The Pitch’s 2021 holiday gift guide
Against all odds, the holidays are upon us again. We’re not fully out of our hidey-holes, and yet we’re probably expected to return to the normal flow of gift-giving.
If you’re trying to figure out how to cross names off your list, we have a guide of The Pitch’s personal recommendations for what to put a bow on.
While we always advocate for shopping local in these holiday guides, this is the first year where it might be your only option. Global supply chains are collapsing and your uncle who intended to shop at Target is getting none of the shit he hoped to grab. But local creators are here to make sure you have everything you need.
There’s never been a better time to support your friends and neighbors, all while giving everyone on your list the most memorable gift of their 2021 holiday season.
Local creators, makers, and artists
Obviously, you can’t go wrong buying from local creators. These listings are the perfect starting point for that person in your life who is nearly impossible to shop for. Don’t just settle for getting them a candle or yet another succulent when you could get them something they didn’t even know they wanted, but find they can’t live without.
Shop Local KC | shoplocalkc.com | 3630 Main Street
Here’s one of the easiest places to start when it comes to sourcing gifts from local creators. Shop Local KC is a retail gift and flower shop with a curated online catalog, brought to us by the organizer of The Strawberry Swing. Flowers? A rotating selection of to-die-for treats? Home goods and décor? Jewelry? KC pride gear? Cute knick-knacks that make for perfect stocking stuffers? They’ve got it all.
High Desert Turquoise | highdesertturquoise.com
High Desert Turquoise may have officially launched in 2020, but it had its origins as a thriving eBay store where proprietor Aunt Suzie sold Native American jewelry for years. Now, the store is a fair wages retailer for Navajo, Hopi, and Zuni jewelry-makers, offering a variety of goods including accessories, bracelets, necklaces, and rings. 20% of all sales go back to the indigenous community—the current beneficiary is Navajo and Hopi COVID-19 Relief. Above: Photo by Lauren Hughes.
every good boy does fine by Calvin Arsenia | Buy on bookshop.org
Dedicated to “those who have been held captive / by individuals or institutions / that claim to offer freedom,” every good boy does fine is local singer, songwriter, and harpist Calvin Aresnia’s first book. A hybrid poetry/essay collection published by local press Andrews McMeel, the book explores Arsenia’s upbringing as a queer person in Christianity and his liberating love of music. It’s perfect for poetry fans, the Arsenia fanperson in your life, or people who just feel really deeply.
There are endless present configurations to be gifted from KCAI alum Kelsey Pike’s handmade paper and custom rubber stamp offerings on her Etsy. Freshen up your approach to gifting plants with sprouting seed faces—plant these faces made of paper pulp and they’ll sprout soon enough. Alternatively, purchase a stationary set for a snail mail fan, or use it to write your own holiday cards. You could also get your giftee a two-hour papermaking lesson, for the person who would love getting their hands in the pulp.
Beverages, Boozes, and other assorted Liquids
Beverages come and go, but the nights that they lead to among friends are memorable forever (at least most of the time). Here are a few options for those friends who need to take a little edge off around the holidays. Maybe they’ll let you split it with them. The more the merrier.
Boozy Botanicals | boozybotanicals.com
KC is blessed to be the home of Boozy Botanicals—a set of syrups that allow you to punch up any drink at home, or go full mad scientist on something much more complicated. These infused syrups will take your home bar to another level. By adding just a touch of Boozy, you can elevate your favorite cocktail with new flavor or put a unique twist on a classic cocktail. You can also add Boozy to yogurt, ice cream, and fresh fruit—an ideal addition to your favorite smoothie. Use Boozy in marinades, salad dressings, sautées, and baked goods to add unique flavor profiles to your favorite recipes.
Tom’s Town Royal Gold Bourbon | toms-town.com | 1701 Main St
While Tom’s Town has yet to concoct a liquor that we haven’t fallen head over heels in love with, the Royal Gold Burbon is probably the best gift you can offer up to the boozehound in your life. While our personal favorite right now is the barrel-aged gin, that’s certainly not the most approachable one for the general public. The Royal Gold bears Boss Tom Pendergrast’s name on an exceptionally designed bottle. It’s an enchanting blend of vanilla, caramelized sugar, pleasant oak, and stone fruits. It looks as good as it feels going down, and it’s hard to go wrong for most bourbon fans with this one. But also, consider that gin.
Torn Label Fountain Water Mix Pack | 1708 Campbell
We’d all feel over the moon if someone felt like gifting us a Fountain Water Mix Pack. Torn Label’s seltzers are top of the line, and are never accompanied by that weird medicine-y aftertaste. This is an excellent option for the people in your life who like to party, but also don’t particularly like beer. What’s better than drinking? Drinking with friends where everyone has something for their flavor palette. Inspired by their IPA High Tai, the Fountain Water Seltzers were brewed with cherry, lime, and almond—at an effective 5% ABV. Go ahead and claim all the cherry limeades while you can.
