Support local retailers: gift an experience this holiday season!

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Minimalism: according to Forbes magazine, we can thank Marie Kondo for bringing this age-old notion to the mainstream with her 2014 book The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up.  With the popularity of the 2019 Netflix series Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, it seems like everyone these days is scrambling to live with less.

Standing in stark contrast to minimalism is the excess of Black Friday, the self-proclaimed biggest shopping day of the year.  Followed closely by small business Saturday, the days immediately following Thanksgiving unofficially kick off the holiday shopping season, a time that seems focused on more.

But minimalism and gift giving don’t have to stand at opposite ends of the spectrum.  With a “less is more” philosophy, many people are gravitating toward “experiences” as gifts.  There are plenty of ways to support small businesses and lavish gifts on your friends and family this holiday season without adding more “stuff” to their lives.  In fact, there are many “experiences” you can gift to loved ones this holiday season from local retailers right here in Mint Hill!

Rather than toys for the children in your life, consider gifting classes that will allow them to explore an interest or learn something new.  “Mint Hill Arts offers the experience of creativity!” says Carol Clayton. “Perhaps you or a loved one has always wanted to learn to draw, paint or improve your photography skills.  The gift of learning lasts a lifetime!” The not-for-profit arts organization located on Lawyers Road offers a variety of classes for both children and adults.  

With ropes courses, climbing walls, a ninja warrior-style obstacle course, an indoor sky coaster, the “tubes” playground and, of course, numerous different jump-centered attractions, Urban Air Adventure Park is great for kids of all ages.  Consider gifting a membership to Urban Air to offer someone in your life unlimited access to Urban Air’s attractions all year long. In addition to gift cards this holiday season, Urban Air will be offering holiday baskets with jump socks, jump passes and attraction wristbands – everything you need to enjoy an afternoon at the park.

For the beer lover in your life, perhaps there’s no better gift this holiday than the experience of sampling something new.  “Pour 64 is offering a variety of barrel-aged stouts and wonderful seasonal winter warmer beers along with delicious seasonal ciders,” says owner Sarah Brock.  With 40 rotating taps, a gift card to Pour 64 might just help the recipient find a new favorite for the holidays.

“Do you know what makes a memorable occasion just perfect?” asks Vintner’s Hill owner Michelle Hitckcock.  “It’s the perfect bottle of wine to share among friends and family!” For the wine-lover in your life, consider a gift card for Vintner’s Hill’s new wine sampling machine.  “Journey through a rotation of eight curated wines, with selections changing bi-weekly and experience some of the wines you have always wanted to try but have been hesitant to purchase,” says Hitchcock.  “A gift card to this self-guided experience will certainly be remembered and cherished well into the new year.” 

Give the gift of healing and relaxation with a massage from Massage Sanctuary.  “If you’re tired of seeing your loved one walking around with back pain, shoulder pain, knee pain, or foot pain, we can take a look and give you an analysis to see how we can help,” says owner Lisa Lane.  “One can gift the experience of a relaxing massage complete with the aromatherapy of their choice. Another great gift can be a short 30-minute back and/or neck massage just to get some stress relief at the end or beginning of a challenging day.”  Massage Sanctuary also offers cupping, an efficient way of pulling the muscle tissues up and allowing the healthy blood and lymph to flow through while moving out the stagnant material that is causing your muscles to underperform and not bounce back like they should.

Massage isn’t the only relaxing gift you can give this holiday season.  CBD retailer Get Me Some Green is offering a 60-minute “Take Care of You” session that includes a 20-minute Migun session, a 20-minute PEMF session and 20-minutes in the Infrared Sauna with Chromatherapy.  A single “Take Care of You” package can be used by two to three people, making it the perfect gift for the couple in your life who needs to de-stress. 

Sometimes not having to do something is a gift!  Consider giving the gift of a clean house this holiday season with Hill’s Cleaning Service.  A gift certificate to Hill’s Cleaning Service gifts more than a clean house; it’s also the gift of time, enabling the recipient to kick off the new year relaxing with friends and family rather than vacuuming pine needles.  And what about the gift of not cooking?  A gift certificate to Big Guy’s Pizza gives you access to a large selection of hand-tossed brick oven pizzas, calzones, salads, strombolis, wings, heros and pastas for dine-in, take-out or delivery.

Clint Hall from Create-a-Video paints a familiar scene.  “This time of year, people are going through their attics and getting their holiday decorations, and what do they come across?  Old family video tapes.” Create-a-Video can help you digitize those old VHS tapes or photographs, preserving them in a format you can enjoy in the modern digital world.   “It’s giving the gift of memories,” says Hall.

Looking for something you can put in a box under the tree?  Local retailers can help with that, too.

  • Mint Hill Arts also offers one-of-a-kind gifts like large and small paintings, pottery, handmade jewelry, scarves and cards.
  • Fill a 32-oz or 64-oz growler at Pour 64 to bring to your next holiday gathering.
  • Let Vintner’s Hill’s friendly staff help you select the perfect bottle to gift or uncork for your holiday celebration.  “From bold and magnificent reds to perfectly structured whites and everything in between, our selection will be sure to impress,” says Hitchock.
  • Choose from a variety of CBD products from local retailers like Your CBD Store in downtown Mint Hill and Your CBD Source in Matthews Festival.
  • Grab a Medi+ CBD-infused lotion candle from Get Me Some Green.  “It’s not just a beautiful gift,” says owner Heather Wiskes. “It’s like a warm handshake in this cold weather.”
  • Purchase a custom Photo Mozaix poster from Create-a-Video.  A 20×30 composite image created from hundreds of smaller pictures, Photo Mozaix are a keepsake your family will enjoy for generations to come.
  • Purchase a custom 4×6 woven photo blanket from Lowe-Neddo Funeral Home for relatives who live far away.

You don’t have to travel to South Park of even Matthews to find great gifts this holiday season.  From boutique dog treats to custom cupcakes, coffee beans to Christmas decor, a drive through downtown Mint Hill offers plenty of unique gifting options for everyone in your life.  Whether you choose to gift an experience or wrap something up in a box this holiday season, make sure to support our local small businesses right here in Mint Hill!


  • Thinking of selling your home in 2020?  Get started now! Anna Granger, Broker in Charge at 1st Choice Properties, recommends you create three piles: one to keep, one to donate and one to throw away.  And of course, book a complimentary visit with a realtor to get customized tips on what to do to make your home marketable in the new year. Anyone who chooses to buy or sell with 1st Choice Properties in the coming year will receive a free home inspection (valued at $400+), Granger’s way of saying “thank you” for shopping local.
  • In case of emergency, how would first responders gain access to your vital medical information?  Contact your loved ones? Michael Neddo of Lowe-Neddo funeral home encourages everyone to download an app called Vital ICE, which allows you to store vital medical information like blood type, allergies, medications and medical history as well as “in case of emergency” contacts, all accessible from your lock screen.  Lowe-Neddo provides a code that gives users complimentary access to this potentially life-saving service.
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Mary Beth Foster
Mary Beth Foster works part time as an essay specialist at Charlotte Latin School and full time as a mom to her eight-year-old daughter Hannah and her six-year-old son Henry. Prior to having children, she worked as a high school English teacher for nine years. Most recently, she chaired the English department at Queen's Grant High School. She and her husband have lived in Mint Hill with their children and their cats since 2011. Email: