Shopping for snowflakes
OK boomer—here are the local gifts millennials will love
Since the term ‘millennial’ became pejorative shorthand for a generation raised on participation trophies and the Internet, a diverse swath of Americans born between 1981 and 1996 has been accused of killing everything from the diamond industry to breakfast cereal.
Considering we hold a staggering 300 percent more college debt than our parents, it’s no surprise our spending patterns look a little different. But that’s not the whole picture. Millennial shopping habits are informed by a wide range of factors, including a predilection for supporting locally owned shops over big-box chain stores.
So while you may not see many 29-year-olds breaking down department store doors on Black Friday, you’ll find plenty combing the racks of mom-and-pop shops during Small Business Saturday on Nov. 30, supporting the local community and siphoning sales tax to municipal improvements like education and infrastructure.
If you’re feeling out-of-touch with the 20 and 30-somethings in your life, here’s a rundown on some foolproof holiday gift ideas for Small Business Saturday to bridge the generational divide and find the perfect gift for the millennial in your life.
* * *
The coffee snob
Third-wave coffee shops remain popular with the millennial cohort, where care and attention are lavished on every drink and food product. A recent trip to DoubleShot Coffee Co. at 1633 S. Boulder Ave. had me ogling the homemade English muffins (a baker starts these at 4:30 a.m.) and seasonal jams. Try it on one of their made-fresh breakfast sandwiches, or go for the hearty breakfast burrito wrapped in a spinach tortilla.
DoubleShot also has a lovely partnership with Glacier—another local foodie favorite—in creating a single-source Peruvian dark chocolate bar infused with Maduro natural Colombian coffee. It’s hearty, wonderfully balanced in bitterness and sweetness, and a little crunchy from the cacao nibs. Pair that with a local draft beer (a bonus feature of their new location at 1633 S. Boulder Ave.) and see what makes this Tulsa institution a favorite among discerning millennial coffee freaks.
It’s easier than ever to gift the experience with the shop’s handsome DoubleShot coins. These solid metal coins come in two denominations, copper ($2) and nickel ($5).
The plant lady
Plants are a vital component to the millennial home aesthetic, with 18- to 34-year-olds making up a quarter of lawn and garden retail sales. Shop for something like a pilea (a.k.a. “Chinese Money Plant”) or monstera (a.k.a. “Swiss Cheese Plant”) at Southwood Landscape and Nursery (9025 S. Lewis Ave.) which has a great selection of trendy plants like these. Ted & Debbie’s Flower & Garden at 3901 S. Harvard has some cute planters and modern wreaths (think a simple brass hoop with a swath of luxurious florals). Or show your millennial hostess some love with a gorgeous dried arrangement by EverSomething at Foolish Things Bar + Biscuit (3524F S. Peoria Ave.) Their simple, muted look is highly au courant.
It’s no secret millennials swing to the political left. For the young lib in your life, Ida Red (208 N. Main St.) is a goldmine. Searching for a Kamala action figure? Done. How about RBG, Barack, or Michelle ornaments for the Christmas tree? Check. Pair that with a copy of Michelle Obama’s Becoming, or David Graeber’s Debt: The First 5000 Years from the highly-curated selection at Magic City Books (221 E. Archer St.) and you’ll have the perfect political gift combo for your favorite social justice warrior.
The science geek
Since the millennial generation will be left to reckon with the devastating effects of climate change, it’s no surprise that many of us have science on the brain. Drop by STEMcell Science Shop (2415 E. Admiral Blvd.) in the Kendall Whittier neighborhood for one-of-a-kind finds to delight the curious mind. It’s also home to the studio of the shop’s “scientist-in-residence,” Tyler Thrasher, a local artist/chemist who crystallizes the carcasses of cicadas, beetles, snakes and scorpions to create stunning giftable sculptures you can purchase in-store.
STEMcell partners with nearby brewery Heirloom Rustic Ales (2113 E. Admiral Blvd.) for talks on topics ranging from alternative energy to medical marijuana. Co-owner Terry Mudge calls their Think and Drink events “TED Talks with booze,” a perfect millennial match if there ever was one.
The start-up bro
Tulsa is known for its startup-rich soil, which is likely to seed the next generation of businesses, big and small. In one study, 66 percent of millennials said they want to start their own business. Help your millennial entrepreneur launch a business idea by gifting a month of a coworking membership at 36 Degrees North (36 E. Cameron St.) or the women-centered Coworking Bravely in Broken Arrow at 114 W. Commercial St. With many millennials trying to make a go of it in the “gig economy,” it’s also a great gift for the young freelancer in your life.
While “millennial” remains a stand-in for “young person,” many members of this aging generation are becoming parents themselves. This is especially true in Oklahoma, where the cost of living is relatively reasonable. As the wedding season sunsets, millennials are filling their calendars with baby showers, including their own. Options abound for baby gear, but you can’t go wrong with Lolly Garden (2046 Utica Square). They offer clothing in brands like Tea and KicKee; unique baby board books like Urban Babies Wear Black and S is for Sooner; the best loveys and stuffed animals (it doesn’t get softer than Jellycat); and fun extras like silicone teethers shaped like tacos or boba tea.
Consider, too, the many millennials who are delaying or rejecting the role of parent. In many instances, these folks are very into their pets (an already booming industry and one that’s projected to take off). Besides offering just about anything one needs for a four-legged fur baby, Dog Dish (1778 Utica Square) has items for people, too, including an organic dog biscuit cookbook set, complete with cookie-cutter shapes in fire hydrant, bone and squirrel. They even have “meowijuana” pre-rolled catnip joints. Does it get more millennial than that?