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OPINION: Top 10 gifts to purchase locally this holiday season

Updated: Dec 6, 2021

The following article represents the opinion of Cassidy Kendall, and does not represent the opinions of The Hot Springs Post, nor is this content sponsored.

Signage at All Things Arkansas

The holiday season is upon us, and one of the greatest joys is finding that perfect gift for the special people in your life. Another joy is finding these steals locally. "Shop local" is heavily promoted year-round because it supports the very community you live in. Here are three reasons shopping local is beneficial to your village:


It supports the local economy. Pumping money into your local businesses helps them grow, but also results in their employees making money to spend at other local businesses. And when these businesses are thriving in a tourism economy such as Hot Springs, it attracts more visitors and therefore even more money.


It creates more local jobs. The more local businesses are supported, the more products they will sell, and the more products they sell, the more hands on deck it will need to sell them.


It's more environmentally friendly. Local businesses tend to require less long-distance transportation for its products. This idealistically lessens pollutants, traffic congestion and packaging materials when you support these businesses rather than larger corporations.


Now that you know the benefits to shopping local, go forth in good spirits as you shop from this list of the top 10 gifts you can purchase locally.


1. Whipped Soap from the Bathhouse Soapery


Photo provided by Bathhouse Soapery

Gifting soap to someone for the holidays would usually send an unintended message, but gifting someone whipped soap from the Bathhouse Soapery and Caldarium is such a luxury. Described on its website as, not a liquid or a solid, but a "gossamer, billowy creation" with a "bouncy texture that cleanses and nourishes," this soap is like something found in a spa treatment. For just $16, or two for $30, select from a wide variety of scents and give someone in your life the gift of grandeur cleanliness. While shopping, also look to the soapery's seasonal holiday scents like Sleigh Queen, Orange Ginger Chiffon, Cardamom White Chocolate and Peppermint Rosemary.


The Bathhouse Soapery and Caldarium is located in downtown Hot Springs at 366 Central Ave. For more information, call the store at 501-525-7627, or visit its website at bathhousesoap.com.

2. A local read from All Things Arkansas


Books at All Thing Arkansas

For the reader, historian or Arkansan in your life, head to All Things Arkansas and check out their selection of Arkansas-related books. From the stories of notable figures in Arkansas history to food and nature guidebooks to help navigate The Natural State, you're sure to find something to appease the reader in your life. And they even have a children's section for Arkansas-related books to start em' early. A few good reads that popped out in my browsing that may just pique your interest too included Hot Springs, Arkansas, in Vintage Post Cards by Ray and Steven Hanley; Southern Fried: Going Whole Hog in a State of Wonder by Rex Nelson; Maxine: Call Me Madame by Maxine Temple Jones; and Autumn Leave and Winter Berries in Arkansas by Carl Hunter.


All Things Arkansas is located in downtown Hot Springs at 610 Central Ave. Ste. C. For more information, call the store at 501-620-3971, or visit its website at allthingsarkansas.com.

3. Socks from Mackenzie's Extraordinary Gift Shoppe


Socks at Mackenzie's Extraordinary Gift Shoppe

Everyone has that someone in their life that is so hard to shop for. But don’t fret, because a happy solution usually lies in socks. Everyone needs socks at some point in their life, so you know this is a gift that will get its use. And for a fun, unique pair sure to appeal to specific personalities, head to Mackenzie's Extraordinary Gift Shoppe and choose from their selection of over 700 different styles of socks. There is a theme to fit any personality. The Shoppe has socks with animals, socks for moods, socks with funny sayings, socks with empowering sayings, astrology socks, dragon and wizard socks, camping socks, biking socks, socks to celebrate new marriages, socks to celebrate new divorces, socks to celebrate birthdays — and everything in between. Purchase a single pair of socks at Mackenzie's Extraordinary Gift Shoppe for $13, or buy five pairs and get the sixth pair free.


Mackenzie's Extraordinary Gift Shoppe is located in downtown Hot Springs at 502 Central Ave. For more information, call the store at 501-762-0661, or visit its website at extraordinarygiftshoppe.com.


4. Bourbon Barrel Sumatra from Red Light Roastery


Bourbon Barrel Sumatra at Red Light Roastery

Red Light Roastery, the only local coffee shop that roasts its own beans, is offering a pound of Bourbon Barrel Sumatra for $25 this holiday season. For the coffee lover in your life, you’ll want to take advantage of this unique item where Red Light stores green coffee beans in a Rock Town Distillery bourbon barrel for six weeks before roasting it for the holiday season. The gift of coffee is like the gift of life to a coffee lover, so make it good coffee, and better yet make it local coffee.


Red Light Roastery is located at 1003 Park Ave. For more information, call the store at 501-609-9357, or visit its website at extraordinarygiftshoppe.com.


