Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Living La Vida Local

Christmastime has always brought out the romantic in me. The idea of charming storefronts and candlelights in restaurant windows, is really what make my spirits bright. However, most Christmas festivities take place in mega-malls, discount department stores, and chain restaurants. Possibly because they're ones that invade our media streams, and shape our Christmas-present concepts. One of the great things that have emerged out of these unfortunate economic times though is the emergence of creative and driven entrepreneurs. New storefronts and restaurants are popping up all over that are completely unique to the cities they reside in. Here have been a few of my favorites that have helped make the holidays a little more merry:

Gooey butter cakes are a St. Louis tradition. No one does them better than Gooey Louie Cakes located on Chippewa, just west of Hampton. They are the perfect treat to bring for a holiday party.

Bailey's Chocolate Bar is that charming spot to cozy up in after a long day of shopping. Their specialty chocolate liqueur drinks are a great way to take the edge off from the crowds. Right in the heart of Lafayette Square, it's fun and chic while remaining low key.

Need a little of this and a little of that? Find everything you didn't know you needed, but are just the perfect idea at Paste Crafts in Soulard. Even if you're not the arts and crafts type, plenty of local designers and artists have their handmade pieces for sale in this playful store.

For some yuletide spirits to catch up with your favorite pals, try Jimmy's Cafe on the Park. In the DeMun neighborhood of Clayton, they provides great drinks, good sounds, and even warm fires. Simply perfect for a holiday happy hour.

One of my favorite vocal artists is St. Louisan, Erin Bode. Her holiday album A Cold December Night has old and new seasonal favorites. Her music is great as background music at your holiday party, or for soothing sounds to get you from one store to the next. She's even better live too if you can catch one of her performances.

Hidden treasures are all over if you look out. Walk in one next time you see a new sign and see if you can't find something unique and noteworthy!

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