BY CAITLIN HEANEY WEST AND GIA MAZUR
Finding the perfect gift has never been more important.
After all the gloom and doom 2020 wrought, Christmas offers the perfect chance to experience some true joy. From the unusual to the classic, the quirky to the new, we’ve rounded up some ideas for everyone on your list.
Give local music fans a T-shirt from their favorite act and give back in the process. The Popko Project podcast, hosted by Times-Shamrock radio personality Popko, and Axelrad Screen Printing sell shirts with the logos of more than 80 local acts. Proceeds go directly to that specific act, many of whom have lost their income thanks to the coronavirus pandemic. (axelradshop.com/shirtsforthescene)
Donate to a local theater in a loved one’s name. It won’t put anything on their TV screen, but it will help groups trying to stay alive during the pandemic.
Find new or vintage vinyl records at local record shops such as Embassy Vinyl, 352 Adams Ave., Scranton, and Gallery of Sound, 237 Scranton Carbondale Hwy, Dickson City, and 186 Mundy St., Wilkes-Barre. Or, pick up gift cards and let your loved ones choose for themselves.
The Roku Streaming Stick Plus, a plug-in streamer, delivers most online video services at resolutions up to 4K for under $50. The remote controls your TV’s power and volume, too. ($49.99; roku.com)
Sign up your loved ones for a streaming service and open their world to vast libraries of TV shows and movies. You have plenty to choose from: Netflix ($8.99 and up per month); Disney Plus offers classic Disney productions plus Marvel, Star Wars and National Geographic shows and movies ($6.99 monthly/$69.99 annually; disneyplus.com); Hulu (regular, $5.99 per month; Hulu + Live TV, starts at $54.99 per month; signup.hulu.com/plans); HBO Max has productions from the HBO library plus WarnerMedia Entertainment ($14.99 per month; hbomax.com); Peacock is the new streamer from NBC (starts at $4.99 per month; peacocktv.com); and Amazon Prime has another big library of titles to draw from ($12.99 monthly/$119 annually; amazon.com).
Health and beauty
Your best best for a glam gift is one that keeps on giving. Beauty subscription services, such as such as Ipsy Glam Bag ($12 per month; ipsy.com) or BoxyCharm ($25 per month; boxycharm.com), send sample- or full-size beauty products right to the recipient’s door. For men, monthly grooming subscription boxes include Dollar Shave Club ($5 and up; dollarshaveclub.com) or Birchbox Grooming (starts at $10 per month; birchbox.com/grooming). For the dapper man, beard oils, hair pomades and other grooming products make great gifts, too. Shop those products and more from local sellers such as Loyalty Barber Shop and Shave Parlor, which has locations in Archbald, Scranton and Wilkes-Barre (loyaltybarbershop.bigcartel.com), and Honesdale’s Lox Hair Wax Co. (loxpomade.com).
Give a spa or wellness day with a gift card to a local hot spot, such as the Salted Pixie, 1 Highland Blvd., Archbald, a pink Himalayan salt cave where visitors can relax and boost their immune systems while meditating on a swing, zero gravity chair, or pillows and blankets on the floor. The Giving Tree Wellness Center, 311 Penn Ave., Scranton, offers float therapy, in which guests can experience weightlessness and meditate in a sensory deprivation tank of water and Epsom salt. The center also offers massage therapy, as do other local spas, including Alexander’s Salon and Spa, 431 Lackawanna Ave., Scranton, and the Sapphire Salon and Spas, 2211 Shoppes Blvd., Moosic, both of which offer other traditional spa services, too.
Shop local for tons of great gifts to suit everyone’s style and taste. Grab comfy robes like those from Barefoot Dreams or fluffy Ugg slippers, both at Lavish Body and Home, 600 Linden St., Scranton. Treat Boutique, 411 N. State St., Clarks Summit, has plenty of cute oversized sweaters as well as matching loungewear sets to look put together on a Zoom call. For men, check out the kitschy holiday film-themed button-down shirts at Amendolaro, 412 Spruce St., Scranton, that feature patterns of the Griswolds and Buddy the Elf
You can’t go wrong with accessories. Give the gift of warmth this winter with exclusive HYD-NYC Pom Pom Hat and Gloves Box Sets from New Laundry, 127 N. Washington Ave., Scranton, which also sells custom beaded plaid face masks to keep loved ones safe AND chic. Or, grab some statement earrings from the Pink Pedal, 222 Wyoming Ave., Scranton, and treat your guy to funky Beau and Tassel socks from Burlap & Bourbon, 530 Spruce St., Scranton.
