Local Gifts Worth Giving

Looking to support the Delaware economy while shopping for holiday gifts? Here are suggestions from staff and contributors that will lead you to area merchants and organizations.

Shish Interiors
I’m a huge advocate of the “one for you, one for me” policy during the holidays (hello, self-care!), which is why I love to shop in Centreville. The walkable community is lined with boutiques, but I always pop into Shish Interiors. Owner Sally Hunsinger recently moved her petite shop (formerly located next to Locale BBQ Post) to Centreville and now has more square footage, which means more goodies. Think colorful cutlery, hand-poured beeswax candles, handmade pottery and so much more. She also offers interior design services to help those who are decorating-challenged. 5714 Kennett Pike, Centreville; 540-9843, shishinteriors.com.
— Danielle Bouchat-Friedman, Contributing Writer

Ooh La La
My other go-to in Centreville is Ooh La La—The Makeup Studio, located just steps above the Centreville Café. There, owner Tonia Marisa can give you and your loved ones the gift of perfect brows for under $40. She also has an amazing selection of jewelry, makeup and skincare products. 5800 Kennett Pike, Centreville; 622-9425, facebook.com/Oohlalathemakeupstudio/.
— Danielle Bouchat-Friedman, Contributing Writer

Cloverleaf Stables
It offers everything for the person who likes horses and especially likes riding them. And they stress that “beginners are our specialty.” So, if you’re gift-searching for an aspiring Olympic equestrian or just a wanna-be cowboy, Cloverleaf Stables has riding lessons on both English and Western saddles and there are trail rides for all skill levels. Cloverleaf Stables also hosts parties, pony rides and hayrides, and it has riding camps that run from June to September. Cloverleaf Stables is located at 140 Beaver Valley Rd. in Chadds Ford, Pa. Call 484-841-6230 or go to cloverleaf-stables.com for more information or to order gift certificates.
— Kevin Noonan, Contributing Writer

Dover Air Mobility Command Museum Store
I learned about the museum attached to Dover Air Force Base when I was helping out with a program the Air Force was hosting, but I didn’t actually get myself to the Air Mobility Command Museum until this year. A trip there is a worthy present for any Delawarean interested in history, the Air Force, or a combination of the two, and admission’s free. While you’re there, make sure you check out the museum store. It’s packed with memorabilia, art, clothes, and souvenirs, some of them specific to Dover and Delaware, others taking a broader look at the Air Force and national history.
— Dillon McLaughlin, Contributing Writer

Sassy Bee
This new Bellefonte startup, selling mostly honey-based personal care items, is a family affair. It’s the idea of Stephanie Grant, with input from husband Damien (beard products), daughter Hailey (lip oils), dog Thor (puppy products) and sons Logan and Aiden (helpers). Three years ago, Grant decided to become a beekeeper (“I’d rather live with memories than regrets”) and maintains two hives with about 80,000 bees. She also lives with a “very intense swelling, itching and pain” when she’s stung by a bee. But she perseveres with candles, soaps, bath bombs and face gels with biodegradable glitter. Many products feature honey (a natural humectant that reduces the loss of moisture) and often botanicals from her yard, such as sage, lavender and dandelion. Best sellers include honey lip balms for $5 and flower-infused lip oils for $7; her average price is probably $6. Sassy Bee can be reached at beesassyhoney@gmail.com and facebook.com/sassybeehoney. Products are also sold at Lamb’s Loft II in Claymont.
— Ken Mammarella, Contributing Writer

The Gift of Adventure
Have a loved one who travels often and needs airport shuttle service on a regular basis? How about someone who doesn’t travel enough? Either way, Delaware Express has you covered. Head over to DelExpress.com for a gift card that can be used for all of their transportation services. You can choose from a variety of destinations for business and leisure travel.
— Matt Loeb, Production Manager

The War on Words
Perfectly sized to stuff in a stocking, this paperback is chockablock with language insights (he said modestly). A collection of “The War on Words” columns from 2007 (the column’s debut year) to 2011, it contains such grammar nerd insights as the most misused word and the most misused punctuation mark. A mere $10. Contact Out & About at 655-6483 or get it at the Hockessin Book Shelf.
— Bob Yearick, Contributing Editor and Columnist

WorKS Kennett Square
Struggling to come up with unique gift ideas? Look no further than WorKS Kennett Square, 432 S. Walnut St. This collaborative space houses almost 20 local vendors, some of whom rotate out to make space for new vendors. You will find some items from artisans, designers and craftsmen that you won’t find elsewhere. Knock out your list here with ceramics, textiles, jewelry, leather goods, potted plants, and apothecary goods, as well as some great vintage finds — all reasonably priced. Best of all, you will be supporting small, local vendors. WorKS is open Friday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, visit workskennettsquare.com.
— Blair Lindley, Contributing Designer

