Yes, you can hear the holiday music playing. Yes, you can see that the calendar says it’s December. No, you do not have all of your holiday shopping done. No, you’re not divulging whether or not you’ve even begun to shop. What is with the third degree? Peace be with you, intrepid holiday shopper! In three easy steps, you can find the perfect gift for everyone on your list!
Step 1: Identify what they like to do.
Step 2: Identify the various places that facilitate the things they like to do.
Step 3: Wrap it up knowing that you’ve gifted like a boss!
Ready to give it a whirl? Check out the categories below and their corresponding gift suggestions:
For the Adventurer
Their photos threaten to give you vertigo, but their stories always have you on the edge of your seat as you live vicariously through your daredevil friend! So, what can you get for your adrenaline-soaked bestie?
▪ For the bicyclists, rock climbers, hikers, kayakers, marathoners, tri-athletes, and couch-to- 5kers, check out Freeze Thaw Cycles, Appalachian Outdoors, or Rapid Transit for firsthand knowledge and top-rated gear.
▪ Keep the adventure local with a trip to Escape Room Inc. or What-a- Blast Laser Tag.
▪ Memorialize their trip to the top of Mount Nittany with the help of Old Main Frame Shop.
▪ Let them carry the memory close with a tattoo from Iconic Inc, King Cobra Tattoos, or Evolution Tattoo.
▪ Help them gear up for their next adventure at Jim’s Army & Navy Surplus Store.
For the Foodie
They Instagram all meals and regularly weave terroir into conversation, but you never miss an opportunity to scope out a new chef with them! So, what to get your foodie friend?
▪ Add a bow to a basket of locally sourced chutneys, sauces, and spreads from Branch & Vine, Kitchen Kaboodle, or Home Reflections.
▪ Purchase a membership to a CSA, co-op like Friends & Farmers, or a subscription to Fasta Ravioli.
▪ Stop by a spirits store to pick up locally brewed libations.
▪ Give a prepaid cooking adventure at Kitchen Incub. or Happy Valley Learns to Cook.
▪ Pick up a gift card to a local restaurant or dessert spot.
For the Book Lover
They mark time in chapters and have been known to laugh out loud while reading in the middle of a quiet library, but they can always be counted on for a great book recommendation. So, what type of plot-twisting gift can we find for these bibliophiles?
▪ Pair them up with a great coffee spot like Saint’s, Barranquero, The Cheese Shoppe or Sower’s for a blissful block of caffeinated reading time!
▪ Make the reader in your life happy in their own environment with a mug membership at Webster’s Bookstore and Café.
▪ Help younger readers gain confidence with a reading buddy from Animal Kingdom.
▪ Tap into their imagination with something from Comic Swap.
▪ At Nittany Quill, you can select a bookmark or beautiful stationary for their next book review, recommendation or even a manuscript of their own!
For the Fashion Aficionado
This fearless friend tries out every new trend and their shopping sprees qualify as cardio, but their make-overs are legendary! So, what to get for the style icon in your life?
▪ Expand their wardrobe at Harper’s, Connections, Bare Foot, People’s Nation or Cheap Thrills.
▪ Pick up their next transformation at Evolve Studio, Looks Hair Design, Rinaldo’s or Fitted Cuts.
▪ Pamper them with a massage at Designer’s Denn, A Step Beyond Massage, Angelina’s Invigorating Hour or Perfect Ten & More Day Spa.
▪ Treat them head to toe at Downtown Nails, Bronze Tanning or California Tanning.
▪ Frame a new perspective with Happy Valley Optical or Spectacles.
For the Bleeds-Blue-and-White One
This person is guaranteed to have a picture with a lion statue and gets an undeniable urge to dance each February. They’ve never met a weather system that could keep them from tailgating, but you’d never see a game without them. The Penn State devotee in your life will surely love these gifts:
▪ Need a Dirty Santa gift or outfit? Family Clothesline has holiday-themed Penn State gear.
▪ Get a great deal at Lion & Cub and help your loved one slip into a pair of Penn State slippers.
▪ Make sure your tailgate buddy is decked out with car magnets, coolers, or pop-up tents from The Student Bookstore.
▪ Check out Old State Clothing Co. and send a friend a pennant or piece of Happy Valley memorabilia to decorate their home.
▪ Be the first to put the new baby in a blue and white onesie from Lion’s Pride.
For the Fitness Guru
This person is perennially on their way to the gym or just coming from a class, toting a water bottle, and checking their watch to count steps. But, there’s no one else you’d rather kick off New Year’s resolutions with than them! So, what to give this Fergie-on- her-fitness?
▪ Whether it’s a class or a membership, try Lila Yoga, Bikram Hot Yoga, Yoga Lab, Yoga in State College or Yoga Massage and Energy.
▪ Learn a new step or help a little one learn their first step at Central PA Dance Workshop.
▪ Wax on and off at Chaar Tae Kwon Do.
▪ Embrace the inner gym rat with a membership at F45.
▪ Help them dance to the beat of their own cymbals with a belly dancing class at Movement Arts Studio.
For the Experiential One
Their mantra is displayed proudly in a least one location: collect memories, not things. And, to their credit, you love making memories with them. So, let’s get that next experience on the calendar!
▪ Carve out time for creativity at The Makery, 2000 Degrees or Uncle Eli’s.
▪ Get the creative juices flowing with a trip to the Art Alliance Downtown Gallery, Woskob Gallery or Douglas Albert Gallery.
▪ Take in a show at The State Theatre or Penn State Downtown Theatre.
▪ Sing-a-long at Icy Snow Karaoke.
▪ Book a stay-cation at the Hyatt Place, Atherton Hotel, Days Inn, or Hotel State College.
For the Memorable One
This might be the family historian or the one who counts babies by the birthstones. Whether or not things really were up-hill-both-ways in their day, you never miss an opportunity to soak up their stories. Help put them in the midst of a fond memory with gifts like these:
▪ Memorialize a special occasion with a stunning gift from Moyers Jewelers or Miska & Reini.
▪ Make it personal with the expert help of Signature Engraving.
▪ Visit Growing Tree Toys to scope out a favorite game from childhood.
▪ Reminisce about that trip to the Caribbean with a visit to Your Cigar Den.
▪ Replay the songs of youth at Alley Cat Music, Music Mart or Music Underground.
For the Charitable One
This person prefers to give back instead of receive (note: this is not the George Costanza in your life). Volunteering with them always leaves you in a great mood! Here are some ideas that will help them save the world:
▪ Give back to their favorite nonprofit organization like Hearts for Homeless, Schlow Centre Region Library, American Red Cross, or Mid-State Literacy Council.
▪ Support local press with a gift to The Daily Collegian or Voices of Central PA.
▪ Start a college savings account at a local bank.
▪ Pay for time with an attorney to help them draft a will full of charitable provisions.
▪ Make a donation in their name to an outreach program at their church, like Albright-Bethune UMC, Faith UCC, Grace Lutheran, St. Paul’s UMC or State College Presbyterian.
Of course, your fail-safe is the closest thing to a universal gift card: a Downtown State College gift card, accepted at over 100 local restaurants and stores. Stop by our office at 127 S. Fraser St. in State College to pick one up or tell us about your favorite local gift! Short on time? Visit DowntownStateCollege.com to purchase a gift card online, where you may also peruse our local vendors for more gift ideas!
See you downtown!
Irene Miller is the executive director of the Downtown State College Improvement District.