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Holiday gifts under $25 in the Tampa Bay area

From handmade works of art to kitchen gadgets, here are ideas for thoughtful treasures that won’t break the bank.
Wrapping paper from local maker Fox and Crow is $6 per roll at the new Daydream Shop and Makerspace in St. Petersburg.
Wrapping paper from local maker Fox and Crow is $6 per roll at the new Daydream Shop and Makerspace in St. Petersburg. [ MAGGIE DUFFY | Times ]
Published Nov. 30, 2022

A dollar doesn’t go as nearly as far as it used to, but that doesn’t mean you have to skimp on gifts this year. We set out to find a collection of fun, local gifts for under $25 this holiday season. From handmade works of art to kitchen gadgets to park passes, here are ideas for thoughtful treasures that won’t leave you broke.

Art Coffee Canisters: Kahwa Coffee and the St. Petersburg Arts Alliance have partnered on retro-style coffee canisters wrapped with designs by local artists. Chad Mize’s iconic doodle designs adorn the inaugural canisters, and a new design by a different artist will come out each season. Each canister is filled with Kahwa’s 10-ounce Sirocco House Blend, which is a medium-dark blend that has “notes of dark cherry and honey.” They are $24.99 and net proceeds benefit the St. Petersburg Arts Endowment. Available at all Kahwa Coffee locations and at kahwacoffee.com.

Art-wrapped coffee canisters are a collaboration between Kahwa Coffee and the St. Petersburg Arts Alliance. They feature a design by artist Chad Mize and are available at all Kahwa locations.
Art-wrapped coffee canisters are a collaboration between Kahwa Coffee and the St. Petersburg Arts Alliance. They feature a design by artist Chad Mize and are available at all Kahwa locations. [ Courtesy of VAMPT Co. ]

Locally made goods from Daydream Shop and Makerspace: The new popup concept in St. Petersburg owned by seven women artists has a great selection of locally made goods. The six-month popup is led by Catie Shetty, Emily Stone, Evan Neidich, Lauralie Bradford, Mitzi Gordon, Tiffany Elliott and Yuki Osada. You can find many items under $25, like fun prints, mugs and tea towels ($14.99-$18) from Miss Johnny Squirrel. (Her map of St. Petersburg design makes a great gift.) Also find jewelry, stickers, ornaments and Fox and Crow’s sweet wrapping paper ($6 per roll). They also offer workshops and a free monthly “Craft Coven” when people can make a project of their choice while communing with others. 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday, 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, 1-7 p.m. Sunday. 2935 Central Ave. facebook.com/hello.lets.daydream.

Visit a new art compound and get this sweet tote: The Department of Contemporary Art Tampa, FL recently opened in the Kress Annex in Ybor City, along with Tempus Volta, Parachute Gallery, QUAID and Screen Door: an Ybor Microcinema. With the exception of the cinema (tickets are $8), these spaces are free to attend and offer compelling exhibitions. A visit alone would make a great date-night gift, but you can also get a cool Department of Contemporary Art tote bag ($20) to carry your stuff in and reduce the use of plastic. There are also T-shirts ($30) and caps ($35) with the design. 1624 E Seventh Ave., Tampa. docatpa.com.

This Department of Contemporary Art Tampa, FL tote bag is $20 and helps reduce the use of plastic bags.
This Department of Contemporary Art Tampa, FL tote bag is $20 and helps reduce the use of plastic bags. [ Courtesy of Emiliano Settecasi ]

Take someone to the Replay Amusement Museum: This will be ideal for the lover of vintage video games in your life. This is what a Tampa Bay Times reporter said about the spot in 2018: “This place has the most impressive collection of 1970s vintage (Hercules) and new (Star Trek Pro) pinball machines in the Tampa Bay area, along with a rotating selection of arcade machines, including the laserdisc-powered rarity Dragon’s Lair, but also classics like Asteroids and Centipede. There are more than 100 machines altogether.” It’s $14 for adults and $8 for children to play unlimited games all day. On Fridays and Saturdays from 8-11 p.m., there’s a date-night special: $22 for two adults. 119 E Tarpon Ave., Tarpon Springs. 727-233-8490. replaymuseum.org.

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 Brian Cheaney, pictured in 2014, plays pinball at the Replay Amusement Museum in Tarpon Springs. Collecting machines started as a hobby, then turned into a business. For $14, adults can play all day.
Brian Cheaney, pictured in 2014, plays pinball at the Replay Amusement Museum in Tarpon Springs. Collecting machines started as a hobby, then turned into a business. For $14, adults can play all day. [ DOUGLAS CLIFFORD | Times (2014) ]

Seaworthy snapbacks and more: Jacqueline McLane grew up exploring the waters around Tarpon Springs. Her upbringing inspired her to create Anclote Outfit and Adventure, a Gulf Coast-themed shop right off the Sponge Docks. Here you’ll find nautically themed apparel, gear and supplies, including unique finds under $25. Our picks include an SPF 50-rated sports hat ($20), a pocket fishing log ($12) and a handmade flag ($25). Shop online at ancloteoa.com or visit 927 Dodecanese Blvd., Tarpon Springs.

Locally drawn nostalgia: St. Petersburg native Ezra Sembler lovingly documents local landmarks, past and present, in the form of black-and-white pen drawings. His pieces are playful and nostalgic, celebrating everything from the Saturday Morning Market to the city’s pelican-decorated storm drains. Pick up a collage poster, a Drawn in St. Pete coloring book or mug ($20 each), or give the gift of a year of St. Petersburg in the form of Sembler’s 2023 calendar ($18). To purchase, find Sembler at an Indie Flea or Royal Palm Market event, or direct message @ezrasembler_art via Instagram.