Rocker Soaps and Hemp Co.
This is a joint submission with my wife because she loves Rocker’s soaps and skincare products. Specifically, the activated charcoal, clay, and herb facial soap bar for her skincare regimen. I love Rocker’s hemp products, especially the full spectrum CBD-infused raw honey for its therapeutic benefits. And we both love the Happy essential oil spray, because it’s a natural air freshener, and leaves any space smelling great. Owner Rachel Binkley makes all her products locally, and they can be found on her website, or find a list of locations where you can buy locally. Rockersoaps.com.
— Tyler Mitchell, Creative Director

Classes at Mt. Cuba Center
While offering a variety of nature-related classes year-round, Mt. Cuba Center is hosting several interesting and affordable single-session programs like “Edible Native Plants for Every Garden” in January ($20) and “Gin & Junipers” in March ($39). If there is a special outdoors-lover in your life who’s looking for something more ongoing, the center also offers multi-session certificate programs such as “Native Plants of Spring,” which cost $135 to $275.
— Jim Miller, Director of Publications

Y Not?
You can’t guarantee a clean bill of health with a gift membership to the YMCA, but it’s a darn good start. A membership to any of the area Ys is a treat, but I’m particular to Downtown Wilmington’s Central YMCA, where I’ve been a member for three decades. Though the facility has been serving the community in a variety of capacities (childcare, housing, youth outreach) since 1929, the fitness center is state-of-the-art, offering 90-plus high-end workout machines in an invigorating setting accented by a giant glass wall that overlooks 12th Street. What I enjoy most about the Central Y, however, is its egalitarian feel. One day you’ll be working out next to a U.S. Senator, the next day you’ll be sweating it out with your UPS driver. No better feeling than working out in a facility that does good work.
— Jerry duPhily, Publisher

Backyard Jams and Jellies
This Milton business was named 25 years ago because the flavorful ingredients came from the backyard of Krista Scudlark. But today, with about 100 varieties, she has to supplement the harvest of her fruit trees, grapevines and berry patches with purchases from nearby farmers—and the occasional pineapple. Most varieties retail for $7 a half-pint, and her most popular is a traditional (“my grandmother made it”) beach plum jelly. New this year are eight “boozy” versions featuring wine and Dogfish Head rum. She calls herself “the queen of soft spreads,” thanks to all the winners in her last appearance at the Delaware State Fair (as a pro, she can no longer compete). Daughter Renah, who works at Dogfish Head, is “the jelly princess,” and husband Joe is “the jelly widower,” for tolerating her “more than full-time job” for nine months of the year. Her small-batch jams, jellies, preserves, chutneys, marmalades and mustards are available from backyardjamsandjellies.com and three dozen retailers statewide.
— Ken Mammarella, Contributing Writer

Dogfish Head Chicory Stout Coffee
You drink the beer, but have you tried the coffee? My husband and I cannot get enough of Dogfish Head’s Chicory Stout Coffee. It’s slightly woody, a little nutty, and very smooth. So good you’ll want more than one cup. The special blend is only available at the Dogfish Inn in Lewes. You can grab a bag (or three) in the lobby and the staff will grind it to your liking.
— Lauren Golt, Contributing Writer

Delaware History Museum Store
The Delaware History Museum on Market Street in Wilmington is a great source of information and local pride, especially since the recent renovation. The store attached to the museum now carries a wide array of Delaware and Mid-Atlantic themed souvenirs, including clothing, kitchenware and toys. Perhaps most notable, though, are the books. Finding actual published material on Delaware has always been a bit of a challenge, but the museum store has both fiction and non-fiction. Topics run the gamut from general interest down to specific neighborhoods and people in the state.
— Dillon McLaughlin, Contributing Writer

Candlelight Dinner Theatre
This Ardentown treasure, a former barn, has been churning out theatrical productions for more than 75 years. Shows for 2020 are Cabaret (Jan. 18-Feb. 23), the murder mystery Something’s Afoot (March 14-May 26), the Neil Simon comedy Rumors (May 16-June 21), Sweet Charity (July 11-Aug. 12), Tony-winning musical Memphis (Sept. 12-Oct. 25) and Scrooge (Nov. 14-Dec. 20). The buffet menu is diverse, with meat, seafood and vegetarian options, and play-themed cocktails and a wine list are also available. Tickets run from $31.50 to $66 and gift cards range from $20 to $500. And you get to see the actors up close and personal, since they double as wait staff during dinner. Candlelight Dinner Theatre is located at 2208 Millers Rd. in Ardentown. For more information, call 475-2313 or go to candlelighttheatredelaware.com.
— Kevin Noonan, Contributing Writer

So, what do you think? Please comment below.