Thursday, December 3, 2009

Christmas Gifts for Your Favorite Cleveland History Enthusiast

Don’t just buy local for Christmas - buy local history. Here are a few CAH-approved gift suggestions for the Cleveland buff on your list.

Cleveland history fans will find an unlikely champion in Big Fun. From Ghoulardi t-shirts to authentic “Cleveland plums,” your go-to source for Atari games and He-Man action figures is also quite the purveyor of Cleveland Past.

For the more studious, stop in at Past & Presents, the Western Reserve Historical Society gift shop. Truly one of the more underappreciated sources for Cleveland-themed gifts, the WRHS gift shop has an ample collection of new books -- and if you’re there on a Thursday, Friday, or Saturday, stop in the Library and peruse some of the more unusual titles on the neverending booksale rack.

Speaking of books, when was the last time you stopped in at the Cleveland Public Library gift shop, located in the Louis Stokes Wing of the downtown branch? Open Monday through Friday from 11-4 and Saturday from 12 to 4, this is the perfect place to stop after a weekend lunch on East Fourth.

Then again, why buy a book about history, when you can buy history itself? A Piece of Cleveland repurposes salvages architectural materials into unique and functional products with a story to tell. Check here for a list of their retailers.

Give the gift of monetary support. OK, it might not sound sexy. But all nonprofits are struggling right now, and none so much as our historic institutions. Use that money you were going to spend on a gift that someone probably didn’t want anyway and donate it to the Cleveland Memory Project or the Cleveland Cultural Gardens, or buy your sweetie a membership to Stan Hywet or the Cleveland Restoration Society.

Last but not least -- a home for the holidays. No, really. Cleveland is a veritable humane society full of lonely, historic homes just begging to be loved and preserved. Bonus: according to Mark Di Vincenzo, author of Buy Ketchup in May and Fly at Noon: A Guide to the Best Time to Buy This, Do That, and Go There, December 25 is the best day of the year to make an offer on a house.

Have some more suggestions? Drop them in the comments, or email us at ClevelandAreaHistory [at] gmail [dot] com.

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