NEXTpittsburgh believes in supporting local entrepreneurs. So inspired by “The 12 Days of Christmas,” we’re compiling a list of 12 gift ideas in our 2022 NEXT gift guide and releasing one each day. You’ll find unique presents and support Pittsburgh businesses and nonprofits. Check back throughout November and December as the list grows, and share your Pittsburgh pride with your loved ones.
For even more ideas, check out our 2021 NEXT gift guide.
12. Find treasures at Jackie Whoa Vintage
Have a vintage lover on your gift list? Help them add a retro flair to their holiday season — or find a statement outfit for New Year’s Eve — with a gift card from this new boutique (you’re guaranteed to score a treasure for yourself). Located at 2705 Center St. in Ingram, Jackie Whoa Vintage carries an eye-popping selection of authentic goods spanning the 1950s-’80s, from home decor and collectibles to clothing and accessories. Owner Jenn Jannon-Fischer — who shares the stories behind every piece (and restores them) — presents a thoughtfully curated collection where shoppers can peruse wares, try on outfits and ask questions. The welcoming shop has tons of personality, including a turntable with LPs for sale. You’ll feel great supporting a local independent business and fighting the fast fashion industry. Hours: Thursday & Friday, 2-7 p.m., Saturday & Sunday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. and by appointment. – Jennifer Baron
11. Get saucy with Miller’s
If there’s one made-in-Pittsburgh food I can’t live without, it’s Miller’s Banana Pepper Sauce. It takes guts to create a new condiment in the home of Heinz, but this is something special. Starting with vine-ripened banana peppers, the sauce is both spicy and sweet, with enough sharp, piquant, peppery flavor to make any sandwich, cracker, chip or pretzel into something delicious. It comes in mild & sweet, hot and a truly hot version with habanero chiles added, for those seeking a different type of hot sauce. A jar is available for $6 at many local stores (just got some at Wholey’s), including most Giant Eagle locations. A gift box is $20. – Michael Machosky
10. Candles that are wickedly funny
Candles go with winter like hot chocolate and blankets. But, please, if you are buying a candle, seek out one of the many local candlemakers. We are partial to A Good F*cking Candle — and not only because it is produced by Maria Mack, NEXTpittsburgh’s director of growth. As the name suggests, these are candles for people with a twisted sense of humor. The holiday line includes Another Ho (saffron and cedarwood) and Well Hung (pine balsam). The coconut soy candles come with wooden wicks and are available at Hazel Grey Boutique in the Strip District. But this week you also can find them at the holiday pop-up at Market House in Lawrenceville on Dec. 17 and 18. $28-$34 – Brian Hyslop
9. Forma your own pasta
Know a foodie who wants to get their hands into their passion? How about a pasta- or pierogi-making class at Forma Pasta in Pittsburgh’s up-and-coming Allentown neighborhood? The shop offers classes in its in-store kitchen space on Friday and Saturday evenings from 6 to 8 p.m. for $75 per person. Aspiring home chefs can learn to make a variety of pasta styles in the two-hour class and will take home the fruits of their labor. Forma also offers a monthly pasta box subscription service and sells its sauces and pastas out of the shop on Warrington Avenue. Everything is made on-site and there’s a good chance you’ll see the chefs hard at work when you stop in. They also make fresh sandwiches on the outdoor grill during lunch hours. Find updated class offerings and specials on Instagram and learn more on the website. – Sebastian Foltz
In honor of our 12 days of gift guides, we’re giving away prizes from local businesses for 12 days of giveaways on Instagram.
