Local Gift Guide: Creative Currency

Local Wares To Feel Good About Giving Or Receiving

Maggie Grimason
5 min read
Queer Literacy
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My holiday wish lists have consistently gotten less exciting as I age. They used to include things like dolphin whistles, horses and the watch that Penny from “Inspector Gadget” had. This year, the revelation of my adulthood stung when I asked my mother for a back support to make driving in my Saturn sedan more ergonomic. Still, I wouldn’t say no to a dolphin whistle. Luckily, Albuquerque abounds with decidedly not boring artists, craftspeople, organizations, spaces and local businesses that can make your most exciting holiday wishes come true. Speaking of my mother—who cried the morning after the election results came in (unacceptable!)—I think I know what she would like best this year, and maybe some of your loved ones will feel the same. She would like a donation to a nonprofit that supports immigrants, women and minorities, that advocates for the Earth and for the rights of everyone. Maybe Planned Parenthood, the ACLU or the National Immigration Law Center; or perhaps a donation that supports everyone at Standing Rock fighting the Dakota Access Pipeline. The work that these organizations do —and others like them—will prove to be ever more valuable and needed this winter and beyond. But maybe your mom wants something more tangible this year. If that’s the case, here is my short list of some worthwhile local wares that you’ll never regret spending your money on (back supports aside).

Corpus Arts Membership

Queer Literacy
Everything your queer, radical heart ever dreamed of is under the roof of Corpus: a safe space for gatherings, an art gallery and a library to cozy up in—which is very valuable to me. Your creative streak is also supported here, with access to a copier so you can self-publish your latest manifesto, or if you’re feeling less interested in print, there’s a whole catalog of tapes, CDs and records that you can utilize when you create the perfect playlist at their mixed tape station. A queer space and a safe space, Corpus is a sanctuary for all. I can’t think of a better gift.

Not Your Mother's Meatloaf: A Sex Education Comic Book

Not Your Mother’s Meatloaf
Approaching sex at any age can be rife with confusion—but never fear!—Saiya Miller and local musician, sex educator and all around badass Liza Bley, as well as a host of other contributors, are here to address your fears, articulate their experiences, educate when necessary and contribute to the dialogue on keeping sex safe, fun and healthy. Required reading for everyone, so why not illuminate the topic for someone you love?

Cholla Ring (Or Almost Anything)

I recently told my partner that I have zero interest in marriage, but I do want jewelry. And I stand by that. I’m specifically really interested in anything made by local artist Joanna Manganaro, the creative mind behind Sonámbulo Jewelry, a line of fine metal jewelry inspired by the precious landscapes of the high desert. You can find these little, shiny luxuries online, or within the walls of the Spectacle Caravan.


A cotton flour sack dish towel with a roadrunner against a background of cacti emblazoned in eco-friendly ink? I’ll take, like, a bazillion, please. Almost every year I buy an item made by Josie Mohr to gift to acquaintances in my far-flung homeland in the Midwest, where cacti and roadrunners are seldom seen. Mohr also creates calavera-style scenes of domesticity and re-imagined fables in her silk screened pieces; the perfect thing with which to dry your dishes or clean your comal.

Oftentimes, where we put our money sends a message about what we value and approve of. There’s a lot of privilege that comes with that, of course, but as ever, shopping local and supporting the artists, businesses and spaces you want to see more of in the world is a good way to bolster spirits and warm hearts. Merry whatever you’re celebrating this winter!
Not Your Mother’s Meatloaf


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