‘Tis the season n’at, yinz guys. Giveaway!

I start thinking about my Yinzer Gift Guide in the late summer. It’s a bazillion degrees out, my eyeballs are sweating, my hair looks like someone electrocuted Cousin It, and I begin to pine for a cool breeze and a cute scarf.

So I’ve been hunting for months for the perfect gifts to suggest to you for the Burgh-lover in your life, or even yourself. My requirements are gifts that either feature Pittsburgh, are made in Pittsburgh, or are made elsewhere by former Pittsburghers. I don’t think any made the list from that last category this year as all 13 gifts on the list are Burgh-made or feature the Burgh. Some do both.

Gifts range in price from $12 to $198, with almost all of them coming in at or below $50. 

As you click through the slideshow, you will need to scroll down on some picture captions to read the entirety of them.

And it wasn’t easy to pick the list, so here are the others ideas that would make awesome gifts as well:

—  The “Jagoffs Make Me Stabby” and “I Brake for Tunnels” shirts from Fresh Factory, with proceeds going to Genre’s Kids With Cancer Fund.

— Anything from Believe Merch or Commonwealth Press.

— BYOB painting fun at Paint Monkey! 

— LOVE these handmade holiday cards designed and produced right here in the Burgh by a Burgher.

JP Diroll Pittsburgh Photography or Uprooted Photographer Photography.

— Anything from Sapling Press or Garbella.

— Or go to Wildcard and just go nuts.

Check them out if there’s nothing on the Yinzer Gift Guide that floats your coal barge down the Mon.

Now, let’s give some of the list items away!

Here’s what you will get, and due to the fragile nature of two of these items, I’m going to ask that the winner make arrangements to personally retrieve the items from me or my husband at Las Velas in Market Square.  If you live out of state, you hopefully have some close friends or relatives who can run downtown and get these picked up for you until such a time as you can get to the Burgh. Or make arrangements for that friend to have the items CAREFULLY shipped to you. (I just typed “shitted to you” and then had to stop writing and chuckle for twenty seconds).

What: One lucky randomly-selected winner will receive the following, all valued at a total of more than $160:

  • Pittsburgh Love pottery made at the Zotter the Potter studios in Pittsburgh. Perfect kitchen utensil holder.
  • One You and Who Pittsburgh T-shirt in size X-Large.
  • One Light of Life GLORY ornament forged at Wendell August Forge.
  • One professionally matted and framed “HOME” print in which the H is an ornamental railing overlooking Mt. Washington, the O is the Kaufmann’s clock, the M is the arches on Carnegie Music Hall and the E is an ornamental iron design on the door to Heinz Chapel. If you haven’t gone to the ltrs4u.com site to check out the amazing Burghy ways you can spell anything you desire, you must. And each picture is taken in the Burgh. I had a hard time choosing the perfect Burghy M for this HOME print I designed just for one of you. Imagine your friend or brother or sister who no longer lives in Pittsburgh being able to hang this in their house to show where home really is.

To enter: You have until next Monday to enter and all you need to do is leave a comment, one comment per valid email address. And so you have something to say, either tell me a gift you think should have made the list or tell me what your favorite holiday memory is. You can be as brief or as wordy as you like. I’d love to read some funny stories about cats in Christmas trees, the time you and your husband bought each other the same gift, or the funny thing your kid shouted out at church.

My favorite holiday memory is the time my mother made my father his favorite fruity cranberry jello dessert for Thanksgiving, I mean, he LOVES this stuff and she only makes it once a year. She took it out of the oven. She let it set. She continued to cook and bake delicious things. And then she absentmindedly put it back in the oven and returned it to its formerly liquid state, and then upon realizing her mistake minutes later, she frantically tried to take it out of the oven causing the liquid to slosh all over the inside of the hot stove, filling my sister’s Wexfordhampsminstershire home with cranberry-flavored smoke. My father was an understanding but very sad panda.

Tell me yours!

Random.org will select the lucky winner next Monday, November 26 at noon. If your comment goes to spam, I’ll fish it out for you. No worries. The winner and I will then make arrangements for me to hand over the loot.