Soulcentricitea | soulcentricitea.com | 1106 E 30 St., Suite E
Over on Troost, you can find 54 flavors of loose tea, tea lattes, herbal lemonade, and coffee drinks under one roof. This social hub also serves as the home to a take a book/leave a book community library and a hub for local progressive organizers. While not the boozy adventure represented by the rest of the list, an afternoon at Soulcentricitea is infinitely more important. As French philosopher, Muriel Barbery says: “When tea becomes ritual it takes its place at the heart of our ability to see greatness in small things.” Truly, Soulcentricitea is a tearoom with soul. Above: Photo by Brad Williams.
Black Squirrel from Cinder Block | cinderblockbrewery.com
When Cinder Block got started in the Northland back in 2013, they were working on a Bourbon Barrel Russian Imperial Stout. An error in their brewing system caused the vats to keep dumping food-grade glycol in the alley behind their building. Which became the obsession of a family of black squirrels living back there. Now, those delightfully gluttonous rodents are the namesake of a big, delicious stout that only gets released once a year in December. It’s available in extremely limited quantities and special packaging, so race to get some of these while you can.
For those who just want to eat
There is inevitably a person in your life who is constantly hunting down the best meal they can find or the next hot thing on the dining scene. Luckily, Kansas City has a lot to offer in that department without you having to resort to gift cards. Candy, pickles, shrubs, cocktail kits, sweets, and locally raised beef are all at your disposal when it comes to Kansas City-centric food gifts.
KC Cattle Company | kccattlecompany.com
Patrick Montgomery started KC Cattle Company to serve people the highest quality meat possible. This veteran-owned company ethically raises American and hybrid wagyu cattle in a stress-free environment. The beef is antibiotic and hormone-free, and all protein is sourced from farms with ethical practices. KC Cattle Co. also has eight different gift packages with a variety of meats available just in time for the holidays.
Kansas City Canning Co. | kansascitycanningco.com
Pickled vegetables, preserves, and cocktail goods are Kansas City Canning Co.’s speciality. Using locally sourced produce and products, the company creates a wide selection of sustainable canned goods. A wide range of pickles is just the start at KC Canning Co. Their creative bloody mary mix, shrubs, and spreads are the unique offerings you cannot find anywhere else.
Avec Moi Sweets | avec-moi-sweets.square.site
If you’ve ever tried to make a macaron, you understand how hard it is to create a well-crafted, delicious version of this iconic dessert. Avec Moi Sweets is where you should go when your at-home macaron project inevitably fails (or, honestly, before you even start). This pop-up and online-order shop is constantly coming out with new and unforgettable flavors. The Christmas variety packs have over 15 flavors to choose from. If you’re lucky, whoever you’re gifting these sweets to will share a bite—but maybe order yourself a pack just to be safe.
Chamoy Boi | chamoyboikc.com
You may have seen Chamoy Boi at various pop-ups around the city or tasted the flavors of chamoy in Mexican candy. Traditional chamoy is made of salted pickled sour fruit that’s mixed with chiles. It can come in many forms, mainly as a sauce or powder, and has a tangy flavor that is all at once savory, sweet, salty, spicy, and sour. Chamoy Boi is bringing the flavors of Chamoy (which was brought to Mexico by Chinese immigrants) to KC by covering everything from gushers to dried mango to peach rings in the stuff. Order these in bulk, because there can never be enough.
For the Home Chef
There are those who love to cook almost as much as they love to eat—and they love to eat. Cooking a great meal is one thing, but cooking a great meal using local ingredients is on another level. Many places around the metro offer produce and pantry staples for all the burgeoning chefs out there. This list is your way to ensure that they’re cooking and eating local.
Pryde’s Kitchen & Necessities | prydeskitchen.com | 115 Westport Rd
Pryde’s has been a staple for kitchen goods since 1968. With over 10,000 square feet, you can find almost anything you need for baking and cooking. The store is also home to the Midwest’s largest selection of Fiestaware. From the newest trends in culinary tools to the classics, Pryde’s is sure to have what you’re looking for.
KC Farm School at Gibbs Road CSA | kcfarmschool.org | 4223 Gibbs Rd
Community Supported Agriculture (CSAs) are great ways to ensure that the cook in your life always has access to fresh, local produce. There are many great CSAs around Kansas City, but our favorite is from KC Farm School. You can purchase a full 30-week All Seasons Share or select which season works best for you. You receive organic vegetables, recipes, and the occasional goodies from other KC farmers. There are also add-on options for local dairy, eggs, bread, meat, and more. Even better? Delivery is an option.
