Make the Season Bright Green with C3's Holiday Gift Guide!
‘Tis the season of giving! And what better way to show your love to your friends and family – and your community and the environment – than by shopping small, local, and eco-conscious this holiday. So the team at C3 has assembled this local gift-giving guide. And how did we decide which businesses to include? We went no further than the list of our 2018-2019 Better Business Challenge participants! These businesses have committed to adopting energy smart solutions and other sustainable business practices.
C3’s Holiday Gift Guide
Supporting small and local businesses offers lots of great environmental benefits. When you shop local, you drive less, which means less fuel consumption and air pollution from us consumers. It also means less supplier-side transportation-related waste (think individual UPS running to individual homes). And don’t forget to consolidate trips to save on fuel and emissions – unless, of course, you’re biking.
Supporting community businesses with your dollars also means stronger local economies. “Each dollar you spend at independent businesses returns three times more money to your local economy than one spent at a chain (almost 50 times more than buying from an online mega-retailer),” according to “Top Reasons to Buy Local, Shop Local, and Eat Local” from the American Independent Business Alliance. So enjoy our guide!
For the “gourmand” in your life, naturally, you should give the gift of food. Invite them to lunch or dinner at Firefly, a fun, laidback neighborhood restaurant, bar, and arcade on East Market Street. (We’re already craving the fig cheesecake on FIrefly’s dessert menu.) Or head to Kardinal Hall, an Alpine-inspired beer hall and garden on Preston Avenue. (Get the house-made jumbo Bavarian pretzel for the win.)
IRON Paffles & Coffee should also be on your local dining gift list. This relatively new eatery on Water Street features a can’t-resist menu of both savory and sweet “paffles” – all-butter puff pastries baked on a waffle iron. And you can’t go wrong with downtown mall staple, Twisted Branch Tea Bazaar, with its vegetarian fare, seasonal selection of teas, and comfortable, bohemian vibe.
Another holiday gift-giving suggestion: Create a gift basket filled with locally-made products made by environmentally-minded food and beverage purveyers.
For the baked good enthusiast on your list, head over to Great Harvest Bread Co. (which also offers e-gift cards) for heavenly, from-scratch breads, or visit Orange Dot Baking Company for a wholesome selection of gluten-free options (think cinnamon raisin biscuits and rustic rosemary English muffins). Rebecca’s Natural Foods in the Barracks Road Shopping Center also has gifts galore, including pantry staples like fair-trade chocolate, locally-crafted kombucha, raw, unfiltered honey, and organic wine.
Then, swing by The Elderberry, a community-based herbal apothecary, where you’ll find locally-grown herbs, teas, broths, ferments, essential oils, skin care, and everything in between. (They even have boxed sets ready to put under the tree!)
Cap off your gift basket with Pearl Island Foods’ “Pikliz,” a made-in-Charlottesville, Haitian-inspired condiment that’s described as “a spicy vinegar-based cole slaw.”
Craft Libation Lover
For fans of craft libations, consider snagging a few cans of Snowing in Space nitro cold brew coffee; a bottle of any one of Castle Hill’s cider selections (a visit to the Keswick tasting room is also a holiday season must); or a bottle of Reason Beer, named one of the top 50 “best new breweries” of 2017 by Beer Advocate. (The brewery offers online gift cards too.)
Do you have a fashionista on your holiday shopping list? Stop into Darling Boutique, a curated shop on the downtown mall featuring women's consignment and local artisan goods, or pop into ReThreads, a consignment shop on Allied Street offering clothing and accessories from vintage to current styles, as well as locally-made, artisanal products. Also on Allied Street is High Tor Gear Exchange, an outdoor gear and clothing consignment – THE place to shop for the hikers, bikers, campers, and outdoor enthusiasts on Santa’s list.
For your accessory-loving friends and family, explore Thicket Jewelry’s online shop, featuring locally made rings, earrings, and necklaces inspired by the natural world and made with reclaimed fine metals. Or drop in on OESH Shoes’ online store – OESH makes low-impact, uber comfortable women’s footwear designed exclusively on the principles of peer-reviewed medical science.
And our gift ideas don’t stop there! Aqua Hand Car Wash is locally owned and uses eco-friendly processes to wash cars – and they offer memberships – the perfect gift for the clean freak on your list.
Okay, it may sound funny, but some people would LOVE to be gifted a box of LED lights for the holidays – you know who they are. Fulfill their energy efficiency wishes with a stop into Batteries + Bulbs.
Your Favorite Extrovert
For the thinker, networker, entrepreneur, or anyone who supports the creative community, a membership to Common House, a contemporary social club and gathering space on the downtown mall, would be an ideal gift choice.
And who wouldn’t appreciate the gift of a staycation? Staying local means you’re saving fuel and releasing less travel-related CO2 into the environment. Book a hotel room at Hyatt Charlottesville, kick back, and take a break from the holiday chaos.
The Holiday Party Host
The holidays wouldn’t be complete without a little green – order a floral arrangement from Hedge Fine Blooms. The floral shop’s owner, Karen Walker, is committed to sustainability – her business has a recycling program in place, composts all green material, and supports local growers.
The Charlottesville-Albemarle Community
A holiday donation to a local environmental nonprofit is also a thoughtful gift to give that gives back. This is the kind of gift that benefits the entire community. When you support the Charlottesville Climate Collaborative, you’re supporting programs like the Home Energy Challenge and the Better Business Challenge, initiatives that inspire local residents and businesses to go green. Your donation this holiday season – or any time of year – makes a huge difference in making possible all the work we do.
With all of these fab gift ideas in mind, this year, you can feel good that you’re not only supporting a community-based business, but one that is also committed to creating a healthier, more sustainable place for us all to live! Now that’s a gift worth giving.