OBT Holiday Gift Guide: Nutcracker Edition

Still on the hunt for the perfect gift for that hard-to-shop-for boss, brother, second cousin or significant other?  We’ve got you covered this holiday season!  Click on the photos below to buy or get more information.

For the person on your list who loves George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker – who loves tradition, elegance and classical lyricism – we’ve got a whole host of gifts to fit every personality!  Click here to see the Holiday Revue gift guide! 


Portland’s own Oblation Papers has a “Black Christmas” greeting card line, with white print on black cardstock for a cool, elegant look.  We like this one with an excerpt from E.T.A. Hoffman’s short story The Nutcracker & the Mouse King.  Pair it with this wintry wrap for a very chic Christmas!


Nutcracker card ($3, Oblation Papers & Press); Winter Trees recycled gift wrap ($7.95 for a 10×30 roll, The Container Store)


The latest from the always-fascinating Cirque du Soleil is all about insects, so it’s sure to captivate the little ones.  When they’re learning about ecosystems and biodiversity by watching skydiving acrobats, learning is fun!


Ovo by Cirque do Soleil (Family Packs start at $170.  Click photo above to purchase tickets and gifts.)


Unexpectedly sophisticated flavors take these lollipops (handmade by a Seattle confectioner) to a whole new level, while the normally spendy L’Occitane offers a sweet, fruity bath bomb that’s just the right price for a stocking stuffer or hostess gift.  And for the tea-drinker in your life, check out Portland tea guru Steven Smith’s custom-made OBTea blend, created with our Artistic Director Christopher Stowell.


“Spice Rack” gluten-free lollipops in Nutmeg Creme, Vanilla Cardamom, Salted Caramel & Tangerine-Clove, handmade in Seattle ( This Charming Candy, $13.50 for 8 on Etsy); Delice de Fruits Bath Ball ($5, L’Occitane); Christopher Stowell’s OBTea, by Steven Smith Teamakers ($15 for a box of 15 sachets, available at all OBT holiday performances, or call 503-227-0977)


The Parents, Grandparents, In-Laws and Other Assorted Relatives

You probably know your birthstone, but do you know your birth FLOWER?  Each month has one.  Online catalog Uncommon Goods has oodles of lovely, unusual gifts, but we thought a pressed-flower pendants made from your grandma or mother-in-law’s birth month flower makes an especially personal gift.  And for your hard-to-shop-for dad, check out this Oregon-made whiskey from Clear Creek, one of the region’s finest distilleries.

Handmade Birth Month Pressed Flower Necklaces, $48 at Uncommon Goods; McCarthy’s Oregon Single Malt Whiskey ($50.45 for 750ml, Clear Creek Distillery)

The Art Lover

If your gift recipients like the graceful, sweeping, refined elegance of George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker, we’re pretty sure they’ll fall in love with the iconic Romantic masterpiece Giselle.

2-show subscription to Oregon Ballet Theatre (includes Giselle & Chromatic Quartet), $37 and up

The Portlandian

For the Stumptown native (or adopted native) in your life, try these two pillars of classic Portland (McMenamin’s and Pink Martini) reinvented with a new twist (the brand-new Crystal Hotel downtown, a zippy new holiday album).

Pink Martini, Joy To the World ($15 via Pink Martini); Hammerhead Package (dinner, lodging in a Queen room & breakfast) at the new McMenamin’s Crystal Hotel, $124-$165 per couple)

The Philanthropist

For the gift recipient on your list who always says “I don’t need more stuff,” give the gift of changing a child’s life.  For only $15, your donation will send a low-income or at-risk child from one of our social service agency partners to The Nutcracker for free.  Pass on the holiday cheer to a kid with no sparkle in their season, and give them the gift of wide-eyed wonder.  And for every $15 donation made, OBT will match it, so you’re bringing joy to two children for the price of one.  Even Scrooge would approve.

Sponsor-a-Child Donation, $15 per child at Oregon Ballet Theatre through the Willamette Week Give!Guide.

The Fashionista

Give your stylish girlfriend or sister a pair of fabulous, Oregon-proof boots with sleek equestrian details that make boring vinyl wellies runway-ready, or the ultimate coffee-table fashion bible.

100 Years of Fashion Illustration by Cally Blackman ($40 at fredflare.com); dav Equestrian Rain Boots ($68 at Shop Adorn)

The Man of Style

For your guy friend who’s always re-reading Catcher In the Rye and The Great Gatsby, check out this stunning box set of 100 postcards featuring classic Penguin book covers.  (It is a lifelong dream of mine to laminate the whole set and use them as kitchen tile or wallpaper.)  Classic, old-school shaving and grooming kits are also totally back in style, so a kit like this from Henkel’s (undisputed master of pointy things made out of steel) or a fabulous boar-bristle shaving brush are also great gift options.

Penguin Classic Covers Postcard Set ($24 for a box of 100 postcards, Anthropologie); J.A. Henkels Grooming Kit (5-piece set for $149 at Canoe)

The Foodie

For a pricey-but-worth-it splurge, treat someone you love to a luxurious six-course dinner at Genoa.  Mouth-watering treats on the current menu include truffle-stuffed quail and beet stew with a puff-pastry crust (there’s a meat-eater’s menu and a vegetarian one).  Or buy your favorite gourmand a gift certificate or box of treats from Portland shop The Meadow, featuring a truly mindblowing array of imported salts from around the world, as well as many other teas and spices.  The price range is wide, so don’t overlook this as a stocking-stuffer or hostess gift option.


Six-course prix fixe dinner at Genoa ($65 per person); “The Meadow Set” gift basket (6 bottles of exotic gourmet finishing salts), $56 from The Meadow.

The Kid (Or Kid at Heart)

Retro aprons are totally back.  This chic, girly, ruffled number would be adorable on a tiny tot baking holiday cookies with Grandma.  And these unusual minimalist Nutcrackers are a great gift for anyone with a childlike sense of whimsy and an adult love for good design.

“Tea & Crumpets” Child-Sized Apron ($24 at Anthropologie); Modern nutcrackers ($29 at West Elm)

The 20-Something In Their First Apartment

It is an indisputable fact that almost NOBODY setting up house for the first time has decent knives.  So many people who think they’re bad at cooking just have bad knives or don’t know how to use them.  One good chef’s knife (like the Wusthof Santoku below, available in a range of colors) and a really good cutting board can change everything.  And good home decor items (like these cool metal monogram sculptures) can be the first step down the road away from Breakfast at Tiffany’s or Fight Club posters pinned to the dorm wall with thumbtacks, and towards real furniture.

Winter Tree Monogram ($23, Anthropologie); Wusthof Santoku knife with bamboo cutting board set ($69.95 at Sur la Table, choice of four colors)

The Coworkers/Neighbors/Hostesses/Dinner Guests

You COULD just give a bottle of wine, or you could stand out from the crowd with a really unique gift.  Pretty floral pushpins are a great gift for your favorite coworker to spice up a boring cubicle wall.  And we love these handmade 12 Days of Christmas ornaments (which also give back to charity, as an extra bonus); give the whole box as a gift, or give twelve dinner guests one ornament apiece.  (If you want to have some fun, tie an ornament around their napkin and before dinner, sing the whole song and make everyone sing the ornament they got.  Be strategic about who gets “Five Golden Rings,” since that’s where you want someone to show off their opera chops.)

Pinwheel Push Pins ($15 for a box of 20 at Anthropologie); 12 Days of Christmas ornaments, handmade in Haiti (10% of proceeds go to the Hand/Eye Fund which benefits the artisans); $55 for box of 12 at West Elm

Happy gift-giving from Oregon Ballet Theatre! 

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