Christmas shopping is the worst.
Too dark for the start of a gift guide?
Too bad. It’s a fact.
At best, you’re excited about one or two gifts, and the rest are just fillers.
At worst, you missed the boat on Amazon Prime and you have to physically go shopping at the scariest place on earth: The Green Hills Mall.
(Between Thanksgiving and Christmas, the mall parking lot is pretty much The Hunger Games. Except everyone’s armed with Louis Vuitton, a latte and a huge SUV.)
We at Unsung Nashville are against shopping-related violence of all kinds, so we did the hard work for you: We’ve found 10 of the best gifts Music City has to offer.
They’re all made in Nashville, and you can get them all without setting foot in a mall.
Try them on for size:
Nashville Originals gift card
$10 — 200
As Music City’s independent restaurant association, Nashville Originals is doing it right. Best known for their Restaurant Week deals, they have more than 50 member restaurants like Noshville, Watermark and everything in between. You choose your price and the person you give the card to chooses where to eat.
Want some extra bang for your buck?
Check out the discount store, where they offer deals like $50 for $35 at Cabana, the Bound’ry, Fleet Street Pub and more.
$36 — 72
If you’re looking to do a little good while you do your shopping, fashionABLE is your vendor.
The Nashville-based company partners with groups of Ethiopian women who make scarves, leather bags and bracelets. The sale of these hand-crafted accessories helps women escape poverty and prostitution. And they’re pretty gorgeous to boot.
Shop all scarves here.
Nisolo shoes & purses
$28 — 178
Another do-gooder here in Nashville, Nisolo sells truly beautiful leather goods with a purpose. Their mission is to offer all of their artisans international market access, fair pay, skills training and safe working conditions. And it’s working — the average income per producer increases 300% after partnering with Nisolo.
Shoes are their main product line, but their leather purses and bracelets are also guaranteed to make your lady swoon.
Check out their gift ideas here.
A growler & a gift card
No matter how well you know someone, a gift is always a gamble — but beer never is. Pick up a growler — empty or filled — along with a gift card for a few refills, and you’ll be keeping them in suds well into the new year.
There are a ton of great local growler choices these days: The Filling Station, Craft Brewed, Jackalope, etc. But our current favorite is the new kid on the block in Sylvan Park: The Beer Pale.
Pro tip: Pick up a French Dip while you’re there — they make their au jus with local stout beer. Trust.
Suzanne Myers jewelry
Suzanne Myers has always been fascinated by stones, but her fate with stones was sealed when her grandfather gave her a rock tumbler. She quickly discovered a high-speed drill could turn almost anything into jewelry, and the rest is handmade history.
While all her pieces are lovely, the real star is her name charm necklace. You personalize them with your recipient’s name or, if you’re looking for a real tearjerker, the names of her kids. We’d also suggest that a dog’s name would make a lovely pendant for the canine-obsessed. Just saying.
Name charm necklaces start at $130.
Porter Road Butcher swag, seasoning or sauce
For the meat-lover in your life, you can’t go wrong at the butcher. PRB has been bringing high-quality, local meat to Nashville for several years now, and now they’ve supplemented that with a swag game that is fully on point. Pick up any jar in the store — pickles, sauces, seasonings — for a taste of Nashville that won’t break the bank.
And if you have any PRB fans in the family, their T-shirts are seriously good looking but also crazy comfortable.
Lights from Southern Lights Electric Co.
The man behind Southern Lights Electric Co., Adam Gatchel makes modern light-fixtures in a vintage style. Originally a professional drummer, he traded his sticks for a wires a few years back, and now he makes unique, custom lighting full time.
Lighting can be pricey, but these fixtures bring so much character to a room or home that it’s worth the splurge. And I’m yet to meet anyone who isn’t a sucker for an Edison bulb.
Massage from Escape Day Spa
This one’s pretty obvious, but I feel it’s my duty to all the hard-working Nashville ladies to include it. Massages are the best, but Escape takes them to the next level. The underground spa bunker they’ve created is magical: lounges, steam rooms, showers, cookies and a ceiling that looks like a starry sky. Sometimes it’s so relaxing the massage isn’t even necessary. (That’s a lie.)
Pro tip: Bump up your gift card total by 20% so it includes tip. The only way to improve upon a massage is to be able to breeze out of it unfettered.
Thistle Farms beauty products
The final feel-good entry on our list comes from our favorite ladies in town: the women of Thistle Farms. Run by the women of Magdalene House, a residential program for women who have survived lives of prostitution, trafficking, addiction and life on the streets, everything made by Thistle Farms just feels full of joy.
From bath salts to candles to body butter, you can peruse all the items at the Thistle Stop Cafe, which is a destination lunch spot all on its own. And if you’re looking for a bargain, look no further: their website has a section of gifts under $10.
Furniture by Modern Arks
This is your big daddy item, but this furniture pays for its price in cool points.
Modern Arks’ Jamie Bennett draws inspiration from the past, repurposing vintage items — like shipping crates or barn wood — into modern furniture.
A Nashville native, Bennett started out as an architect, but went into woodworking full time when his furniture took off. Our personal favorite is the typewriter shipping crate side table, but we wouldn’t turn down that barnwood bed either.