Ibis Flour | ibisbakery.com
Ibis Bakery is taking KC by storm with its artisan breads and pastries. Because of the commodity grain infrastructure in the U.S., most flour is untraceable—even though we live close to wheat fields. Ibis is one of the bakeries leading the effort to change that. They mill flour on-site and now sell it to customers (if you can get a bag in time). Ask for some sourdough starter too, you just might be lucky enough to snag some.
Local Pig | localpig.com | 20 E 5 St.
Local Pig always has a wide selection of chicken, pork, and beef from local farms. Beyond the staples, the butcher shop rotates in seasonal favorites and has everything you need for a good charcuterie board. They also offer hands-on classes on Sunday afternoons to learn up close and personal how to prepare a charcuterie board, make sausage, and whole hog butchering.
For the ones who are always looking to spruce up their wardrobe
We all know the person who is constantly up to date on the newest trends. They’re always in need of a new clothing haul and somewhere unique to shop. These local stores and designers will have exactly what they’re wanting and ensure that they stand out in a crowd.
Daisy Lee Vintage | daisyleevintage.com | 11795 W. 95th St at Oak Park Mall
Daisy Lee has a constant rotation of clothing at its two locations (the Crossroads and Oak Park Mall) to please any vintage lover. Denim, cropped shirts, sweaters, and other casual staples line the walls alongside unique dresses and jumpsuits. Pick out a piece just for them or get a gift card—with frequent sales, it’s always a good thing to have on hand.
Clothz Minded | clothzminded.com | 4115 Pennsylvania Ave.
Clothz Minded has been a secondhand staple in Westport since 2010. Owner Nicole Ortega is constantly buying new merchandise for every season or mood. You can find everything from Louis Vuitton to Uniqlo to rare vintage pieces, all highly discounted from their original prices.
Whitney Manney | whitneymanney.com | 1017 W 29th St.
If you haven’t already heard of Whitney Manney, it’s never too late to join her fan club. Manney’s label creates ready-to-wear clothing based on street art and “the effects of cultural movements on the current urban landscape.” WM’s collections are colorful and inspired. Any piece from her is sure to become a show-stopping staple in you or your giftee’s wardrobe.
Civic Saint | civicsaint.com
In his late twenties, Godfrey Riddle was diagnosed with several kinds of rare cancer. During his treatment, he unexpectedly lost both of his parents. When he picked the pieces of his life back up, he knew that he needed to create something that would help our community—long after he or any other one person were gone. This was the birth of Civic Saint, a clothing line that shares all of its profits with community organizing groups and non-profits. Check out their line-up of incredible apparel in their online store. Give a gift that you can tell the recipient has already paid its way forward.
Three KC | threekcclothingco.com
Brendan Curran, a former high school friend of Jason Sudeikis, watched as the Ted Lasso star struggled to answer a reporter’s question about the best place for BBQ in KC—an exceptionally loaded question that The Pitch has made a policy to stop pushing people on. Sudeikis’ middle-of-the-road answer yielded a graphic tee that reads ‘JoeArthur GateStack’ with a pig directly in the center. Only a Sudeikis/Lasso type of guy would find a way to take the city’s most divisive question and find a twist that celebrates everyone. For anyone who is a fan of the most awarded TV comedy in history—or just a pal who hates committal answers—this is the perfect gift.
Keep your pandemic hobbies alive
We all needed something to pass the time during lockdown, but it would be a huge loss for you to drop the new parts of your personality that you spent the last two years developing. Here are a few options for keeping those fires stoked.
Board Games at TableTop | tabletopgameandhobby.com | 9156 Metcalf Ave
Many of us bought board games during the pandemic, forgetting how few of those you can play without people with whom you couldn’t share space. Or maybe you Googled for one-to-two player titles that weren’t up to snuff. Or maybe you joined a D&D game online with friends that you can now play in person. Whatever the case, it’s time to take your game up a level. For all of those needs, we suggest hitting up TableTop.
Art Classes with Michael Schliefke | schliefkevision.com/art-classes/
We see you, reader who started dabbling with a colored pencil or brush in 2020. The time has come to finally develop those art skills further. There are many great options around town; we’d like to highlight Michael Schliefke. He’s designed sets for the Lyric Opera among his two-decade work in the city. The artist hosts in-person and virtual classes ranging from large groups to one-on-one. A class for yourself, or a friend, will help achieve that full artist potential.
Skate Gear from Legacy Skates | legacyskateskc.com | 601 Madison Ave.
Many of us got out those old skates gathering dust last year—now you can give your fellow skate-enthusiasts some great gear. Get groovy with some flower-shaped brake pedals, neon LED outdoor wheels, or bright red cherry toe stops. With an array of brand new skates, socks, hardware, and protective gear, their offerings are seemingly endless.
