See my favorite seasonal finds in my Amazon shop!

The Ultimate Holiday Gift Guide Part 1: The Charlotte Edition

Here in Charlotte we have a giant Christmas Show that brings in vendors offering TONS of unique gifts for literally anyone on your list. Much of what you see is from local and regional vendors, which means at least three great things: you can chat with the small business owners and (usually) the person who hand-crafted the items, you can support these independent businesses rather than giving your money to a giant retailer, and you can actually give cool, personal gifts this year that are one-of-a-kind. (Additional bonus points for not getting flattened onto the floor at Walmart.) The show spans throughout three large buildings, pumps the holiday music, and you can munch on a mean strudel and partake in some wine-tasting while you shop around.

This year the show runs through November 10th – November 20th, so I hope you can make it there this week. While there are so many vendors your head will spin, below is a sampling of my absolute favorites. (Disclaimer: none of this is sponsored and I am not affiliated with any of these vendors. These are simply my personal favorites, and I’m a sucker for gift-giving. If you don’t like it, simply disregard my list and continue on with your purchase of that ugly lovely holiday sweater from the Big Box Mart that I’m sure your niece will love. Now that we’ve got that out of the way, onto the gifts…)


For the candle lover: It doesn’t take me long to find the best smelling candles of the bunch, and finding Classic Wicks was no exception. I stumbled upon these a while back and loved them because they are soy – at first I thought, so what? But I quickly realized the difference when my husband showed me the air filter in our home when we burn traditional candles vs. when we burn the soy. (Before I made the switch, the air filters would come out black – yuck.) But I also really love these candles because no matter which scent you purchase, they are all white, so you can  give these as a gift without worrying if the colors will match a person’s particular home. The jars are sleek and modern and come in all different sizes, because let’s face it: not everyone loves a mason jar. Bonus points for the fact that Susan, the owner, hand pours these babies in her Waxhaw home and will even fill your personal containers (think vintage tea cups, sports mugs, etc.) to add a personalized touch. Among the delicious-smelling scents are Pumpkin Souffle, Mistletoe, Peppermint Eucalyptus…okay now I’m going to burn one.

I wish I could bundle up a smell and send it through your computer, but since I can’t, you’ll have to come sniff around for yourself – you can find her in Founders Hall, or you can order candles and gift baskets online: She has a huge selection and an easy order process. If you have any questions, email Susan:

For the jewelry lover: When it comes to giving jewelry as a gift I think the item of course has to be something you think the giftee will really love, but a second and major factor is that it has to be something unique and special that not everyone else would have. Geri, the owner of Kindred Stone, delivers on both these points. Her jewelry is handmade, classic, and eye-catching, and her styles appeal to women of all ages.

You’ll also find at Kindred Stone these adorable little wine accessories – check it out, one for red and one for white! And the best part is, Geri’s mother hand makes these (they are $10 each, or 2/$15):

For the wino: Speaking of wine, after you’ve picked up some of the adorable “scarves and hats” above, it would be a good time for some wine tasting (is there’s ever a bad time??) You’ll find several NC vineyards at the Christmas Show to sample from, but our favorite was from Rocky River Vineyards. The people from Rocky River not only offer the standard wines grown locally, but they sell Holiday blends as well, and you can mix-and-match a few bottles at a discounted rate. I walked away with a 3-pack of holiday Merlot, Christmas Blackberry, and a Cab Sav – not to mention a nice buzz 😉

You can’t go wrong with giving wine, and it’s one of the only gifts that you can pretty much guarantee the person will use!

For the little guys: I was so obsessed with these things that I wanted one for myself (would that be weird decor for my work cube?) But really, they were awesome and sure to appeal to your little guys, especially if they do martial arts. It will look adorable in their rooms but it’s also pretty cool that you can teach them responsibility by tending to a plant – and even better that since the plants are succulents they are low-maintenance, so no tears or plants that kick the bucket just in case your little one neglects them. (Note: the booth is called “Bonzai Buddies,” and they are not on-line – you can only get them at the show.)

