Mug with the earth on it

Shop local, shop independent, shop small business, and shop for social justice!

  To be a responsible consumer during a stressful holiday season, you can support your own community by shopping at real stores instead of national websites, and keep the individuals and artists making a living selling their own products or owning neighborhood stores. Here are some gift ideas for discerning progressive Free Press readers:


  For friends or family members who frequent street rallies, consider giving a bullhorn. A good, sturdy megaphone with a strong audio range is a boon for chanting and giving speeches outdoors. For your activist friends who give occasional educational presentations using a computer at a meeting or conference, a pocket video projector is a thoughtful gift. Some are no bigger than a smartphone. You can find bullhorns and projectors at local office supply store – and don’t forget while you’re there to add in some thick black markers and colorful poster board for sign-making and some clipboards and pens for petitioning.

  All activists need T-shirts touting their slogans. Traxler Tees, an Ohio-proud T-shirt maker, lets you create a custom shirt for your cause. They also sell ready-made tees – some choices are “Surf Ohio – Save Buckeye Lake” or one with a picture the young lady at this year’s Pride Parade showing a rainbow flag to the protestors. Another good idea for anarchist types would be a Guy Fawkes mask, available at party stores.


  Books or movies are good bet to please any political junkie. Buy new at Barnes & Noble or find the classics, or rare books at local independent bookstores like Karen Wickliff Books in Clintonville, The Village Bookshop on East Dublin-Granville Road, The Book Loft in German Village, or The Book Suite in the King-Lincoln district. Find “Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail” by Hunter S. Thompson, the standard for all alternative presidential reporting. Or John Meacham’s “Destiny and Power,” the American odyssey of George Herbert Walker Bush, including how his son wrecked everything in Iraq. “Democracy Incorporated Managed Democracy and the Specter of Inverted Totalitarianism” by Sheldon Wolin is the single most important book for understanding the rise of corporatism in America.

  Also try unique and original political movies and documentaries. For a good list, peruse You may not be able to find the DVDs in a local store, but can search for them on the web and support independent documentary filmmakers with your purchase. Some top choices are “Best of Enemies,” the story of the debates between Gore Vidal and William F. Buckley, Jr. Getting great reviews is “Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief” an in-depth investigation of the religion created by former CIA asset L. Ron Hubbard. “Peace Officer” told from the perspective of a former sheriff who created SWAT teams in his state, only to have his son killed by one.

  Political buttons, posters and memorabilia are lurking around randomly at some antique stores. Political novelty items like elephant and donkey jewelry, “How to win an argument with a conservative” books and more can be found at the Ohio Statehouse Museum Gift Shop at the Statehouse Broad and High Streets.


 Better Earth at the North Market, 59 Spruce St, Columbus, OH 43215, has locally-made items such as Lynda Schafer-Fromm’s lead-free microwavable- and dishwasher-safe hand-thrown pottery and handmade soaps from Woodspirits in St. Paris, Ohio. Also find Ohio-made soy candles, perfumes, oils and incense; the entire line of local P.W.I. brand "Kombucha" drinks; Amish jams, relishes, pie fillings and syrups; handmade jewelry, handbags and scarves; and Pure Imagination Chocolatier truffles made here in Grandview.
  Another great place for unique items for gardeners or anyone who appreciates the beauty of nature is the gift shop at the Franklin Park Conservatory. There are gardening supplies, garden décor, flowers and plants, including bonsai trees, orchids and holiday plants. They also have a wide array of beautiful gift items such as handcrafted jewelry, notecards, books, vases and hand-blown glass art.
  The Ohio Herb Education Center is “dedicated to all things herbal” such as local honeys, custom selected teas, custom scented candles, tea presses and tea accessories and books on herb gardening, cooking and herb craft. It is located at 10 Mill St, Gahanna, OH 43230.


  Obviously, the Hippie Hut at 1359 N High St, Columbus, OH 43201 would be a good place to start for your free-spirited friends. All things hippie are here – you can get T-shirts, ankle bracelets and peace sign necklaces, a gingerbread smoke odor exterminator candle, fantasy swords and knives, vinyl records, musical instruments, and, of course, a hookah.

  Hemp products are hot now, and Momentum98 has a variety of hempy gifts to choose from at 3509 North High Street, Columbus, Ohio 43214. There are hemp oils, hemp food bars, hemp lotions, hemp shampoos, hemp conditioners, hemp balms, hemp salves, hemp clothes… like a list by a hip Forest Gump.

Gifts for both KIDS and GROWN-UPS

  If you’re looking for a Baby Zombie baby bib, Glow-in-the dark Zombie playset, Aerosmith lullaby book, Andy Warhol coloring book, Cat in the Hat sleeper, Star Trek lunchbox or a Doctor Seuss plastic travel cup, go to What the Rock at 1194 N. High Street. They carry pop culture-oriented novelty items for adults too, in case you need Sons of Anarchy Playing cards or a Rock and Rollsary-Bob Marley rosary beads. You can get cat keyboard scratchpost for your kitty, too.

  At Bink Davies, 668 N High St, Columbus, OH 43215, get a friend the “Banned Books” mug or “Climate Change” mug,  your kids a “Columbus, Ohio Coloring and Activity Book,” or a “Born to Fight Zombies” snapsuit for baby. For those with an adult sense of humor, there is the “Bitch Slap Those Germs” hand sanitizer or “Fifty Shades of Brown” lavatory mist.

  Visit Santa Bert at Big Fun in the Short North at 672 N. High St. and check out the vast variety of new and classic toys. Along the zombie theme, you can get Pittsburgh 68 – the zombie card game, plus Star Trek and Star Wars items, Doctor Who collectables, baseball cards, toys from your childhood and even your parent’s childhood.    

  Fair trade and multicultural gifts are the theme at the Global Gallery, 3535 N. High Street. Although it is marketed as a fair trade coffee shop with coffee and tea products, they also sell items made by indigenous people from all over, such as jewelry, baskets and mugs.

  Celebrate Ohio-made goods at Celebrate Local at Easton, 3952 Townsfair Way. Buckeye state buckeyes, honey, jams, wine, clothes, candles, creams, tote bags and tons of other gift items will satisfy your desire to support local vendors.

  Under Aurora is a brand new store in Franklinton at 923 Sullivant Avenue with one-of-a-kind gift ideas like a cubist boxy top, a funny face tote, pictoral key to the Tarot book as well as plant-based skincare and fragrances.

  A great place to support a local business and local artists is pm gallery, 1190 N High St, Columbus, OH 43201. Give artwork by Charles Wince, Paul Volker, Susan Sturgill and Michael Secrest. There are paperweights, scarves, earrings, ashtrays, masks, ornaments, chimes…too many pieces of original art to mention.

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