The 2018 {Local} Holiday Gift Guide

What a year it's been! Now, more than ever, I feel so fortunate to call this mile square home. Washington Street has seen many changes this year (aside from all of the construction), and it's more important than ever to shop local. Hoboken and Jersey City have such amazing, dedicated, and creative business owners. Let's get out there and show them some love!


If you know me, you've probably seen me at Empire at least once, ordering my usual Nutella iced latte while trying to keep my daughter's hands out of the beans. Empire is a hidden gem for great gifts. For years one of my staple gifts has been a gift certificate to Empire along with a bag of freshly ground coffee beans (the selection is amazing!), and a cute mug. Aside from the large selection of coffee & tea, they stock espresso makers, tea kettles, sauces, treats, and more. Their gift baskets are SURE to please and so easy to pick up or design yourself. (Plus, you get 10% off coffee by the pound with your LH Hook-Up Card, so there's room to spend more!)


In the age of Amazon, there is still something so magical and exciting about visiting a toy store. Big Fun Toys has been a Hoboken staple for years, and although it's not a huge place, somehow they have a great selection of toys and books for every age. I just went in here last week for a birthday gift and was able to get 3 things to match a fire station theme. They have tons of Legos, Melissa & Doug items, popular books, puzzles, and board games. My daughter had a blast playing in the kids section (train table for the win) and I was able to get great gifts without getting in the car. Plus, you get a deal on all your purchases with the LH Hook-Up Card!


Ok, this one remains one of my favorite go-to gifts for men. This is the kind of gift that a guy wants, but doesn't treat himself to on a regular basis. Well...I'm speaking for the men in my life, but you get the idea. The Hoboken Man is THEEEE high-end, full-service barbershop for men. They address allll of your hair, skin, and nail concerns in a beautiful, comfortable environment right here in uptown Hoboken. Pick up a gift certificate for something specific like the "Hoboken Man", which is a combination of the Signature Cut and Precision Shave or let them choose their own luxe service. New customers get 20% off their first visit-- as if you needed more of an incentive to send your spouse! (And LH Hook-Up cardholders get 20% off MUK products, so it's a great addition!)


While we're in the relaxation vein, another unique and rejuvenating gift is to send your loved one to Sara at Acupuncture Atelier. Located in uptown Hoboken, this boutique acupuncture studio is a true escape for the mind and body. Sara is a fan favorite on the mommy blogs and throughout Hoboken. So, why does one need it? Acupuncture can treat just about anything and everything. Back pain? Trouble sleeping? Infertility? Gastrointestinal issues? Seriously... take a look at the website. Skeptical of the whole needle thing? It doesn't hurt - really! And if you have a friend in need of some spiritual healing, this is right up her alley! Sara really takes the time to understand each client and their needs. If you've given massages before, elevate your gift this year and try acupuncture.


Known by locals as AMT, Another Man's Treasure is SUCH a fun place to visit to pick out something really different and unique. I love taking my sister here and picking out items that remind us of our grandmother or our childhood. Whether you're looking for a designer bag (yes, that one is Chanel), article of clothing, or a little knick-knack (think vintage canisters and glassware), it is definitely worth hitting up. While they have a ton of items for women, I actually LOVE their men's section. It is full of vintage 80's t-shirts of his favorite sports team or band, throwback puffy jackets, blazers, leather jackets, hats, and more. Pick up a vintage belt buckle for dad and a little something for yourself. Ladies - their dress collection is wondrous. Fun fact! They were voted last year's Best Boutique in the LH Awards for Jersey City by all of you!


I need to preface this by saying I want everything Amarie sells, so if you're looking for a Christmas gift for me, here ya go. Andrea is a local resident who sells tons of adorable personalized items that you may have seen around town. She is so easy to work with and can customize anything! True story: I needed a last minute gift to a birthday party (princess-themed) and Andrea designed an adorable pink tumbler with a princess crown and the birthday girls name. I especially love the custom drinkware. Spoiler alert for my friends: you are each receiving a stemless wine glass saying, "Thank God for my group chat". If you're feeling fancy, she does champagne flutes too. For a truly special gift, Amarie specializes in custom purses, many made from fabric of the client's wedding dress. She can customize ANYTHING, is reasonably priced, and offers a deal for LH Hook-Up cardholders (15% off!), so GET CREATIVE :)


Professional pictures people. It's such a great investment, especially during the holidays. Why? Take pictures once, give them to literally EVERYONE in your family, and have them forever. You benefit, Grandma benefits. Win, win. I have always loved the work of My Little Stinky. Many of my friends have used Daniela and have been SO happy with the outcome. I love the fact that her beautiful studio is right here inside the Monroe Center, making it super convenient to schlep to. And her setups? I mean... her work speaks for itself. Whether you are looking for holiday photos, a fun themed photo shoot, or want to gift your favorite pregnant mama a newborn photo shoot, My Little Stinky is a fantastic option.


