Look, Christmas shopping isn’t hard, per se. Anyone can make a last-minute trip to your neighborhood big box and find something in every aisle that makes sense to buy for your favorite folks.
But, the real fun is finding something you’re excited to give someone—something with its own back story, concepted, crafted, commissioned and in many cases, hand-numbered by those who live in an area zip code.
Yeah, but that’s hard and takes time.
Sure, but you’ve got all month—not to mention this list that (614) has compiled just for you.
These are (just a few) of the talented makers of Columbus, Ohio—one for each day of the month:
If you’re in love with your beard as much as our editor-in-chief is with his, and you like being earth-friendly, then look no further than Cliff’s Original hair and skin products—they’re good for your face and our planet. It’s a win-win. Goat’s milk and beeswax on your face? That’s some Game of Thrones shit, right there.
While nothing about their logo—a tobacco-smoking sasquatch—makes sense, Sasquatch Labs is best at building, hacking, and flying things. You can look to them for the best in technology tools, drones, and some nicely designed company t-shirts.
A one-woman papery, all orders are meticulously hand-designed in pencil before being digitized by owner/artist Jolie Ankrom. The shop’s product offerings are plentiful and the website is well-constructed and professional. Perhaps most importantly, Brim’s designs are crisp and distinct. An enjoyable online papery experience.
Vanessa Jean Speckman
The work of Vanessa Speckman takes plenty of shapes—leather, cotton, paper—but, regardless of the material, if you’re looking for a custom gift for the rambling, lost soul in your life, her Etsy shop is your destination. Tramps like us, ya know….
Apparel, posters, and other accessories from a husband-and-wife team Alison and Nicholas Nocera, who, since 2003, have helped Columbus shoppers diversify their choices of hand-pressed, originally designed apparel.
Columbus is always a mix of traditional artisanal goods and forward thinking innovation. That’s never been truer than with Terry Howard’s Afortiori Tools, an outfit dedicated to old-school blacksmithing and woodwork. His kitchen knives are used by some of the area’s finest chefs and his bush knives could be used to get some of that delicious food on the table.
The People’s Amplifier
If you play music out and about in Columbus, you want a rig that works for your sound, but it also doesn’t hurt if it’s the envy of those that share your stage. Karl Wohlwend invested tons of hours into his own version of the Marshall “Bluesbreaker,” and now one can be yours—customized just about however you like it. Sweet licks not included.
Dusty Icenhour makes guitars in a rustic, 100-year-old barn in the fields of Plain City. While the surroundings ain’t fancy, the man sure can make a beautiful instrument. More than just a music-playing contraption, these are true pieces of art. And hey, if you give up trying to learn to play the damn thing, you can probably get away with hanging it on your wall.
One of the most useful tools of comfort in the grey-cold of Ohio winter, now the most intimate and used items in our home can come from right her at home. Columbus’ Choxley (also available at Short North shop Tigertree) wants to make sure your blanket is crafted with intense detail and precision, weaving heartfelt care into every stitch.
Usually when old homes and buildings are torn down, the disposed wood goes to a landfill to rot. Reckon Reclaimed instead reclaims that wood and transforms it for a loving owner who wants both beautiful and earth friendly home decor. Plus, once it’s harvested, it’s put to good use by Joshua Calderone and his 20 years of master carpentry.
Columbus Barrel Co.
Bourbon drinking comes with it’s own lifestyle, from the skateboard under your feet to the coasters you set your drinks on. The Columbus Barrel Co. delivers stylish home goods and gifts that subscribe to those who can hold their liquor—all made from unique handpicked Kentucky Bourbon barrels. Tell an unsuspecting friend that, no, in fact, you have not been boozing, but your sunglasses have.”
A Carpenter’s Son
Handcrafted wood never felt so wholesome than when Josh and Laura Scheutzow at A Carpenter’s Son used the proceeds from their product to raise funds for their own family’s adoption. Now they’re taking that same mission and using it to help other families grow. It’s a one-stop-shop for great furniture and a great cause.
Robert Mason Heritage Supply
Robert Mason is the brainchild of one of Columbus’s most fascinating entrepreneurs, Robert Grimmett, who started the curated office supply store when he was a teenager in West Virginia. Now, after bouncing back from a fire that threatened to wipe out the brand, his Short North store is home to all types of stylish products for the everyday working man or woman. You can even take home a bag designed by Grimmett himself, a graduate of The Illinois Institute of Art Chicago.
Seek and Sought
Jennalee Cook makes the things you need to live if you’re a person who’s blood runs thick with music. Her work encompasses anything from jewelry to side tables. She’s handy with a saw and a paintbrush, so just let her go at it the next time you want to redecorate your house—and/or empty out that old box of concert memories and LPs.
Sweet Stella Designs
Think: Food you can wear. Now remove the image of Lady Gaga’s meat dress from your mind, and insert Amy Neiwirth’s wearable confections—food jewelry so tiny, cute, and realistic, your friends won’t know whether to ask you out for lunch or compliment you.
