Whether giving or receiving gifts is your love language, you’ll never run out of original Tucson gift options for friends and family this holiday season.
This Tucson gift guide goes beyond the knee-jerk choice of a hat emblazoned with a cactus and instead curates unique and original options from the Old Pueblo that will be sure to delight and impress!
Build a Dishware Collection with HF Coors
HF Coors has been making ceramic dishware since 1925. And yes, Herman Frederick Coors is part of the Coors brewery dynasty. In fact, HF is the son of the brewery founder, Adolph Coors. HF Coors moved its production to Tucson in 2003 and continues to manufacture all of its dishwares for wholesale and retail in Tucson. HF Coors sells dishware in a scope of colors and patterns to suit all tastes, which can be purchased in-person and online. However, a great hack is to visit the discounted display area in front of the factory, where you can save between fifty and ninety percent on bowls, plates, cups, and more that are considered factory seconds or overstock items. So, what might be a tiny glaze flaw on a plate unfit for a wholesale order could be the perfect beginning to a beautiful dishware set that you can continue to grow, mix and match, and, of course, gift to others. 1600 South Cherrybell Stravenue, Tucson. 520-903-1010.
Wear it Like a Local with the Cream Shop
The Cream Shop is kind of like if Online Ceramics were all about Tucson and not the Grateful Dead. The Cream Shop often screen-prints for local businesses and creates topical threads that comment on our current political climate and local issues. If you’re not a local Tucsonan, you might not be in on some of the cheeky slogans and graphics that grace their hats, tees, tote bags, and stickers. But do you really have to know where the saying “Ugly But Honest” comes from to wear it proudly on a well-made hat? A Cream Shop gift would delight your effortlessly cool younger cousin, who might hide their excitement over such a thoughtful gesture. You can shop their collections online or in person at the Creamery, 201 North Court Avenue, Tucson. 520-329-2594.
Rep the Desert with a Jenna Tomasello Bandana
Local Tucson artist, artisan, and muralist Jenna Tomasello captures the desert landscape, skies, and icons and myths in a playful way. She renders classic Western iconography on cards and stickers like cowboy boots, hugging saguaros, and monsoon clouds in a bold and colorful style. But what Tomasello is best known for are her bandanas, whose designs are hand painted on paper and scanned for screen printing. Tomasello says she created her bandana collection because she likes her artwork to be functional and accessible. Bandana themes include seasons, desert flora and fauna, constellations, and the zodiac. Prints such as Summer Nights and Winter Friends have an almost Alfons Mucha, Art Nouveau pattern style that you can lose yourself in. One of Tomasello’s bandanas is a perfect gift for your adventurous friend or family member looking to add charm to their work wear. You can purchase her bandanas in local Tucson stores as well as on her website.
A Signed Copy of The New York Years, 1971 to 1994
Eric Kroll is a prolific photographer who, while living in New York in the 1970s and ’80s, captured the likes of Grace Jones, Kenneth Anger, Nam June Paik, and other New York artists, celebrities, and intellectual royalty. The New York Years, 1971 to 1994, is a “photographic memoir” of a talented photographer who was at the right place and time. The book is a 484-page time capsule of a unique historical era that could have only happened during a perfect storm of economic despair, a pre-internet creative counter-culture, and an attitude that everything is permissible. In addition to residing in New York, Kroll has lived in San Francisco and Los Angeles. Lucky for Tucson, Kroll now spends at least part of his time in the Sonoran Desert, which is why you can pick up a signed copy of the book in person or online at Bon Boutique. 760 South Stone Ave, Tucson. 520-795-2272.
Warm Your Winter Nights With Whiskey Del Bac
What is a holiday without a little spirit? Founded and distilled in Tucson, Whiskey Del Bac is the brainchild of father-and-daughter duo Stephen and Amanda Paul. While Amanda studied at New York University, Stephen hobby-distilled in Tucson for a few years. They came together to officially start Whiskey Del Bac in 2011 as one of the first distilleries in Arizona. Their American single malt whiskey collection offers a spectrum of unique notes, but the distillery itself would argue that what they are really known for is Dorado. It’s made from 100 percent barley that is malted and smoked over a velvet mesquite fire, mashed, fermented, copper-pot distilled, aged, and bottled on-site. It is one of only a handful of American single malts made in the United States that uses velvet mesquite. As a result, you’ll taste tobacco, smoke, chocolate, tannins, and toffee. You can shop the whiskey collection online and in person at their Distillery and Retail Store, 2106 North Forbes Boulevard, #103, Tucson. 520-628-9244.
Foraged and All-Natural Self-Care Products
You can’t have a gift guide without including self-care products. Rosie Crocker of Sonoran Rosie creates sustainable, organic, and gender-free herbal products that include soothing face oils, restorative creams, and more. Crocker hand-forages prickly pear fruit, creosote, and other Sonoran Desert staples. Some of Sonoran Rosie’s bestsellers include the Desert Primrose creosote face oil and the Desert Bloom—a fresh lavender and prickly pear juice body cream, which contains raw organic blue agave syrup, desert willow flowers, and Cleveland sage. Shop Sonoran Rosie for your loved ones that are face-oil-fluent self-care enthusiasts. Shop Sonoran Rosie’s goods online and feel good about receiving your orders in wholly sustainable shipping materials. 150 South 4th Avenue, Tucson.
Join the La Curie Cult
There’s nothing more that I love than the scent of the desert. Luckily, La Curie has bottled this and many other olfactory favorites for the fragrance fiends in your life. La Curie’s Larrea is inspired by Southwest rainstorms, and the notes include chaparral (creosote), musk, ocotillo bones, petrichor, helichrysum, parched leather, and lost canyons. Lesli Wood started La Curie, an artisan unisex fragrance line, in 2013. Wood’s scent Incendo, described as fir needles, embers, incense, sage, pine, and sun-kissed dark skies, was the artisan category winner of the 2016 Art and Olfaction Awards. Wood is thoughtful in how she approaches developing fragrances by considering how our body chemistry changes the way a perfume smells. She aims to celebrate and enhance our natural scent, not mask it. Woods says she designs her fragrances to live close to the skin to be quietly alluring and not overpowering. Each scent is hand mixed, aged, and decanted in a home studio, and you can find La Curie fragrances online and in various shops, boutiques, and hotels around the country.