I recently came across this gift idea while visiting a holiday pop-up shop at Cork Wines uptown. Little Sister Studios, run by resident and local mom Morgan McCue, is a watercolor artist known for invitations, portraits, "pawtraits", nursery decor, & more. What I just stumbled upon are these gorgeous portraits of bridal bouquets. Looking for a truly unique holiday, wedding, or anniversary present? Turn the bride's bouquet into a keepsake art piece for her. Morgan also gives the option of turning the painting into custom stationary for thank you notes! SO clever. Use your LH Hook-Up Card for $25 off Purchase of $175 or More


Formerly Shop No. 18, ONE/SOL has just re-launched and it is every woman's athleisure dream come true. Located uptown at 1125 Maxwell, ONE/SOL is a chic lifestyle boutique devoted to wellness. Will you find amazing gifts here? YES. Will you find 10 other things for yourself? ALSO YES. Designer sneakers, athletic apparel, quality loungewear, jewelry, and so much more are stocked inside this beautiful store. I also love the natural perfumes - perfect for moms (or anyone) avoiding chemicals in their fragrances. The shop owner, Marisol, is also a Hoboken mommy and can help you find fashion-forward pieces for you or someone you love. This one is definitely worth checking out if you haven't been already!


While we're on the subject of pretty things, here is one of my favorite items I came across this year. Have a friend who always wanted to learn calligraphy? Your mother perhaps? This calligraphy workbook is perfect for those who want to learn calligraphy in the comfort of their own home from the expert herself. Alane from Write Pretty For Me does custom projects all over town and is a favorite of local brides. While she does in-person calligraphy workshops (I attended one at Hudson Paperie recently), she also just launched this workbook on her Etsy site.


We couldn't forget about man's best friend, and in most cases, kid's best friend too. I love this innovative leash that was designed by local residents. Both an adult and child can walk the dog at the same time, eliminating safety concerns and meltdowns (just kidding, they can't promise that). Leashes can convert to 1, 2, or 3 walkers and different patterns and colors are available on the website. Spoiler alert! You can get free shipping when you order yours using your LH Hook-Up card!


Need a gift for the kid with a cluttered room? If you're at maximum capacity and cringe at the thought of more toys entering your apartment, take a look at these adorable peel & stick erasable posters from Liberte Kid. They're based in Brooklyn (so they're somewhat local, right?) and recently launched these simplistic cityscapes. I love a reusable gift - especially when I'm supporting a small business. Happy little trees for everyone! (Sorry, I love Bob Ross and lame mom jokes).


Margo Market is new on the scene, and when you shop there, you're supporting a local Hoboken business AND artisans from around the globe. You may have heard of Margo Market or walked by the beautiful space, but you may not know that it promotes a socially conscious lifestyle. Goods are handmade and ethically sourced-- and downright swoon-worthy. Pick up a plant as a thoughtful gift, a handmade throw, or perhaps a wooden bowl or soy wax candle for the hostess.

Some Final Finds...

I love giving books as gifts, especially those with great messages and strong role models for young readers. What's even better about these books? That they are written by local residents and mamas! Pick up "Super Satya Saves the Day" by Raakhee Mirchandani or "She Shines Bright" by Jessi Rausch - or both! Super Satya is a fan favorite in our house and we can't wait to read about Harper in "She Shines Bright" very soon. Pick up these empowering stories at your local bookseller (Little City Books is one of our favorites) or online!

Dreaming of a trip to Napa? If you don't have the luxury of visiting a vineyard any time soon, try taking your significant other, friend, or even co-worker on a little local wine tasting. I love the wine tastings at Grand Vin. It's also 3 blocks from my house which makes it 3 x's more enticing. Bin 14 and Court Street also have great wine tastings, and if you're really feeling fancy, have someone like Lourdes of the Vine come to your house for a private class. See her website for tastings and other wine-centered events!

Ornament Round-Up

I did a little ornament round-up the first year I wrote this guide, and I'll start off by saying that this is not an exhaustive list! There are too many local vendors to name here, but here are a few favorites to turn to for unique, nostalgic, or personalized ornaments.

~ Washington General never disappoints in their selection!

~ Amarie (mentioned above) makes gorgeous hand-painted wooden ornaments

~ Turnstyle Art makes perfect ornaments to give to the #girlboss in your life!

~ The Hoboken Historical Museum has.. you guessed it.. Hoboken ornaments!

~ Hometown Hello makes beautiful Hoboken-themed ornaments through her Etsy shop

~ Luna Rosa has an array of glass ornaments and other beautiful home items

And last but not least, here are some local charities to consider donating to:

Hudson County CASA

Isaiah House

Welcome Home

Liberty Humane Society

True Mentors

This gift guide is sponsored by:


Curated by shopaholic and super-mom to two little girls, Melissa Goldin-Magee.

MGM is the LH Hook-Up Card Program

Manager and gift-guide goddess.