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Shop Local, Give Local: Gifts from Our Favorite Philly Makers

Personal attention translates from the crafter to the creation, making handmade purchases and gifts all the more special.

Our community is bustling with artists and crafters and designers of unique and original wares to buy or gift. Why bother with a big-box-bought present when you can get something much more personal and special? It is impossible to list all of our favorites (though you can certainly find hundreds across the city at upcoming holiday markets, so check out our roundup). Just rounding up all the best Gritty-themed items would take all week! But here are some of the best of the best (including plenty of Gritty).

Rooted Soles

When you see a pair of beautiful, leather shoes by Rooted Soles, you know you’re seeing something special. But besides being stylish and high-quality, they are made with love. Each and every pair of Rooted Soles shoes is handcrafted in Philadelphia—more specifically, at MaKen Studios in Kensington. (Enter to win YOUR pair of handcrafted shoes or a gift certificate to a leather-working workshop by 12/31/19.) And that connection to the community is a big part of what makes this company so special. “Part of what drives me with Rooted Soles is a desire to build a different kind of company, one that’s about more than cranking out products and building sales and maximizing profit,” says founder (and Philly mom) Heather Holiday. Her very first pair of shoes were leather baby booties that she crafted for her daughter, and that same care and attention is sewn into every pair of Rooted Soles. Order online.

Pals Socks


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Can cute mismatched critter socks change the world? Hannah Lavon, founder of Pals Socks, certainly hopes so. The Northern Liberties based Pals Socks, with their inclusive slogan “We don’t match,” hopes so. “We inspire humans young and old to being friends with someone different. It’s a sentiment that I think you could agree there should be more of as we change perceptions and keep toes warm,” Lavon tells us. We love their fun mix-and-match approach—and they even make some of their styles in adult sizes so we can get in on the fun! Order online, or find at the Made in Philadelphia Holiday Market this season!

Bevy of Objects


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Philadelphia artist and resident Bev Beaulieu has always been enamored with vintage jewelry, going back to when she would spend weekends antiquing with her parents when she was little. That vintage aesthetic is apparent in her fine jewelry that features ethically mined and sourced materials. You can find her work on her website and at local markets. She also does custom pieces if you have a specific vision, and she is a joy to work with.

Julia Max Designs


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If you’re looking for whimsical Philly-themed decor, clothing, cards, and more, look no further than Julia Max’s irresistible illustrations. You’ll find Philly sports mascots, iconic scenes like Jeweler’s Row lit up for the holidays, and much more, all with her signature sense of humor and heart. There are even Gritty onesies! Order online; find at Momo’s Tree House in Old City or Nice Things Handmade in East Passyunk.

Shibe Vintage Sports


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Shibe was founded by Philly sports fans, for Philly sports fans. When you walk into the small Midtown Village shop, you can immediately tell that it’s the real deal—seats from the old Philly ballpark from which the store gets its name are there, along with other memorabilia. We met one of the owners and his little boy at Nest years ago, and have been hooked on their soft vintage-y tees ever since. You can find clothing and other fun items featuring Philly sports teams for men, women, and kids. We even found Gritty dolls and a Gritty candle there! And this year, they captured our hearts with their “Destroyer of Worlds” Gritty shirt. Order online, or shop at their Center City storefront at 137 S. 13th St. 

Philly Word Art


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Artist Dan Duffy has been making unique art out of words for about a decade, celebrating Philadelphia landmarks, sports, and public figures. From far away, his work looks like a straightforward illustration, but up close, you can see that each image is comprised of words that give the picture deeper meaning. For example, the Phillies World Series piece is illustrated with the date, score, and opponent of every Phillies game from the 2008 season, while the LOVE Statue contains people, places, and quotes that are unique to Philadelphia. Duffy has expanded his work to non-Philly-specific work like musicians and historical figures (and even other cities’ sports victories), so you can even find something for a non-local friend! Order online or find at Made in Philadelphia Holiday Market.

Ana Thorne


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From pillows to apparel to Gritty ornaments (oh, yes), there is Philly love all over Ana Thorne’s designs! You are sure to put a smile on the face of your lucky recipients, whether local or just homesick. Order online or buy at Art Star Holiday Craft Bazaar, Philadelphia Independents in Old City, Nice Things Handmade in East Passyunk, Christmas Village, and more boutiques around town!

South Fellini


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“No one likes us, no one likes us, no one likes us, we don’t care!” Jason Kelce’s iconic speech has been immortalized in knit form, with a pompom on top! South Fellini celebrates Philly realness, from sports to Wawa, and everything in between. Grab a Jawn enamel pin, a “Jabroni Repellent” shirt, a neighborhood mug, or any number of quirky Philadelphia-centric gifts. Order online, or visit their storefronts in East Passyunk and Fashion District Philadelphia. We’ve even seen some of their offerings at our local Whole Foods!

Duross & Langel

117 S. 13th St.


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 Midtown Village’s Duross & Langel has the best handmade spa and skincare products, from almost-too-pretty-to-use sliced soaps to facial masks, and much more. We love their Sugar Scrubs (especially the Lemon Verbena). They make your dull winter skin soft, smell heavenly, and are all-natural.


1500 Locust St., #3801



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Philly native Marquita Robinson-Garcia launched her plant-based skincare line with the goal of bringing natural, customized beauty to all. She opened a Design Studio in Center City that allows visitors to get a skin profile and create the perfect products for them (plus a fun, insta-worthy swing corner).

Mister John’s Music

904 S. Ninth St.



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The creator of everyone’s favorite music class, Mister John (John Francisco) has partnered with music teacher Nick Davio to create a new children’s album full of original music, called The Ballad of the Itsy Bitsy Spider and Other Surprises.  “We wanted to make an album that’s enjoyable for listeners of all ages, that reflects on conflicting feelings we feel as humans, that doesn’t talk down to children, and that incorporates many different musical genres. An exploration of emotions through music, if you will,” they described. Starting on December 1, it will be available for purchase and via streaming on Apple Music, Bandcamp, Spotify, Pandora, YouTube, Amazon Music, Google Music, and many other streaming services.




Lead photograph by Abbe Foreman Photography.

Contributing Writer