We’ve created a holiday gift guide that showcases some of our favorite items carried by local shops and local people in Asheville, North Carolina. Some of these gifts can be purchased at brick-and-mortar stores. Some of them are online only. A bunch of them offer both. When picking out this year’s holiday gifts, or doing year-round shopping for that matter, always do your best to shop local. It’s what keeps our favorite places (and people) going.
Cool and Unique Asheville Gifts
You don’t need that shopping site that rhymes with marathon when you can shop in Asheville. And as you know by now, shopping locally means you can keep your dollars in our city, support our local friends and neighbors, and have a cool story to share when the person opens their gift. If we want our favorite businesses to be in business next year and the year after, we have to support them! Plus, the backstory of the gift can sometimes be just as fun as the gift itself. So with that in mind…
A Plant That You (Or Anybody Else)
Can Keep Alive
We interrupt the typical photos of gifts with this one which we took in front of our favorite little plant shop in Asheville. The Christmas tree is fake but everything inside is very much alive, healthy, thriving, and ready for you to take home (or have shipped nationwide.) Yep, you can send that present ahead of you and not have to pack it in your car or put it on a plane. There’s also crystals, pots, and other cool stuff in there to give your space a better vibe. Also, we could have used a photo of our own easy-to-care-for plants that we have that are amazingly still alive but we chose this one instead because it is one of our favorite family photos and we heard that there just might be another.
Where to find it: Palm + Pine | 178-B Westwood Place
Andrea Clark’s East End Photography Book
Though there are a ton of really cool gifts in this list, if we had to choose just one to give, we’d pick this book titled Andrea Clark: East End Asheville Photographs Circa 1968. Clark’s book features photographs and words that give us a look back in time at Asheville’s East End Neighborhood, which was first built by freed slaves over 150 years ago and was a draw for African Americans all over the southeast. To say it was a thriving, lively, place is an understatement. However, in the 1970’s, in the name of Urban Renewal, much of that neighborhood was destroyed. Hundreds of homes, Black-owned businesses, and schools were removed and residents lost not only their physical spaces but their access to the community that they had built. To learn more, pick up a copy for yourself and others.
Where to find it: Noir Collective | 39 South Market Street, Suite C
Accessories for a Fun Time
Garden Party is a place where you can step inside the creative brilliance that is Tarleton and Seth. The shop is curated in such a way that you’ll take baby steps as you explore every nook and cranny in their space, oohing and aahing your way towards the thing you never even knew existed but that you suddenly cannot (and should not) part with. Be it a unique grinder, a zine, or even a pipe in the shape of a papaya, this is one local shop you don’t want to sleep on.
Where to find it: Garden Party | 315 Haywood Road, Suite 113 (the new Beacham West building)
Tinctures made by Tamarya
You may have seen our recent story, 7 Queer Owned Businesses in Asheville, which featured Tamarya Sims (also known as @plantswithT on Instagram). They have tinctures for sale that have been sourced from Soulfull Simone Farm and/or foraged locally in Western North Carolina. Most of the tinctures are sold in 2-ounce and 4-ounce bottles. They also sell teas, salves, dried herbs, stickers, and cool looking t-shirts with their logo on it.)
Cute and Practical Composting Pail
Photo courtesy of Ware.
Composting is cool and don’t let anyone try to tell you otherwise. One easy way to get your friends and family started on their composting journey is to gift them this cute composting pail made out of bamboo and celluose polymer. We have the one in Terra Cotta but it also comes in Saffron (pictured above), Natural, and Graphite. And it sits right there on our kitchen counter top, doing its thing, being all cute and whatnot. The two of us tend to fill it up every two to three days. Volume-wise it holds 1.25 gallons. Unlike some other methods we’ve tried, this one doesn’t give off an odor. We attribute that to the filters which apparently last 60-90 days but in reality we actually never changed it. And it doesn’t smell. (If you need new filters, you can also get them at Ware.) And we’ve never put it in the dishwasher (because we don’t have one) we have rinsed it with the hose each time and then let it dry in the sun. It’s low maintenance care is why it’s our unsung hero in the kitchen.