Good luck!

And go check out the Yinzer Gift Guide!


  1. ActionMax
    November 20, 2012 11:08 am

    Definitely our daughter’s first Christmas. So fun and it gets better every year!

  2. steelertom
    November 20, 2012 11:11 am

    My favorite Christmas memory, was remembering the excitement as a child of all the gifts, the colors of the lights, attending Christmas eve pagents at the United Methodist Church, I can’t seem to recapture those memories…… sigh

  3. Tracy Riggins
    November 20, 2012 11:14 am

    Some of my favorite Christmas memories are spending Christmas Eve with my fathers extended family. When I was younger, my great-grandmother wore the same dress every year and it was an awful gold colored “old lady” dress but it was her festive look. Someone in my family always dressing as Santa for us kids and we were always trying to figure it out. Singing Happy birthday to Baby Jesus as we put him in the manager outside. Playing LCR (which we call the Dice game) for $3 each person and play with about 30 poeple. I hope some of these traditions continue or start back up so my daughter who is 5 can enjoy them as well.

  4. Becca
    November 20, 2012 11:15 am

    One of my favorite Christmas memories is our family’s Wendell August ornament collections being displayed on our tree. I love the GLORY ornament and will definitely be buying one!

  5. Marcy
    November 20, 2012 11:16 am

    The year my sister and I set our alarms for 5:00 am. My parents were less than pleased.

  6. Karen
    November 20, 2012 11:20 am

    One of my favorite holiday memories is from Thanksgiving 1971. That’s the day my best friend, and little sister, was born! My brother and I got shipped off to our uncle’s house for dinner while we all waited for news of whether it was a boy or a girl. I won! I love you, Dana!

  7. Lauren
    November 20, 2012 11:22 am

    The year Santa got a Sex Change.

    Ever since I can remember, my family, on my Dad’s side, has gathered every year on Christmas Eve. We didn’t celebrate the Feast of the Seven Fishes, like many Italian families, but we all came together at the Renton Italian Club for cold salmon patties, fried fish and pierogies.

    After a delightful dinner prepared in the hall kitchen and set on red and green plastic plates and cutlery, the tables were cleared in anticipation of Santa’s arrival. Every family attending the annual Holy Supper would bring one gift for Santa to deliver to one of the lucky kids who had been good that year, under 18 of course.

    During this particular Holy Supper, there was a shortage of volunteers to don the ancient red felt suit, which had grown particularly tattered and smelling of Iron City and Virgina Slims. Being a twenty-something female (and possibly drunk,) I mistakenly made the suggestion that I would oblige in this tradition and duty, if no burly man in the group would step forward. I was hoping that this laughable suggestion would cause some third cousin or great uncle to heed the call and deliver those presents to the bright eyed young ones, just recently introduced to this family tradition.

    To my dismay… no one stepped forward.

    I will always remember Holy Supper of 2001 as the year Santa got a sex change, and that hormone replacement therapy is completely necessary to properly convey the “Ho ho ho” he is so famous for. After all, the kiddies are expecting a St. Nick and not a St. Nicole, and they may be a little too young for THAT conversation. But, what do I know? It’s 2012, kids are exposed to a lot these days and I’m the ass that volunteered for the role

    The end.

  8. Susan
    November 20, 2012 11:24 am

    I was hoping those cool purses and bags that are handmade somewhere in the ‘Burgh would be on the list. I’ve wanted one since I saw them online and can’t remember the company name.

  9. Jen H
    November 20, 2012 11:24 am

    My favorite holiday memory is last year – one morning after we decorated the tree, my younger son (1.5 at the time) came running out in the morning, saw the lights off, and said “uh oh Mommy. Tree broken. Daddy fix”

  10. 02631blackacre
    November 20, 2012 11:25 am

    My favorite Christmas memory is one I’m not supposed to have… I was about 9 and had asked for a new bike for Christmas (yellow Schwinn with a flowery banana seat – totally stylin’). I go to sleep on Christmas Eve and wake up in the night hearing the loud, frustrated voices of my parents coming from our basement… clearly at wits end with each other trying to put the bike together. After some prolonged arguing, I hear my Dad say “We have to get this done… I can sleep later. She’s been so good all year and I just want her Christmas to be perfect.” And I heard my mom agree…
    Best bike EVER and awesome warm and fuzzy feeling knowing that your parents love you.

