Looking for local gifts that’ll make for a memorable holiday? Sustainable Tulsa invited us to put together a list of alternatives to the “this year’s model” style of traditional giving that’s so easy to default to every December.
The following guide’s adapted from a 1st Thursday presentation on green giving, which we learned can take many different shapes: sustainably sourced products, memberships to your local museum or art gallery, re-used or upcycled products or a shared experience like a walking tour or trip to the theater. Tulsa offers plenty of gifts like these. And the best part is that they’re good for people, profit and the planet:
—They cut down on pollution caused by practices like shipping, overreliance on plastics and mass production.
—They keep money in the local economy.
—They’re a little trickier to give! They force you to consider the recipient and the gift both a little more.
Tulsa Botanic Garden- Memberships range from $50—$75. Enjoy the gift of a quiet, serene place to think. The gorgeous drive out leads you to an oasis of fascinating flowers and plants. They have programming for nature lovers as well as music lovers, pet owners, yogis and more.
Philbrook- Memberships range from $55—$125; those under 17 are always free. Good for parents, art lovers, and families. The museum has diversified its programming in recent years by hosting movie nights and special gallery showings. Regular daily admission includes reciprocal admission to Philbrook Downtown.
Children’s Museum- Family membership $81.39 for two adults and two kids. You can add on additional kids for an extra cost. Benefits include: unlimited museum entry, admission to members-only events and special events, discounts on camps and classes, facility rentals and birthday parties. This year’s Winter Break Camp is “Sweet Science” where kids investigate the scientific properties of candy. Good for ages six to 12.
Circle Cinema- Tulsa’s nonprofit art house movie theater in Kendall-Whittier shows a diverse range of films from indies to blockbusters. Snag the $35 annual membership if you're under 35 years old. Membership benefits include discounted admission, concessions specials, free member appreciation events, merchandise discounts, advance purchase opportunities, special program discounts and more.
Performing Arts Center- Tulsa’s PAC sells gift certificates in any denomination, so you can let your loved one pick out the show. For the holiday season, you can catch performances of A Christmas Carol, The Nutcracker and jazz ensembles.
Tulsa Foundation for Architecture- You can take personalized tours or join a walking tour every second Saturday of the month at 10 a.m. Annual memberships range from $25—$60. Benefits include advanced access to ticketed events, invitation to the annual membership appreciation event, varying numbers of tickets to a 2nd Saturday Tour based on level of membership.
Tulsa Segway Tours- Shoutout to owner Amanda Harris, who use the Root app on her tours. These 1.5 hour tours are $60 per person. You can choose from the Food Truck Wednesday Tour, Downtown Tulsa tour (Wednesday-Sunday), or Private VIP Tour, which lets you craft your own experience. The Downtown tour takes you to the Art Deco District, BOK Center, ONEOK, Tulsa Arts District, and Center of the Universe. Those under 18 must be accompanied by an adult.
Tulsa Spirit Tours- These spooky tours include the Haunted Pub Crawl, Bus Tour, Prison Tour, Ghosts, Girls, Guitars & Gunslingers Walking Tour, Serial Killers, Murders, & Mayhem and Creepy Christmas Light Tour. Most tours are in the $20—$40 range.
Bike Bar- This fun mobile bar holds up to 16 people and allows you to bring your own food and drinks. You can pedal around the Tulsa Arts District, Blue Dome District or create your own route. There are morning, afternoon, and evening tours seven days a week, but Friday and Saturday are slightly more expensive.
Tulsa Bicycle Tours- These two to four-hour tours range in cost from $50-$100, but you can ride your own bike and save $20. The route takes you down Route 66, downtown, Centennial Park, The Blue Dome District and by some of the famous Tulsa historical and architectural sights.
Keep It Local Cards- Great stocking stuffers. For $15 a card you get discounts at over 300 participating stores in Oklahoma, including 44 in the Tulsa area. Local participants include: Chimera, Blue Moon Cafe, Andolinis Sliced, Dental Depot, Topeca Coffee, Yokozuna, Ziegler Art, Lone Wolf Banh Mi, Ida Red and Bricktown Brewery.
Fab Lab- Great gift for the tinkerer in your family. Capabilities include photopolymer 3D printing, fused deposition 3D printing, laser cutting and engraving, vinyl and film cutting, 3D scanning, circuit fabrication, assembly and testing. The standard membership costs $13 per month with 12 sessions per month.
Decopolis Painting Classes- This shop on Boston Avenue offers Tulsa-themed inventory, books, vintage toys and gifts. Less known are their monthly painting parties from 7-9 p.m. at $40 per person. Pick a pattern to paint or let Decopolis design one for you. Their snazzy tiki bar opens during paint times.
Tulsa Glassblowing School- Opportunities to work with hot glass first-hand range from one-time experiences ($35) to multi-week classes to private lessons. Check out their shop Monday through Saturday or come watch a glassblowing demonstration for free.
Local Food Co-Ops and CSAs- From the more well-know Local Farm OK to Anner’s Organic, Tulsa offers lots of subscription-based ways to get fresh produce to your table.
Living Kitchen- If you’re up for the drive to Depew, OK this gem hosts 9-course farm-to-table dinners made with ingredients grown or produced on the farm, which you may tour beforehand. Cost varies on the season from $95 to $125 and you should make reservations far in advance.
The Reserve at Grogg’s Green Barn- Also on the farm-to-table model, The Reserve operates as a nursery during the day and serves dinner Fridays and Saturdays. They also do private events.Used Retail- Bound for Glory: used book store with a great selection of underground and alternative titles from small independent publishers and distributors. Gardner’s: general-interest used book and music store. This is where you’ll find old copies of more popular stuff like Clive Cussler and Dean Koontz. SoBo Co: curated designer clothes. Cheap Thrills: great spot to shop for a throwback party. Retro Den: vintage furniture, rugs, lamps, wall hangings, clothes and rare knick-knacks; Vintage Vault: clothes from decades past with a fun, quirky environment. For more on shopping used retail, check out our guide to vintage shopping in Tulsa.