Somerville Local First

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Not Your Generic Gift Guide: Last Minute Gifts for Everyone Else!

Dec 22 10:02 am

By Elise Ramsay

One of the potential stressors of the holidays is the dilemma of finding gifts for people you might not know so well. From in-laws and distant relatives to bosses and coworkers—you don’t always know their taste, and you don’t want your gift to bore or offend. No need for anxiety! These options are safe bets for just about anyone:


Ornaments are a great option for those who celebrate Christmas, especially if the recipient is someone who might appreciate a memento of you for years to come (parents of a significant other, for example). These leaf ornaments are each made from a real leaf that is preserved in gold, silver, or copper.

Still Life leaf ornaments, Davis Squared - $24-31


Another nice neutral choice is this set of 12 snowflakes laser cut from birch.

Roost snowflake ornaments, Davis Squared - $17


For a slightly more personal touch, this sweet “Bird in Love” glass ball and felted acorns (miniature ones too!) will add sweetness to any tree.

Glāk Love “Bird in Love” ornament, Magpie - $17

Felt acorns, Davis Squared - $8 large, $4 small


Let’s face it—you should probably also pick up some miniature acorns for yourself, just because.

Felt acorns, Davis Squared - $8 large, $4 small



Candles? Trust! When done right, they add instant coziness and holiday atmosphere. Plus, scent is closely tied to memory, so you’re also giving them the gift of nostalgia. This “Frasier Fir” variation smells just like a Christmas tree and comes in a variety of sizes.

Frasier Fir candle, Davis Squared - $12-$17


As good as trees and wreaths smell, there’s nothing like the warm spicy comfort of more edible holiday treats. You’ll have to resist nibbling on this “Quince Spice” candle, though, no matter how tempting!

Quince Spice candle, Davis Squared - $22


For a neutral scent, these natural beeswax owls, pinecones, and twigs are whimsical yet classic.

GreenTree candles, Magpie $8-$26

GreenTree candles, Magpie - $8-$26



This time of year, calendars are everywhere. Many stores in the area offer beautiful editions by artists and designers—calendars that are no longer boring gifts, but pieces of art! Some favorite finds include:

“Boots On & Ready” by Atherton Lin, which offers an illustrated trip through England in each month’s design;

Boots On & Ready calendar, Magpie - $18

Boots On & Ready calendar, Magpie - $18


Julianna Swaney’s “Bird Children,” which is delicate and refined;

“Bird Children” calendar by Julianna Swaney, Magpie - $15


and APAK’s “Space Garden,” which is somehow surreal, pretty, and cute at the same time.

“Space Garden” calendar by APAK, Magpie - $14



Do you know anyone who recently had a baby? If so, you’re very lucky to have an excuse to shop around for miniature booties and furry things (betraying some personal jealousy here). Local Somerville shops have an abundance of cute baby items. This clever one from Egg-A-Go-Go (made in Boston) just scratches the surface of the adorable onesies.

Egg-A-Go-Go onesies, Magpie - $18-$24


One of these animal spoons from Beehive Kitchenware (in Fall River, MA) would make a very special baby gift—plus, there is something so endearing about the back side of the spoons showing the “backside” of the featured critter!

Beehive Kitchenware baby spoons, Magpie - $28 each. Photo cred:

Beehive Kitchenware baby spoons (backside), Magpie - $28 each. Photo cred:


It’s never too early to begin unicorn education, so why not include this print to kick-start the kid’s imagination?

“U is for Unicorn” by Matthew Porter Art, Magpie - $18


Finally, there is no better snuggle buddy than these stuffed animals by Jelly Cat—they come in a variety of species and are so soft, you just might buy one for yourself (no judgment).

Jelly Cat stuffed pig, Davis Squared - $20



Some other unique items for anyone and everyone include these wonderful locally made terrariums by Amanda Sawitzky. The miniature environments need very little maintenance and provide a desperately needed burst of green life in the winter months.

Terrariums by Amanda Sawitzky, Magpie - $10-$40


Another nice housewarming or host/hostess gift is this pair of glasses that are festive but not over the top.

Glasses, Consignment Galleries - $6


Grand has prints from several local artists like these clever messages on creativity from Union Press and this seasonal photo by Erik Dasque.

Union Press prints, Grand - $15 small, $25 large

Union Press prints, Grand - $15 small, $25 large

Erik Dasque photograph, Grand - $50. Photo cred:



For the final touch, local Albertine Press holiday cards in a variety of minimalist designs that can be found at several shops around the area - double the local!

Albertine Press set of 6 cards, Grand, Blue Cloud Gallery, Magpie - $15. Photo cred:


This set by Julianna Swaney is a unique alternative to classic holiday cards; it celebrates the spirit of giving among all kinds.

Holiday card set by Julianna Swaney, Magpie - $15



Always a great “when in doubt” gift option? Food! Don’t worry, local deliciousness got its own post – check out the food gift guide post here!