5. Classic board games from the Toy Chest


Games at the Toy Chest

Whether you’re a 50’s, 60’s, 70’s, 80’s or 90’s baby, everyone had that one board game as a child they would have been ecstatic about waking up to Christmas morning. And as time has passed, the classics like Sorry!, Clue, Candy Land, Hi-Ho Cherry-o, Rock’Em Sock’Em Robots, Monopoly and Pretty Pretty Princess have not changed fundamentally, but have gotten "facelifts." Yet they are still games adults and children alike would be ecstatic to receive Christmas morning. Make these dreams come true by gifting the original versions of these timeless games. Whether you’re looking to insight nostalgia in an adult, or introduce a child to your childhood favorite, head to the Toy Chest and look through its selection of classic board games. You simply can’t beat the classics.


The Toy Chest is located in downtown Hot Springs at 348 Central Ave. For more information, call the store at 501-623-4808, or visit its website at toychesthotsprings.com.


6. 'Growing' diamond studs from Lauray's


Photo provided by Lauray's

Everyone who has their ears pierced could stand to own a pair of diamond studs. They're classy, timeless pieces that look beautiful as they give that sparkle only a true diamond can. And while any pair can be on the pricier side compared to other items on this list, purchasing a pair of diamond studs from Lauray's is an investment. Purchase any size diamond stud, and in the future trade them in for a larger pair multiple times and only pay the difference. For every Christmas, birthday, anniversary, Valentine's Day or just-because day, allow the gift you give this holiday season to grow in the years to come. Pricing starts at $346 for a pair of 1/10th carat diamond studs, and goes up to $21,000 for a pair of 3 carat diamond studs.


Lauray's is located in downtown Hot Springs at 402 Central Ave. For more information, call the store at 501-321-2441, or visit its website at Laurays.com.

7. A limited-edition centennial thermos from Superior Bathhouse Brewery


Centennial thermos at Superior

Hot Springs National Park celebrated its 100 Year Anniversary in 2021. A once-in-a-lifetime occurrence that Superior Bathhouse Brewery has commemorated with a limited edition 64 oz thermos. It’s a gift fit for the Hot Springs-lover, beer-lover, camper or commuter in your life. It keeps beverages hot or cold for up to 24 hours, and can be refilled in place of a growler with some of Superior’s beer brewed using the local thermal water. This thermos comes at a price of $50, but with it being a limited edition and durable enough to last for the years to come, it’s well-worth the buy.


Superior is located in downtown Hot Springs at 329 Central Ave. For more information, call the store at 501-624-2337, or visit its website at superiorbathhouse.com.


8. Custom perfume from Friday Gladheart at The Parlour


Scents have a way of bringing back moments that perhaps we thought were lost forever. What better gift could be given than one that brings a moment back? Friday Gladheart, the practical witch from The Parlour, has a way of bringing those moments back with her custom-blended perfumes. For this gift, you'll have to know the person pretty well. Just come in to tell Gladheart their favorite fragrances, the current perfumes they wear, memories they may mention of grandma's lilacs or mom's lemon dish soap, and she will make an all-natural custom perfume that averages out to about $20 for 10 mL. And if the recipient wants it tweaked a little, they can always come back and have scents added to get it exactly how they like it. Not sure about buying a perfume for someone? You can always have the scent made into a custom candle for the same price.


The Parlour is located at 340 Ouachita Ave. Ste. C. For more information, call the store at 501-701-4444, or visit its website at theparlourhs.com.


9. Local wine from the wineries

We all have that one cultured soul gracing our lives who love nothing more than to try all the wines under the sun. And when gifting wine to whomever that is in your life, look to Bathhouse Row Winery and Winery of Hot Springs. These two businesses have unique wine made two hours north of Hot Springs in Altus, Arkansas. And this gift is made with even more local love as the wines are named after things in Hot Springs and its history. Get one, or make a gift basket and buy a couple. All wines are priced under $20, so you’re getting good quality local wine at a great price, but if you’d rather do that gift basket and have the money to spend, it would be a good idea to add the Superior thermos that can also be used as a growler. It would make for a nice, adult beverage gift basket. And if you’d rather allow them to choose their wines, simply get them a gift card and they can do a free wine tasting of all the wines offered to ensure they get just what they want.


Bathhouse Row Winery is located at 220 Central Ave., and Winery of Hot Springs is located at 1503 Central Ave. For more information, call Bathhouse Row Winery at 501-620-4880, or Winery of Hot Springs at 501-623-9463. The website for both wineries is hotspringswinery.com.


10. A gift card to, well, anywhere


One of the best ways to “shop local” this holiday season is buying a gift card for a local establishment. This is something great for the person in your life who may not want or need the extra clutter with physical gifts, someone who simply prefers an experience or someone you may just not know well enough to buy for. You can get gift cards from any local restaurant, or get a gift card to an experience. This could be to somewhere like the Behind The Mall Cinema, Quapaw Bathhouse, a Maxwell Blade Magic Show, a Trolley Tour, Big Axe Battleground, Escape Hot Springs or A Narrow Escape, Adventureworks, Pirates Cove, or, if you’re willing to spend a bit more, a season pass to Magic Springs Theme and Water Park or the Pocket Theatre. The possibilities are endless when it comes to purchasing gift cards to gift someone a good time in Hot Springs, and it helps both local businesses that aren't retail stores throughout the holidays, and the people you gift it to who may have spent their “splurge money” on gift-giving for their loved ones over the holidays.