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Shop Talk: Low Budget, Last Minute Gifts From the Neighborhood

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kossar's december 2013

Here are contributor Jessica Delfino’s ideas for some last minute holiday gifts on the cheap:

BAGELS, BIALYS and RUGELAH, OH MY!: Baked goods make every celebration even more special. My mother insists I bring two dozen bagels from Kossar’s (267 Grand Street) with me every time I visit. I went in on Thanksgiving to get my mom’s order only to find that most of their bagel stash had been plucked clean. That’s when I learned that you can call orders into this old school, no frills bakery in advance. It’s genius, really.

Besides fresh delicious bagels and bialys, right now, for Hanukkah, they have the most succulent, chewy Rugeleh — in chocolate or cinnamon ($7.95 / bag), and Chocolate Babka — basically a rich, unbelievably delicious loaf of chocolate bread ($9.99), all of which is a perfect accent to any holiday party or feast, whomever your God may be.

Kossar’s is open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. seven days, but get there early to get the best selection.

HAND MADE KNICK NACKS: I wrote about Tictail (90 Orchard St.) recently because I’m delighted and inspired by this online vendor website turned corner pop-up shop that opted to take up residence in our ‘hood til this Sunday, December 21st. I even started using their site to sell my wacky but dope hand-made ornaments and have sold a handful already. This coming Sunday, they’re offering 15% off everything in the store. Can’t make it in? You can also use code FAREWELL at tictail.nyc to bag some last minute holiday bargains.

Ticail is open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. every day.

GIFTS FROM ITALY, OR AT LEAST LITTLE ITALY: Across the neighborhood in Little Italy, the Italian American Museum (155 Mulberry St.) is alight with festive events several nights a week. There, you can also pick up books/memoirs ($15) written by local natives who remember what it was like before the invention of lattes. Jewelry made by Italian designers runs $20 and up and holiday ornaments by artists in the neighborhood are $12.

The museum is listed as open Saturday and Sunday from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. but signing up for their mailing list or becoming a member will open up a flurry of off-hour special events to you.

COFFEE: Look, I’m not knocking the beverage known as the latte. As a matter of fact, I’m a fan. I’ve had lattes at every coffee spot in town and I know where the best ones are, hands down. They can be found at 12 Corners (155 East Broadway), Grumpy’s (13 Essex St.) and I hate to admit it, but Starbucks (80 Delancey St.). Honorable mentions go to Doughnut Plant (379 Grand St.) and Lost Weekend (45 Orchard St.).

I have the added challenge of being obsessed with decaf because caffeine makes me koo-koo, so it’s nice that those spots offer a decaf version of one of my favorite hot beverages. Score some coffee gift cards, buy a bag of beans, or take a person you dig there to say, “Happy holidays!”

Jessica Delfino is a comedic musician who has lived and performed in the LES for like, forever. She first fell in love with beautiful clothing as a kid when her mom let her dress up in her vintage stash. Jessica was called “One of NY’s 50 Most Fashionable People” by Time Out NY. Check her out at here. She’s also @JessicaDelfino on Twitter.

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