  11. Noelle
    November 20, 2012 11:25 am

    I used to dance in the Flint Michigan ballet studio Nutcracker every year. Man, I loved that.

  12. Di
    November 20, 2012 11:29 am

    My kids set up the camcorder to catch Santa in the act last Xmas eve. Of course, I knew about it and using an App on my phone, was able to make sure they recorded a “Ho Ho Ho” and some jingling bells before the camcorder mysteriously stopped recording. The App was quickly deleted. Unfortunately, 6 months later, I accidentally put the same Xmas sounds App back onto my phone. Of course, my 9 yr old daughter finds it and figures out that I sabotaged the Xmas video proof that Santa exists. Parenting Fail!

  13. Moxie Bestos
    November 20, 2012 11:33 am

    Favorite holiday memory? When we were kids, my parents threw us in the station wagon and drove us around town so we could see Christmas decorations on the houses. We had our Chanukiah for eight specific days, but we could take the car ride any time between Thanksgiving and Christmas. We often ventured from Point Breeze to Aspinwall, where our parents lived when they were first married. It was pure joy to be the first of the three siblings to yell, “Christmas decorations, Daddy’s side!” (the lights were on a house out the driver’s side window) or “Christmas decorations, Mommy’s side!” My son is dying to spot lights this year. (I feel like I wrote this story last year. Was there a giveaway last year? Do I have only one good memory?)

  14. Tara
    November 20, 2012 11:36 am

    I was nursing my daughter in church to keep her calm so the other folks could enjoy their service.
    We where at the point when the priest was getting the things ready for communion and it was dead silent in the room. Until my daughter (18 months) popped off my breast and said loud enough for most to hear “Mommy, I love your nipple”.

  15. Meghann
    November 20, 2012 11:39 am

    My favorite holiday memory is going to happen in two days. My husband and myself moved out of state almost two years ago up to Massachusetts. In one week my brother is being shipped out to Afghanistan, so as a big secret surprise we are driving back in for Thanksgiving so the whole family can be together before he goes. I actually quit my part time job because they wouldn’t allow me to have those few days off to go see him. Getting to give my brother a hug before he leaves trumps over a 10 hour drive with a toddler and a puppy and being jobless.

    • Jill M
      November 20, 2012 11:46 am

      That is awesome!!! Please give your brother our best and thank him for his service. Grinch poopsicles to your job for not letting you be off btw…

  16. Cheryl McLaughlin
    November 20, 2012 11:43 am

    my favorite memory? When asked when her birthday is, my almost 6 year old grand daughter can always be counted on to say “Christmas eve eve” — her birth on Dec. 23, was a wonderful Christmas gift to the whole family.

  17. Jill M
    November 20, 2012 11:45 am

    I used to make gift labels for the kids presents on the computer so the older ones couldn’t figure out my handwriting – we also used “special” gift wrap that wasn’t used for any other gifts (my husband kept in a closet at work the other 364 days of the year).

    Santa has been played for 25 years by my mother-in-law’s neighbor – he has been through 22 grandchildren in those 25 years and after Santa leaves, Tom comes over for the festivities. For many years, the kids would say “Tom – you missed Santa AGAIN!”

    Last memory – my 7 year old son coming downstairs at his grandmother’s house telling me that his cousin told him there is no Santa. Needless to say, the 12 year old little sh*t got an earful from his aunt!

  18. SBS
    November 20, 2012 11:47 am

    The time my brother accidentally burned the cat whiskers w/ the Hannukah candles. We still don’t let him live it down. The cat forgave him eventually.

