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Gifting Ohio to the Non-Ohioan

One of the many Ohio-related pieces available
at Celebrate Local at Easton Town Center
Perhaps one most interesting things about Ohio, at least in comparison with California, is its size perception. While there definitely is local and/or regional pride in particular products or people, the state is still small enough such that generally anyone in the state can take pride and/or ownership in something that's Ohio-born or bred.

That's not so much the case in California, where regionalism abounds. For example, there's not much of a chance a San Francisco native would waxing poetic about someone or something emerging from the Los Angeles area just because they share the same state. And even in the same general region of the state, you have sub-regional divisions: don't ever confuse a Sonoma Valley wine with their "over-hyped" brethren across State Routes 12 and 121 in the Napa Valley.

Since moving out here, I have made it a goal to bring back a little of Ohio back with me to California to my family in the form of Christmas gifts. I must admit that, at least to my particular circumstances, searching out that one singular and uniquely Ohio tchotchke as a gift has been a tougher task than I would've thought. This year, I have sampled quite a few wonderful holiday gift guides (links of which are included below) emphasizing the local angle the past few days to try to get an idea of what piece of Ohio I could bring back to the family.

Christmas is all around, including
the Lazarus Building downtown
What makes it a bit tough is I'm pretty much the only one with a direct state connection on my side of the family. Thus, items with uniquely Ohio references (i.e. the 614 area code, the state outline, Ohio State University, etc.) have little to no personal meaning for any of my relations. Also, many things that are Ohio-related are duplicated and/or trumped by their own local versions, or are products that aren't universally enjoyed by all. For example, we have sent Ohio-styled wines, which are definitely distinct from anything California produces, to a couple of relations back on the West Coast who do appreciate wine. Ironically, due to Ohio's, uh, unique liquor laws, we had to go through an Indiana winery to get this accomplished.

In general, this promises to become a more interesting challenge as the years move onward. The first Christmas since the move, I surprised everyone with a bottle of syrup from Simple Gourmet Syrups out of Millersburg when we made the trip out to California for the holidays; last year my gift from this state was a jar of apple butter from Legend Hills Orchard in nearby Utica. Both of these products were well liked by my appreciative recipients.

This year's Ohio-based gift is currently on its way on the slow boat to California in plenty of time for this year's holiday celebration. No saying what it is yet (can't spoil the surprise) though I will say it's a vendor my spouse and I have encountered numerous times at our favorite local farmers market :-)

Columbus Parent Magazine 2014 Holiday Gift Guide (with additional links to age-related gift guides located on the page)
Columbus Alive's myriad of gift guides to suit all tastes and budgets', 
Columbus Crave,and Drink Up Columbus also have ideas for your adult beverage aficionados

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