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Posted on Fri, Nov 30, 2012 : 10:28 a.m.

A local holiday gift guide for everyone on your list

By Richard Retyi

Biercamp Bacon.JPG

Biercamp Canadian Bacon - for the meat lover on your holiday list.

Richard Retyi | Contributor

'Tis the season for showing love through thoughtful commerce, and what better way to show you care than shopping local? Ann Arbor is full of great businesses offering excellent gifts for everyone on your list. Book lovers, clothes horses, hipsters and meat lovers. Ann Arbor has it all. Join me for an entirely subjective and in no way comprehensive Ann Arbor Holiday Gift Guide for Everyone on Your List.

For people who love fruit and meat

Who says fruit cake is a bad gift? Robert Lambert’s Rare Citrus Fruit Cake from Zingerman’s baked with blood oranges, limes, whatever bergamots are, and a bunch of other fruit. Soaked in cognac and aged a few months, this fruit cake will put grandma’s to shame. If it’s meat you want, it’s meat you shall have — bacon, to be precise. Biercamp offers a variety of meats (bacon) including lamb (bacon), duck (bacon) and beef (bacon). They’ve also got an assortment of sausages, bratwurst and jerky. I received a $50 gift certificate to Biercamp last year and became a huge fan.

For chocoholics and people who like spicy stuff

The Schakolad Chocolate Factory isn’t just some ordinary chocolateria. The fine folks at Schakolad make works of art, including chocolate-shaped champagne glasses, a 3D chocolate school bus, chocolate chess sets or—this is Ann Arbor—a nice big chocolate football.

Bongs and Thongs is two floors packed with potential big-box gifts and stocking stuffers. You can go with any number of bongs and/or thongs, water pipes, beaded door curtains or something a little racier. Remote-controlled vibrating panties, a 50 Shades of Pleasure set, a Clone a Willy kit or something called The Tuggie. The guy who spoke to me said he’d offer 10 percent off for anyone mentioning this article. I kid you not. 10 percent off. You’re welcome.

For bookworms and silverfish

Borders might be gone and Shaman Drum now serves delicious burgers and Cajun fries, but there are still a few great independent bookstores where you can pick up some great books. Dawn Treader is my favorite place for used books and rare finds, while for a specialty mystery, detective and true crime shop, Aunt Agatha’s is great for browsing. Don’t forget Nicola’s Books out at the Westgate Shopping Center.

For the hipsters in your life

Rock Paper Scissors is full of interesting finds, including stationary. kitchenware, arts and also crafts. What’s hotter than rock paper and scissors? Robots. And Dave Eggers. And child literacy. 826michigan has everything from McSweeney’s publications and 826 gear to all your robot needs—a full line of Better Bots products.

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Cool things for all the hipsters in your life at Rock Paper Scissors

Richard Retyi | Contributor

For people who love to laugh and cry and sometimes both

I’ve never not had a fantastic time at a comedy club, and the Ann Arbor Comedy Showcase is right in our own backyard. The Comedy Showcase offers $12 Gold Passes or you can spring for a $50 Platinum Club Membership, which includes free general admission and reserved seat discounts.

If you prefer some crying with your laughing, a membership to the historic Michigan Theater is a great gift for cinephiles. A six-tier membership structure allows you to pay $35 for a first-time membership all the way up to the $300 Gold Card, which gives you free admission to all films with free popcorn.

For game lovers, of the board or video variety

Rather than shop online or buy from one of the big chain stores, why not pick up all your video games at Get Your Game On. They’ve also one of the city’s best selection of board games and RPGs and a glass case full of Magic The Gathering cards. If you’ve never played Settlers of Catan, it’s a great gift for most ages and comes with a ton of expansion sets. Gifts for years!

Vault of Midnight also sells board games and RPGs, but it’s their extensive inventory of comic books and graphic novels that they’re best known for. The hottest item this year is Chris Ware’s Building Stories, which checks in around $50, but for affordable stocking stuffers, pick up some $7 Micro Munnys.

