517 December 2020 Gift Guide

The 517 Gift Guide for December 2020

Need some last-minute inspiration for holiday shopping? We tapped some of the 517 Magazine team and contributors to share what they’re buying this year in our 2020 Gift Guide.

Tiffany Dowling Headshot

Tiffany Dowling – Publisher

This year, I really spent time looking for items the kids could work on like paint-by-number canvases, building projects or scavenger hunt games. It’s important to give young people an opportunity to learn and keep themselves busy since we’re staying at home because of the pandemic.

Mary Gajda

Mary Gajda – Managing Editor/Contributor/Photographer

I make homemade treats like holiday Chex mix and rock candy and gift them in a cute, reusable tin. I’ve tried to buy more gifts locally as well. Of course, subscriptions to 517 Magazine make great gifts as well.

Christopher Nagy Headshot

Christopher Nagy – Lead Editor/Contributor

This year is a bit more challenging, but back in the good ol’ days — pre-2020 — I always like to give gifts of an event with people I am close to, something that could be a shared experience for us or a celebration of a common interest. That could be anything from seats to a baseball game to tickets to one of the most tripped-out exhibits I have ever been to called “Our Body: The Universe Within.”

Chad Headshot

Chad Hussle – Creative Visionary

Over the past couple years, I’ve been giving my uncles growlers filled by local breweries, local honey to aunts and coffee beans from nearby roasters to my parents. It adds a cool touch to the holidays and a sense of pride in our Mitten State.

Kyle Dowling Headshot

Kyle Dowling – Contributor

It’s fun to give board games as gifts. One of my favorite board games of all time is Betrayal at House on the Hill. It’s got so many scenarios that can happen that it keeps the game fresh each time I play it with friends. And now there is a more kid-friendly version with Scooby-Doo if the occult is not your thing.

Omar Sofradzija

Omar Sofradzija – Contributor

Ever wonder how to get away from buying socks and ties for holiday gifts? The pandemic has granted you the gift of masks. To gift others with. You’re welcome.

Susan Combs Headshot

Susan Combs – Contributor

For holiday gifts this year, I am buying warm socks for my son and a sleek running jacket for my brother at Playmakers. And of course, while I’m there, I’ll check out the women’s sale rack for new running clothes for me. I also love to buy books as gifts, and Schuler Books is my go-to local place. Every time I walk into that store, I take a deep breath and sigh with gratitude that we are lucky enough to have local bookstores in our community.

Rich Adams Headshot

Rich Adams – Contributor

A few ideas are a gift card from Horrocks, which can be used for everything from potatoes and peppers to pickled beets and cheese. You can also choose from a wide variety of preprepared gift baskets or have one custom made so you are getting products specific to the recipient.

Tedi Parsons Headshot

Tedi Parsons – Contributor, MiDEC

This year, I have focused on supporting local businesses in the Lansing area such as Peckham Farms, Cravings Gourmet Popcorn and Dusty’s Cellar, along with a donation to the City Rescue Mission of Lansing.

Jack Tany Headshot

Jack Tany – Contributor

When I need a go-to gift during the holidays, I stop at Barnes & Noble. I put a lot of thought into which book I purchase by scouring the section of that person’s particular passion. For a personal touch, I sign and date the inside cover.

Melik Brown Headshot

Melik Brown – Contributor

I enjoy shopping Old Town Lansing for a diverse selection of gifts from décor to art, popcorn to restaurant gift cards and jewelry. REO Town brings a similar level of diversity to my shopping experience. Most important in my book is to support our metro Lansing businesses. And don’t forget, vinyl is making a comeback, check out the Record Lounge on Washington Avenue.

Erin Hagen Headshot

Erin Hagen – Contributor

One of my favorite go-to gifts is a basket of the latest Michigan goodies. My family is mostly out of state, so it’s a real treat for them. I love to send Cherry Republic foods and Fabiano’s Candies or a selection of beers from Lansing Brewing Co. It’s a great way to support local businesses and give a taste of Michigan. One of my favorites this year for friends is the 517 Magazine. It’s such a great collection of the local happenings in all sorts of realms of our community.

Teece Aronin – Contributor

Walking into Kean’s Store Company in Mason perks me up every time. My kids and I feel like we just stepped into the 1920s, and the locally made products and all the colors and aromas are good for the soul. Of course, all those candy choices don’t hurt either!


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