125 E. Brookside Ave., Ste. D2, 317-600-3776,

ANIMAL ENCOUNTER. Got an aspiring veterinarian on your list? They can get a head start on their future careers with an Indianapolis Zoo Animal Adventure. Sloth Adventure allows guests to learn about, feed, and (potentially) touch one of the slow-moving creatures, while the Elephant Bathing Experience lets you scrub down an African elephant and find out what else goes into caring for the pachyderms. Gift certificates are available. $200 for up to four zoo members; $280 for up to four nonmembers. 1200 W. Washington St., 317-630-2001,

Bottleworks Hotel

Bottleworks HotelPhoto courtesy The Addison Group

STAYCATION. Lounging in a plush hotel bed all day. No laptop, no kids, and no figuring out what to make for dinner. Doesn’t a staycation sound heavenly? Here are some suggestions: Bottleworks Hotel offers a Love and Luxe package with champagne and other perks (850 Massachusetts Ave., 317-556-1234, The Conrad Indianapolis has multiple packages, or you could splurge on a design-centric Collection Suite (50 W. Washington St., 317-713-5000, Package a stay at Carmel’s refined Hotel Carmichael with a show at the Palladium or the in-house Feinstein’s cabaret club (1 Carmichael Square, Carmel, 317-688-1700, Getaway’s latest offering between Columbus and Nashville sits on 250 Brown County acres. Each of the pet-friendly cabins features a kitchenette, a queen bed, a real bathroom—and a cellphone lockbox to truly unplug (


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