Yarn Social | yarnsocialkc.com | 1707 W 45th St.
Yarn Social is the up-and-coming destination for you local yarn-lovers. Browse their extensive selection of patterns, yarn-themed magazines, and, of course, expertly spun and dyed skeins. For those new to the yarn game, Yarn Social offers “1:1 help” and group classes for folks aged 16 and up.
Goodies that your special someone(s) will vibe with
It’s no secret that we as a nation have been having way more sex in the last couple of years thanks to the pandemic. So, how about you up your game this holiday season? Whether you want to try some new kink gear out with your play partner, or get your spouse a lingerie set that will make them feel like a hot commodity, we’ve got something for every spice and comfort level.
MADI Apparel | madiapparel.com | 1659 Summit St.
MADI’s tagline of “ethical fashion that makes a difference” says it all. What started out as an intimates and underwear-focused endeavor has now grown into an online shop offering athleisure, sweatsuits, and limited home goods. Yet, they still excel when it comes to their natural underwear made with sustainable fabric by local artisans and sewers. For each item sold, they donate a pair of underwear to a domestic violence or houseless shelter.
Birdies Panties | birdiesloves.me | 116 W 18th St.
This lingerie shop’s approach to outfitting you is just about as sexy as the pieces themselves. With a focus on body diversity, Birdies supplies a variety of designer and independent pieces that will leave your giftee feeling empowered and authentic in their own skin. Ranging from panties and bras to manties, their monthly subscription packages are an ideal gift for your committed engagements. Testing the new relationship waters? Birdies’ gift card options are equally fantastic. You can also take your babe to their brick-and-mortar boutique for a pre-booked or walk-in appointment to browse their carefully-curated range of labels.
Open the Doors Coaching Session | openthedoorscoaching.com | email@example.com
We would trust Kristen Thomas, author of our Keep Them Coming column and certified sex coach, with our (sex) lives, and think you should, too. As part of her business, Open The Doors Coaching, she offers confidential and personalized sessions on dating and sex, couples and relationships, alternative lifestyles, and life coaching. Get your bestie that won’t stop complaining about Tinder a session on navigating dating apps, or schedule a time to talk about that kink that you and your partner have been wanting to explore for years, but have been too scared to try.
Turn sex into high art for the holidays. You can commission a sexy piece, or get an NFT from Kat Guillermo. Whether you want your partner to have an illustration of your thong-clad booty, or they think you’d look hot as a leather daddy, Kat can make your naughty art dreams come true.
unLESHed+ Resale | shopunleshed.com | 4243 Troost Ave
Take your love to unLESHed Plus Size Resale for a holiday dress they’ll feel sexy as hell wearing, while also being environmentally conscious. Owner Alesha Bowman takes pride in sourcing pieces that ensure everybody can express themselves through fashion.
For the people who need to treat themselves
It’s been a year. No matter the personality of who you’re shopping for, we all need to treat ourselves. Help them get their skin in shape, relax with a candle, or relax with something a bit stronger. Either way, a self-care gift should be on everyone’s list this year.
Untamed Supply | untamedsupply.com | 131 S Water St.
This trans-owned candle shop in Liberty, MO, sells 100% soy-wax candles and other small gifts. Their scents are long-lasting, creative, and true to the descriptions. The candles come in all different sizes, so you can find the perfect one for your giftee’s space and desires. Plus if you have a favorite container, Untamed Supply will pour your chosen scent into it for an extra-special gift.
CBD at Midtown Kava | restaurantji.com/mo/kansas-city/midtown-kava-/ | 1415 W 39th St.
Perhaps you’re shopping for someone who just needs the chill the F out. CBD is a pretty great option, especially with so many options in flavors and dosages. Our recommendation is to check out the women-owned Midtown Kava. There’s something for everyone here, reasonable prices, and even options for dogs and cats.
Hand and Land | handandland.com | 3216 Gillham Plaza
Head to Midtown for everything you need for self-care products. Makeup, soaps, homegoods, clothing, skincare, and pantry supplies line the shelves of Hand and Land. The store itself is a calming environment that invites shoppers to find what they might need, even if it’s not what they came in for. If that weren’t enough, they also offer a range of spa services—including a range of sauna packages.
The Facial Bar | facialbarkc.com | 307 E 9 St.; 16559 W 151 St.
Everyone needs the glow a facial provides, especially as we slog through winter. The Facial Bar offers a range of services with trained estheticians. Their services are quick and more affordable than the average cost of a facial. With everything from customizable facials to lash lifts and waxing, The Facial Bar is sure to have the self-care gift you’re looking for.