Holiday Gift Guide: Gifts That Go Away

An Italian cheese plate from DiBruno Bros

An Italian cheese plate from DiBruno Bros

Everyone can appreciate a thoughtful gift—especially when it doesn’t take up permanent residence in the apartment. If you live in the city (or you’re pondering a gift for someone who does), try these small luxuries on for size: a winter facial or some handcrafted incense if someone needs a little pampering; fancy cheese or tea that a frugal friend might not get for themselves; or see if you can resist the urge to get a little gift for yourself.


Gin and Tonic Candles
These hand-poured vegan candles from Olliver capture the essence of the ultimate classic cocktail: a playful gift for someone whose home bar is already stocked to the gills. $10 at Olliver, sold at Philadelphia Independents and Jinxed • Various locations

Vegan Meal Delivery
A family’s schedule can be so hectic, even those who love to cook often just can’t find the time. A weekly delivery of freshly prepared vegan meals solves that problem, with tasty choices from a rotating online menu. From $38 at Miss Rachel’s Pantry • Newbold

Cold Brew Growler Subscription
Know what most new parents end up with? A heap of freezer burnt casseroles. Know what they actually need? Coffee. Lots of coffee. Sixty-four ounces of fresh cold brew should do the trick! A subscription includes four growler deliveries right to their doorstep.  $75 at HubBub Coffee • Logan Square and other various locations

Butterscotch Bourbon Pie
Cookies and candy abound at holiday time, but this rich, whiskey-kissed pie should take center stage on the table. Baked by the pie-obsessed artisans at Magpie, it’ll knock the socks off the sophisticated sweet tooth. $30 at Magpie • Graduate Hospital

Pint of Ice Cream
How’s this for a party trick? Find out what’s on the menu for your holiday dinner. Go to one of Little Baby’s locations, ask an employee to help pick a perfect flavor pairing, and pack a pint or two. Bring ice cream to the party, blow minds, win hearts.  $11 for one, $10 for multiple at Little Baby’s • Kensington and West Philadelphia

Pu-Erh Tea
Pu-Erh is special. It’s one of the oldest teas in the world, and one of the few to undergo an aging process. The result is a little nest-like cake of tea that can be steeped multiple times, and produces an earthy, smooth cup that will delight the tea devotee. $4.50 an ounce at Random Tea Room • Northern Liberties

Classic Peanut Butter
Reward the avid brown bagger’s lunch-packing frugality with this deeply flavorful spread from local nut butter masters PB & Jams. The local honey used in this recipe adds just the right touch of sweetness. $5.59 at Mariposa Co-op • Cedar Park

Herbal Collection Variety Soap Box
This collection combines a variety of lovely, unisex scents like honey oatmeal, lemongrass and shea, made with high-quality essential oils right here in Philadelphia. Perfect for the office gift exchange or a last-minute stocking stuffer. $24 at C.O.P.A. Soaps • Fishtown

Fresh Juices and Smoothies
These fresh, vibrant juices and smoothies are jam-packed with nutrition and handcrafted by local fitness maven Katie Rodger. Gift some greens to the all-weather athlete in your life to power them through the winter. Various prices at the Juice • Various locations

Three-Month Cheese Subscription
For the person who never, ever makes a New Year’s resolution, help keep the holiday indulgence going. Every third Monday, giftees receive a box including a pound of artisan cheese with a few gourmet pairings (mustard, chocolate, crackers, etc.), specially curated by cheesemongers. $149.97 at Di Bruno Bros. • Rittenhouse and various other locations

Hoagie Relish
This cherry and green pepper-based condiment will take the serious sandwich artist’s homemade hoagies to the next level. The artisans of Brine Street Picklery—relative newcomers to the Philly food scene—source as locally as possible. $8 at Made by Brine Street Picklery, sold at Talula’s Daily • Washington Square

Dog Treats
For your four-legged friend: Don’t leave the pup out of the holiday festivities! Keep the treats local, with a buffet of bone-shaped doggie cookies in a variety of sizes and flavors. $.70–$2 at Doggie Style • Rittenhouse and various other locations


Traditional Straight Razor Shave
The necessary ingredients for a great shave are tried and true: a sharp steel blade, hot lather and a confident hand. The barbers at Duke Barber Co. have been doing it right for five generations. $33 at Duke Barber Co. • Northern Liberties

Couples Massage
Treat the newlyweds who eloped last year to a blissed out afternoon of expert attention at this all-natural spa, dedicated to organic products and holistic wellness practices. $230 at Eviama Life Spa • Washington Square West

The Beard Box
A well-kept beard is a beautiful thing. But it takes effort, and the right tools. This handy kit combines everything—beard oil, balm, moisturizer and a brush—necessary to keep fuzzy faces looking their best. $39 at Duross & Langel • Washington Square West

Herbal Facial Mists
A spritz of facial mist, made in-house at this cool Old City salon, is the little luxury your overworked pal deserves. Infused with essential oils and blended for individual skin types, this is affordable pampering at its finest. $10–$15 at MOKO Organic Beauty Studio • Old City

Locally Made Incense
This is not the stuff of your college dorm room days. This is incense all grown up: Perfectly blended and handcrafted, it leaves a fleeting burst of nuanced fragrance behind. $6 • Made by Tribe Jewelry, sold at Bikram Yoga Philly • Rittenhouse and various other locations

Signature Facial
Every face is different. That’s why this deep cleanse, exfoliation and re-balancing session starts with a personal consultation. Even better: All the products used at this Fabric Row spa are cruelty-free and organic. $90 for 60 minutes at Fabriq Spa • Queen Village

Acupuncture Gift Certificate
South Philadelphia Community Acupuncture’s peaceful open space provides a comfortable, affordable introduction to this medicinal art. The licensed and certified acupuncturists can tailor sessions to help relieve specific maladies, or just ease everyday stress and tension. $20–$100 • East Passyunk