20 unique gift ideas to liven up your holiday shopping | Pittsburgh City Paper

20 unique gift ideas to liven up your holiday shopping

Every holiday season, Pittsburghers across the city can be found unwrapping gifts of Steelers jerseys, photographs of the skyline, and gift certificates to Primanti Bros. Don’t get us wrong, those are all great options, but if you’re looking for something a little more unique this year, Pittsburgh City Paper has put together a big list of outside-the-box options to help liven up your shopping list. We found ideas from both local artists and shops around the Steel City, including lots of businesses we covered in our pages this year. And if you still can’t find the perfect gift on your list after perusing the items below, yes, we did check and Primanti Bros. does sell gift cards.


Heart Keystone Raglan $38

This mustard-colored sweatshirt is perfect for your friends or relatives who have Pittsburgh roots but have moved elsewhere. The black-and-gold is fashionable, not tacky, and a little love note to home. lovepittsburghshop.com

Mulled Wine Candle $19

This scent by Borealis Candle Co. is fruity and spicy and delicate. Burn it when you have guests over for dinner or alone while reading a book. borealiscandle.co


Smile PRIDE Earrings in Rainbow $59

Created from cotton, wool, and other textiles, jewelry pieces from SASHA Handmade always make a statement, and these PRIDE Earrings in Rainbow celebrate the LGBTQ community. sashahandmade.com

Commonplace Coffee Subscription $120 and up

Send some locally roasted beans from Pittsburgh favorite Commonplace Coffee in increments of one to three bags every two weeks over a period of three or six months with their Limited duration Subscription. For the coffee snob in your life. commonplacecoffee.com/subscription

Geode Vessel $32

Tal & Bert planters and vessels, made of hand-poured concrete, are sculpted by hand in owners Val and Ray Talbert’s Mt. Lebanon studio, then cracked to reveal a raw mineral they mined themselves. They can be used to hold air plants, succulents, candles, and more. Add an optional candle or plant at checkout for only a few dollars more. talandbert.com

click to enlarge Pet Portraits with Jessica Alpern Brown
Pet Portraits with Jessica Alpern Brown

Art Classes at Contemporary Craft $40-100

Learn from local artists and engage in creative activities, from making paper art to working in clay during workshops at Lawrenceville nonprofit Contemporary Craft. tinyurl.com/PghArtClasses


Vaccination Card Holder $7

Is your vaccination card started to get all wrinkly from carrying it around in your pocket as proof you’re COVID-safe? Grab one of these nifty (and super cute!) vaccination card holders to show off while getting into local concerts and shows. workshop-pgh.square.site

Dreidel Hand Pipe $54.20

The perfect Hanukkah gift for your favorite Jewish loved one who enjoys smoking … only legal things, of course. This beauty is sold by local Black-owned smoke shop Curated Flame in Millvale, which has tons of custom handcrafted glass, accessories, and apparel. curatedflamepgh.com

Sidney Crosby Pin $12

Our readers keep voting him as Best Athlete in our annual Best of Pittsburgh poll, so we know Pens fans want Sidney Crosby paraphernalia for the holidays. But instead of paying big bucks to the NHL, stay local with this rad enamel pin by Pittsburgh artist Chris Fafalios. artsmithspghshop.org

Required Reading Box Set $34

This box set from North Ave Candles is perfect for English teachers or book worms. It includes six 2 oz. candles from their Banned Books and Nostalgia collections, plus a vintage library card-style bookmark, designed and printed by local printshop theBird+theBeard. northavecandles.com

Stained Glass Window Pendant $30

Specializing in stained glass, Megan Shalons of Megalons makes beautiful jewelry, suncatchers, and garden stakes. This pendant is reminiscent of Pittsburgh’s many historic rowhouse windows found throughout the city. etsy.com/shop/megalons

Salty Pork Bits Subscription $144

The perfect gift for an artisanal meat lover. Gift a three-month subscription where acclaimed local chef Justin Severino’s Salty Pork Bits will send you four different cured meats each month. saltyporkbits.com

Neighborhood Pennant $12

Have a friend who won’t stop gloating about how much better their neighborhood is than yours? Lawrenceville shop Wildcard has the perfect gift if you live in one of the available neighborhoods offered on their rad black-and-gold pennants. So far 11 neighborhoods are represented, including Troy Hill, Bloomfield, Strip District, and Mt. Washington. (Here’s hoping they add more soon.) wildcardpgh.com


Statement Earrings $38

Masha Vereshchenko, the Pittsburgh artist behind Electric Cat Shop, mixes what she calls a “twisted” sense of humor with pop culture. She creates designs in Adobe Illustrator, then uses a laser cutter to transform the artwork into jewelry, resulting in an impressive collection of vibrant monsters, ghouls, and LGBTQ-friendly expressions like her popular They/Them earrings. etsy.com/shop/ElectricCatShop

AAA Animals League Gear $4-35

Created by local artists, and spearheaded by Pittsburgh City Paper contributing writer Tereneh Idia, these T-shirts, totes, magnets, and stickers showcase Pittsburgh city neighborhood pride with fun, fictitious mascots. For proud Yinzers who don’t care about pro sports. lovepittsburghshop.com

#PGHREADS Eco Tote $3.50

Support your local library with this #PGHREADS tote, printed by local printshop Commonwealth Press for the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh. compressmerch.com

Let’s Play Ball Mask & Pet Bandana Set $23

Young entrepreneur Jazmiere Bates has made a name for herself locally over the past year for her adorable pet bandanas. Now, she’s created some can’t-miss sets so pets and their owners can match while staying safe during the pandemic. Grab a Pirates-theme mask and bandana set for your favorite baseball and dog-loving pal. kinofduncan.com

Calm Balm $10

Perfect for the stressful winter months, this aromatherapy lotion from Tonic & Sage promises to help relax users after a long day. Created by Pittsburgh maker Miko DiHoniesto, the shop also offers body scrubs, bath salts, and body buttahs. tonicandsage.com

It’s a ’Burgh Thing Towel $18

Whether you’re gifting a local or a transplant, this tea towel by local artist Jeanine Murch will be loved by anyone who’s fond of the Steel City. The artwork celebrates Pittsburgh with adorable illustrations of local icons, including the Terrible Towel and Dippy the Dinosaur, and is accompanied by fantastic hand lettering featuring Pittsburghese. jeaninemurch.com


Kindness Zone Sign $19.95

The Senator John Heinz History Center teamed up with the City of Pittsburgh to sell replicas of the popular “Kindness Zone” street signs displayed all over town. The signs, made in honor of Fred Rogers, have four pre-drilled holes ready to be hung indoors or outdoors, so grab one for your favorite neighbor. historycenter.org