December is a magical month. Twinkly lights coat everything, good food abounds and there’s the promise of reconnecting with those we don’t see as often as we should. Yes, the holidays are arguably the best time of the year, but let’s not pretend they don’t bring on stress of their own.
The fact of the matter is that gift-buying can be tough. And if you’re like us, you’re starting to enter panic mode. Time’s a-ticking, and you don’t want to let your loved ones down. Sure, you could check out those gift guides from national publications, but who has time for shipping when you haven’t even started shopping?
Have no fear, Kansas Citians. We’ve compiled the perfect gift guide just for you, in all of your barbecue-eating, Royals-cheering, Midwest-loving glory. Best of all? You can find them all in one mad dash through the KC area.
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The Kansas City BBQ Store, 11922 S. Strang Line Road, Olathe; $27.95
There aren’t many arguments you want to willfully enter into over a holiday meal, especially after an election. One debate that never gets old, though, is over Kansas City’s barbecue, and everyone knows the sauce is the boss. This Restaurant Legends gift box from the Kansas City BBQ store pays tribute to all the greats, with sauces from Gates, L.C.’s, Joe’s and Arthur Bryant’s, plus a rub from Jack Stack. If you’re feeling extra saucy, try to make your family rank them in order from best to worst.
Stick Sisters, 5005 W. 119th St., Overland Park; $168
If you’re anything like us, you’re always looking for ways to show that Midwestern pride, and your gifts frequently reflect that. But this year, instead of eyeballing a hoodie and wondering if it will strangle your mom or engulf her, try something a little different. These hand-embroidered pillows feature some of the most eminent aspects of each state. Missouri’s design includes nods to Mizzou, the Nelson-Atkins Musuem of Art, Harry Truman and, of course, Mark Twain, while the Kansas pillow sports the Wizard of Oz characters, Amelia Earhart, KU and K-State. Both designs are made with 100 percent organic cotton.
Indigo Wild, 3125 Wyandotte St.; $36
Indigo Wild has been crafting all-natural, eco-friendly body products since 1996 — in other words, before “eco-friendly” was a term most of us looked for on labels. You can find Indigo Wild products at grocery stores all over town, but visiting the flagship location in midtown has always been something special. Dozens of intermingling fragrances create an olfactory experience that could not be replicated — until now. Last year, Indigo Wild made good on that particular scent. The 3125 Zum line gift box includes a bar, mist and wash that deliver a smell to be found only in Kansas City. It’s all good in the hood.
Happy Habitat and Ampersand Design Studio, 5817 Johnson Drive, Mission; $160
Question: What’s better than a throw blanket locally made by one Kansas City company? Answer: A throw blanket locally made in a collaboration between two Kansas City companies! This throw, made of 80 percent recycled cotton, is the product of Ampersand Design and Happy Habitat. We like what we see. Karrie Kaneda, the mastermind behind Happy Habitat, says she chooses whom to collaborate with based on whether she admires their aesthetic, whether it will be fun, whether she respects and genuinely likes them personally, and whether she respects their business practices. It all lined up with Carrie Kiefer and Morgan Georgie at Ampersand. “How could I not collaborate with them?” says Kaneda. The Ampersand studio holds hours by appointment or visit them online at ampersanddesignstudio.com.
Is there anyone on the planet who doesn’t want to try on clothes without ever having to leave the house? We know we do. Here’s how it works: Recipients of this gift schedule a time for the Scoobie boutique to come to their homes and drop off clothing chosen especially for them based on conversations about their style. A few days later, Scoobie will return to pick up the styles that didn’t work. The credit card on file is charged for items that are kept.
Tyler Kingston Wood + Supply Co., 2601 Madison Ave.; $50
The sad reality of the holiday season is that, as soon as it’s over, the winter humdrums set in. But if there’s a way to pre-emptively combat that blah feeling (other than, you know, self-care and making healthy choices), it’s this Desert Vibes Southwest Textile Blanket Rug from Tyler Kingston Wood + Supply Co. This 5-by-7-foot rug takes us straight to Arizona, but you can find it right here in Kansas City. Shop online at tylerkingston.com or at the studio, which is open to the public 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
Ever been jealous of someone for their handwriting? This gold, glittery Kansas City ornament is a handwritten design carved in wood that can pair with other gifts or stand alone for co-workers or friends. You could try to do something like this yourself, but why would you? Check out even more gift ideas online at galenation.com.
Written by Jason Sivewright and illustrated by Kristen and Kevin Howdeshell; $12.99
You’re going to want to Amazon Prime this one because chances are at some point during the holiday season you’ll need a gift for a child. This can be intimidating. You may ask yourself, “What do kids like these days?” But that’s the wrong question. Instead, you should ask, “What does everyone like these days?” Simple answer: the Royals. We’re not over that World Series win yet. We’ll probably never be over it. What better gift to give a child than a piece of history? This illustrated book, which covers the 2015 Royals’ road to victory, is the perfect fairy tale. An added bonus is that a child won’t outgrow this one after a few years; this is a gift that keeps on giving.
Coki Bijoux Jewelry and Design, 115 W. 18th St.; $40
If you’re shopping for a lady in your life, never count out simple, affordable, trendy jewelry. These matte black cube stud earrings are handmade by Coki Reardon, a Kansas Citian who spent some time in Paris in the ’90s learning about jewelry-making and metalsmithing. Putting these earrings under the tree supports a local artisan, is easy on the wallet and will have the recipient looking stylish no matter what else she wears. Win, win, win.