  19. Jayne
    November 20, 2012 11:54 am

    It’s a toss up in my house between the year the cats kept knocking the tree over so my dad anchored the tree to the floor and the window frames because we always got a huge tree every year and the cats always climbed it. And then there was the year that my aunt decided to make ambrosia from clear Knox gelatin. It was so gross that even my dog wouldn’t touch it.

  20. WIMom
    November 20, 2012 12:01 pm

    Would love love love to win the pottery.

  21. Julie
    November 20, 2012 12:09 pm

    I recently had our Super 8 films converted to DVD. On one of the DVDs is the Christmas where my sister got a Holly Hobby doll with a baby carriage and…..a machine gun. She can be seen happily pushing Holly Hobby in the carriage with the machine gun sticking out of the front.

  22. Lindsay
    November 20, 2012 12:09 pm

    Here’s a gift idea for anyone new to Pittsburgh!

    Sam McCool’s New Pittsburghese: How to Speak Like a Pittsburgher

  23. John
    November 20, 2012 12:16 pm

    my fave xmas memory might be on that one xmas when I was quite young, in the late sixties…we were finished opening all those presents, when suddenly my big brother Dave said: “hey, what is that big box stuck behind the couch?” It was just like the Dad pointing out the bb gun in ‘A Christmas Story’…..I got the box, and it had my name on it. and I opened the wrapping to find the MOUSETRAP game…. THE BEST GAME EVER!!!!

  24. Kristin
    November 20, 2012 12:21 pm

    As my son gets older, his excitement leading up to Christmas just builds and builds! I love doing a Christmas countdown with him, buying him a special ornament each year, and letting him help decorate the tree!

  25. Natasha
    November 20, 2012 12:22 pm

    Super cute bags made in Pittsburgh! http://www.moopshop.com/

  26. Cathy
    November 20, 2012 12:23 pm

    i grew up in a multi-generationla household. My grandmother didn’t drive so my mom andher would do Christmas shopping together. One year my aunt made a comment about how nice my mom’s Christmas presents were and they always fit, etc. She looked at my grandmother and then at my mom…my grandmother was bright red and my mom had tears in her eyes. Turns out my mom had been picking out her on Christmas gifts for about 13 years. Every year they wondered if that would be the year they were caught. Needless to say…that was the last year my mom was allowed to shop alone with my grandmother. It still is one of the things that can get us laughing every holiday even though my grandmother is no longer with us.

  27. Michelle
    November 20, 2012 12:33 pm

    I’m going to tell you the most-oft recited holiday memory involving me. We eat Thanksgiving at my Aunt’s house, and when I was 12 years of age was asked by my Aunt to move the pies into the fridge in the basement. I held out my arms, which she loaded up with pies, and I proceeded downstairs. Since my arms were full of pies, I did not see her dog lying across the top step, and tripped over him. The pies, dog, and myself went flying down the stairs. My Uncle, the pie fanatic, came into the doorway, seeing the pile of Michelle, pie, and dog at the bottom of the steps yelled “The pies!!!” because that was obviously more important than either the dog or I being broken. We were all okay, don’t worry. The pies, however, were served in a scramble form.

  28. Jenn
    November 20, 2012 12:34 pm

    I have so many happy holiday memories from my childhood but every Christmas I always think back to when my college roommates and I would decorate our apartment before heading home to be with our families during winter break. All five of us would spend a Saturday in early December decorating, making the apartment “cozy”, baking Chex Mix and Hershey Kiss cookies, and watching “Christmas Vacation”. The evening then typically ended at a bar for a night of binge drinking because, you know, we were in college. :)

  29. Terry K
    November 20, 2012 12:39 pm

    My favorite Christmas memory is the year my younger brother and I gave our older brother “coal” (charcoal) as an extra present. We wrapped it in different wrapping paper, put it behind the tree, and said it was from “Santa.” At this point I was probably 22, my younger brother 20, and my older brother 24, but our parents still always bought us the same number of gifts so nobody would have their feelings hurt. Anyway, after all the presents had been opened Christmas morning there was that one box still behind the tree. Our older brother noticed it and checked the name. After seeing it was for him, he got all snooty. “Oh! Lookie here! SOMEbody got an extra present! How nice! I have one more present to open.” He was basically trying to rub it in our faces. I will never forget the look on his face when he opened it only to find “coal” inside. It was priceless and something we all still laugh about to this day.

