Holiday suggestion: Hunt for those gifts in your zip code

This year’s holiday season offers us a chance to support local businesses and entrepreneurs who have seen their incomes and lifestyles disrupted by the pandemic. If you’re inclined to channel your spirit of giving toward your Dorchester neighbors, here are some suggestions for when you’re looking for last minute stocking stuffers this week and next.

Screenshot 2020-12-15 at 9.01.41 AM.jpgSupport Local Art at DAP – Now with a shiny new storefront in Fields Corner and a well-stocked online store to match, Dorchester Art Project offers a one-stop shop for products made by locally based artists. Patrons can browse an impressive collection of music, paintings, apparel, and accessories, including local brands of tea, skincare products, and herbal remedies, as well as assorted crafts and arts supplies.

Plus, shopping at DAP is a surefire way to make sure your money is going to the artists’ pockets: the shop’s base revenue model constitutes a 30-70 split to the artists, so not only is much of your purchase price going directly to the creator, it’s also benefiting an important community arts organization. 

p1 phillips chocolate holiday REP 51-20.jpgPhillips Chocolate Turtles – Phillips Chocolates — formerly known as Phillips Candy House— has been supplying Dot’s sweet-tooth set with their fix since 1952. They’ve developed a much bigger following over the decades and their signature chocolate turtles made it onto Oprah’s Favorite Things list a few years back. These days, they do a heavy trade in online orders, but lucky you: their store at 818 Morrissey— a few steps from Boston Bowl— is open and ready to fill your stocking. They also have some excellent holiday gift basket options.

p6 Tavolo gift card REP 51-20 copy.jpgA gift card to your favorite eatery – Local restaurants are depending on us to make it through this winter, and gift cards are a great way to provide a boost from the safety of your home. This is one way to help these establishments stay afloat through what looks to be some long winter months ahead, plus you’ll have a free meal to look forward to once warm weather returns. Some local eateries offering gift cards include Ashmont Grill, Tavolo, Bowery, The Industry, Shanti, Dorchester Brewing Co./M&M BBQ, 50 Kitchen, 224 Boston, Lower Mills Tavern, and tons more.

p6 cedar grove gardens REP 51-20 copy.jpgA trinket from Cedar Grove Gardens – The popular shop on Adams Street is a seasonal favorite for holiday decorations like trees, wreaths, and poinsettias. But it’s also a great place for gift ideas from ornaments to candles to calendars and more, many of which are locally sourced. Cedar Grove Gardens also offers non-contact deliveries for those who prefer to have plants or gifts brought to their front door, hassle-free. You can also pick up a 2021 Dorchester calendar featuring the artwork of Dot’s own Celia McDonough.

Dot apparel from College Hype – This shop is a gold mine for neighborhood-themed apparel and has plenty to offer in terms of holiday gift ideas. Need a Dorchester winter hat for when you’re digging out your car? They have it. Have the urge to curl up and watch Wahlberg flicks in a Dot Rat hoodie? No problem. If somehow you read those two suggestions and thought, ‘Those aren’t Dorchester enough,’ how about an OFD-branded flask? All those and more are available at and at the company’s headquarters on Gallivan Boulevard.

Screenshot 2020-12-14 at 10.55.31 AM.jpgCommonwealth Kitchen Gift Box – This year the Quincy Street food business incubator is offering “Made in Boston” holiday gift boxes filled with products from local chefs and entrepreneurs. Commonwealth Kitchen’s $50 Small Gift Box and $75 Large Gift Box each include a variety of locally sourced cookies, teas, sauces, condiments, and other treats. Gifting one of these boxes to a friend or loved one is a great way to support CW’s mission of building a just and equitable food economy by helping women, people of color, and immigrants build successful food businesses.

Screenshot 2020-12-15 at 9.18.43 AM.jpgA Dorchester Historical Society Memento –This year the Dorchester Historical Society is offering a variety of holiday-themed gifts through its online shop. Mugs, trivets, and Christmas ornaments each recall a different facet of the Dorchester scene. Or for the history buff in your life, gift them a collection of antique postcards or a personalized research dive into the past life of their historic home.

Donate to a local nonprofit – With revenue streams and other sources of funding cut off because of the pandemic, many neighborhood nonprofits are struggling to continue their missions this year. Consider making your gift a donation to one of these vital organizations that provide services and necessities for our neighbors at a time when they are needed most.

Some to consider: The Food Project, Boys & Girls Clubs of Dorchester, Found in Translation, The Louis D. Brown Peace Institute, Catholic Charities, Roca, Inc., the Dorchester Youth Collaborative, Rosie’s Place, VietAID, The Boston Project Ministries, Horizons for Homeless Children, Lovely Sisters of Boston, Mujeres Unidas Avanzando, Pine Street Inn, and the Martin Richard Foundation.