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Want to give gifts that have meaning? Look locally

COURTESY: LITTLE BOXES - More than 220 local retailers take part in Little Boxes, which leads to record-breaking small business sales.Sure, there’s always the Amazon gift card option. Or one of the giant toys you find at the big-box store. Or something you plucked from the clearance rack in a panicked last-minute shopping spree.

Holiday shopping for loved ones, teachers, friends and co-workers isn’t always as inspired or rewarding as we’d like it to be.

With world events being as they are, many of us will be searching for more meaning in our gift-giving this season.

Luckily we’ve compiled a list of stellar local gift ideas and ways to approach gift-giving to make an impact with your buying, in this community and beyond.

Happy gifting!

COURTESY: LITTLE BOXES - It's the sixth year of Little Boxes, which takes place on Nov. 25 (Black Friday) and Nov. 26 (Small Business Saturday). Little Boxes was founded to counter the 'big box' Black Friday shopping experience.1. Give love to your favorite cause. Choose your favorite or any of these worthy Portland-based organizations: The Audubon Society of Portland, Bicycle Transportation Alliance, Sisters of the Road, Street Roots, Dove Lewis Emergency Animal Hospital, the Dougy Center, Boys & Girls Clubs of Portland, Albertina Kerr Centers, Oregon Food Bank and Friends of the Children.

2. Give empowerment. Did you know that for $18 you can buy a bag of seeds that will help a family re-establish their life after hit by conflict or disaster? For $40 you can help a child heal after disaster and violence by supporting soccer programs. For $50 you can help a woman learn to read through literacy and mentoring programs. And $140 buys a pair of goats — for families to use for milk and meat and additional income. Portland-based Mercy Corps has a huge reach. Visit www.mercycorps.org.

3. Give little boxes. For the sixth year, Portland’s small businesses are banding together for Little Boxes, the Black Friday and Small Business Saturday event that stretches through all corners of the city. Pick up a paper passport or download the digital passport to collect codes for each store visit and purchase, and earn points to enter in a raffle for discounts and prizes. Last year the event infused $550,000 into the local economy that might have been spent elsewhere. For more: www.shoplittleboxes.com .

4. Give Oregon wine. There are hundreds of wine clubs throughout the state, all with different styles, deals, personalities and reach. One of our favorites is Portland-based Cellar 503, which celebrates Oregon small-producer wines through monthly subscriptions starting at $45 for two bottles (two whites, two reds, or one of each). More than just wine, it’s an education — each bottle is curated with a fun, seasonal theme in mind (women winemakers, wines to grill by, holiday sparkling specials and more).

5. Give Oregon beer. Yes, the Oregon Craft Beer Club is a real thing. And why not? Oregon craft beer lovers cherish innovation and variety, and spreading the love to quality brewers throughout the state. Participating breweries include Laurelwood, Caldera, Good Life, Terminal Gravity, Basecamp, Ecliptic, Crux Fermentation, Rogue Brewing and more. Prices start at $9 per month for a single bomber (22 ounces), to $29 per month for an annual 12-pack shipment. Visit www.oregoncraftbeerclub.com.

6. Give gifts for cooks. Spoil your favorite cook with a professional baker or butcher apron, designed by Adam and Jackie Sappington, chef/owners of The Country Cat. The aprons start at $65. The Sappingtons also sell their own salty-sweet “Meat Candy” and bacon, using whole-animal butchery practices and locally sourced meat. Visit their online Broken Cleaver store: thecountrycat.net.

7. Give gifts for cocktail lovers. You may have heard of a little restaurant called Pok Pok? Chef/owner Andy Ricker’s now-famous drinking vinegars, Pok Pok Som, pack a lot of flavor and make for a mighty tasty cocktail, in eight flavors, including Thai basil, apple, honey and pomegranate. A gift pack of five 4-ounce concentrate bottles is $25. Also, don’t miss Distillery Row PDX Black Friday on Friday, Nov. 25, at The Armory. Eight Portland distilleries will be under one roof, with nearly 100 spirits on hand, as well as 20 artisan food, drink and specialty vendors.

8. Give a food adventure. Sure, you can always give a restaurant gift card to your dear foodie friend, but there’s another way to experience restaurants in Portland — a sort of VIP opportunity that connects people intimately with the chefs and the guests around them. Portland Food Adventures are like a party; they organize events at top restaurants around town; buy a gift card at www.portlandfoodadventures.com.

9. Give tickets. Whether your giftee is a fanatic for the arts, music, sports, pets, books or the outdoors, think about splurging for tickets to an upcoming event or adventure. Portland Timbers, Oregon Symphony, Alder Creek Kayak lesson or Oregon Zoo concert, anyone?

10. Give something handmade. Still shopping? There are plenty of festivals, bazaars and pop-up shops set for the next several weeks with local products galore. The Holiday Pop-up Shop will launch Nov. 26-27 at the UP Design Studio space, 4048 N. Williams Ave., showcasing ceramics, jewelry, art, home decor, sweets, terrariums and more by 30 local artists and makers. The Portland Green Festival is Dec. 9-11 and the Portland Holiday Sale is Dec. 10-11, both at the Oregon Convention Center, with more than 250 vendors. And the East Portland Holiday Bazaar will hold its first annual event Dec. 10 at the Jade/Apano Multicultural Space, with more than 75 vendors selling local arts and crafts.


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