Where to find it: Ware | 797 Haywood Road, Suite 101
Say Something Stickers
We’re big fans of the sticker collection at Madame Clutterbuckets. They have so many to choose from and picking them out can be a way to demonstrate that you see the person you’re giving them to. It’s like a modern day mix tape of sorts. Giving the ‘right’ one can communicate a nuance or an inside joke that otherwise can be tricky to say. Stickers can also be a great way for someone to proudly share their identity, values, and we’ve heard, have even led to friendships being made and even dates being had because of what was on prominently displayed on a waterbottle.
Where to find it: Madame Clutterbuckets Neurodiverse Universe | 21 Battery Park Avenue, Suite 101
Local to Asheville Food and Drink
We love to give a gift that tastes good! And luckily for us, Asheville has so many delicious treats to choose from. Here are some of our favorite goodies that make our mouths water.
Fresh Baked Cupcakes from Smallcakes Arcadia – Asheville
One of the easiest ways to put a smile on someone’s face is to bring them a box of cupcakes from Smallcakes Arcadia-Asheville. They are baked fresh, from scratch, and in-house daily. There are 13 signature options to choose from as well as seasonal options and monthly specials which rotate by the day. You can order a single cupcake, a 2 pack, a 4 pack, a 6 pack or even a dozen. Our favorite flavors are Lemon Drop (Caroline) and “Famous” Red Velvet (Erin).
Where to find them: Smallcakes Arcadia – Asheville | 33 Town Square Blvd, Unit 130
Pure honey, infused honey, smokin’ hot honey, honey samples, honey straws, and even honey combs! When it comes to honey, this local store has pretty much everything you could think of. It’s also lesbian-owned. And if you’re not quite sure what you want to buy to gift, they have a honey sampling bar so you can make an informed choice.
Where to find it: Asheville Beer Charmer | 32 Broadway Street and 38 Battery Park Avenue
12 Bones Smokehouse BBQ Sauce
We’ve taken a bunch of friends and family to 12 Bones over the years. So much so that when we see these lovely humans, 12 Bones almost always comes up. And people get that look in their eyes as they reminisce about the platter they had when they were in Asheville. So, do the next best thing and get your favorite people a jar or two or three (one of each?!) of 12 Bones Smokehouse BBQ Sauce. You can choose from Blueberry Chipotle, Sweet Tomato, Spicy Vinegar, Pineapple Habanero, and Hot Jalapeño. Our favorites? Yes. (That means all of them.)
Photo courtesy of Buggy Pops | by Kristina Valdiviezo
We love the BIPOC woman-owned gourmet ice pop business that is Buggy Pops! It truly is happiness on a stick. Some of our favorite flavors are Strawberry Lemonade and Cookies and Cream though that is subject to change as we are currently on a quest to try all of Neomi’s flavors. Look for the cute little black cart with an umbrella above it. You can thank us later.
Cheese from Lane in the Woods
There’s cheese from Lane in the Woods and then there’s everything else…seriously. If you know what’s good for ya, you’ll make a point to pick up some of the best cheese not just in the area, but we’d argue, in the country. He’s at several different markets during the year but during the winter, and year-round, you can find him in Weaverville.
Where to find it: Weaverville Tailgate Market (goes throughout the winter!)
Yule Log from the Hop Ice Cream
Photo courtesy of The Hop Ice Cream
The Hop Ice Cream has been making their Yule Logs for over 40 years and this is one tradition you might want to consider making your own! Their Yule Logs are offered in both a dairy and vegan option and you also get to choose which kind of cake you want inside. Your cake options include: Housemade chocolate cake rolled with your choice of handcrafted Salted Caramel, Peppermint Stick or Vanilla Bean Ice Cream, which is then covered in their signature Chocolate Ice Cream and festively decorated to your specifications. This year orders opened on Monday, November 13 and can be placed online through Monday, December 20. Get yours in because they’re capping orders at 600 this year!
