Holiday gift giving can be overwhelming and tedious. But hopefully with some guidance and creative parameters it can be fun and less laborious. There are some real gems in the Lansing area that I have found that are off the beaten path. And what better way to spend your money for the people you care about than to put it back into our wonderful community. Sure, it can be easy to sit in your comfy clothes and shop online, and I am sucked into this too, but when you find these lovely retailers online and in brick-and-mortar stores, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at what is out there.
For this year’s holiday gift guide, I went on a deep dive to find talented artisans from the Lansing area that sell online.
Patten Place, founded in East Lansing, was brought to life out of years of dressing around bad weather. Sara Gillespie and Leigh Ann Warner said, “Enough is enough.” These East Lansing ladies just knew there was a better way to dress up in bad weather. The idea for a reimagined galosh came on a dreary November morning with a forecast changing from rain to sleet. After three years, the Patten Place Shoe Cover was brought to the market. Their stylish, lightweight bootie can be worn over high heels to protect them from the elements. An online boutique, Patten Place sells the Patten Shoe Cover along with a collection of luxe weather accessories. You are sure to find a gift for someone.blog is called Rose Water & Orange Blossoms. Once there you can find delicious free Lebanese recipes and access to her cookbook and her online shop. At maureenaboodmarket.com you will find countless gift ideas for the food lover in your life. My personal favorite is The Smooth Hummus Kit. For $48 the kit includes tahini, sumac, chickpeas and olive oil and instructions. All wrapped up in a sweet box with beautiful labels and makes a wonderful presentation. There are so many other unique gifts on her site, you will want to spend some time checking it out. 37prime after being inspired by her work as a graphic designer and children’s art teacher. Her work embodies the spirit of beloved landmarks, homes and lakes. Custom orders are always welcome. You can view her work in retail stores and pop-up shops throughout Michigan and you can find her entire collection on Etsy, if you like to shop from the comfort of your home. Red Cedar Spirits in East Lansing. New to 2020, bars and Red Cedar Spirits were allowed to offer “To Go” cocktails for customers who wanted craft cocktails in the comfort of their homes. They have a fun and vast collection of made to order fresh concoctions. My personal favorites are the Lavender Bees Knees and the Gold Rush, a lovely mix of bourbon, lemon and honey. They offer gift boxes and fun glassware, like the glencairn glasses, with their attractive bottled craft cocktails. Lansing Art Gallery. Perusing through this fun and eclectic collection downtown is a great way to entertain your left brain and do some Christmas shopping. I love their sock creatures gifts. It’s a box filled with pieces and parts for someone to create their own original creation. For $12 the kit includes a patterned sock, yarn, glue, eyes, felt, pom poms and instructions with a link to a video. They are fun for the whole family, and for $12 you can get one for everyone for family night. Quark!, on Grand River Avenue in East Lansing. Renee Leone has curated a collection of science-related items of every sort. She has jewelry, tote bags, tees, bone china from England and much much more. The day I was there, I was split between an algebraic placemat to help my son learn algebra and a pin that an artist created from human brain scans of different mental states. The pins are brightly colored and a subtle statement for a lapel to support mental health. Park Lake Creamery in Bath. During the summer, it is a bustling coffee and ice cream parlor with chocolates. In the winter, it is a full-service online operation, but they still are open for all of your take-out needs! It specializes in beautiful handmade chocolates made from the finest ingredients. Its very special Cherry Cordial is made from Luxardo Italian cherries and fine Belgian chocolate. For $40 the Cherry Cordials are elegantly packaged in a set of nine, for the chocolate connoisseur in your life. Bradly’s Home and Garden. Bradly has a wide array of gifts to choose from, from art to baby gifts and any kind of kitchen accessory to sofas. Not only will you have a wonderful shopping experience, but Bradly’s friendly helpful staff does design consultations and personal shopping experiences. With a little heads-up, owner Bradly Rakowski can put together a gift or basket for you and all you have to do is pick it up. It’s shopping made simple! You will definitely find something for someone, including you. Central Pharmacy in East