Forget about those too-soon, false-alarm jingle bells you've been hearing since Halloween, the holiday season begins Friday.
It could be argued that Black Friday is a yucky, corporate idea cooked up for yucky, corporate profits (and it is). To many, though, the holiday season begins at the end of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. When Santa waves from his sleigh, it's time to deck the halls and don your gay apparel. The parade, of course, was a yucky, corporate idea cooked up for yucky, corporate profits. Because America, amirite?
But the holidays are here, Bucko, like it or not. And, listen, we understand. You're not the Grinch. You're not Clark Griswald, either. You're just a proud Memphian who'd rather drown in eggnog than scrum in the Black Friday madness. We've got you covered. Shop on Small Business Saturday, instead.
Since 2010, American Express has sponsored the national campaign connecting shoppers to small businesses in their communities on the day after Black Friday. According to American Express, there are 580,453 small businesses in Tennessee, which comprise 99.5 percent of all businesses in the state. The Small Business Saturday site maps dozens of small businesses in Memphis from Itta Bena on Beale to Flashback on Central and beyond.
Shopping locally is important because money spent here with small businesses usually stays here. And you don't have to skimp on quality or availability because tons of local shops can offer stuff you can find at the big boxes.
But more importantly, they have a ton of stuff you won't be able to find there. So, if you consider the cool factor in your gift-giving, this list is for you. We've made it even easier, too. Our reporters are total Memphis nerds, and they know their beats. So, they've curated lists — with a little input from other notable Memphians — to help you shop for the foodie on your list, say, or the book lover.
So, grab a quart of that nog and put your feet up. Plan your Memphis holiday shopping with our local gift guide and let Black Friday roil somewhere outside the loop. — Toby Sells
Malco gift cards — Any cinephile on your list will appreciate a gift card from Memphis' premiere theater chain. You can buy these cards, which are good for both tickets and concessions, and the best part is, they're reloadable! It's the gift for a moviegoer that keeps on giving. (Malco, prices vary)
Egglestonworks speakers — You've invested big in your 55-inch 4K TV, but why does it sound so thin? Picture is only half of the film experience. Treat your ears as well as your eyes with handcrafted speakers from Egglestonworks. The company handcrafts studio quality equipment right here in Binghampton. (Egglestonworks, prices vary)
Poster framing — If the movie lover in your life has a poster (or six) of their favorite film(s), treat it right by taking it to the frame shop at the Art Center on Union. Don't nail that precious one-sheet to the wall — present it like the art piece it is! (Art Center, prices vary)
— Chris McCoy
Matteo Servente, filmmaker
Q: How big of a deal was Christmas in your hometown of Toniro, Italy?
A: It was always like a big celebration ... I've always had a great relationship with my family, so getting together is something to look forward to. That's the meaning of Christmas to me.
Photography 'zine — For your pals who appreciate fine photography, order them a copy of Bryan Rollins' photo booklet featuring Memphis cityscapes and architecture. (shop.bryanrollins.com, $10)
Foodie jewelry — Though probably not as tasty as they look, a pair of hand-sculpted donut earrings from Funola's Workshop look as good as the real thing. The shop has other "tiny and shiny things," too, like gingerbread rings, fried-eggs-with-a-side-of-bacon earrings, and prickly cactus jewelry sets. (Etsy, $14-$96)
Handcrafted candles — Set the holiday mood with the scents of Reillume's soy candles, all hand-poured into recycled wine bottles collected from Memphis restaurants. (Etsy, $30-$35)
Memphis coloring book — Win over all the Memphis-lovers in your life with Signet Sealed's hand-drawn adult coloring book, featuring whimsical illustrations of city landmarks like Crosstown Concourse, Overton Park, Broad Avenue, and more. The shop also has other illustrated goods including Memphis-themed coffee mugs, blankets, and Christmas tree ornaments. (signetsealed.com, $14-$88) — Maya Smith
Mary Jo Karimnia, local artist
Q: Do you recall any memorable holiday gifts?
A: [One year] my husband, three young children, and my mother and I were living together in a cozy house in the Memphis suburbs. Cash was tight, so we made an agreement only to make gifts or purchase gifts from the dollar store. Each family member was allowed $10. We made the kids a folding puppet theater and a set of Alice in Wonderland puppets from scrap fabric. The kids used the theater for 20 years. I always think back to the simple present of a spool of black thread that my mom gave me that year. It felt so to good relish this precious, thoughtful thing.