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One of the hottest items of the year at Vault of Midnight is Chris Ware's Building Stories.

Richard Retyi | Contributor

For clothes horses and ponies

Sam’s has been around since 1946, selling Levi’s and Converse All-Stars to generations of Ann Arborites. All four pairs of Converse I’ve ever purchased have been bought at Sam’s. And a scarf once. Down on South University, you can get everything from hats and sneakers to T-shirts and hoodies at Motivation Boutique. Celebrities like Chris Brown, Pauly D, Bow Wow and someone named Big K.R.I.T. have rocked Motivation wear.

For those truly in love with the holiday spirit

If you’re truly in love with the holiday spirit and the ghost of giving, might I suggest buying me a drink at any of Ann Arbor’s watering holes in which you might happen upon me. Try The Bar at 327 Braun Court for starters, then maybe make your way to Alley Bar, Old Town Tavern or the 8 Ball Saloon. If you don’t see me, there’s a chance I’m at The Last Word, visiting Andy Garris at Rush Street or sitting in my living room. I drink beer but I prefer Manhattans.


Richard Retyi returns to bigger, better and bigger (he gained a little weight this fall) with his new column Hidden Ann Arbor. Rich will write about the hidden side of Ann Arbor and the things locals take for granted. In his day job, Rich is a social media director for a digital marketing agency in Ann Arbor. Read more of his stuff at or follow him on Twitter.



Sat, Dec 1, 2012 : 1:27 p.m.

Don't forgot to check out The Sunday Artisan Market now through the 23rd. Kerrytown Pavilon, 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. Many unique gifts and also an opportunity to chat with the artists.

Laurent Stanevich

Fri, Nov 30, 2012 : 10:56 p.m.

"Bergamot" is what makes Earl Grey tea taste and smell like...Earl Grey.

Lizzy Alfs

Fri, Nov 30, 2012 : 9:44 p.m.

Great options, Rich! I've bought some awesome gifts at Rock Paper Scissors. Also, Zingerman's coffee is always a go-to stocking stuffer for me. I'm a clothes girl, so I like Bivouac for myself!

Davi Napoleon

Fri, Nov 30, 2012 : 9:43 p.m.

The Performance Network also offers gift certificates for any performance after Dec 25. Call the box office at (734) 663-0681 for details. (I think there may be discounts available.) Give someone tix to the theater's current offering, A Little Night Music, and you'll have a friend forever.

Ron Granger

Fri, Nov 30, 2012 : 9:27 p.m.

STOP showing me delicious cured meats. Jeez.

Richard Retyi

Fri, Nov 30, 2012 : 6:33 p.m.

If anyone tries this 10% discount at Bongs and Thongs, please let me know. There's a 65% chance the guy I spoke to won't remember our very detailed conversation. Also, Kyle Mattson, with heating costs up this year, coal might be a nice gift? Amirite? Obamacare? Politics! SPORTZ!

Kyle Mattson

Fri, Nov 30, 2012 : 6:46 p.m.

Luckily all my utilities are included in my apartment lease Rich, so Santa can take that coal to my landlord.

Kyle Mattson

Fri, Nov 30, 2012 : 6:14 p.m.

Hoping Santa fills my stocking with some of that bacon this year and not coal (again)....

Richard Retyi

Fri, Nov 30, 2012 : 4:55 p.m.

Just so everyone knows, the previously deleted comment thanked me profusely for procuring the 10% discount at Bongs and Thongs. Yer welcome, Ann Arbor. Happy shopping!

Richard Retyi

Fri, Nov 30, 2012 : 9:38 p.m.

Commenter, I'm so sorry! I'm not deleting your posts, I swear. And I do appreciate your right to free speech and regret that your original reference to something that rhymes with strut pug was excised from the 101101010111010 pages of