With a little planning and a couple of cocktails the holidays can go down smoother than a pint of spiked egg nog. Gut Check's assembled a series of guides to help find the perfect present for the food lover in your life while maintaining sanity and investing in your community... and, okay, maybe picking up a thing or two for yourself along the way.
Great things come in small packages: chocolate, gift certificates, jewelry (if you're into that kinda thing). Skip the boring, mass-produced candy canes and Hershey's Kisses this year and go straight for the good stuff (read: locally made chocolate and booze).
- Handmade caramels from the Caramel House are gooey and decadent, and they come in flavors infused with other locally made products like Schlafly Beer, Gus' Pretzels and Lochhead Vanilla. Order them through the Caramel House website or buy them at one of these local retail shops. ($5 for a three-piece "snack bag")
- Kakao (7272 Manchester Road, Maplewood; 314-645-4446) has something for every stocking: candy canes, barks, truffles and chocolates shaped like everything from Christmas characters to tool sets.
- Crown Candy Kitchen (1401 Saint Louis Avenue; 314-621-9650) has goodies for the sugar fanatic on your list. For those who'd rather eat a cheeseburger than cheesecake, pick up a Crown Candy gift certificate.
- Visit Miss M's Candy Boutique (6193 Delmar Boulevard; 314-721-7000) if you want big-name candy like M&Ms, Now and Laters and Fun Dip.
- RJ Chocolatier isn't so much a chocolate shop as a laboratory/art gallery/candy store. Pick up treats for your more eclectic kin here, or visit Bissinger's (32 Maryland Plaza; 314-367-7750), Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate (112 North Kirkwood Road, Kirkwood; 314-965-6615) or Little Dipper Chocolates if you're looking for a more traditional chocolate fix.
- Vom Fass (7314 Manchester Road, Maplewood; 314-932-5262) sells several unique liqueurs in flavors like nut-chocolate, cherry and mango lime in beautiful stocking-sized 50 and 100 ml bottles. The best part? You can sample them before you buy.
- Local Restaurant gift cards make great stocking stuffera, and many of them are offering deals on gift cards for the holiday season, e.g. buy a $50 gift card for them, get a $10 gift card for yourself. Everyone wins! Not sure what they'd like? A Saint Louis Originals gift card gives the recipient several great options.
- Treat your caffeinated loved ones to a pound of beans or a gift card from a local shop, like Meshuggah, Northwest Coffee Roasting Co., Cafe Ventana, Foundation Grounds, Coffee Cartel, Mokabe's, Shameless Grounds, Kaldi's...the list doesn't end there -- support the shop in your neighborhood!