The yoga-gear shop with the spicy name carries their own line of mats and related yoga-themed accessories. Strikingly colorful and lively, these mats are crafted to “rejuvenate and guide” yogis through their practice. Custom orders also welcome.
Tie By Hand
A socially conscious woodshop specializing in high-end home goods and toys, among other unique items, Tie By Hand sends 10 percent of every purchase to an organization to provide healthcare to underserved LGBT residents here in Central Ohio.
Game Night Geek
The board game craze that’s popped up as Generation X nudges toward Social Security, hasn’t quite been snuffed out yet. Conceived in Franklinton’s Columbus Idea Foundry, GNG also provides customizing services—like laser engraving—for a wide variety of items.
Five years ago, Andrew Lundberg decided he was done with TPS reports and ditched his corporate gig for an Airstream and a passion for creating. (You probably recognize his work—along with the twin-headed horse you can see in OTE and on the side of his Franklinton barn. Today, his outfit, Lundberg Industrial Arts, specializes in filling the city’s hip new business spaces with his own brand of imposingly sized—and undoubtedly original—commercial furniture.
Hand-crafted hula hoop shops are a dime a dozen in Columbus, er, well, even if they were, BombDiggity Goods would probably still have the market cornered. Watch out, Big Hula…
Ashley Martin got into woodworking the way a lot people do—after his father gave him his first pocketknife. Martin spent a short time as a flight instructor after getting his degree in aviation and meteorology, but now he’s, in his words, “a part-time bartender and full-time craftsman.” His artisan woodworking, from full sets of walnut-carved eating utensils to spalted pendants and other accessories, offer a truly cool array of items that’ll surely add something unique to your household.
Hand-crafted from a home studio in Columbus, Ray quilts aim for minimalism, simplicity, and most crucially, comfort. Each quilt is named after excerpts of Buddhist texts, and Ray’s offerings also include coasters, pillows, wallhangings, and blankets.
Yellowood Design Studio
If you had dreams of growing up to be Paul Bunyan, dream no more. Founded by Benjamin and Cori Rowley, the couple were inspired by the axe handed down to Ben by his great-grandfather. Yellowood Design Studio’s restored and refurbished classic versions encapsulate American history while making you look super cool at your annual camping trip.
Ever want a map of every nook and cranny of the capital city, precision-cut from a solid block of stainless steel? If you answered “of course,” you’re obviously lying. But the folks at Cut Maps have created a unique world for cartography obsessives searching for that special piece. Arrays of geographical areas have been set in steel, so to speak, and custom orders are available. A unique gift for anyone who loves where they’re from.
An artist-made, contemporary jewelry shop located in the business hub of Grandview, The Smithery even offers metalworking workshops—including a class focusing on wedding band creation. The shop features items created by dozens of artists across the country, and commissions are offered for artists aspiring to make a buck or two.
Paper Blooms LGD
“Paper flowers” might sound like some kind of angsty garage band, but CCAD grad Leah Gray, who’s spent several years experimenting with origami after college, brings to creation a more literal interpretation of the two words. Paper Blooms creates intricate, vivid floral arrangements that don’t need a drop of water. Weddings and other special events are welcome.
Big Candle has ruled the wick-and-wax biz for quite some time, but a pair of earth-conscious BFFs from the capital city is trying to change the game. Boasting a hand-poured, soy-based product, the gentlemen chandlers boast a 100-percent-recyclable light source that, when the final bit of wick finally snuffs out, the buried label tag will grow into a plant.
Tucked in wooded Clintonville, this apothecarist uses plants and other natural ingredients to provide alternative treatments for what ails you. Dreamed up as a means to combat inflated health care costs by allowing alternative medicinal access to those who can’t afford (or choose not to partake) in traditional medical remedies, Boline all-natural product in a welcoming environment.
Glenn Ave. Soap
Modern, commercially marketed soap is toxic. So says Glenn Ave. Soap creator Dr. Sandra Metzler, who should know. Armed with a PhD in biomedical engineering, the mom of three found herself exasperated in a vain attempt to find a non-toxic option her family could use on a daily basis. After a good bit of trial and error, the amateur suds aficionado found the formula for what she believes is the perfect skin cleanser. Scrub up!
To Glean, the 60-year-old landfill Tupperware, forever winning the battle against decomposition, is more than a gross piece of plastic. It’s also a working clock —once owner Dawn McCombs gets her (hopefully gloved) hands on it. McCombs makes usable, functional products from the things we all discard, and she’ll sell them to you here if you have a couple bucks.
Old Soul Studio
It’s a cliché, sure, but owner Ali Meade is a Renaissance woman. When not fighting fires, she’s probably welding. Or teaching others how to weld. Or perhaps today she’s a photographer in the morning and designing furniture in the afternoon. Whatever she’s doing, Old Soul Studio captures it all. A multifaceted talent with a hero’s day job, guessing what Meade will create next is a stab in the dark.