Stories from middle America

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It’s the holiday season, and I’m writing a post for a lifestyle blog.

So, what does that mean?

You guessed it: the ubiquitous holiday gift guide!

Rather than focusing on a roundup of gifts made by people who don’t live in my area code, I’d prefer to highlight those doing (and making) cool things where I call home.

In partnering with the Omaha organization Heartland 2050, I continue to realize the importance of positive community development. Shopping local is a wonderful way to support your city’s residents and its economy. (And listen: you live where you live for one reason or another. Don’t you want that place to be a better city? One with a richer culture and greater opportunities? I thought so; you’re smart like that.)

There is a Makers Market this weekend where some of the items I’ve suggested will be available. I’m sure the event will feature plenty of other worthwhile items that aren’t on my list, but could certainly pique your interest.

If you’re not in Omaha, a few of these suggestions are available online.

1. Film Streams Membership

This past Thanksgiving weekend, I went to a late night showing of “Birdman.” I sat alone, drinking a Dark Side (a delicious beer brewed in Lincoln, Nebraska) in this charming nonprofit theatre “committed to screening films based on their creative, artistic, and social merits.” It was a treat – an incredibly relaxed, entertaining, and rewarding evening. I often have those experiences at Film Streams. And I feel proud that it is in my city.

2. Joslyn Museum Membership

Opened in 1931, the Josyln is Nebraska’s largest art museum. An impressive collection of art, ranging from American Indian to Modern, pepper the walls within the beautiful art deco architecture. It also regularly welcomes temporary featured exhibitions. General admission to the permanent collection is free to everyone. But a membership helps supports the museum, and provides free access to ticketed exhibitions and events.

3. The Object Enthusiast:

Emily’s ceramics are stylish and functional. She expertly (and tirelessly )makes everything herself, and each piece feels like a one-of-a-kind. My pick is the large mint teardrop vase with polka dots.

4. Beansmith Coffee

I’m late to jump on this local bandwagon, but jump I have! This coffee is delicious. My favorite is the Mockingbird blend, maybe just for the smell alone. (Oh, and word on the street is they are opening up a second location downtown.)

5. Intro to Woodworking Class at Bench

This is not just for the men. Anyone can appreciate learning basic woodworking skills. And playing with power tools is awesome.

6. Heather Kita Jewelry Design

We interviewed Heather earlier this year, and her work has remained with me. I already own a geometric pendant necklace, and plan on investing in a few other statement pieces. I’ve got my eye on the Turquoise Crescent Pendant.

7. A donation to The Union for Contemporary Art

Art should be about connectivity. It shouldn’t be divisive, and something only certain sects of the population are encouraged to appreciate. With a goal of “the arts to become a bridge, connecting our diverse community in innovative and meaningful ways to create a stronger, more inclusive Omaha,” the Union is doing some amazing work.

8. 1877 Society Membership

I’m the committee chair of this new group of library enthusiasts in their twenties and thirties who support and advocate for the Omaha Public Library, its programs, patrons, services, and staff. Clearly, I couldn’t overlook including a membership to the 1877 Society on my list! And did I mention it supports our library system?

Happy holidays!

 

 

 

 

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