Chrissy's Knee High Socks $7 kneehighsocks.org
Everybody gets socks for Christmas, right? Why not make giving the basics a little more fun this year? Chrissy's Knee High Socks is a company that's found right here in the Motor City. The five-year-old brand supplies socks to the Detroit Derby Girls, in fact. Find funky, colorful, sporty, and fashionable socks on their website, and for super cheap. We're particular fans of the "USA" socks, but the red-and-green stripes feel extra festive, this season.
Beard Balm $16 beardbalm.us
Grab a tin of this for your man's stocking and make his beard smell and look delicious this Christmas. Beard Balm is locally made using ingredients like grapeseed oil, eucalyptus oil, beeswax, lanolin, and "a dash of pure ponydust." It helps maintain a full beard, keeping it smooth and fragrant, a beard property that's been known to save marriages, according to this product's website. You can buy it at local shops like Rail & Anchor or get it online and have it delivered to your front door, which makes this gift fun and easy.
Pete's Chocolate Company Holiday Market, Royal Oak; Germack Coffee & Roasting Trading Co., Detroit
Chocolate lovers, rejoice! Launched in 2009, Pete's is small-batch chocolatier based in Detroit and it offers the goods: an assortment of truffles made with Belgian chocolate and delicious hot chocolate mix. Not only does it all taste good, Pete's offerings come packaged nicely for a perfect stocking stuffer.
Firebrand Candles $5-$10 Firebrand Candle Company; 313-312-4243; firebrandcandle.com
Everyone needs to freshen up their rooms every once in awhile. Luckily for metro Detroiters, Firebrand offers invigorating soy candles named after some of Detroit's well-known streets: Eight Mile, Outer Drive, Fenkell, and more. If you think a candle's too bulky, Firebrand also offers a slew of its Linen Mists, made of 100 percent pure essential oils. Lightly mist a room or bed linen and enjoy the smooth scents.
Sandalwood Rose hand cream $12 Featherheart Trading Co.
Ladies love anything that is both practical and smells good. This lotion is locally made and fits perfectly into both that category and a stocking. This scent has a nice musk, but has a feminine scent. It's also thick and a little greasy, making it a great defense against the whipping winter air that can really dry out your skin. You can buy it online or pick it up at local shops like Cass Corridor's Tulani Rose.
Spotify Premium Subscription $10
This one's a little intangible, so maybe make a cute little card to tuck into your favorite music lovers' stockings so they know they know have the world of music at their fingertips. Spotify premium is only $10 a month, so you can get them started with the first 30 days, or pay for the whole year. Taylor Swift might not approve, but basically never, ever having to mess with BitTorrent ever again makes this stocking stuffer pretty rad.
Sushi Go $14.99 Vault of Midnight; 219 S. Main St, Ann Arbor; 734-998-1413; vaultofmidnight.comGamewright
Here's a smallish, travel-ready game described to us as "the most adorable game you've ever seen in your life." Players attempt to match cards that bear insanely cute illustrations of sushi as only the Japanese can. Not only is it totally accessible to younger players, it comes in a darling little travel tin.
Zombie Dice $13 Vault of Midnight; 219 S. Main St, Ann Arbor; 734-998-1413; vaultofmidnight.com SJ Games
You are zombies and you're trying to eat the brains of victims, each represented by dice. Can you push your luck to eat all the brains? Or will the shotgun blast render your form an inert pile of bones? This fun little game comes with a cup and the dice, and is easy to learn in a single game.
City of Detroit Christmas Ornaments City Bird $10
Midtown retailer City Bird makes these special holiday ornaments every year, which makes them something of a collector's item, if you ask us. They're simple, featuring a state seal or a map of the city inside a clear bulb. They're a quick, easy gift, especially for your friend or family member who just seems to have everything. Call ahead if you want to buy them in bulk for an office party or for place settings at a big Christmas dinner.
Shinola journals $6.75-$18 Shinola; 313-285-2390; shinola.com
Can't swing one of Shinola's expensive watches? No sweat. Detroit's well-known watch and bike maker offers more than most people realize: One of the company's sleek designed journals or planners would suit someone who's constantly on the run, and always needs space to spill some ink on.
Sweet Artisan Marshmallows Varies Sweet: A Confections Boutique; 313-585-5637
Artisan marshmallows? Yeah, that threw MT for a loop, too, when we spoke with creator Michele Bezue earlier this year. But, really, here's a unique twist on a boringly packaged classic. The process Bezue tackles in making her homemade marshmallows is surprisingly detailed, and the result is spot-on: As she put it to us, people don't even realize they're eating a marshmallow when they taste her craft; it's that good.