Where to find it: Yule Log Pickups can be picked up on or before 12/24 at The Hop Creamery, located at 167 Haywood Rd. Curbside pickup at The Creamery for all Yule Log orders is Monday-Saturday 11am-2pm. Call 828-774-5058 and they will bring your Yule Log out to you.
Local Craft Beer, Wine, and Spirits
It’s no secret, y’all know how much we love beer.
These are our top picks for Asheville-made alcohol.
Prophetmaker from Burial Beer Co.
Hop-Rooted IPA from 7 Clans Brewing
Celebration Fresh Hop IPA from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
Appalachian IPA from Wicked Weed Brewing
Coastin’ West Coast IPA from 12 Bones Brewing
Daycation IPA from Highland Brewing
Amaro Obscura by Eda Rhyne Distilling Co.
Where to find it: You can buy all of the beers at the breweries themselves. Many of them can also be found around town in the grocery store. If you want to get all of them in one place, your best bet is Appalachian Vintner which has an incredible selection of not only local beers but beers from all over the world. Not sure what it says about us but sometimes when we get bored we go there just to look around and see what might be fun to try.
Elevate your dishes with the spices, herbs, and blends from Spicewalla which was founded by Chef Meherwan Irani. You’ll know Irani from his crave-worthy food at Chai Pani and Botiwalla and his five James Beard Award nominations for Best Chef in the Southeast, as well as his win as Best Restaurant in 2022. The spices are sold separately as well as in collections.
Where to find it: Spicewalla
Asheville Adventure Gift Ideas
Rockgeist Bikepacking Bags
Want to outfit your bike for a bikepacking adventure? Or just something to carry stuff around town? You’ll want to go visit our friends over at Rockgeist to get those needs met. They’re hand-sewing these high-quality, super-functional, bags whose design just makes sense to us (which in our opinion, is one of the best things you can say about a product.) And while we haven’t done some of the extreme bikepacking that we’ve seen on the internet, we have used these to do a 120 mile trip in Florida so we can vouch, to a certain level, for their performance!
Where to find it: Rockgeist
We are an ENO family. We’ve got an ENO hammock in the backyard, we keep one in the van, we always take one camping, and we’ve even biked with one for over 120 miles. (It rode in those Rockgeist bags we mentioned above and gave us a great place to snooze along the way.) It’s also a gift that we love to give. Particularly when the recipient is far from home and we need to ship it. Why? Because it’s lightweight, and practical, comes in cool colors and patterns, is made by a local outdoor company, AND it helps you relax. Need we say more? The one pictured above is their DoubleNest hammock.
Original Skateboard Deck
Photo courtesy of Fruitboots
Beautiful and functional, this original skateboard deck is just one of the kinds of skateboard decks that our friend, Liam, makes. The one pictured is a longboard design that is actually ready to ride but it can also be hung on your wall as art. In addition to skateboards, Liam also makes t-shirts, prints, and cards.
Where to find it: Fruitboots
Handmade Local Asheville Art Gift Ideas
It’s no secret that Asheville is home to so many artists, potters, makers, painters, and more. It seems like almost every local you meet has at least one hobby or business that lies within the art field. So this was a tough category for us to hone in on but these are some of our favorite local Asheville art gift ideas.
Tintype Photos by Sara Mulvey
We shoot in digital all of the time but are fascinated by all of the slower methods of creating an image. So when we heard there was a person, Sara, in Asheville, who would create tintype photos, it wasn’t a matter of “if” but “when.” And while we are in deep gratitude for the final products that came as a result of our session with her, we were as equally captivated by the process and watching how she brought them to life.
Where to find it: Sara Mulvey | 1 Roberts Street
Poppy Cat Zines
Y’all, in case you hadn’t heard, one of our favorite new artists to emerge on the Asheville art scene is none other than Poppy. We caught up with Poppy and her zines at this year’s Asheville Zine Fest where she was the only kid vendor in attendance. We bought one of each and also snagged an extra for Erin’s sister who will, when she receives the gift, 100% be sure to appreciate it’s humor, creativity, and craftsmanship. This is one artist you don’t want to miss.
