This year, resist the “add to cart” button and bring holiday shopping offline with several ways to enjoy the holiday shopping experience. Shop local and discover gifts for the arts and crafts lover at a variety of shops, find fine wines straight from the tasting room or try before you buy and sample chef-inspired goodies and unique coffee blends. We’ve rounded up some top local gifts sure to impress and leave a lasting memory.
- One of a kind finds. Shipwreck Beads in Olympia offers the world's largest selection of unique beads, in addition to an assortment of beading accessories, jewelry making supplies, and beading books. There’s also a variety of in-store jewelry making classes for beginners. A perfect gift for the arts and crafts lover or an opportunity to start a new hobby together. Another place to visit is the Lighthouse Antiques & Crafts Mall where gift seekers are sure to find a one-of-a-kind treasure with more than one hundred dealers on hand and an abundance of inventory. Open Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m.- 3 p.m., in addition to local produce and farm fresh fare, the Olympia Farmers Market has a plethora of unique textiles and crafts like the on-trend (and so soft!) headbands from Pieces to Peaces, colorful glass art from Great Things in Glass or handcrafted wooden wares from Peak Woodcraft.
- For savvy sippers. Wine, spirits and coffee. Nothing says holidays are here like uncorking a bottle of wine. Swing by Medicine Creek Winery, located on a farm in the Nisqually Valley and pick up an award-winning bottle of Syrah or Sangiovese for an ideal stocking stuffer or hostess gift. If spirits are what you’re seeking, swing by the Salish Sea tasting room in Lacey to try some robust liqueurs. If your special someone is more into the caffeinated category (this is Washington after all), head to Batdorf and Bronson Coffee Roasters or Olympia Coffee Roasters for a variety of blends.
- Great for gourmands. 222 Market in downtown Olympia offers a variety of gift worthy goods. The new artisan food hall is slated to officially open mid-November but several vendors are open now – including The Peddler Creperie, Peddler Bistro, Blind Pig Spirits, and more - with plenty of opportunities for gourmet gifting. Consider a gift certificate for an intimate cooking class from The Pantry, an artesian grocery and cooking school. The Pantry offers local, seasonal products along with local meat, beer, wine and cider.
- Wintertime wellness. Give the gift of relaxation and pamper a special someone at the Swantown Inn and Spa. This memorable, decadent massage is sure to erase the stress of the day and make for a tranquil experience. Turn the visit into a weekend getaway with an overnight stay at the bed and breakfast. Dedicated to the art of well-being, the Seven Inlets Spa at the Little Creek Casino and Resort in Shelton has it all. Choose from a relaxing collection of massage therapies, organic facials and body treatments that incorporate Native American influences and healing elements to soothe the mind and awaken the spirit.
Tis the season for celebration and with so many opportunities to step out on the town, why not choose something that’s both festive and beneficial. Here are a few of our favorite holiday events that give back to the community.
Christmas Forest at Hotel RL, Nov. 30-Dec. 4
The sights and scents of the holiday season will come alive at the annual Providence St. Peter Foundation Christmas Forest, from Wednesday, Nov. 30 thru Sunday, Dec. 4, at the Hotel RL by Red Lion in Olympia. The Christmas Forest is best known for the 30-some beautifully decorated trees and wreaths that are publicly displayed in the main ballroom of the hotel. Those trees are eventually auctioned off during a black-tie gala that has been known to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars a year for a variety of charitable causes and medical equipment. There’s also a fundraiser within a fundraiser called “fund a need” that takes place Friday night during the gala. It’s during “fund a need” that the foundation hopes to raise a significant amount of money for the SouthCareKids organization that aims to help children cope after the death of a loved one. For more information, visit www.provforest.org.
Olympia Toy Run, Dec. 3
The 39th annual Olympia Toy Run brings motorcyclists together for a very worthy purpose: the joy of a child receiving a gift at Christmas. On Saturday December 3, community members will gather with the aim to collect enough toys and donations to ensure that every child in need in the surrounding area unwraps a toy on Christmas day. From avid motorcyclists to weekend riders, the choppers unite on this one day to spread holiday cheer and make a difference. Activities start at 10 a.m., with a parade of motorists taking place at 1 p.m. All the toys and funds collected are donated to The Salvation Army for distribution to needy kids through its Toy n’ Joy Shop. For more information, visit www.olytoyrun.com.