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Feature: Your Iowa City gift guide

BY JUSTUS FLAIR | DECEMBER 04, 2014 5:00 AM

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By the time the semester comes to a close and you head home for the holidays, there aren’t a lot of prime shopping days left. So what better way to thank your parents for the tuition money or remind your rich aunts that you’re in college than with a present straight from the home of the Hawkeyes?

Giving a gift you can only find in Iowa City lets your loved ones know that even in the midst of wrapping up a chaotic semester of college, you were thinking of them. But where to start?

GIFTS FOR OTHERS

Glassando’s Christmas Ornaments

If you’ve been in Iowa City in the winter, you’ve noticed the tree sweaters put up every year by the Iowa City Tree Huggers. They’ve become a local tradition over the last few years, so this year, Glassando, 201 S. Clinton St., features the tree sweaters on its annual holiday ornament, and it will donate the proceeds to the Tree Huggers.

“It’s an exciting community art project, and it’s just one of those things that, when you think of Iowa City, you think tree sweaters,” said Glassando owner Abby Restko.

This is the fifth year Glassando’s has produced an Iowa City-specific holiday ornament, and it has sold out nearly every year. Last year, it reordered after selling out, so a few Christmas trees, snowmen, and angels with “Merry Christmas from Iowa City” written on them are available as well.

There are other styles available every year, ranging from hand-crafted wood ornaments to blown glass.

On Saturday, Glassando and other downtown businesses will participate in the Downtown Holiday Open House from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Holiday Thieves’ Market

Perfect to showcase the UI’s liberal-arts culture, the Thieves’ Market, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dec. 7 in the IMU, features more than 100 artists selling paintings, photographs, jewelry, ceramics, home-décor items, and metalwork.

Though it’s called a Thieves’ Market, Scavenger Hunt may be a more apt description. With the IMU overflowing with booths packed full of artists’ work, it takes some time to work through the market.

Some booths may not interest you as much as others, but if you pick through, scrounging determinedly, you just may find the perfect gift.

Fair-trade pop-up store

Now that the downtown Wedge has closed, the space at 136 S. Dubuque St. has been transformed temporarily into a fair-trade international gift shop. Staffed by volunteers, the shop sells jewelry, home décor, scarves, etc., in the hopes of raising enough money to open a permanent store. The store is worth a walk-through during the holiday season, even if you decide you wouldn’t be a regular customer should it stay open all year.

Santa at the Mall

If you’re really stuck on a gift for Mom and Dad, you could always go the funny route and give them a photo of you with Santa Claus at the mall. Here’s hoping your parents have a sense of humor.

GIFTS FOR YOURSELF

Holiday shopping can be exhausting. You definitely need to taste the best Iowa City has to offer during the winter months. Here are the highlights:

• Mistletoe coffee at Java House, 211 1/2 E. Washington St.
• Caribou Coffee’s Fa La Latte, available at Bruegger’s Bagels, 245 Iowa Ave.
• Hot Chocolate from Yotopia, 132 S. Clinton St.
• Sweet or savory crêpes from Crêpes de Luxe Café, 309 E. College St.

Now that you’ve been taken care of, get back to studying. It’s the holiday season, but it’s not a holiday yet.


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