  30. Beatrice
    November 20, 2012 12:48 pm

    My dad would grill beef shishkebabs every Christmas Eve for dinner — no matter if it was snowing, ice-raining, or whatever.

  31. Roger
    November 20, 2012 12:55 pm

    my favorite memory/tradition is our family’s effort to remember the reason for the season. the first gift we open on Christmas morning is just a small box filled with the tiny baby Jesus for our nativity scene. When we open this present from God, and place him in the manger – we can’t help but be filled with gratitude and love.

  32. Robin
    November 20, 2012 1:10 pm

    I used to like the smell of barbies. I know that sounds rather strange, but when I was a child, there was a distinct smell to the plastic or something. It meant “Christmas”. I loved it, and haven’t smelled the scent in a very long time. I’m not being weird. It’s just my memory.

  33. MeganE
    November 20, 2012 1:12 pm

    Pittsburgh expats like myself are the easiest human beings to shop for. Put some french fries and a bridge on it, and we’ll go nuts.

  34. Julia
    November 20, 2012 1:16 pm

    My favorite holiday memory was Christmas two years ago. My boyfriend and I went to my mom’s house for Christmas Day, and we had gone in with my brother to buy my mom a Keurig. Little did we know, my stepdad had bought her the same exact one! Then, as if two Keurigs weren’t enough, my grandmother (Nan) bought her yet another Keurig! This one, however, was the Cadillac of Keurigs. We still have a picture of my mom standing beside a stack of Keurig boxes almost as tall as she is. My Nan made my brother and I and my stepdad return the ones we got, because hers was better and my mom “had” to have the one she got. Good natured, though.

    That was also my favorite Christmas because it was the last one we got to spend with Nan, and still to this day I have never met anyone who comes up with the shit she would say! Like the one Thanksgiving dinner, when she said loudly “We’re sort of like that family in the movie, The Fuckers!”

  35. mindybakes
    November 20, 2012 1:26 pm

    Mine’s not really funny, but we used to go down town for Light Up Night every year as a family and favorite part was the Kauffmans windows. We lived in the suburbs, so rarely went into town to shop. Loved the whole experience. It seemed to always rain/snow/sleet/freeze for LUN but we’d still go check out all of the window displays then warm up walking through the store, decorated like something out of a movie.  

  36. Katie
    November 20, 2012 1:47 pm

    My brothers and sisters and I would always go to my next door neighbor’s house for Christmas Eve dinner. My brothers would play guitar and the rest of us would sing Christmas carols for hours, followed by a huge meal in front of the fire. There was never any gift exchange that night–it was more important to just be together and have fun and eat good food. Now that we are all grown up and don’t live next door any more, we still always go back to visit our neighbor at Christmastime.

  37. Tracy
    November 20, 2012 2:05 pm

    Maybe not my favorite memory, but I do love watching “Christmas Vacation” and “A Christmas Story” with my kids.

  38. SteelMagnolia
    November 20, 2012 2:08 pm

    I have so many wonderful memories from the holidays…I’m very fortunate. One of my most memorable ones involved these Batman nerf shooter things…each shooter held a stack of small foam disks, and when you pulled the trigger, it would shoot the foam disk across the room. My aunt must have bought six of those things, and we spent the better part of a whole day in an all out epic battle in her house! Furniture was moved and upended, pets went into hiding, and I’m pretty sure we went through about 40 AA batteries. The best part was, us “kids” were basically all adults at this point!

  39. Kate
    November 20, 2012 2:20 pm

    I’ve got so many memories that make me smile. My son, age 3, almost turning himself inside out when he saw his gift under tree. Getting stranded in the snow after church on Christmas eve.
    Laying on the living room floor watching the stars on Christmas eve. Reading Christmas stories and crying every time ‘The Littlest Angel’ was read.

