The situation: you have an Austinite in your life and you aren’t sure how to show them that you care this Christmas. Last year, you bought them some socks and that didn’t go over too well (although, they probably would have squealed if you’d gotten them some Austin Skyline socks from The Sock Club, just saying). So this year, you want to make an impression… but you have no idea where to start.
Don’t worry about it! Between our last-minute holiday gift guide and these 10 Christmas present suggestions, something’s bound to inspire you. Let’s get started!
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10.) Weirdify their tree with an Austin-themed ornament
If your Austinite is the type to decorate his or her home like The North Pole just as soon as it’s socially acceptable to do so, fan those festive flames by purchasing them a holiday ornament from the Texas Capitol Gift Shop‘s “Capitol Ornament Collection” set, which includes a brand new 2015 Texas Lone Star.
Perhaps your loved one’s tastes run more sporty or strange? UT sells quite a few Longhorn-themed ornaments in their online co-op store, and you’ll find a wide variety of Austin- and Texas-themed ornaments on Etsy and Zazzle. Or just buy G.I. Joe riding a helicopter in holiday camo. That’ll work too.
UT Co-Op: 2 locations: 209 Medical Arts & 2246 Guadalupe. Hours, contact details, & prices vary. Website.
9.) Solemnly swear to buy them an Austin Passbook in May
The newest Austin Passbook won’t be available until May, but that’s no reason not to include an IOU for one in your loved one’s Christmas gift array. This company is doing amazing work by rounding up 2-for-1 deals to many of Austin’s top eateries and entertainment venues. Essentially, they’re encouraging folks to explore town, which is awesome, but what’s even better is that they donate 5% of their profits to the Health Alliance for Austin Musicians.
Expert tip: Read here for more details about why this is a seriously epic gift idea.
8.) Enable their local coffee habit
In case you haven’t figured it out yet, we have some seriously talented coffee roasters here in Austin. As far as we’re concerned, a bold French Roast from Summer Moon Coffee or a zingy Espresso Roast from Wild Gift Coffee or Cuvée Coffee should be the key to anyone’s heart. You can purchase bags online from the roasters’ individual websites, but chances are good that your favorite coffee shop already sells these brands and others in store.
Expert tip: Cuvée runs a coffee shop in addition to their roasting operation and it’s well worth the trip.
7.) Buy them a beautiful 2016 ‘Over Austin’ calendar
If your Austinite enjoys fine art or talks all the time about how Austin is the fairest city in the land, they’ll likely appreciate a 2016 ‘Over Austin’ wall calendar. Over Austin is a project started by local photographer Chris Sherman, who spends his free time photographing Austin with his camera drone from entirely unique and entirely breathtaking perspectives. We love Sherman’s work, so when we heard that he’s selling 8.5 x 11 calendars for $25, we peed a little. Alternatively, you could purchase an individual print of your loved one’s favorite locale.
Expert tip: We interviewed Sherman back in August — it’s a good read!
6.) Make them laugh with quirky stocking stuffers
For some hilarity-inducing stocking stuffers, look no further than Toy Joy and Monkey See Monkey Do. These two crazy toy shops have all the weirdness you could ever want to brighten up the holidays, and what’s awesome is that their products cater to a wide range of sensibilities. If you don’t think something’s funny, just move down the aisle a bit to discover a sidesplitter. There’s also no telling what you’ll find at Uncommon Objects or Lucky Lizard Curios & Gifts, so if you like this idea, they’re worth a drop-by as well.
Toy Joy: 403 W 2nd St. 512-320-0090. Open Mon – Thurs 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Fri & Sat until 10 p.m., Sun until 8 p.m. Website.
Monkey See Monkey Do: 1712 S Congress Ave. 512-443-4999. Open Sun – Thurs 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Fri until 9 p.m., Sat 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Website.
Uncommon Objects: 1512 S Congress Ave. 512-442-4000. Open daily 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Fri & Sat until 8 p.m. Website.
Lucky Lizard Curios & Gifts: 412 E 6th St. 512-476-5493. Open daily 10 a.m. to 12 a.m. Website.
