December 15, 2015

30 Cleveland Gifts to Help Make You a Hero This Holiday Season

Have you heard of this “shop local” thing? Sure you have. But if you need a reminder: Supporting local businesses and makers is something you should and probably already do all year, but the holiday season is one of those times when it makes extra sense for both parties. Instead of delivering a sale-rack something or other from Target to your loved one, you can deliver something unique to make your loved one feel, well, loved. On the other side of the token, those holiday dollars you’re spending go directly toward the livelihoods of artisans and owners who are doing business right here in Northeast Ohio.

In that vein, we’ve rounded up a whole mess of our favorite local wares and services and experiences to help you deliver something righteous during the holidays. And there’s more where that came from: Check out the Dining section for 25 more gift ideas, all food or drink related. Enjoy.

By Scene Staff

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Ricky Vaughn T-shirt - $18.95
There are plenty of terrific ways to express Cleveland sports pride. (Whether you really want to is another conversation entirely.) We suggest, however, that you go a bit off-kilter for your Tribe-loving family members. Go way back, to a fictional time when a haphazard Indians team rose above the odds and changed the way the game was played. At the heart of that little tale? One Ricky Vaughn. Wild Thing. Sheen. Cafe Press is slinging a great tee that features Vaughn’s iconic skull-and-crossbones-adorned glasses. Get yourself one while you’re at it, and go sing the Tribe’s praises this summer. tinyurl.com/rvaughncle
Ricky Vaughn T-shirt - $18.95

There are plenty of terrific ways to express Cleveland sports pride. (Whether you really want to is another conversation entirely.) We suggest, however, that you go a bit off-kilter for your Tribe-loving family members. Go way back, to a fictional time when a haphazard Indians team rose above the odds and changed the way the game was played. At the heart of that little tale? One Ricky Vaughn. Wild Thing. Sheen. Cafe Press is slinging a great tee that features Vaughn’s iconic skull-and-crossbones-adorned glasses. Get yourself one while you’re at it, and go sing the Tribe’s praises this summer. tinyurl.com/rvaughncle

Distressed blue tote - $250
Local furniture builder Freddy Hill came to the realization that his handcrafted furniture that regularly retails for $10,000 and up wasn’t something his friends and family could routinely afford. So he started making handbags. Assembled with the same care and dedication, they’re really sharp looking and combine function and fashion. Made out of “antiqued” blue leather, the standard tote features cotton lining with one zippered pocket, two pouches, oil-tanned black leather straps and a matching leather keychain. It also comes with antique brass hardware. He sells them online and at his space in the Screw Factory but you can also find them at Lingg in Chagrin, Noto in Akron and Blackbird Fly in Ohio City. Freddyhill1976.com
Distressed blue tote - $250

Local furniture builder Freddy Hill came to the realization that his handcrafted furniture that regularly retails for $10,000 and up wasn’t something his friends and family could routinely afford. So he started making handbags. Assembled with the same care and dedication, they’re really sharp looking and combine function and fashion. Made out of “antiqued” blue leather, the standard tote features cotton lining with one zippered pocket, two pouches, oil-tanned black leather straps and a matching leather keychain. It also comes with antique brass hardware. He sells them online and at his space in the Screw Factory but you can also find them at Lingg in Chagrin, Noto in Akron and Blackbird Fly in Ohio City. Freddyhill1976.com

Glenn Petranek print - $25 (11x14)
In late November, a photo of the Cleveland skyline worked its way around Facebook and Imgur. It was a stunning, colorful shot of our iconic buildings and an imposing full moon. The lights reflected hallucinogenically off a calm Lake Erie. Listen, it was the best photo we’d ever seen of our city’s wonderful skyline. Glenn Petranek, the photographer who snapped the shot on Nov. 25, immediately began receiving praise from around town. “I took that [photo] at the full moon rise the Wednesday before last Thanksgiving,” Petranek tells us. “There was an organized shoot that evening with nearly 100 photographers on the upper part of Edgewater Park. I decided not to be a part of that crowd and went to the far west edge of Edgewater, down a set of stairs to Perkins Beach. There the city lights reflected off a glass-like lake, enabling me to get the shot.” glennpics.com
Glenn Petranek print - $25 (11x14)

In late November, a photo of the Cleveland skyline worked its way around Facebook and Imgur. It was a stunning, colorful shot of our iconic buildings and an imposing full moon. The lights reflected hallucinogenically off a calm Lake Erie. Listen, it was the best photo we’d ever seen of our city’s wonderful skyline. Glenn Petranek, the photographer who snapped the shot on Nov. 25, immediately began receiving praise from around town. “I took that [photo] at the full moon rise the Wednesday before last Thanksgiving,” Petranek tells us. “There was an organized shoot that evening with nearly 100 photographers on the upper part of Edgewater Park. I decided not to be a part of that crowd and went to the far west edge of Edgewater, down a set of stairs to Perkins Beach. There the city lights reflected off a glass-like lake, enabling me to get the shot.” glennpics.com