Lansing. A great gift this time of year is a wellness basket filled with goodies to make it through cold and flu season. And this pharmacy gift store has everything you need for that. A cute basket with some vitamin C, Zinc, cough drops, vitamin D and hand sanitizer. This seems so incredibly practical and it is the perfect give because frankly no one wants to get sick. So it’s a great gift! Lansing Brewing Co. has come up with a Date Night on Ice Package. This fun box comes with an LBC cooler filled with your favorite LBC canned beer, two koozies and a soft plush blanket for two for a perfect winter night. You could also include an LBC gift card to throw in and finish off a perfect night. LBC also has a unique gift for the whiskey lover in your life. The set includes two mugs, four cooling stones, two coasters and a fifth of Hard Nose Amber Cream or Rye Whiskey. Pure Options in Frandor has a gift shop with a large selection of tees and hoodies and bags for those of you just looking for some fun stocking stuffers. Lauren Bertsch’s Etsy shop. Lauren started out making fun fabric hair ties and belts, but she has now expanded her business to include hats, bags, headbands, tops and handmade scarves. Another Etsy shop that is based in East Lansing is All Dyed Up, which offers an array of different types of tie dyed clothes. It mostly focuses on sweats, which teenagers love and this fall it has come out with Michigan State and University of Michigan gear that is hand dyed and made locally. Another fabulous Etsy shop right out of Okemos is Jessie Blume Bags. She mixes leather and fabrics for a one of kind bag. For the fall she came out with a fun selection of Michigan State clutches. Mostly her bags are crossbodies with leather on top and fun creative patterns and fabrics on the bottom. She also has a collection of mini bags that retail for $25. You can find all these wonderful artists by their names on Instagram and Etsy. Sparrow Bloom, right here in Lansing and have it deliver flowers weekly or biweekly from July through September. Not only do they do subscriptions, they offer custom orders, event florals, wedding and holiday planters and wreaths. Every Friday Kait and Becca offer “grab and go” bouquets for the weekend with whatever they have available. This fun little business is new to our community, starting last year. Mr. Leslie’s Cheesecakes. You can sample any of Marcus Leslie’s exquisite creations at several places, including Capital City Market and Strange Matter Coffee. Scrolling on his webpage will make your mouth water. You will be the sparkle in everyone’s eye where you bring one of his beautiful creations. My top two are the peach cobbler and banana pudding cheesecake. He even offers a gluten-free option. Kean’s. My kids love this trip. Inside this block-long store, you’ll find toys and an old-fashioned candy counter. Instantly when you walk in you can feel the history and it is so nostalgic. Beyond the candy they have clothing fabric, gourmet foods and gifts of all sorts. Come for a gift and leave having an experience. Kean’s has had its roots in Mason since 1928 when it opened as a five-and-dime. To this day it is still run by the Kean family and maintains its wonderful charm.
Kositchek’s. Your guy can head in for a complete leveling up, with a haircut and a personalized shopping experience like no other. The staff, including owner David Kositchek, can help you with a hand-made suit or custom tailoring for a suit on a rack. There are also smaller gift options for fun stocking stuffers like a wide selection of socks, pocket squares and even a little jewelry store.
A Novel Concept on Washington Square. This darling little book store specializes in new and gently used rare and unusual books. It’s an adventure for the voracious reader in your life. Founded by two women who love to read, they have created a welcome space for people to come by and shred their passion for books. Then just directly east on Michigan is Young Brothers & Daley, a large brick building that specializes in fireplaces and tile but has a gift shop put together by a creative soul. It features a large variety of Michigan State University pieces, tons of fun outdoor accessories for a BBQ and Christmas decorations that are unique and whimsical.
When I was asked to write this article, I took it as an opportunity to revisit this beautiful community I live in. I had so much fun stumbling into toy stores, book stores and gift shops that I had never even heard of. It was a journey in my own city. I recommend we all get out there and do the same, especially now and through the holidays. To keep these gems alive and vibrant, we need to patronize them so that that money goes back into our community. That’s how we can all take care of each other.
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