Distinctly Delaware Gifts Worth Giving

This holiday season, it’s quite easy to be thoughtful and creative while supporting the local economy. Following are some ideas worth considering.

Support A Local Cause

Do you really need another sweater? Do they? How about paying it forward by donating to a local charity. The options are countless — animal rescue, historic preservation, youth arts enrichment, families in need…. You can even do it in the name of the person you were targeting with that sweater.

Discover Our State Parks

If we learned anything from the pandemic, it’s that the great outdoors is, well, great! So why not treat someone to an annual pass to Delaware State Parks? The decal you receive allows your vehicle and its occupants unlimited year-round entry to all state parks charging an entrance fee. Delaware registered vehicles are just $35 ($18 for seniors). Visit DeStateParks.com

A Vintage Approach

What’s old is new again and that certainly holds true with the vinyl records fascination. Thumbing through vintage albums brings back great memories — and is now creating new ones for teens and 20somethings. It also exposes younger people to older music, which is never a bad thing. So, consider the vinyl option for the music-lover on your list. You have ample options in the area. There’s Grooves and Tubes (Centreville), which also offers a wide range of turntables, speakers, receivers, etc. Same for SqueezeBox Records (Union Street, Wilm.), which sells and repairs equipment, has plenty of music inventory and occasionally features live performances. Jupiter Records in North Wilmington (2200 Marsh Rd.) has a large inventory of new and used music and offers you the ability to trade-in. And in Newark there is Wonderland Records, Delaware’s oldest record store (opened in 1972), and Rainbow Records, which has nearly as much history, operating on Main Street since 1979.

Stuff The War On Words

The War on Words, a collection of Bob Yearick’s Out & About grammar columns from 2007-11, makes the perfect stocking stuffer. Chock full of (corrected) gaffes from national and local media as well as political leaders and sports figures, the paperback is a language purist’s delight. Each column also includes a “Word of the Month.” Get your copies at the Hockessin Book Shelf (HockessinBookShelf.com) or by calling 302-482-3737.

For Arts Sake

It’s always a grand idea to share the splendor of Delaware arts with loved ones, especially during the holiday season. Whether you choose an original piece from a local artist like Yakime Akéla Brown, Terrance Vann, Nanci Hersh or Linda Celestian; tickets to a show at The Playhouse on Rodney Square or City Theater Company; a concert at Arden Gild Hall or Market Street Music; or classes from The Music School of Delaware, Christina Cultural Arts Center or Center for the Creative Arts, a gift of art or music delivers a powerful, sometimes even transformational, experience to its recipient. It’s also a generous show of support for the many exemplary arts experiences we have here in Delaware. Google these fabulous artists and organizations to find out more.

Getting Closer To Nature

During the pandemic, many on your Christmas list reconnected with their gardens or the outdoors in general. It was one of the crisis’ few silver linings, and why should the trend stop with the new year? Starting in late February, Delaware Nature Society hosts classes such as “Garden Design — Crash Course” at its Coverdale Farms. Likewise, Mt. Cuba Center offers single-session classes such as “The Beginner’s Native Perennial Garden” and “Wake Up Your Garden.” Both, along with Winterthur, offer birding classes, as well. You’ll find schedule details on their respective websites.

Y Not?

You can’t guarantee a clean bill of health with a gift membership to the YMCA, but it’s a darn good start. A membership to any of the area Ys is a treat, but Out & About has a particular soft spot for the Downtown Wilmington branches — Central and Walnut Street. Your membership not only entitles you to state-of-the-art workout facilities, it supports the Y’s extensive community outreach programs — childcare, housing, youth development, teen leadership, swim lessons, summer camps… You don’t find that depth of community engagement at most fitness centers. Visit YMCADe.org

A Crafty Christmas

Considering the two years we’ve been through, the gift of a local craft beer really does feel thoughtful. It’s also unique as area craft brewers continue to be especially creative. Your sibling loves apple pie? You’re in luck! Wilmington Brew Works just bottled That Pie Girl’s Apple Pie Cider last month. Your co-worker likes coffee? How about a six-pack of 2SP’s Wawa Mocha Latte Coffee Stout? Have a sentimental dad who drinks whiskey and beer? Get him a 750ml bottle of Iron Hill’s Big Pig Porter, celebrating the first beer they made 25 years ago — this time aged in Dad’s Hat Rye Whiskey barrels. Looking for something else? Check out the Delaware on Tap app at VisitDelaware.com

A Piece Of Delaware History

The Delaware Historical Society’s Museum Stores (on Market Street in Wilmington and on The Strand in Historic New Castle) are a great source for distinctly Delaware stuff, including books, journals, mugs, toys, reproduction maps, prints, photographs, postcards and t-shirts. Purchases support the Society’s educational programs and if you join DHS, you get 15% off your Museum Store purchases. Visit DeHistory.org