Let's face it: This is shaping up to be a tough holiday season, financially speaking. By the time this issue hits the stands, we may be using dollar bills and stock certificates as heating fuel. Local grocery stores could be accepting bobblehead dolls as legal tender.
OK, it's not that bad. But if it were, at least you'd finally be getting paid for attending Pirates games. And what better way to help shore up the local economy than with a local currency? Instead of importing cheap goods from overseas -- the only country that accepts bobbleheads as money is Luxembourg -- we'd be buying them from each other. We'd see a resurgence of locally grown and locally prepared food. Instead of buying holiday spirit off the shelf, gifts would be crafted by, and for, individuals.
It's in that spirit that we offer this year's holiday guide. In the pages that follow, you'll find ideas for having local artists and craftspeople create individualized gifts for you. You'll find holiday-season recipes submitted by some of the city's best-known chefs, so you can try to recreate some of their magic in your own kitchen. You'll find a guide to music made by local bands, and even gift ideas for local pets. (All the merchants in the pages that follow do accept dollar bills. For now, anyway.)
To celebrate the season, we've also gathered holiday stories from some of Pittsburgh's local celebrities. After all, what really builds an economy -- and a holiday season -- are the people you share it with. This year, especially, that's worth keeping in mind.