With the holidays right around the corner, are you still searching for the perfect gift for a friend or family member? You’ll find something for all ages – and interests – in our annual gift guide.

Cathy’s Cookie Kitchen

Would it be the holiday season without cookies? This year, skip the baking and head to Armory Square instead.

Cathy Pemberton started Cathy’s Cookie Kitchen a decade ago.

“I was working part time with the Syracuse City School District, and I wanted to move out of that into my own business,” she said. “I thought about what I was good at, and I’ve always loved baking, so I decided to do cookies, because everybody loves cookies…I did all of the fairs and festivals, anywhere there was a farmer’s market, and that’s how I built my business. And then once I had enough wholesale business, I started the store.”

Today, it offers several flavors of the sweet treat – all of which are made right in the store. The most popular are s’mores, cookies ‘n cream, chocolate chip with peanut butter cups, crownie bites, and chocolate chip (“I sell probably twice the amount of those,” Pemberton said). During the holidays, customers can also purchase holiday gift boxes – they come in three different sizes – and cookie trays.

“I make the dough here; it’s not shipped in from anywhere else, it’s not made from a mix. Specializing in cookies in that way makes me unique,” said Pemberton. “And I think the customer service, because I really go out of my way to do a good job for people and make sure everything is perfect when it leaves here. I’ve been in business for 10 years, so I must be doing something right!”

Location: 266 W. Jefferson St., Syracuse.
More information: cathyscookiekitchen.com.  

Cathy's Cookie Kitchen
Photos Provided by Cathy’s Cookie Kitchen

1. Holiday Gift Box – 1 dozen, $28.75
2. Gingerbread Ugly Sweaters – 1 dozen, $36
3. Cookie of the Month Club – Three months, $180

Mixed Methods

When you walk into Mixed Methods in Hanover Square, it’s hard to miss the giant cork map of the United States on the wall, with pins spread across it. Each represents the hometown of one of the artists featured there.

“I love to support handmade, unique things made by artists that I can’t find anywhere else,” said Owner Amy Wilson. “So, there’s a mix of things in the shop and every artist has their own method of how they create things, and that’s kind of where the name comes from. I really wanted to focus on different artists, and their styles, and different price ranges.”

Visitors to the store can find everything from pottery to jewelry to glass to greeting cards (and much more!). Every year during the holidays, Mixed Methods also includes special gift packaging with each purchase.

“I think [what makes us unique] is valuing handmade, original gifts,” said Wilson. “Someone made this actual mug. There’s not 10,000 of them; there’s only four of them. And really appreciating how someone has built their craft over the years. And that you’re supporting a small local business, too.”

Location: 215 E. Water St. Rear, Syracuse.
More information: letsgetmixed.com.

Courtney Kless Photos

1. Wooden bookmarks, $10 each
2. Magnetic frame, $32
3. Keepsake boxes, $52 each
4. Chip and dip bowl, $78

Make sure to also check out these local businesses:

Give the gift of nature year-round! Stop by the Interpretive Center gift shop to browse locally crafted and nature-themed items or pick up a gift certificate or membership. Their trails are open everyday dawn to dusk – free of charge!
Where: 4007 Bishop Hill Road, Marcellus.
More information: baltimorewoods.org.

Gift tickets to an upcoming performance (the 2023/24 season wraps up with Hairspray, Pretty Woman, Hadestown, and Six) – or buy a gift certificate and let them choose the show.
More information: BroadwayInSyracuse.com.

Is your child interested in horses? Located in Cazenovia, Canterbury Stables offers lessons for all age groups and experience levels. Gift certificates are available.
Location: 4786 Roberts Road, Cazenovia.
More information: canterburystables.com.

The Everson Museum houses more than 10,000 pieces of art, including paintings, sculptures, ceramics, photography, and videos. Memberships are available for purchase on its website, and include admission to all exhibits, member pricing for events and programs, and more.
Location: 401 Harrison St., Syracuse.
More information: everson.org.

The H. Lee White Maritime Museum at Oswego will host its Christmas at Sea Annual Open House on Sunday, Dec. 10. You can also stop by its Treasure Chest Gift Shop each day from 1-5 p.m.
Location: 1 W. First St., Oswego.
More information: hlwmm.org.

This holiday season, treat a family member (or yourself) to a weekend away. Located along the Fulton Chain of Lakes in the Adirondacks, the town of Inlet is home to shopping, boating, fishing, snowboarding, and more.
More information: inletny.com.

La Fleur de Beauté offers a variety of services, including facials, massages, and manicures and pedicures. Purchase a gift card online or take advantage of their monthly specials.
Location: 6900 Highbridge Road, Fayetteville.
More information: lafleurdayspa.com.

Light of the World Ballet’s Christmas show, What Matters Most, is a delightful, uplifting story ballet for families and friends. The one-hour show on Dec. 16 will remind the audience of what really is important during this busy time of year.
Location: Believers Chapel, 7912 Thompson Road, Cicero.
More information: LightoftheWorldBallet.com.

The MOST is home to 35,000 square feet of science and technology exhibits, including its newest addition, the Novelis Recycling Station. All memberships come with free unlimited admission, discounts on Science Shop items, and more (and they can be purchased online).
Location: 500 S. Franklin St., Syracuse.
More information: most.org.

The Oneida Indian Nation will host its Annual American Indian Holiday Craft Fair at Turning Stone Resort Casino on Saturday, Dec. 2 from 10 a.m.-6 pm. Vendors will be showcasing traditional American Indian art, jewelry, beadwork, carvings, ceramics, and more.
Location: Turning Stone Resort Casino, 5218 Patrick Road, Verona.
More information: oneidaindiannation.com.

Home of Hyman Smith Coffee, Smith Housewares & Restaurant Supply has a variety of gifts for the coffee lover in your life. Choose from a variety of blends, including Hazelnut and French Vanilla, as well as coffee accessories, roasting supplies, and gift cards.
Location: 3140 Erie Blvd E., Dewitt.
More information: smithrestaurantsupply.com.

See their collection of top brand frames, like Calvin Klein, Banana Republic, and Kate Spade. Try them on virtually and find the perfect pair to add to your holiday wishlist. It’s always the right season for a fresh pair of glasses!
Location: Presidential Plaza, Madison Tower, Syracuse. 8116 Cazenovia
Road, Seven Pines Building #7, Manlius.
More information: eye-care1.com.


Courtney Kless is the Editor in Chief of Family Times. Courtney is originally from Maryland. She earned her Master’s degree in Magazine, Newspaper and Online Journalism from Syracuse University. Courtney began her career as a sports journalist, then spent several years working in higher education, before joining the company in August 2019. She enjoys traveling, reading and hiking, and recently adopted a Labrador Retriever, Bailey.

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