8. Keep cozy with Busy Hook Happy Heart
The gray days of winter are here, but you can give the gift of coziness. Busy Hook Happy Heart creates one-of-a-kind winter wear, including beanies with giant pom-poms, fingerless gloves, cowls and scrunchies. Each piece is handmade by Terri Galloway, whose love and care show in each creation. She crochets or knits every item using the softest yarn, with her luxe beanies featuring small batch, hand-dyed 100% Merino wool. You won’t find this quality in mass-produced winter accessories. Her products can be found at two local, women-owned businesses, Songbird Artistry at 4316 Penn Ave. in Lawrenceville, and at all three of the locations of love, Pittsburgh (Mt. Washington, Downtown and the Strip District), as well as at the Busy Hook Happy Heart holiday chalet in Market Square. Beanies begin at $32. — Annie Perri Cole
7. Gear up for adventure at 3 Rivers Outdoor Company
Do you have an outdoor enthusiast in your life? Consider a gift card from 3 River Outdoor Company (3ROC) in Regent Square. The independent local outfitter sells and rents used and new gear from kayaks to backpacks. This year 3ROC expanded its kayak rental offering to a satellite location with a boat launch in Allegheny RiverTrail Park in Aspinwall, the 3ROC Outpost. Kayakers can rent on location and paddle upriver to the Allegheny Land Trust’s Sycamore Island, a forested undeveloped island park nature preserve with trails circling the island. Kayak rentals start as low as $18 for a single hour and up to $60 for a full day. Their Regent Square shop also features products from other local small businesses and outdoor-related craft vendors and artists – lots of stocking stuffer ideas. Follow them on Facebook and Instagram. – Sebastian Foltz
6. Get a warm feeling at Aura Sauna Studio
As winter weather arrives in Pittsburgh, so can the winter blues. This holiday season, not only can you give the gift of wellness, but a welcome break from the cold. Aura Sauna Studio, an infrared sauna experience in the Strip District, offers 45-minute sessions with an array of benefits ranging from pain relief to battling those cold weather mood changes. It’s as relaxing as it sounds — 45 minutes that warm you to the core with a cold eucalyptus towel awaiting your exit. This experience makes a unique gift for anyone seeking a spa-like treatment. You can grab three sessions for $75 ($135 value) now through the end of December. – Maria Mack
5. Zombie holiday wishes from Alternate Histories
Picture a Venn diagram where Pittsburgh fans and monster fans overlap. For those special people on your gift list, Alternate Histories is a one-stop shop, online and in Greenfield. Matt Buchholz’s very specific vision of sea serpents in the Mon and gorillas climbing the Cathedral of Learning (thought to be ape-proof) can be yours on posters, pins and T-shirts. Send holiday greetings with Silent Night of the Living Dead and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Robot holiday cards — or just warm wishes from Greenfield. The Alternate Histories studio space (517 Greenfield Ave.) is open from noon to 5 pm on Saturdays. Order online for pickup or shipping. Items range from $5 to $25. – Annette Bassett
4. Show off hometown pride with art from Greg’s Drawing Shop (aka Gregburgh)
Who wants to decorate their home with generic art from Target when they could instead hang portraits of unique Pittsburgh buildings? Deck the halls with hand-drawn prints of the Allegheny Observatory, the Carnegie Library in Oakland, the Golf Tower, Heinz Memorial Chapel and so many more. Photographer and illustrator Greg Sciulli sells his art online, at Wild Card in Lawrenceville and at various local vendor events throughout the year such as Squirrel Hill Night Markets and the Pittsburgh Center for Arts & Media Winter Artists’ Market on Dec. 10 at 1047 Shady Ave. Prices for unframed prints range from $6-$24, and framed prints are $20-$44. There’s even a Pittsburgh buildings 2023 calendar for $14 available in three different colors. If you’re looking for a more personalized, sentimental gift, Sciulli does custom portraits of homes or buildings for $125. – Cristina Holtzer
3. Spice up the holidays with Steel City Salt Co.
Steel City Salt Company, with shops in Millvale and the Strip District, has been flavoring dishes since 2014. While “salt” may be in the name, there are several other quality herbs, rubs and blends that also bring global tastes to Pittsburgh plates. Scoop up a few jars to mix and match for the chef of the family or purchase a gift set. A favorite package is the Taste of Pittsburgh, which has five bestsellers, all fine salts, herbs and spices. At $47 the quintet of jars pays homage to the city. Single spice jars make for great stocking stuffers or put together a larger grouping for a holiday host gift from $4.95 and up depending on the size and selection. – Abbie Synan
2. Giving Tuesday
Tuesday, Nov. 29 is Giving Tuesday, the perfect opportunity to make the place we call home even better for us all by supporting one of the many nonprofits that are the backbone of the community. Your act of generosity will build the better Pittsburgh we all want to live in. And real Pittsburghers know that charitable giving isn’t confined to one day a year. – Brian Hyslop
1. 412 and Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy line of clothing and accessories
What gift shows off your Pittsburgh pride more than something from a new collection by retailer 412 and the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy? Check out a range of products — from hats ($40) to hoodies ($70). A portion of the proceeds benefits the Parks Conservancy. The It’s Your Nature line is available on the 412 website and at the 412 South Side location at 420 S 27th St. – Brian Hyslop