Where to find it: Poppy Cat Zines | DM to order
Horse and Hero
You know what we love about Horse and Hero? They make browsing, looking, and getting into art both accessible and fun. Though you can take home an original piece of art, you can also find stickers in there for as little as $2. Plus, everything in there is cool. The kind of cool where you’ll get compliments about it later. The kind of cool where you can relax when the gifts are being opened because you know that what’s in there is a solid pick and will bring a smile to someone’s face.
Where to find it: Horse and Hero | 14 Patton Avenue
Paintings by Joseph Pearson
Located within Pink Dog Creative, is one of Asheville’s most notable artists, Joseph Pearson. Joseph is a local painter and muralist whose subjects range from portraits to pets and nudes. He sells prints and is open for commissions. You can visit him online or at his studio in the River Arts District. We recommend the latter because meeting Joseph and being able to connect with him through the stories which he is so often willing to share will give his work an deeper layer. Plus, it is an honor just to be in the space in which he creates such beautiful art.
Where to find it: Joseph Pearson Art | 348 Depot Street, Suite 130
Art by Mangum Pottery
Take a drive north to the town of Weaverville and after grabbing a cup of coffee from the locally-owned and LGBTQ-owned Yellow Mug, mosey on down Main Street and stop in to see Beth and Rob at Mangum Pottery. They’ve been credited by more than a few people for helping make downtown Weaverville into the hip spot it’s become. Their pottery business has been going strong for over thirty years. You’ll find everything from dinnerware to mugs, bowls, platters, pitchers, and even a banjo made out of ceramics.
Where to find it: Mangum Pottery | 16 Main Street, Weaverville
Drinking Cups by Melissa Weiss Pottery
Once you’ve seen Melissa Weiss’ pottery, it will be hard to forget it. And then the next time you see it, you’ll go, “wait a second, that’s a Melissa Weiss.” We are not trained in the arts, but we agree with the masses of people who love her work and were thrilled to make one of her pieces our own this past year. And unlike some things that bring you momentary joy right before purchase but then make you feel regret shortly thereafter – this is not one of them. If there truly is such a thing as an object bringing happiness out of use, this is one such thing.
Nature Dishes Lee Wolfe Pottery
Photo courtesy of Lee Wolfe Pottery
You may have seen Lee’s Instagram channel where she shows you the behind-the-scenes process of how she makes her beautiful ceramics and then reveals the final product? If you haven’t, we hope you do. It’s one of the things we look forward to on a daily basis as it’s soothing. It’s also inspiring to see someone so dedicated to their craft. We love it, and her. Lee often sells out of her work really quickly so keep an eye on her IG channel or check back later as she restocks often.
Where to find it: Lee Wolfe Pottery
Bowls by So Stoked Pottery
We have three of Eli’s bowls and we eat out of them almost all of the time because they make the food feel special, even when it’s something as simple as the same old sandwich you have everyday. They were one of the few birthday presents I’ve ever specifically asked for (most of the time I like them to be a surprise.) Not only are they rad to look at, but they also feel good in your hand; there’s heft to them. They’re the kind of thing you’ll have for a lifetime and then pass down to someone. Love what you’re putting into the world, Eli. Thank you.
Where to find it: So.Stoked.Pottery
Asheville Local Non-Profits Who Could Also Be Considered For Gifts and Gifting
And for those of you who may not want to give a thing but still want to give, you can always consider donating to some of our favorite community organizations in the Asheville area. You could make a gift in someone’s name or even anonymously. Either way, you will be making a positive impact on these community organizations.
Didn’t see your art, product, or service listed here? We’re sorry about that. We included as many people and things as we could. But we probably forgot someone important. Hopefully, you can understand that this was a labor of love. That being said we’d welcome you adding your own info to the comments (self-promotion is fine!) and letting us know about what you’re offering that others could consider for their Asheville local holiday gifts.
Happy holidays, y’all.
Erin + Caroline