416 Highland Ave

Somerville, MA 02144



374 Somerville Ave

Somerville, MA 02143


Davis Squared

418 Highland Ave

Somerville, MA 02144


Blue Cloud Gallery

713 Broadway

Somerville, MA 02144


Consignment Galleries

363 Highland Ave

Somerville, MA 02144


Crafty Shopping: A Guide to Somerville’s Holiday Craft Fairs

Dec 02 9:57 am

By Nancy Anderson, owner of Canis Major Herbals, with additions by the editor

This post is part of our series covering Shift Your Shopping Week, which runs in Somerville from December 2-11. Shift Your Shopping week highlights holiday shopping themed events and gift ideas from local businesses to promote choosing local and independent this holiday season. Shift Your Shopping week is part of SLF’s 3rd annual Shift Your Shopping campaign, now a national collaboration of hundreds of local business networks. To find out more about Shift Your Shopping, related events, and how you can get involved, please visit


Somerville onesie, with letters from, respectively: MA license plate, Orange line, McKinnon's, Rosebud, Rockin' Bob's Guitars, Somerville Theatre, Sligo, StellaBella, and Fenway Park

If you’re looking for that one-of-a-kind gift this holiday season and want to support your local businesses and artisans (an excellent choice, by the way), Somerville definitely makes it easy to do both in one stop. From open studios to craft fairs to your neighborhood hipster craft goods store, there is an abundance of fun, inventive, creative, and certainly unique stuff to ogle in the coming weeks. (Oh, and admission to all of the following events is free.)


December starts off with a veritable smattering of events all over Somerville. Mudflat Studios, at 81 Broadway, is offering an Open Studio and Sale from Dec 2nd through the 11th. Hours are…

Friday, December 2nd: 6 - 10pm

Saturday & Sunday December 3rd & 4th: 10am - 6pm

Monday – Friday, December 5th – 9th: noon - 9pm

Saturday & Sunday, December 10th & 11th: 10am - 6pm


Want to help support local high school students?

On December 2nd, from 6-9pm, the West Somerville Neighborhood School Craft Fair and Vendor Show, billed as “a vendor and craft show featuring crafters with unique creations,” features over 25 local artisans and vendors, offering a wide assortment of handmade items such as homemade jams, specialty chocolates, children’s gifts, hair feathers, beading and accessories, Wish Pearls, jewelry, kitchen tools, candles, holiday pins, ornaments and decorations, and much more. The event will also include free samples, and contributions from each table will be raffled off. All proceeds benefit the WSNS students, so head on over to 177 Powderhouse Blvd!

And don’t forget about the middle schoolers!

The Kennedy School near Porter Square will be having its 2nd annual Gift Fair on December 5th from 5:30-8:30pm. Browse handmade jewelry, bath and beauty products, accessories, ornaments, candles, and more! Be sure to get some pizza and stop by the bake sale to benefit the middle school government.

Winter Craft Market!

On Saturday, December 3rd, head down to Union Square Plaza and Precinct Bar for Union Square Main Streets’ Winter Craft Market, between 11am and 4pm. USMS lists “a variety of handmade products including jewelry, pottery, housewares, knitwear, toys, ornaments, perfume, and more.”

While you’re in Union Square, head over to the Washington Street Open Studios between noon and 5pm to partake of yet more excellent artwork.

Local Artist Markets!

The Burren is featuring a few Saturday Local Artist Markets in December. SLAM Holiday Artist Markets are running December 3rd, 10th, and 17th, all from noon to 4pm.

A Snow Mall!

Don’t miss the 2nd annual Snow Mall at Arts at the Armory on Dec 11th from noon to 6pm, where 40 hand-selected vendors will fill your every holiday need. Arts at the Armory is at 191 Highland Ave.

Bad-ass Comics!

But what do you get for one who has everything? And the one who has everything, we mean the comic-lover who has back issues of just about every popular release you can think of. You need reinforcements, so get to the Comicazi Con & Bad-ass Bazaar at the Dilboy VFW on Sunday, December 4th from 10am-4pm. But whether you’re buying for the comic aficionado, noob, or someone who has never picked one up in their life, you’ll find something for everyone - comics penned by local artists, toys and figures, jewelry and fine crafts, baked goods, even crocheted superhero hats! (Ok, and we lied - this event is the only one on the list that’s not free. But come on, if you really don’t have the measly $4 admission, you can always just beat up one of the nerds and steal their lunch money, amiright?)