Detroit Cargo belt, wallet, or shoulder straps $19.99-$42 Detroit Cargo; 248-515-3036; detroitcargo.com
Yes, Detroit Cargo is actually based in Farmington, but the duo behind the operation offers slick-looking bags, wallets, belts, and more. Its Fire Hose Card Holder is made from fire hoses scooped up from the Detroit area, the company's sharp belts are said to last one's lifetime, and the simple shoulder straps offer a nice alternative for your bookbags.
Yoga Joes $25 Broga Mats; brogamats.com
Whether you have a hardcore yogi in your life or just a fan of pop art, these guys should make an excellent, mildly politically charged stocking stuffer. The classic little green men (they come in hot pink, too) have been repurposed as a set of nine of yoga poses, with an underlying message that seems to say, "Make peace, not war."
Vintage machine part jewelry $18 and up Lilacpop Studio; lillacpop.wix.com
Ferndale artist Janna Coumoundouros reclaims parts from machines from various items of yesteryear — like cash registers, adding machines, and even old Mustang car emblems — and makes them into stylish jewelry. These items have an industrial, steampunk feel that are perfect for someone who loves to get all dolled up with a bit of an edge.
Detroit Bold coffee $6.99 and up Detroit Bold Coffee Co., ajscoffeeworks.com
"Why can't the Motor City also be the Mocha City?" asks Detroit Bold owner A.J. O'Neil. We admit we're hard-pressed to come up with a reason why not, especially with coffee as bold and rich as O'Neil's available in local shops. Get caffeinated (or caffeinate your loved ones) and support the local economy at the same time.
Ugly sweater ties $30 cyberoptix.com
Simultaneously dress up and down in these ugly sweater-inspired neckties. All the classic, cheesy iconic holiday imagery is there: reindeer, snowflakes, evergreens, and poinsettias. There's even a Hanukkah version, inspired by Wet House's ugly Hanukkah sweater. We think this must be about as much fun as you can possibly have while wearing a tie.
Holiday cards Various prices Signal-Return Press; 1345 Division St., Detroit; signalreturnpress.org
This store and studio sells plenty of holiday cards, calendars, stickers, coasters, posters, and more, printed on old-school letterpresses dating back to the 19th century, giving them a warm feel. Many of their wares are designed by Michigan-based artists like Don Kilpatrick III, Scott Pryor, Marcy Davy, and even Team Detroit adman Toby Barlow.
Detroit Red Wings tickets $16.25-$157.25 detroitredwings.com
Yeah, Joe Louis Arena gets ragged on for looking like a dump, but it's been Hockeytown's home for over three decades. And, because a new playpen will be constructed for Red Wings owner Mike Ilitch in time for the 2017-2018 National Hockey League season, the Joe won't be around too much longer. If you enjoy hockey, get a ticket for a pal, and enjoy one of the last games in that smuggy box local hockey fans have continued to flock to for years.
Good Stuff Cacao $5.00 goodstuffcacao.com
Who needs highly processed fake-sugar-sweet chocolate Santas in their stocking when you could have raw cacao? Rich, creamy, 100 percent chocolate cacao deliciousness is by far tastier and more nutritious. Comes in different forms with goodies mixed in, including coconut and peppermint.
Vape Pen Muad-Dib Concentrate Box Kit $150 Mind Right; 17243 Mack Ave., Detroit; 586-522-7602; mindrightdetroit.com
Fire is totally Stone Age, man. Vaping is all the rage these days — this high-tech high works by superheating hash oil into a light vapor, so you get a cleaner hit without all those pesky carcinogens. This stylish vaporizer features handsome wood stylings, and a rechargeable battery that gets you up to 50 hits per charge. You'll need to be a medicinal marijuana cardholder to pick one of these up from Mind Right, a new store that just opened in Detroit.
Dube by White Rhino $35 B.D.T.; 21640 John R Rd., Hazel Park; 248-542-6110; bdthazelpark.com
Don't have quite enough dough for that Maud-Dib? B.D.T.'s got a less expensive, more cigar-shaped pen-style vape. And if this tape scene is too space age for you, rejoice — the Dube can be used with oils and good old-fashioned herbs as well. B.D.T. has several metro Detroit locations.
And of course, when in doubt, throw in an orange, a stocking staple for as long as we, and our parents, and our grandparents, and our great-grandparents can remember.