Welshly Arms self-titled on vinyl - $20
Without a doubt, 2015 was the Year of Welshly Arms in Cleveland’s music scene. The band took their Positively Cleveland spot from last year and built off that local renown with alacrity. In May, they released a formidable self-titled album that laid the groundwork for months of shows and a growing fan base. And sure, you can stream the thing on your Macbook at work and make instant friends, but — for your loved ones ­— you’re gonna want to order a copy on vinyl. That’s how you listen to rock ’n’ roll. welshlyarms.com
Welshly Arms self-titled on vinyl - $20

Without a doubt, 2015 was the Year of Welshly Arms in Cleveland’s music scene. The band took their Positively Cleveland spot from last year and built off that local renown with alacrity. In May, they released a formidable self-titled album that laid the groundwork for months of shows and a growing fan base. And sure, you can stream the thing on your Macbook at work and make instant friends, but — for your loved ones ­— you’re gonna want to order a copy on vinyl. That’s how you listen to rock ’n’ roll. welshlyarms.com

Holden Arboretum membership - $55 and up
With the advent of winter, it can be bittersweet to think of warmer days; summer is so far away! But that’s no excuse not to be outside. The Holden Arboretum is one of Northeast Ohio’s outdoor gems — and the grounds are open year-round! The recent expansions from last fall make this a must-visit for your 2016; the new Judith and Maynard H. Murch IV Canopy Walk and the Kalberer Family Emergent Tower should be enough to lure longtime “Holden Arb” devotees and the uninitiated alike. What better way to get up in the trees than with a membership right at the start of the year? The pass will pay for itself after five visits, which is a simple task when you consider how much there is to see and take in at the place. The “Member Plus” rate ($75) lets you bring guests. 
holdenarb.org (Photo by Lisa DeJong)
Holden Arboretum membership - $55 and up

With the advent of winter, it can be bittersweet to think of warmer days; summer is so far away! But that’s no excuse not to be outside. The Holden Arboretum is one of Northeast Ohio’s outdoor gems — and the grounds are open year-round! The recent expansions from last fall make this a must-visit for your 2016; the new Judith and Maynard H. Murch IV Canopy Walk and the Kalberer Family Emergent Tower should be enough to lure longtime “Holden Arb” devotees and the uninitiated alike. What better way to get up in the trees than with a membership right at the start of the year? The pass will pay for itself after five visits, which is a simple task when you consider how much there is to see and take in at the place. The “Member Plus” rate ($75) lets you bring guests. holdenarb.org (Photo by Lisa DeJong)

Meditation course - $50
If you dabble at all in the art of mindfulness or self-improvement, you’ve undoubtedly heard of the importance of meditation in daily life. Even 10 minutes of zazen will center a person, allowing him or her to more clearly see their place in a society wracked with suffering. But meditation ain’t easy, to say nothing of even the half-lotus sitting position. Cleveland Shambhala can help out. Do you know someone who’s interested in delving into a Buddhist perspective? Sign them up for Cleveland Shambhala’s five-week “Contentment in Everyday Life” course (Jan. 14 to  Feb. 11) or any other program they might be running in 2016. cleveland.shambhala.org
17309 Madison Ave., Lakewood
Meditation course - $50

If you dabble at all in the art of mindfulness or self-improvement, you’ve undoubtedly heard of the importance of meditation in daily life. Even 10 minutes of zazen will center a person, allowing him or her to more clearly see their place in a society wracked with suffering. But meditation ain’t easy, to say nothing of even the half-lotus sitting position. Cleveland Shambhala can help out. Do you know someone who’s interested in delving into a Buddhist perspective? Sign them up for Cleveland Shambhala’s five-week “Contentment in Everyday Life” course (Jan. 14 to Feb. 11) or any other program they might be running in 2016. cleveland.shambhala.org 17309 Madison Ave., Lakewood

Cool gear for your home bar - Various (low) prices
One of the best uses of your “home amenities and decor” budget is to funnel that cash toward a dynamic home bar. Stock your bar with fine spirits and bottles, and you’ll never find yourself lacking when guests stop by for a pre- or post-dinner beverage. But before you go a-boozin’, you’re going to need the requisite glasses, decanters, juicers, shakers, and everything in between. That’s where Dean Supply comes in. This place is a veritable wonderland of kitchen accoutrements. It’s where local chefs like Dante Boccuzzi get their gear. And while it’s certainly the best place in town to buy cooking ware, let’s get back to the bar talk: They’ve got you covered. Go forth, pick out some nice items for your friends — friends who will later invite you over for cocktails — and revel in your newfound behind-the-bar acumen. deansupplyco.com
3500 Woodland Ave. (Screenshot)
Cool gear for your home bar - Various (low) prices