5.) Take them on an adventure
Fact: Austinites really like adventures. If your loved one fits that description, there’s no reason not to buy him or her a zipline tour at Lake Travis Zipline Adventures or an indoor skydiving session at iFly Austin. Buy them their first month’s membership to Austin Rock Gym, a sunset flight above town courtesy of Austin Biplane, or some other extreme Austin adventure. Take them camping at McKinney Falls State Park or hiking on our new Violet Crown Trail — whatever you choose, go with them! Adrenaline rushes are best when they’re shared.
Lake Travis Zipline Adventures: 14529 Pocohontas Trail (Volente). 512-614-1996. $109 per person. Open Wed – Mon 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Website.
iFly Austin: 13265 US 183. 512-774-4359. Open Mon – Thurs 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., Fri until 11 p.m.; Sat 9 a.m. to 11 p.m., Sun until 10 p.m. Prices vary based on number of flights and other factors. Website.
Austin Rock Gym: North – 8300 N Lamar Blvd, Suite B102; South – 4401 Freidrich Ln, Suite 300. 512-416-9299. Hours vary by location. Rates vary based on membership package. Website.
Austin Biplane: 4321 Emma Browning Ave. 512-981-6016. Open daily 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Prices vary based on flight package. Website.
McKinney Falls State Park: 5808 McKinney Falls Pkwy. 512-243-1643. Open daily 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. $6 entry fee + $20-24 campsite fee. Website.
4.) Send them to SXSW or ACL
It won’t be cheap, but if you’re not hurting for money and you really want to spoil the music fanatic in your life, why not send them to SXSW 2016 or ACL 2016 with a music badge or pass? However, if you’re like most of us and aren’t rolling in dough, a more practical idea would be to purchase your musically-inclined pal tickets to see one of their favorite bands — or a band you’re sure they’ll like — perform live in Austin. New albums are good too (hello, Waterloo).
Expert tip: The Austin Chronicle maintains a pretty sweet online music calendar and is a great resource for finding shows.
3.) Spend time with them at a holiday event
Instead of giving your friend or family member stuff, why not give them the gift of experience? Buy them tickets to attend the Zilker Trail of Lights, where more than 2 million lights illuminate Zilker Park from December 8 to December 22. Take them to see a seasonal show like The Nutcracker at The Long Center or A Christmas Carol at ZACH Theatre, or to a Christmas movie screening at Paramount Theatre, Blu Starlite Mini Urban Drive-In, or Alamo Drafthouse. Or just take them out for holiday cocktails. The point here is that if you spend time with them, they’ll know you love them.
Zilker Trail of Lights: Zilker Park – 2100 Barton Springs Rd. Free Dec 8-15; $3 Dec 16-22. Website.
The Long Center: 701 W Riverside Dr. 512-474-5664. Ticket prices vary. Website.
ZACH Theatre: 1510 Toomey Rd. 512-476-0541. Ticket prices vary. Website.
Paramount Theatre: 713 Congress Ave. 512-472-5470. Ticket prices vary. Website.
Blu Starlite Mini Urban Drive-In: 1901 E 51st St. 512-850-6127. $5 general admission per person plus fee based on vehicle size. Website.
Alamo Drafthouse: 6 locations. Schedule, ticket prices, & contact details vary. Website.
2.) You can never go wrong with a dinosaur planter
Unless the person you’re shopping for straight up despises plants, there’s no way you’d be making a wrong decision by getting your Austinite a dinosaur planter from Plaid Pigeon or make your own planter and hand-pick an adorable little agave or cactus from East Austin Succulents.
East Austin Succulents: 801 Tillery St. 512-947-6531. Open daily 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Most 2″ succulents $2.50. Website.
1.) Decorate a cedar tree for them along Loop 360
Maybe you’re strapped for cash and trying to save money this season. On your next day off, gather together decorating supplies (which don’t have to be traditional — this is Austin, after all) and deck out a tree on Loop 360 in honor of your friend or family member. Chances are, they’ll feel flattered by your labor of love! Just make sure to return and take down all of your decorations after Christmas is over so that the ATX community can continue this tradition without penalty.
Expert tip: Cedar Park residents decorate the cedar trees that line RM 1431 / E Whitestone Blvd west of N Vista Ridge Blvd to the bridge over Spanish Oak Creek.
For more gift ideas, check out our 2014 list. Happy holidays!