The holidays will be a bit different this year, with many of us celebrating without the people and traditions that usually define the season.
Here’s the good news though: Gift-giving is a tradition that can easily overcome the distance between us and our loved ones. Now more than ever, it’s a great way to support your favorite local makers, creatives, and small businesses.
Read on for some of our favorite Miami gift ideas for 2020, and shouts out to every reader who got in touch and shared their recommendations with us.
Deep cuts for Miami music geeks
💦 Beyond their enviable music selection and in-house musical releases, Sweat Records also has an abundance of branded wares begging to be bought. From enamel pins tributing your favorite records to Sweat-soaked tote bags and slipmats, both the physical store and online shop have it all.
🎶 Space Tapes put out a lot of great music this year, from Sel.6’s South Florida-flavored electro to the worldly mysticism present on Nicholas G. Padilla’s Parrot Jungle. You can grab physical and digital copies of the Miami record label’s releases — as well as top-notch merch designed by illustrator Emmanuel Gorrin — via Bandcamp.
👂 Brother Dan really stepped up Terrestrial Funk’s already impressive offerings in 2020. The Miami DJ’s record label and online shop offers everything from new music by a dance floor innovator to a fresh compilation documenting the music of the Armenian diaspora, and as you’d expect, a grab bag of carefully curated vinyl rarities.
💿 Technique Records’ selections aren’t confined to just store merch, cool collaborations with Miami artists and musical ephemera: The record store’s staff are even nice enough to personally select a stack of unique records based on your suggestions about that special someone’s vibe and even your budget! You can peep all of the above at the following link.
💃 If you’re counting on 2021 being a better year where people will be able to safely gather in groups to enjoy live music, consider surprising your favorite person with tickets to next year’s edition of III Points. No promises, but hope springs eternal, and local music festivals could definitely use some love right now.
Local Black-owned businesses to shop at this holiday season
❤️ As highlighted in yesterday’s newsletter, The New Tropic friend and contributor Janey Tate has assembled a thorough list of South Florida Black-owned businesses to check out over at her site, Hy-Lo News. Although some of the Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals mentioned may have expired, the quality of the offerings and the need to support local endeavors has not.
Finds for foodie friends and barflies
👅 If you’re comfortable swinging by one of La Sandwicherie’s many locations, you can score a bottle of the beloved sandwich shop’s mouth-watering French Vinaigrette to take home with you. Whether you use it as a marinade, a dressing, or even a dip, just make sure it winds up in your mouth and not on your shirt.
👕 Celebrate arguably the best 2020 addition to Miami’s culinary canon with one of El Bagel’s name-bearing t-shirts. It’s swag from an addictive and Eric Andre-approved bagel shop — what do you need, a map?
🍩 Booze-filled baked goods crafted with Miami-made love: How can you go wrong? Mark your calendars and surprise someone with an order of Bang Bang Bakehouse’s liquid courage-infused pastries this holiday season — after a year like this one, we’ve all earned the right to get a little decadent in our diets.
🍷 And speaking of booze, get creative and whet your 21+ friend or family member’s alcoholic whistle with a score from Lucio/Wine Shop. No matter how the end of this year shakes out, a drink could do us all some good — why not make it one from this natural wine store’s affordable array of options?
🧀 It’s hard to top the simple pleasure of mixing and matching flavors from a cheese board. If you’d like to give the gift of charcuterie goodness this month, the biggest cheese in town may just be The Miami Larder. The menu boasts a diverse selection of cheeses, meats, and fruits with a healthy budget-conscious price range. You can even customize your plates and arrange for them to be delivered!
Locally sourced apparel and accessories
🤘 If you prefer your band t-shirts to be vintage and well-worn, Mills Vintage has got you covered. You can score their wares on Etsy and Depop; the price range is up there, but who among us hasn’t splurged to publicly share how much we love our favorite artists?
👖 Speaking of music-related merch: Besides releasing head-banging electronic tunes, the perpetually creative duo INVT also produce very cool clothing made right here in Miami. From tropical pink bucket hats to acid washed jeans, the pair leave no sartorial stone unturned.
👗 This one’s for the ladies: Beyond the allure of its alliterative name, Caterina’s Closet has established itself as a reliable local vendor of stylish women’s wear. The closet carries both new and pre-owned apparel.
🌱 If you wind up going gift shopping in-person, you may as well check out the setup by Nice Rack Shop (or as they stylize themselves on Instagram, @nicerack.shop) at the Center for Subtropical Affairs. You can find the vintage clothes and housewares boutique outdoors at the plant-heavy haven every Saturday.
🕶 Don’t worry about whether the person you’re shopping for has become a reclusive shut-in or not: The swagger of smart fashion sense is still valuable even if you’re plopped on the couch rather than out on the town. Cool is a state of mind, making a purchase from COOL Creative — or Create Out of Love for those curious — a no-brainer. Whether you’re snagging a facemask, jacket, or a tee, you really can’t go wrong — it’s all right there in the name.
😮 The Ohhh Collection of earrings have a lot going for ‘em: They’re handmade locally, there’s no shortage of styles to choose from, and many items will be on sale through Christmas. But above all else, they’re colorful and cute as can be.
💍 Kathe Cuervo isn’t just the name of the store selling captivating custom jewelry in Upper Buena Vista: It’s also the namesake of the person crafting it all. Since opening up a physical storefront in January 2020, she and her husband Andres Mora have weathered the storm that was this year to continue selling their creatively designed rings, necklaces, and more. If you don’t feel like taking a stroll through one of Miami’s most scenic neighborhoods, you can also check out their online store.
🔥 If ever there was a store that embodies the “305 till I die” mentality, it’s Martha of Miami. Seriously though, they stock a shirt that says as much. If you know someone who could use more clothes and appliances that speak to their Magic City state of mind, this is the shop to start with.
Interior decorating with Magic City flair
🖼 If you know someone who’s been pining to spruce up their home with some stylish, sultry woodwork (see what we did there?) Sangre Mala should be the first place you go gift shopping. All items — which include jewelry as well — are made in Miami, but tread carefully while scrolling through the online store: It’s decidedly not safe for work, or as the kids say, NSFW.
📚 Books are meant for more than just home decorating, so much so that we don’t have to list all the ways they nourish the mind and spirit within this limited space. But if you live in Miami and are going to buy homebound books for yourself or a loved one, make sure they’re from local institution Books & Books.
Cool beans for caffeine fiends
👀 You can bring Le Jardin Coffee’s on-the-go delights into your own home with its coffee blend selections and eye-catching merch.
☕️ Panther Coffee’s online store offers a variety of delicious craft blends begging to be brewed, not to mention boxed cold brew and a bundle complete with a Palmpress coffee press.