- Stay up to date with the Flyer News Blog on a new iPhone X
Pax 3 vaporizer — For all good techies who have high ambitions and, er, don't want to go up in smoke. (Vaporwize, $300)
iPhone X — It's not exactly local, but, 'fess up, you'd like somebody (maybe yourself) to spring for the new iPhone X, poop emoji and all. (Apple, $999-$1,249)
POG guitar effects — The closest you'll ever come to being Jimi Hendrix is with the handy POG (Polyphonic Octave Generator) attached to your electric guitar. Allows you infinite octave ranges, synthesizer wah-wah, and God knows what all. (Xanadu Music & Books; Guitar Center, $326) — Jackson Baker
Christopher Sartain, University of Memphis tech student
Q: What tech gift would you like for Christmas?
A: A 4K multi-media projector to replace my 1080p version would be nice, though in the long run, what I'm looking forward to is the advanced holographic version. We're talking serious theater.
Weber mini grill — Groom your future Memphis in May World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest grand champion. This toy grill playset comes with a removable lid, tongs, wheels, and an assortment of grill-ables like a hamburger, steak, and a piece of shrimp (no whole hog, though). All that's missing is heat and smoke. (Bass Pro Shops at the Pyramid, $39.99)
KHS Flite 150 road bike — If you live around here, you've started seeing bicycles. Tons of them. If you want to get out there but don't know where to start, head over to Pedaltown Bicycle Co. on Broad. You won't be overwhelmed with choices, and the store's road bike from KHS is light, fast, and has plenty of braking power. (Pedaltown Bicycle Co., $499)
Handup bike gloves — The Bikesmith and Handup work together like, well, hand-in-glove. The Memphis bike shop is all about bikes and beers. The Chattanooga company says its gloves are "best for grabbin' [handle]bars and beers." The gloves are crazy comfortable, come in a ton of cool styles, and the palms of each are loaded with bad-assery. My favorite reads "Party Time!" (The Bikesmith, $29.99)
- Handup bike gloves
- It’s heavy-duty party time with the Icemule Boss at Outdoors, Inc.
Icemule Coolers Boss — An arms race has rocked the cooler market over the last few years, waged over ice retention, portability, capacity, and, well, the cool factor. Icemule's Boss gets all that done. Big enough for two cases of beer (or Cokes, or seltzer water, if that's your thing). Strong enough for backcountry hiking or paddling. Easy to carry and on the eyes, the Boss is ready for the Levitt Shell's longest show. (Outdoors, Inc., $299) — Toby Sells
Jim Steffen, owner, The Bikesmith
Q: Do you have a memorable Christmas gift?
A: I got a bike one year for Christmas. It was a Schwinn World Sport. It was my first real, new bike that really got me into biking. It was like a racing bike with drop handlebars. I was 12. I still have it.
Candy spree — If you want somebody to feel like a kid in a candy store, send them to the candy store. Put $20 in their stocking and a note instructing them to spend the money on a spree at Wayne's Candy Co. This place is as staggering as Santa's workshop or maybe Willy Wonka's establishment. Almost every type of candy — from Snickers bars to Mike and Ikes — can be found at Wayne's. Candy is available to the public at wholesale prices. (Wayne's Candy Co., prices vary)
- Like a kid in a candy store at Wayne’s Candy Co.
Dinstuhl's Ice Chips — If you'd rather personally give candy, visit Dinstuhl's Fine Candies. The tantalizing Ice Chips — a candy on the soft side with bits of hard candy mixed in — is my personal favorite. (Dinstuhl's Fine Candies, $12.50)
Pies — I wouldn't mind getting a pie as a gift. Especially if I can eat it all by myself. The sweet potato pie at Grandmaw's Desserts, Etc. is incredibly delicious. Grandmaw's also hosts the weekly Sliced Mondays. Slices of pies and the whole and mini pies are available. (Grandmaw's Desserts, Etc., $5-$18. Orders require two to three days' notice.)
