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Locally Made Gifts for the All the Occasions of the Season

Have you already planned or purchased gifts for family and friends? If so, you are way ahead of me! But no matter how prepared you feel, those little unexpected or overlooked occasions/groups/people WILL pop up…

· Host gifts for parties in people’s houses

· Office parties featuring gift exchanges like Yankee Swaps or White Elephants

· Last minute guests

· Your book club/Bunco group/pickleball partner/mail carrier

EVERYONE appreciates food and drink over the festive season! Why not purchase from local businesses and support the local economy while you are at it?

· Chocolate (NO ONE doesn’t like chocolate!):

o Makenu, Atlantic Beach – a “bean to bar” chocolatier using ethically-sourced cacao made into beautiful concoctions.

o Sweet Pete’s Candy Shop downtown not only features inventive sweets but they’ll make you a fun gift basket sure to please anyone on your list!

· Wine or spirits? Shop somewhere local AND staffed by experts. Try these wonderful spots:

o How about a locally distilled vodka, whiskey, run, or moonshine? Get to Grey Matter asap and have a drink at the bar while you wait!

· Cookies. Beloved by young and old. And locally crafted ones are plentiful around here! Consider one of the following:

o Cinotti’s - a beaches institution. Their cookies are always delicious and themed for any occasion.

o 1748 Bakehouse in historic Springfield. Think of Carmelita cookies in either chocolate chunk or pecan turtle. Are you drooling yet?

· For something really different, consider olives, pickles, and other little crunchy veggie-based delights made right here in Jacksonville from Olive my Pickle!

· And finally – hear me out – EVERYBODY loves our local shrimp! Drive or ferry over to Mayport and grab a gift card (because wrapping shrimp is hard) from Safe Harbor Seafood. So fresh that you can watch the shrimp being processed through the big glass windows. Pro tip: pick up some for your family while you are there!

And if none of the above appeals to you, go where the local makers congregate and browse all the cool stuff made right here in Jacksonville. We have at least two arts markets worth perusing:

· The Atlantic Beach Arts Market is open 7 days a week and is an amazing compilation of art, jewelry, décor, tableware, vintage items, and so much more. Come out to shop and if you time it just right, you can meet some of our locally famous artists like Scotie Cousin whose “critter creations” can be found all over town, or Philip Walker, our hometown muralist and creator.

· And the beautiful outdoor Riverside Arts Market is open every Saturday and takes the shopping experience to the next level with food trucks lined up so you can browse AND eat and drink! Not only does the RAM offers an amazing assortment of great gifts (from dog collars to farm-to-table local food art) but local farmers also set up here.

Let us know below where you are shopping for locally-made goodies for the holidays!

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