Ezra Sembler, a University of South Florida St. Petersburg and St. Pete High grad, pours his love for the Sunshine City into warm, nostalgic pen drawings. His "Drawn in St. Pete" collage print ($20) features landmarks including the Dali Museum, the Sunshine Skyway Bridge and the city's distinctive pelican-themed storm drains.
Ezra Sembler, a University of South Florida St. Petersburg and St. Pete High grad, pours his love for the Sunshine City into warm, nostalgic pen drawings. His "Drawn in St. Pete" collage print ($20) features landmarks including the Dali Museum, the Sunshine Skyway Bridge and the city's distinctive pelican-themed storm drains. [ Courtesy of Ezra Sembler ]

Gift someone a digital detox: The Paper Seahorse sells artisanal writing utensils, journals, paper and typewriters. Or as they put it on their website: “We curate quality analog goods because we believe in the mindful magic of letting go of digital distractions so we may reconnect with ourselves and each other.” The Tampa shop also offers a variety of classes and workshops, from gratitude journaling to brush lettering. Options under $25 range from Japanese stationery writing sets to wax seal sets and glass dip pens. Stop by the showroom on Saturdays from 12:30-5:30 p.m., or shop online at paperseahorse.com. 211 S Howard Ave., Tampa.

The interior of the Paper Seahorse, a stationery shop in Tampa that sells artisanal writing utensils and typewriters to help shoppers slow down and enjoy an analog adventure.
The interior of the Paper Seahorse, a stationery shop in Tampa that sells artisanal writing utensils and typewriters to help shoppers slow down and enjoy an analog adventure. [ Courtesy of the Paper Seahorse ]

A personal touch for the book lover: For the avid readers on your list, a book signed by their favorite author can be a great gift. Signed, first-edition hardbacks can be pricey, but how about a paperback? Tampa bookstore the Oxford Exchange offers a selection of paperback editions of bestselling books with authors’ signatures for under $20. How about a copy of Fredrik Backman’s hugely popular “A Man Called Ove” for $18.99? The store is open 7:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Saturday-Sunday, or shop online at bookstore.oxfordexchange.com. 420 W Kennedy Blvd., Tampa.

Play your cards right: The book lovers on your list will be champs at Papercuts: A Party Game for the Rude and Well-Read. Similar to Apples to Apples, it begins with the dealer reading a question card, then lets players use their cards with bookish answers to come up with the funniest way to fill in the blank. Find Papercuts, priced at $22, and lots of other irresistible goodies for bibliophiles — not to mention a terrific selection of books — at Tombolo Books. The store is open 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Saturday-Sunday, or shop online at tombolobooks.com. 2153 First Ave. S, St. Petersburg.

Red Hot Tiki in Gulfport sells a wide selection of hot sauces and spice rubs, including (from left to right): Red Hot Tiki’s Serrano Pepper hot sauce ( $7.50), Dennis’ Mango Habanero barbecue sauce ($7.50) and St. Pete Sauce Shoppe’s Gochu Garlic Korean chili and garlic spice blend ($9).
Red Hot Tiki in Gulfport sells a wide selection of hot sauces and spice rubs, including (from left to right): Red Hot Tiki’s Serrano Pepper hot sauce ( $7.50), Dennis’ Mango Habanero barbecue sauce ($7.50) and St. Pete Sauce Shoppe’s Gochu Garlic Korean chili and garlic spice blend ($9). [ HELEN FREUND | Tampa Bay Times ]

Personalized olive oils and vinegars from Vine and Grind: Sample from more than 90 different olive oils and vinegars at this charming Treasure Island shop where flavors include everything from raspberry white balsamic to Tuscan herb and Sicilian lemon. The store already has pre-boxed holiday sets of oil and vinegar combos at the register (five for $23), but you can also mix-and-match and design your own personalized selection from any of the oils and vinegars sold at the store. 111 107th Ave., Treasure Island. 727-360-2021. vineandgrind.com.

Fiery flavors from Red Hot Tiki Spicy Gourmet Market: Spice fiends, this one’s for you. This petite Gulfport shop packs in more than 900 fiery products in a 300-square-foot space, and includes a selection of several locally made items. Most of the sauces run around $7 to $8, so you could easily make a gift set of three. Even better, gift someone a variety pack trio, all from local producers: Red Hot Tiki’s own Serrano Pepper hot sauce ( $7.50), Dennis’ Mango Habanero barbecue sauce ($7.50) and St. Pete Sauce Shoppe’s Gochu Garlic Korean chili and garlic spice blend ($9). 2904 Beach Blvd. S, Gulfport. 727-776-5931. redhottiki.com.

All the kitchen gadgets from Casa di Mazzaro: The home goods and kitchenware store next to St. Petersburg’s beloved Italian grocer is one of the best spots in town to shop for the foodie in your life (or anyone with a love for cooking, really). The vast selection includes plenty of items $25 and under, including a pasta drying rack ($25) and lots of stocking stuffer options like a large variety of Casa di Mazzaro’s own loose leaf teas ($8 each). For charcuterie lovers, look no further than the Cheese Board Deck ($20), which features a deck of 50 cards, each one with a different suggestion for how to style a creative cheese, charcuterie or other food platter. 3001 22nd Ave. N, St. Petersburg. casadimazzaro.com.