One of the best uses of your “home amenities and decor” budget is to funnel that cash toward a dynamic home bar. Stock your bar with fine spirits and bottles, and you’ll never find yourself lacking when guests stop by for a pre- or post-dinner beverage. But before you go a-boozin’, you’re going to need the requisite glasses, decanters, juicers, shakers, and everything in between. That’s where Dean Supply comes in. This place is a veritable wonderland of kitchen accoutrements. It’s where local chefs like Dante Boccuzzi get their gear. And while it’s certainly the best place in town to buy cooking ware, let’s get back to the bar talk: They’ve got you covered. Go forth, pick out some nice items for your friends — friends who will later invite you over for cocktails — and revel in your newfound behind-the-bar acumen. deansupplyco.com 3500 Woodland Ave. (Screenshot)

Broccoli Samurai “Evolution” T-shirt - $20
Listen, there’s a hell of a lot of cool band merch around Cleveland. But Broccoli Samurai’s “Evolution” T-shirt — the one with the broccoli stalk literally morphing into a samurai — is our favorite example. You can pick up one for your jam-band-loving cousin on their website or, better yet, you can check out the Very Broccoli Christmas Show at Beachland Ballroom on Dec. 26 and grab some threads in-person after dosing your ears on sweet, sweet music. There are a lot of ways to rep Cleveland on your chest — shirts that say “I Heart the Land” or something — but this one will invite curious conversations and subsequent high-fiving Cleveland pride. brocsam.com
Broccoli Samurai “Evolution” T-shirt - $20

Listen, there’s a hell of a lot of cool band merch around Cleveland. But Broccoli Samurai’s “Evolution” T-shirt — the one with the broccoli stalk literally morphing into a samurai — is our favorite example. You can pick up one for your jam-band-loving cousin on their website or, better yet, you can check out the Very Broccoli Christmas Show at Beachland Ballroom on Dec. 26 and grab some threads in-person after dosing your ears on sweet, sweet music. There are a lot of ways to rep Cleveland on your chest — shirts that say “I Heart the Land” or something — but this one will invite curious conversations and subsequent high-fiving Cleveland pride. brocsam.com

Cleveland Drinks - $20
The brainchild of local comedian Mike Polk Jr. and noted “Angry Browns Fan” Brad Brown, Cleveland Drinks is the most efficient way to get wastey while fumbling through Cleveland references and tongue-in-cheek misery. For example, the player who picks up “The Fumble” can’t use his or her hands until the next turn. And “10-Cent Beer Night”: Whoever has the cheapest beverage at the table must drink. We all pre-game before hitting the West 25th craft beer circuit, and we all enjoy a game during that pre-gaming. Get a deck of Cleveland Drinks cards for your buddy, and suddenly he’ll find himself forced into hosting the party. Listen, as a rule we Clevelanders don’t require much structure to imbibe on any given night — but it sure helps! cledrinks.com
Cleveland Drinks - $20

The brainchild of local comedian Mike Polk Jr. and noted “Angry Browns Fan” Brad Brown, Cleveland Drinks is the most efficient way to get wastey while fumbling through Cleveland references and tongue-in-cheek misery. For example, the player who picks up “The Fumble” can’t use his or her hands until the next turn. And “10-Cent Beer Night”: Whoever has the cheapest beverage at the table must drink. We all pre-game before hitting the West 25th craft beer circuit, and we all enjoy a game during that pre-gaming. Get a deck of Cleveland Drinks cards for your buddy, and suddenly he’ll find himself forced into hosting the party. Listen, as a rule we Clevelanders don’t require much structure to imbibe on any given night — but it sure helps! cledrinks.com

Johannes Brahms Cycle DVD - $60
A local treasure, the Cleveland Orchestra isn’t just the best orchestra in the country; it’s one of the best in the world. Just this month, it has released the Johannes Brahms Cycle DVD set that’s exclusively available here in town. The collection features the four Symphonies, both Piano Concertos, the Violin Concerto and three other orchestral works. That’s plenty of Brahms for the buck. Some of the performances were recorded here at Severance Hall. Come January, you’ll be able to buy the set on Amazon, but it’s currently only available at the Cleveland Orchestra Store. clevelandorchestra.com
1001 Euclid Ave., 216-231-7478
Johannes Brahms Cycle DVD - $60

A local treasure, the Cleveland Orchestra isn’t just the best orchestra in the country; it’s one of the best in the world. Just this month, it has released the Johannes Brahms Cycle DVD set that’s exclusively available here in town. The collection features the four Symphonies, both Piano Concertos, the Violin Concerto and three other orchestral works. That’s plenty of Brahms for the buck. Some of the performances were recorded here at Severance Hall. Come January, you’ll be able to buy the set on Amazon, but it’s currently only available at the Cleveland Orchestra Store. clevelandorchestra.com 1001 Euclid Ave., 216-231-7478