Chipsticks — Bet you can't eat just three or four "Chipsticks," chocolate chip cookies from Ricki's Cookie Corner. They're soft and delicious. (Ricki's Cookie Corner, $7.80 per pound)
Gingerbread boys — Kay Bakery's gingerbread boys are made from the same Kay Bakery recipe that dates to the 1950s. They're even decorated the same — with red dots for the eyes and nose and a crescent-shaped mouth. (Kay Bakery, 99 cents)
Canned goodness — Felicia Willett makes her line of "Flo's Homemade Goodness" in the kitchen of her restaurant, Felicia Suzanne's. That's also where you can buy the tomato jam, pepper jelly, chow chow, pickled jalapeños, and bread-and-butter pickles. They're made from local ingredients and packaged in blue-and-white decorated jars and gift boxes. (Felicia Suzanne's, $9-$40) — Michael Donahue
- Flo’s Homemade Goodness at Felicia Suzanne’s
Kelly English, chef/owner of Restaurant Iris and The Second Line
Q: What was the best food-related gift you ever received?
A: The best thing that I ever got was Le Creuset. It's a coated cast iron cook line. People have thin cookware that will burn in spots. [Le Creuset] is one of the most even-cooking pots or pans you can get. It behaves as cast iron, but it isn't as temperamental as to how it can be cleaned. You can ruin cast iron just by looking at it funny.
Unconventional guitar from Johnny Lowebow — This irrepressibly experimental maverick is always thinking outside the cigar box, and some axes are real works of art. (Xanadu Music & Books, $150-$900.)
Fine custom guitars from Kevin Ferner — Working out of the Guitar Spa on Broad Avenue, Ferner can make your six-stringed dreams come true, whether classy like this, or with, say, a pink glitter finish and checkerboard binding. (fernerguitars.com, starting at $2,900)
Guitars — After opening shop back in the 1980s, local luthier St. Blues Guitar Workshop blew up globally. Bono and Clapton are fans; you can be one, too! And yes, they too have cigar box guitars. (Saint Blues Guitar Workshop, $299-$2,650)
Hinson amps — Robert Hinson has achieved semi-mythical status among local axe masters, having repaired and built tube amps for over 20 years. They're affordable and can be built to your specs. (email firstname.lastname@example.org, $300-$800).
An Akambira by Sean Murphy and Anne J. Froning — You might have played Murphy's work on the Greenline. He makes them for public spaces galore. But these serious instruments, from wind chimes to xylophones (all customizable), also sound great in your living room or favorite cave. (beingart.com, $1,395). — Alex Greene
- Handcrafted wooden xylophone made by Sean Murphy
Steve Selvidge, Hold Steady guitarist
Q: Do any holiday gifts bring back special memories?
A: In 1998, I got my dad [Sid Selvidge] a purple two-pickup Danelectro guitar. I was stoked to give that to him. Unbeknownst to me, Joanne [Self Selvidge] had picked me up a Supro double-neck lap steel guitar from the 1930s. Shortly thereafter I call Luther [Dickinson] to tell him about it. And before I can even get the words out, Luther's like, "Dude, I got a Supro double neck lap steel for Christmas from my dad!" And I was just like, "Well, uh, so did I. ..."
Dog Stories for the Soul — An anthology of stories of man's best friend, including tales from local authors (and Flyer friends) Frank Murtaugh and Corey Mesler and a few others you may of heard of, such as Willie Morris, John Steinbeck, and Mark Twain. Charming from head to paw. Out December 10th. (sartorisliterary.com, $19.95 paperback)
Shelby Farms Park: Elevating a City — Gorgeous coffee table book about one of the city's greatest assets. There will be a book signing next Tuesday, November 28th, 6 p.m. at Novel. (susanschadtpress.com, $80)
Journal and pen — Record your greatest (or lamest) literary thoughts in a cool retro journal from South Main Book Juggler and a handcrafted pen from Spicer Brothers Woodworking. (Journal: South Main Book Juggler, $18; pens: Bingham & Broad and S.Y. Wilson or by special order. spicerbrotherswoodworking.com, $30-$50)
The Book of Separation — New memoir of Memphis-raised author Tova Mirvis retracing the undoing of her marriage. (tovamirvis.com, $26)
Latin American Paleo Cooking — Pretty cookbook from local blogger (Curious Coconut) Amanda Torres with dishes to draw paleos and non-paleos alike. (thecuriouscoconut.com, $32.99)
— Susan Ellis