  40. Carrie
    November 20, 2012 2:21 pm

    The year that Leonardo DiCaprio stole all of our Christmas gifts…oh wait…that was Growing Pains. Seriously, one funny memory….My dad is an older Italian man who grew up in Rankin. He loves a good deal (favorite stores: Gabe’s and Big Lots). One year, my mother said that she wanted a solid colored long-sleeved shirt or turtleneck (can’t remember). On Christmas morning, my mom was shocked to find a number of wrapped presents for her from my dad. She opened the first, long-sleeved shirt – yay! – just what she wanted. She then proceeded to open several more boxes and found several more long-sleeved shirts – I think she got 9 in total – all the same shirt – different colors! The man does love a good deal and he had a coupon!

  41. Carrie
    November 20, 2012 2:34 pm

    I was born on Christmas Day so my favorite is memory is my parents telling me that people decorated their houses for my birthday. My least favorite memory is the year I was old enough to realize that was not true.

  42. LeeInIrwin
    November 20, 2012 2:34 pm

    Anytime it snowed on Christmas Eve was a special time. We would take a minute to go outside before bed and appreciate the quiet and how it made the lights sparkle a little bit more. Snow and Christmas go together – hope we get some this year……

  43. Magus Patris
    November 20, 2012 2:47 pm

    One Christmas I’ll always remember is when I was about 5 years old; the year tipsy Santa came to our house on Christmas Eve. My parents owned a bar and apparently, they hired one of their customers to come to the house before we left for my grandmother’s house. The doorbell rang, and I ran over to the door and looked out the window. All I could do was yell in a whisper “Sanna Claus!”
    I ran around the house whisper/yelling “Sanna Claus! “Sanna Claus!” I don’t remember much else (although my mom says he may have smelled like “Holiday Cheer” because his payment was a few shots of whiskey earlier in the day) other than looking out of the window and seeing Santa. All I knew was that Santa came to our house and gave me a present early. I can still see that tipsy, fat red-suited elf staring back at me through the window more than 40 years later.

  44. Lynnetta
    November 20, 2012 2:48 pm

    For the first time in 33 years we will not be having Christmas at my parents’ house. Instead, we’re hauling the family out to my brother and sister-in-law’s house in Columbus. It’ll be a nice change and my mom is thrilled that she doesn’t have to be in charge of the cooking, cleaning, and decorating this year!

  45. Julie
    November 20, 2012 2:51 pm

    This isn’t a specific memory, but I will say that it isn’t “Christmas-time” until I’ve seen the Eat n’ Park Christmas star commercial. And it has to be on TV – love watching it online, but it’s just not the same as when it catches you by surprise and the sweet little song comes on TV…. LOVE IT!

  46. Leenyburgh
    November 20, 2012 2:58 pm

    I had the stomach flu last Christmas, so Santa better get me a Lexus this year.

  47. Heather
    November 20, 2012 2:59 pm

    Every year growing up my mom and I would head downtown one evening during the holiday season to check out the Kaufmann’s windows and pick out an ornament.

  48. hello haha narf
    November 20, 2012 3:14 pm

    oh how i want to win! great prizes. thanks for offering them.

    not necessarily my favorite memory, but certainly memorable moment was one year when my friends gave me a joke gift of a “muscle massager” that lit up. yep, my friends are the kind that give vibrators and think it is funny. my brother found out about it and starts asking me in front of the whole family to tell what my friends gave me. i got so pissed that i went and got it, but when i went to hand it to my mom the end of the box gave way and the vibrator flew out, landing right in my mom’s lap. yeah, i prayed for god to strike me dead right there, but thankfully everyone just laughed and somehow changed the subject.

  49. Ashley
    November 20, 2012 3:15 pm

    My favorite holiday memory is always Light Up Night. I adore walking in the cold and checking out the gingerbread houses. It always gets me in the holiday mood!

  50. Melissa
    November 20, 2012 3:27 pm

    24 hours of A Christmas Story, duh.