Portland Monthly's 2021 Holiday Gift Guide

When you shop local you’re giving the gift of Portland and giving a gift to Portland at the same time.

By Gabriel Granillo Photography by Michael Novak November 23, 2021

The Rose City is full of artists, makers, craftspeople, and creators galore, plus locally owned shops that bring the world to a corner near you. Whether you have a ten-spot to spend or are looking to really splurge, when you shop local you’re giving the gift of Portland and giving a gift to Portland at the same time.

First introduced in the 1950s, the Thorens TD 124 is known for its basic, minimalist concept and precise audio performance—that’s why you were thrilled when you found the vintage turntable for the vinyl lover on your gift list. While the works aged well, though, the base on the Thorens has probably deteriorated over the years. Enter Bobland, Bob Thompson’s custom woodworking studio in the Central Eastside. Every year, Thompson says, he gets several requests from audiophiles for custom-made Thorens turntable plinths ($600), which he makes from walnut and finishes in satin, semigloss, or polish. Bobland also creates custom coffee tables, media consoles, benches, beds, and more.

What’s better in the winter chill than kicking back with a warm fire, hot chocolate, and a puzzle? Enjoy Portland-based Pomegranate Art Piece Puzzles ($21), featuring classic works by Georges Seurat (pictured), Edward Gorey, A. Y. Jackson, and others. Grab something for game night at Mox—maybe Autumn Harvest ($24.99) part of the Tea Dragon Society Card Game series, based on graphic novels by K. O’Neill and designed locally by Steve Ellis and Tyler Tinsley. Your friends can try to find themselves in illustrator Jack Kent’s latest Sketchy People book ($15), black-and-white sketches of everyday Portlanders. Repay that tech-savvy pal who helped you snag your appointment at the convention center—and encourage others to get their shot—with a vaccination tote bag ($80) by Sarah Donofrio, complete with a handy, perfectly sized pocket in which to store that all-important vaccination card. You’re sure to find something for the art aficionado on your list at Cult, the Pearl District stop for rare vinyls, toys, art books, knickknacks, and more—maybe this Andy Warhol “Triple Elvis” Bearbrick set ($225). 

Writerly types know and love Oblation Papers & Press for its handmade paper, high-end fountain pens, and delicately crafted greeting cards. But the Pearl District letterpress shop also specializes in antique typewriters, like this lime-green Montgomery Ward Escort 33 ($300), so you can give the writer in your life a real tool of the trade. Modeled after the Italian Olivetti Dora, the Escort 33 is a clean, design-forward machine, ideal for working on that Great American Novel they’re always planning.

In the darkness of this winter—metaphorical and literal—Barebones’ Railroad Lantern ($85) can light the way for the camper in your life, whether they’re bound for some actual woods or just the backyard. Inspired by old Union Pacific lanterns with a protective cage around the bulb, it can use batteries or be charged via a USB port, with an adjustable LED bulb for a warm glow.

Leatherman has been the go-to Oregon company for that ready-for-anything person on your list for nearly 40 years. You can’t go wrong with a reliable multitool, like the Signal ($120), which bundles a hammer, one-handed blade, firestarter, emergency whistle, and more, in a variety of colors. Or hit up a newer kid on the block, like Hood River–based Alpine Sea Co, whose new Pocket bags ($60–70) can stash more than a few essential travel items. Started in 2020, Camp Yoshi offers guided outdoor adventures to help Black folks and their allies reconnect with the outdoors, with funds from their shop supporting that mission. With a ’90s-style design and an adjustable fit, Camp Yoshi’s Day 1 Bucket Hat ($75) will help your buds look good and feel good as they hit the road. Soundtrack your escape with these polygonal Turtle 3.0 Waterproof Wireless Speakers, available at Cord on NE Alberta Street ($110). These speakers make great lakeside accessories—or take them out on the water, as long as they stay in the 32-foot Bluetooth range.

Is your mother-in-law both a gardener and a sneakerhead? Get her a planter from Portland-based Plantsketball (prices vary). Pair it with Ecovibe’s Portland Map Clock ($125) to help her keep personal track of the Blazers game fourth quarter. Gift good vibes with this Hamsa stained-glass hand ($85), designed by Colin Adrian, or reflect and collect with Woonwinkel’s Elli Mirror ($90), a sleek and sophisticated vanity topper. These Sploot Candle Holders ($75) from local artist Angelina Crawford look great just about anywhere. Finally, in the kitchen, help someone step up their cooking game with Benchmade knives (from $850 for a set of three with chef, paring, and utility), handcrafted in Oregon City.

Brighten someone’s desk, day, or life with Modern Science Project’s colorfully curious Shelfie Objects from Mantel in Kenton ($32.50–36.50). The handmade resin objects come in multiple shapes, including rainbow, arch, and scallop.

Cool story, bro. With these fun Graphic Anthology pencils ($9 per set), you can go ahead and write your own. Or with a bevy of positive messages like “You’re magical,” “Sunshine on my mind,” “You look good,” and more, remind your friends and loved ones of their place in your heart.

What winter season would be complete without new socks for your piggies? Poler’s Cyclops Icon socks ($6), which come in black, yellow, and bright orange, ensure you never forget where your feet are. Cute and fun, these itty-bitty enamel pins from Snow Peak ($8 individually, $21 set) are a wearable ode to camping. Your gift recipient can keep the pins (or anything else) on one of these minimalist Templo Groove Trays ($42), from Barcelona-based Octaevo. Destress from the holiday madness with Rudy’s Shower Bomb Bundle ($15), full of delightful little bombs infused with scents like citrus, oakmoss, and eucalyptus. A stop at Made Here in the Pearl can help check off any last-minute gift needs, including for your resident sweet tooth: try a flavor combo from Only Child Chocolate ($8), rosemary and ginger, white chocolate and bergamot, or hazelnut and dukkah.

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