Shifting All Season

And, of course, don’t forget to stop in and browse the always unique goods at…


416 Highland Ave in Davis Square
Mon - Wed: 11:00am - 6:00pm
Thu: 11:00am - 7:00pm
Fri - Sat: 11:00am - 6:00pm
Sun: 12:00pm - 6:00pm


Blue Cloud Gallery

713 Broadway in Ball Square
Now open Mondays for the holiday season!
Monday - Saturday: 11am to 7pm
Sunday: 11am to 5pm

Check out the new photo paintings by Marshall featuring your favorite local haunts. Head to the gallery before December 4th to enter a raffle to win a free photo painting of your own original photograph! Check out some photos of other items currently for sale below.


Jane Proctor Pottery



Gentle Vessels by V Van Sant



Horse Statues


Davis Square Retail Therapy: A Visit to Magpie

Aug 11 10:08 am

By Alison Preston


Wear your Somerville pride over you shoulder!

I can’t believe that the past six months have gone by so quickly. When I took this assignment in February, I never knew all the lovely businesses in Somerville I would discover. With a Somerville Local First/Cambridge Local First coupon booklet, I’ve been using the included savings with my coupons to learn about local businesses, while having a great time. For someone who moved here less than a year ago, I feel very lucky to have taken this journey.

For part six in this series, I had a dilemma. I’ve been through all the sections in the SLF coupon book and for my final series post I wanted to mix it up a bit. After some research, I discovered a coupon from Magpie for 20% off one item in the retail and gifts section of my SLF coupon booklet, and so my last journey took me to Davis Square for some post-work retail therapy.  Magpie is a cozy shop—and by cozy, I mean I felt right at home when I walked in, and was immediately drawn to the merchandise. As Magpie’s tagline shares, they carry: “Shiny things for your nest.”  I couldn’t have described it better myself.  Magpies are known to be attracted to shiny things, which are used to build a nest to attract a mate.

Though I won’t be using the items I bought at Magpie to attract a mate, plenty of shiny things caught my eye that were begging to be purchased. Some of their specialties include jewelry, cards, and baby clothes, but as you can see from my pictures, Magpie has so much more. From wallets to pottery and headbands to candles, soap and clothing, there is a lot to choose from. I was especially drawn to the postcards, with beautiful shots from a local artist. I can’t decide if I can give them away, and so instead they might end up in a framed collage on my wall.  In the end, I purchased the postcards and a great baby bib to use as a future gift.


Locally-themed postcards, some with a touch of wit


Shiny Things for Shiny People!


Attract a Magpie mate with a fashionable handmade headband

The greatest part about Magpie’s merchandise? It’s all handmade. As they share on the website, Magpie is “a gift store that carries hip handmade crafts, goods by indie designers and works by local artists.” So, by shopping at Magpie, you’re giving a double whammy of support by buying from a local shop and supporting great artists. So scoot on over to Magpie and browse their shiny wares.


Ah, to be a magpie... Stop by Magpie in Davis Sq and you'll know the feeling!



Magpie: Local money spent w/ coupon: $10.00 | SLF savings: $2.00 | Total savings: $38.64


Word on the Street - Local Shopping Sinking In

Dec 22 10:33 am

by Clay Adamczyk

With only a few short days left before the holiday’s, it’s easy to get stressed out trying to find those last minute gifts for friends and love ones, and it’s just as easy to overlook quality amidst a mild panic. Relax and take a deep breath. As many locals have shown, finding a unique and thoughtful gift is as simple as taking a walk through your friendly neighborhood.

Plaid Friday trending on Twitter

Plaid Friday trending on Twitter was just the beginning

Earlier this week, I took to Davis Sq., to ask shoppers why they’re going local this holiday season.

Alison Gordon is a Weymouth resident, but for on-and-off for the past five years has worked at the one-of-a-kind Magpie, of which she now manages. Gordon has also completed most of her holiday shopping at local craft fairs this year. “I know that handmade items are better and you know the work that goes into it so your fine with paying more and you know that you are directly supporting someone by buying it from a local artists.” Said Gordon. “It’s nice knowing that you’re buying here, and helping someone who is here instead of of another store buying something made by whoever.”

Barbrad Rhodes of Jamaica Plain was also happy to share that she does most of her holiday shopping locally and at crafts fairs as she exited Davis Squared. “I find I get things that are so different and wonderful when I shop at those places.” Rhodes said. She was also happy to show off her new Queen Bee handbag from Magpie: a nice gift to herself this season. Aside from assured quality in handmade products, there is also a sense of assured quality in business practices. “I also feel like this is a little bit of a jab at corporate America.” Rhodes said. “I’m not buying from places I feel are probably harming the nation rather then helping the nation.”

Individuals have been giving gifts to our community and their loved ones this year.

Similar sentiments were expressed by a local Somerville artist and resident of 20+ years, Yani Batteau. “[Buying local] keeps the city economically afloat and–hopefully–makes people want to stay here. Batteau said.

Why change what Michael Kanter already put best? Sticking local is a “community-community’ win. So with time to find those last minute gifts rapidly running out, there’s no need to look further than out community.  A great way to enjoy the holiday season, and spirit.

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