Admit it. You know you want one.

For the baker: I was immediately drawn to these beautiful hand painted designs before I knew what they were, and when I got close they got even better – they are decorative carry cases for delicious baked goods. Melva, the owner/painter of The Painted Lady, designs and paints these herself, and each are unique and gorgeous:

She makes pitchers, and brownie/cookie carriers as well:

The pictures really don’t do these justice – you need to come see them for yourself. If you can’t get to the show you can e-mail Melva for info or to order:

For the gardener and/or “Green Queen”: The guys at Aloe Tinnery – well, I’ll let them put it in their own words: “Aloe Tinnery is cut freehand from recycled tin cans using an oxy-acetylene welding torch. Our finished work is dipped in polyurethane varnish to retard rust and tarnish.” Each of their unique pieces is individually handcrafted and is of their original designs. They make hanging plant holders, eclectic-looking candle holders, and nightlights, to highlight a few of their items:

You can get a feel for the detail in these pictures, but seeing them in person is a different story. You can find them online at:, or email them:

For the spiritual one with great taste:
These handcrafted wire ornaments from Angelic Elegance caught my eye from afar:

But even more gorgeous were their angelic tree-toppers:

You can visit them online at:, or email for more information: (*If you order on-line, they have free shipping if you spend $50 or more.)

For the new mom: Car seat covers from Fab Fleece – just check out the picture…

Do I really need to say more?? Okay maybe just a little: these are machine washable, will fit all 20-40 lb. car seats, and will not interfere with any safety straps or car seat installation. Oh yes, and they will make your baby look even more adorable 😉 Visit, or email at

For the personalizer: Everyone knows someone who appreciates a personalized gift, whether it be for themselves or for their homes. These signs are your answer for the ultimate custom gift that will win over just about anyone:

These very cool signs have a vintage feel to them with just the right amount of embellishment, but the best part is that you can personalize it with custom font to read whatever you like: Your family name, your kids names, a favorite quote…the possibilities are endless. The owners of this booth, Signs for Design, are a husband and wife team who you can tell are passionate about what they do, and will help you put together the best look for your particular needs. They have signs of all different sizes, colors, and accessories, and even have signs for outdoors that can be customized with street addresses. It’s an excellent gift idea, but just a heads up – you will probably fall in love with one and get one for yourself, too, so don’t say I didn’t warn you! You can order these on-line at but the choices are very basic compared to your options if you go see them in person, so head on over if you are in the area. To see more options, give them a “like” on Facebook at

Purchase your ticket today for the show and get on over there this week, you won’t be disappointed. Adult tickets are $9, kids tickets are $6, and children under 6 are free. Their schedule is as follows:

Open Daily November 10-20

  • Mondays: 10am-6pm
  • Tuesdays:10am-6pm
  • Wednesdays: 10am-9pm
  • Thursdays: 10am-9pm
  • Fridays: 10am-9pm
  • Saturdays: 10am-9pm
  • Sundays: 10am-6pm

The scene at the show will definitely motivate you to get started on your holiday shopping before you look at the calendar and whoops! realize it’s December 20th.

Stay tuned for another gift guide coming soon!

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Wow…really neat stuff!!! I wish I could shoot down this weekend to do some shopping!!!! I love all of that…as I was reading , I could buy all of that…..I especially love the decorative cake carriers! How cool is that? I think I may need to order some of those candles….the pumpkin souffle sounds divine.

‘@LisaZ They really were amazing, and even more so in person! Wish you were here too, we’d do some serious damage 😉

Ali. Thank you including us. What a great blog. Also I want to let folks know we also have lamps made from partially recycled plastic. Peace. Leslie. Aloe Tinnery.

‘@Aloe Tinnery Very cool! No problem, and thanks for stopping by! Have a great holiday season 🙂

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x