Guide to local holiday gifts

Christmas gifts

With Christmas, an annual diaspora sends family members and friends scrambling from state to state—some coming and some leaving Alachua County. But whether you’re trying to grab up a few more stocking stuffers or still need an obligatory gift for that distant family member who’s showing up this year, we’ve compiled some resources for your easy.  

From experiences to local artisans and shops, here are some ideas to help you finish off your list.  

Everyone loves coffee 

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Everyone should love coffee. And chances are good that someone you know would enjoy locally roasted beans as a stocking stuffer.  

Resident Coffee Roasters sells 12-ounce and 5-pound bags of coffee beans along with a weekly or bi-weekly subscription. One special blend—A Love Letter To Gainesville—also supports local foster care.  

You can also get merchandise from local coffee shops like mugs or shirts. Wyatts Coffee in downtown Gainesville sells a variety of shirt designs.  

Opus Coffee also features a wide selection of mugs, shirts and locally roasted coffee with local ties—like a Fest blend and 1884 Porters Quarters blend.  

Local breweries 

For age-appropriate gifting, local breweries also feature merchandise and drinks.  

First Magnitude sells 12-ounce cans of some of its favorite brews. Perfect to keep family members from up north warm for the winter. Swamp Head Brewery also sells 12-ounce and 16-ounce Cans along with pint glasses, koozies and more.  

Check out your favorite breweries and see what might make a good gift.  

Museum gift shops 

Gainesville boasts an assortment of museums, and their gift shops might hide a good gift for a variety of receivers.  

The Harn Museum of Art sells reproductions of some of its works along with one-of-a-kind pieces by local artists. The store sells jewelry, accessories, stationery, ceramics, books and games. Just stop by and peruse.  

Cade Museum
Cade Museum

The shop at the Florida Natural History Museum sells tree ornaments, butterfly boxes, GNV glassware and books on almost every –ology under the sun. You can check out a lot of items at the shop’s website., and all proceeds go to the museum exhibits and public programs.  

The Cade Museum of Creativity and Invention stocks its Loot Lab with souvenirs, games and activities for kids in all grades and probably some adults, too.  

For local history buffs, the Matheson History Museum could prove fertile soil for gifts. You can expect to find historic postcards, yearbooks, maps and books on Florida history. Check out the museum’s website for hours.  

Local authors 

For the reader in your life, check out these three local authors.  

UF Professor Jack E. Davis won the Pulitzer Prize for History in 2018 for “The Gulf: The Making of an American Sea.” This year, he released a new nonfiction book “The Bald Eagle: The Improbable Journey of America’s Bird.”  

Gainesville’s Matheson History Museum held the book launch for his most recent work that chronicles five centuries of the Bald Eagle, a species exclusive to North America.  

Hawthorne native Tommy Wiggins will have an author meet and greet at The Wrap Shack on Tuesday, Dec. 28, from 5 to 7 p.m.
Courtesy of Tommy Wiggins Hawthorne native Tommy Wiggins has authored novels set in his hometown.

For another nature read, consider “The Sound of the Sea: Seashells and the Fate of the Oceans.” Published in 2021, the Tampa Bay Times and Kirkus Reviews both selected the work as the best book and best nonfiction book of the year, respectively.  

Written by Cynthia Barnett, also a UF professor, the book dives into seashells and the animals that make them. Barnett details cities of shells in North America and pulls in Ghana, the Maldives and the rest of the world to tell the story.  

Outside of nonfiction, Hawthorne native Tommy Wiggins has set a couple of YA novels in the town. The novels move between paranormal and sci-fi while set in the real-world Hawthorne. Wiggins also published a children’s Christmas tale, “The Spirit of the North,” in 2020.  

Check out those and other titles on his website. You can also read our 2021 Q&A with Wiggins.  

For other local authors, the Writers Alliance of Gainesville has an extensive list of works across every genre. The Writers Alliance also publishes an annual literary review with short stories, poetry and humor pieces from around the world. Learn more about the literary review in our interview with its editor.  

Experiences 

For the person with all the stuff, try giving an experience instead. Or perhaps somebody in your life just needs to get out of the house.  

Mill Creek Farms hosts over 100 horses at its Retirement Home for Horses in Alachua. The farm offers a 3-month or full year sponsorship program. Pick a horse and co-sponsor him/her for however long you’d like.  

The one-year sponsorship includes a Certificate of Sponsorship along with photos, information and updates on your horse. You can also visit your sponsored retiree on Saturdays at the farm.  

Read our story on the farm to learn more.  

From Gainesville, a one-hour ride will bring you to the gate of at least nine of Florida’s state parks—depending on your driving style. An annual state park pass, $60 for an individual or $120 for a family of up to eight, gives unlimited trips.  

Also, the Hippodrome Theatre will run two holiday plays right up to Christmas weekend.   

Mill Creek Farms hosts more than 100 horses at its Retirement Home for Horses in Alachua.
Photo by Seth Johnson Mill Creek Farms hosts more than 100 horses at its Retirement Home for Horses in Alachua.

Quick hits 

We asked our daily newsletter subscribers for their go-to businesses for local gifts. We included entries up above and here’s a list of some others.  

Thornebrook Chocolate Shop 

  • Chocolate goods 

The Shop in Micanopy 

  • Antiques, home and patio decor 

Book Gallery West at Millhopper Shopping Center 

  • New and used bookstore with gifts, greeting cards 

Malgorzata’s at Thornebrook Village 

  • Gallery and boutique with handmade clothing, accessories 

Soapmaker Monica  

  • Soaps, essential oils, body and face creams 

Florida Springs Institute 

  • Branded shirts, mugs, dry bags, stickers 

Saporito 

  • Specialty olive oils and vinegars 

Haile Farmers Market 

Life Unplastic at Thornebrook Village 

  • Reusable goods, cleaning supplies, personal care items 

Swamp Farm Suds 

  • Homemade soaps, candles 

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Cory Brunson

If you or your giftee like vintage or crafted holiday stuff, the pop-up shop at Reuse Planet has a surprising variety of ornaments, kitchenware, and other decor! And they’ve got something for any budget.