Scranton resident Margo Azzarelli’s ”Images of Rail: Steamtown National Historic Site,” traces the history of the attraction, which originated in New England as Steamtown USA and later moved to downtown Scranton. This is Azzarelli’s eighth book about Northeast Pennsylvania history. ($21.99; Arcadia)
Get ready for February’s Scranton Reads: One City, One Book programs with this year’s featured book, “Never Caught: The Washington’s Relentless Pursuit of Their Runaway Slave, Ona Judge” by Erica Armstrong Dunbar, Ph.D. It focuses on President George Washington’s pursuit of one of a runaway slave and was a finalist for the National Book Award. ($8.99; Aladdin)
“The Office: The Untold Story of the Greatest Sitcom of the 2000s: An Oral History” traces the history of “The Office” 15 years after the Scranton-set comedy’s debut. The book includes stories from cast and crew as well as local people who had a hand in the show. ($17; Dutton)
Bob Wolensky created “Sewn in Coal Country: An Oral History of the Ladies’ Garment Industry in Northeastern Pennsylvania 1945-1995” with in-depth interviews with labor organizers, workers and more. ($39.95; Penn State University Press)
The new children’s book, “The Office: A Day at Dunder Mifflin Elementary,” by Robb Pearlman and with art by Melanie Demmer, focuses on Michael Scott as he serves as school line leader. ($17.99; Little, Brown Books for Young Readers)
This 2017 memoir by President-elect — and Scranton native — Joe Biden, “Promise Me, Dad: A Year of Hope, Hardship, and Purpose,” focuses on a challenging year in the Bidens’ lives. ($27; Flatiron Books)
Crayola’s Marker Maker comes with 16 makeable markers, a color mixing guide and customizable labels, while the Paper Maker has paper-making pulp to make 20 sheets of paper, a stir and smoothing tool, and a pressure plate. ($19.99 each; Crayola.com)
After creating a colorful look for the two included pets with washable markers, scrub them clean for a blank canvas with Crayola’s Scribble Scrubbie Pets Grooming Truck. A spray pump and scrub tub let kids care for the pets just like real groomers. ($19.99; various retailers)
“Monopoly Pizza” challenges players 8 and older to collect as many kinds of pizza as possible. No word on whether Old Forge style made the cut (pun intended). ($19.99; monopoly.hasbro.com)
Keep outdoor play going through the colder months with a Jetson Mars kick scooter. Lightweight and easy to fold, the scooter has LED lights. ($35; various retailers)
This spring, Nintendo Switch was sold out everywhere as people sought entertainment while cooped up inside. This winter, families likely will still be cooped up, but at least the Switch is back in stores. ($300; various retailers)
The EZDesk Travel Activity Kit is a laptop without a screen; instead, kids get a foldable creation station that rests on their lap. There’s construction paper, coloring pages, markers, blank sheets for drawing, scissors and a glue stick. ($12.99; various retailers)
The iPhone SE is Apple’s cheapest iPhone. With a home button/Touch ID sensor on the front, it looks like an iPhone 8 but has the internals from the iPhone 11. It isn’t the fastest or biggest, but for many, it’s just right. ($399; Apple.com)
With a pressurized stainless steel barrel and the ability to write at extreme angles, the Steel X-701 Ballpoint Retractable Pen is made for those who need something sturdier than everyday plastic pens. This lightweight, matte black pen was built to withstand temperatures ranging from -30 F to 250 F. ($14.99; zebrapen.com)
Create a secure home with Ecobee Haven’s SmartCamera with voice control and the SmartSensors for doors and windows. The plug-and-play home monitoring platform works with an app. (Camera, $179.99; sensor two-pack, $79.99; ecobee.com)
Ecobee Smart Thermostat with voice control works with your local weather, schedule, occupancy and desired comfort settings to create a personalized energy model. It’s Energy Star-certified and can help save up to 23% annually on heating and cooling costs. ($249.99; ecobee.com)
Tribit’s StormBox Micro is one of the best sounding pocket-size Bluetooth speakers CNET tested, with bigger bass and volume than most other tiny speakers. ($49.99; tribitaudio.com)
A dashcam like the Roav Dash Cam C2 Pro by Anker is great for recording potential accidents and making your fellow motorists’ internet-famous. ($89.99; Amazon.com
