Amazon may have launched two-hour delivery in Richmond, but that doesn’t mean it’s the only choice for last-minute gift shopping. There are plenty of local options from businesses and nonprofits that also give the gift of the city’s arts and cultural output.
To celebrate its 30th season, the Richmond Forum published “The Forum Files” ($38.95). Former Richmond Times-Dispatch reporter and columnist Ray McAllister tells stories of visiting dignitaries, politicians and celebrities in this coffee table book that makes it easy to pretend that Richmond is the center of the universe. Little personal gems abound, such as a funny, self-deprecating note from comedian Dave Barry when he was asked to be a speaker. You can purchase the book at the forum’s offices through Dec. 23.
Maymont also released a book this year, “Maymont: an American Estate” ($26.95) by curator Dale Cyrus Wheary. A tribute to the Dooleys’ opulent Gilded Age estate, it’s the first comprehensive narrative of the family and its legacy. The book is available at the visitor center and mansion shop.
The Edgar Allan Poe Museum will be open the day before Christmas, and its gift shop stocks all your raven iconography and macabre literary needs. Gift shop coordinator Debbie Phillips reports that, after many requests, they finally will sell adult-sized sweatshirts of the popular children’s T-shirt that says, “Poe fo sho” ($48.95). Also new are wine glasses with Poe medallions locally forged by a Chesterfield pewter smith ($12).
Chop Suey Books and Fountain Bookstore both are open Dec. 24, and sell a bevy of Virginia authors’ latest titles. There’s Kristen Green’s “Something Must Be Done About Prince Edward County” ($25.99), a New York Times bestseller about her hometown as a civil rights battleground. And Virginia Commonwealth University professor David Coogan seamlessly weaves his students’ jail memoirs with his own experience teaching them in “Writing Our Way Out” ($16.95).
Fountain Bookstore also has customizable gift subscriptions based on genre and age. For example, Fountain fringe sends a quirky, off-the-radar book a month and Fountain flavor delivers cookbooks and foodie titles. A Midlothian writer of best-selling romance novels, Cathy Maxwell, helped curate the books in the Fountain flirt subscription, which includes her latest bodice-ripper, “The Match of the Century.”
Quirk Gallery has an array of tchotchkes, home items and jewelry, including the asymmetrical stone earrings of Richmonder Liz Borsetti ($140-$160).
Orange in Carytown exclusively features local artists, about 110 of them currently, and it’s open through Dec. 24. You’ll find something nice for that friend with a lot of RVA stickers, such as a ceramic mug by Karen Hull etched with “RVA Craft Beer.”
Studio Two Three’s new spot in Scott’s Addition also offers Richmond-centric art and gifts from local artists and printmakers. Get there by Dec. 23 for maps of Richmond printed on just about everything. My favorite is a pillowcase printed with the names of Richmond neighborhoods — in the shape of a raven ($15).
Being open 365 days a year, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts’ gift shop is sure to attract all manner of procrastinators. Raven Lynch, head buyer for the shop, notes that there is a wall of pottery and home décor by Virginia artists, along with jewelry collections such as Richmonder Valerie Sanson’s.
The Virginia Historical Society is open through Christmas Eve and has all the miniature busts of historical figures that your dad could possibly want to decorate his desk. This is also where you can get earrings modeled from ones that Pocahontas wore and “Downton Abbey”-inspired accessories ($20-$45). And your Civil War-obsessed uncle probably needs another Gilmer map, a series named after the chief engineer of the Confederate war department who grabbed the maps as he fled a burning Richmond in 1865 ($10).
Of course, it might make for anti-climactic gift opening, but memberships and show tickets keep the holidays going into 2016. A museum or society membership will get your loved ones access to exhibits and events for the coming year.
The Richmond Symphony and Richmond Ballet offer flexible subscription packages when you purchase tickets to three or more shows. And the Virginia Opera is holding a holiday pre-sale of tickets to its February production of “Romeo and Juliet” ($19-$109).
A pair of tickets to the symphony’s Rush Hour event at Hardywood Park Craft Brewery in January will set you back only $30. Put those in someone’s stocking with a bottle of Gingerbread Stout and make sure they take you as their date.
Virginia Repertory Theatre has flexible subscriptions, too, but what’s there to wait for when “Gypsy” ($36-$60) is in the midst of a rousing run? Get thee to the theater and have yourself a very Richmond holiday season. S