Farmers Markets: Local farmers markets and festivals are great places to browse for unique gifts during the holidays. There is usually a diverse array of options, which can include art, food, beauty supplies, clothing, and decor–perfect to suit anyone! Also, this is one of the easiest and most fun ways to shop locally. The Tuscaloosa Farmers Market is open at the Tuscaloosa River Market from 7 am to 12 pm every Saturday.
Find Local Artists: Art is often an underrated gift to give for the holidays. You could get a portrait done for someone or a reproduction of a beloved photograph, and buying an artist’s original piece is always an option. Local artists offer affordable prices and are used to doing these commissions during the holidays. You can find local artists via social media, local festivals and markets, and through the University of Alabama’s (or any college really) Art Department.
Plants: For an outdoorsy and nature-focused friend or relative, plants can make a cute, cheap, and unique gift. Contact your local nursery, gardener, or even possibly a hardware store to find a variety of plants–both indoor and outdoor, floral and greenery, decorative, herbs, and food-producing plants. There is a type of plant for every need.
Your Local Coffee Shop: Never underestimate the gift of coffee. As a coffee lover myself, I thrive off of getting a brand new bag of coffee as a gift. It is a great example for someone to try new brands and flavors, and it can accommodate almost any holiday price range. Also, don’t forget about teas or other drinks available at your local coffee shops.
Antique Shop: Antique stores often have literal one-of-a-kind pieces at a wide range of prices. From old books to art, to decoration, antique stores have something unique to fit everyone.
Thrift Store: If you are looking for a similarly quirky and unique gift for a lower price, thrift stores are a great option, too! They greatly reduce excessive waste produced around the holidays, and they can be perfect to find that perfectly weird gift for a friend.
Local Bookstore: Local bookstores can be a more obvious option for your bookworm friend or family member. However, never underestimate the gift of a book for someone who may not be an avid reader. Bookstores often carry unique magazines and comic books, as well as fun biographies about a favorite celebrity or pretty coffee table books about animals.
Make a Donation: Lastly, a final unique gift for a friend is to donate some money to a charity or organization in their name. You can choose something that you know they are passionate about, such as the Human Rights Campaign or Wildlife Preservation. Many organizations also offer memberships or gifts that they might also enjoy. NPR often includes a t-shirt or tote bag with certain donations, and art museums provide memberships with benefits for donors. You can both give a unique gift for the holidays to someone you care about and help make the world a better place.