The Zendure SuperTank external battery can output 100 watts to fast-charge your MacBook Pro or provide 60 watts each to two laptops at once. The 27,000-mAh capacity is just under the limit for carrying on a commercial flight. ($179.99; Zendure.com)
LumiCharge II Wireless Charging Smart LED Lamp lets you choose warm or cool light and has a phone charger (wired or wireless), a digital alarm clock with a calendar and thermometer, and a motion-activated night light. ($149.99; thelumicharge.com)
The Logitech Camera C920 is a better webcam than you have on your laptop, delivering full 1080p video with dual microphones. ($79.99; logitech.com)
Give your home some Scranton flair with Electric City-themed goodies such as pillows, blankets, stickers and mugs from ScrantonMade’s online store. It also sells clothes for all ages. (prices vary; scrantonmade.bigcartel.com)
Check out the range of scents available in candles, room sprays, perfumes, hand sanitizer, bath bombs, lip balms and much more at Noteology, which has stores at 401 Spruce St., Scranton, and 312 S. State St., Clarks Summit. (Scranton, 570-343-2100; Clarks Summit, 570-319-1111; noteology.com
For vintage, repurposed and crafty items, head to On&On, 1138 Capouse Ave., Scranton, where a wide range of sellers have set up shop with unique gifts. (570-507-9294; onandonscranton.com)
UNICEF Market is an online collection of handcrafted gifts made by artisans from around the world that benefits not only the creators but also the United Nations Children’s Fund. Items range from stone flowerpots and teakwood cutting boards to onyx and marble chess sets and silk tapestries. (unicefusa.org/ShopSmall2020)
The Raycop GO vacuum uses UVC light technology to eliminate 99.9% of bacteria and viruses along with dust mites. It can even sanitize phones, handbags or luggage. ($229.95; raycop.com)
The DEEBOT T8, a vacuum and mop in one, removes 99.3% of bacteria with a patented system. With no pre-cleaning needed and a runtime of more than three hours, it also detects obstacles to avoid collisions and getting stuck. ($649.99; ecovacs.com/us)
The Japanese-inspired Mildliner Double Ended Highlighter and Creative Tool can help organize bullet journals, planners or notes with 25 pastel shades and broad and fine point tips that allow for multiple line thicknesses. ($9.95; zebrapen.com)
Inspired by advanced aeronautics technology, the EGO Power+ 530 CFM Blower comes equipped with turbine fan engineering. This lightweight cordless blower can run for 75 minutes on a single charge. ($199.99; acehardware.com)
The Milwaukee M12 Drill and Driver Kit, has an all-metal locking chuck, onboard LED light and fuel gauge to help increase productivity and avoid interruptions. ($139.99; acehardware.com)
The Traeger Pro 575 Wood Pellet Grill has a D2 drivetrain plus WiFIRE technology, which lets the user monitor and adjust the grill from an app. ($799.99; traegergrills.com)
Sports and outdoors
Give an authentic piece of collectible memorabilia to showcase team spirit from Winning Streak Sports. Limited-edition high stitch count banners are available framed or unframed. (Prices vary; winningstreaksports.com)
With the Harley-Davidson IRONe12 and IRONe16 electric bikes, kids can learn to push, balance and coast in non-powered mode before graduating to the powered mode, where they’ll learn to use the throttle and brake. ($649/$699; H-D.com/Holiday)
This five-pack of Fit Simplify Resistance Loop Exercise Bands has different levels of resistance and includes a drawstring travel bag, instructional online video, e-book and printed guide with example exercises. ($10.95; fitsimplify.com)
Kahtoola EXOspikes provide traction to keep hikers, hunters, trail runners and ice fishermen safe no matter the weather. They slip on easily over shoes or boots and come in a range of sizes, with a travel pouch for easy transport. ($59.99; various retailers)
The Outdoor Edge Razor-Fin fillet knife set has three replaceable five-inch blades perfect for fishing and hunting chores. The set includes a gutting blade and polymer storage box. ($44.95; outdooredge.com)
Bring the action closer with the Bushnell Powerview 2 binocular, a general-use binocular that features an aircraft-grade aluminum alloy chassis and soft-touch black rubber armor. (Prices vary; bushnell.com)
Family Features, Tribune News Service and The Associated Press contributed to this report.