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Countdown to the Holidays


Some people embrace the winter holidays with such eagerness that their gift-shopping is done before the last trick-or-treater has trundled off their doorstep. This Countdown to the Holidays is for the rest of us, hopefully serving as a guide, a reminder and an inspiration for those who leave holiday shopping until a little bit later. Or a lot later. Or maybe until the very last moment.

Four Weeks ‘Til

With four weeks to go, there’s time for almost anything. Spend leisurely hours perusing one-of-a-kind gifts at great local craft fairs. There’s time for just about any homemade gift — like maybe your newly famous homemade beer. And how-to classes make great gifts, too. As the saying goes, give someone a fish and they eat for a day; teach them how to make beer and they can drink like a fish for the rest of their lives.

Three Weeks ‘Til

Excitement is in the air, but without the frantic edge that will soon arrive.
This is a great time for make-ahead gifts like these delicious infused spirits.
If you want to give a memorable experience from Philadelphia’s cultural smorgasbord, act now to choose the perfect performance and get the tickets you want before they sell out.

Two Weeks ‘Til

It’s time to think inside the box — the CSA box, that is. Philadelphia offers a surprising variety of innovative local product subscriptions inspired by Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), for unusual gifts that truly keep on giving. And while it might be too late for long-lead homemade gifts like beer, there’s still time to create some shelf-stable preserves that will have those on your gift list basking in sweet local and delicious food prepared with lots of love, and a little bit of forethought.

One Week ‘Til

The holidays are fast approaching, but there’s still time to enjoy the festive atmosphere in our great local shops. It’s not too early to start baking, but those special treats will be even more welcome after the holiday glut of gluttony is over, so consider these cookie and cocoa mixes loved ones can make for themselves sometime when the cupboard is a little bare. And if a furry friend on your gift list lacks the wherewithal (and thumbs) to bake for themselves, consider making this dog biscuit recipe for your bestie. (And if you lack the wherewithal, too, you can just buy them and no one will know.)

The Night Before

It’s late, but not too late. Leaving things to the last minute is a holiday tradition for many, and it can present as many opportunities as challenges. Those who finished their holiday shopping months earlier will never have the joy of giving a truly unique selection of local soft cheeses, charcuterie or even fresh fruit or other perishables (see this years Local Food Guide for more ideas). So stop beating yourself up, stand up straight, square you shoulders and say out loud, “I didn’t leave it to the last minute; I saved the best for last.”


by Jon McGoran

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