Over the years, Atlantic City has evolved into a true resort destination with celebrity chef restaurants, luxe hotel accommodations, A-list entertainment, and other Vegas-style amenities — including fabulous shopping at our fingertips.
Not only in A.C., but throughout Atlantic County, there are so many places to shop locally this season, that there was no shortage of ideas when putting together a holiday guide.
Playing the role of Santa is no small task, so we put together our favorite picks for those on the nice list this year … and even a few for those naughty list.
We all know that unwrapping a fabulous new coat or designer handbag can be wonderful, but creating memories with those we love is truly priceless. Giving someone a special experience for the holidays — shared together as a couple or with friends and family — is a wonderful gift to give this season. With so many great events and happenings throughout the city, we put together some of our favorite ideas for “experience” gifts, along with some just-for-fun items.
For those who like to ‘play with fire’
One of the most unique venues Atlantic City has to offer is The Viking Cooking School at Harrah’s Resort. It offers cooking classes year-round, with special menus catering to a variety of themed nights from girls’ night out to date night. What better gift to give your love than a fun night out learning the art of flambé while also preparing a delicious mac and cheese dish, crostini with fresh figs, ricotta, prosciutto and arugula, and a double-chocolate Kaluha cheesecake for dessert.
The Playing with Fire class is priced at $119 per person for couples, but there are many other themed cooking and dining experiences to choose from including the Rio de Janeiro date night class, featuring delicious cuisine inspired by the Brazilian capital, as well as other themes for girls night and groups. All cooking classes are available online at Caesars.com. Not only will you have an amazing time, but you can incorporate your newfound skills in your everyday life, cooking at home.
For the beer lover
Atlantic City is home to one of the premier beer and music festival’s throughout the country — The Atlantic City Beer and Music Festival — which returns on March 29 and 30, 2019, at A.C.’s Convention Center. Now 14 years running, it’s the ultimate festival of its kind on the East Coast, offering beer enthusiasts great entertainment, craft beers, and all around fun, drawing over 28,000 to A.C. each year. The festival, which is presented by Bally’s Wild Wild West this year, is certainly one of the hottest tickets in town and makes a great holiday gift for anyone over 21 years old, with three ticket sessions to choose from. General admission tickets are $60, VIP tickets are $115, and there are discounts for groups of 10 or more. Tickets are available to purchase on Ticketmaster, with complete details on ACBeerFest.com.
And, if you are looking for a little something to accompany your Beer Fest tickets, Paper Chase in Margate offers one-of-kind bottle openers made from authentic game bats from your favorite teams like the Philadelphia Phillies or New York Yankees and others ($138).
For the beauty lover
Clinique’s Bright All Night makeup kit is a great gift that includes everything you need for a perfect party look, even a how-to “get the look” card.
Ulta, Mays Landing | $39.50 ($118 value)
For those who are naughty … AND nice
Buck Naked Soap Company offers a holiday bath bomb set — whether you’ve been naughty or nice. The coal-inspired Naughty Bomb, scented with jasmine, sets a romantic tone, but if you are in the mood for something more refreshing, the Nice Bomb is perfect to reinvigorate the scenes with fresh peppermint.
Buck Naked Soap Company: Naughty & Nice Holiday Bath Bomb Set, $22.
Seagrass Boutique, 1055 Shore Road, Linwood; SeagrassBoutique.com
For chocolate lovers
MADE Atlantic City Chocolate Bar is a venue that everyone needs to experience with delicious cocktails and housemade chocolate from bean to bar. Chefs Deborah and Mark Pellegrino make every batch of chocolate from scratch and with love, that’s why we love giving MADE bars and gift sets as holiday presents this year. We are also thrilled that they just rolled out gift cards!
Made Coffee Mug Set, $15; 14-ounce coffee mug, 27 gram milk chocolate cappuccino bar, 17 gram milk chocolate spoon
Large or Small Bar five-pack set; $32, $14 (5th bar free)
MADE Atlantic City, 121 S. Tennessee Ave., Atlantic City
Baby Rattle socks, $12.50
Tutu outfit, $38
Francesca’s at Tanger Outlets
For your gal pals
These adorable signs from Francesca’s at Tanger Outlets make great gifts for your bestie’s desk at work or a home.
“We’ll always be friends because you know too much” $15
“Best friends don’t care if your house is clean, they care if you have wine” $12
“Friends are the family you choose” — ring bowl, $12
8 Oak Lane: Sequin Pouch, $24. Three options. “Rose All Day,” “Secret Stash,” “The Party’s Here”
The gift of time
Don’t we all wish we could give the gift of time to those who matter most? What better gift to give our “SOs” (i.e., significant others) than a statement watch with the pledge to slow down in the New Year and spend more quality time together sans iPhones. Watch purchases can be tricky unless you have a few thousand to burn, which is why I love Movado’s Men’s Museum Classic timepiece with a leather calfskin band. It offers an upscale look at an accessible price-point at $495, available at Roberts Jewelers (1205 Tilton Road, Northfield).
If you are looking for to splurge for a special lady this season, the Michele line offers beautiful styles with diamonds and adornments, including a variety of options in terms of bands. Its Sidney two-tone is priced at $2,095, with a beautiful round, diamond face with white and yellow gold.
For the home
Kate Spade, set of 2 highball glasses; $30, Paper Chase, Margate
“Eat Cake For Breakfast” cake plate; $35, Paper Chase
Voluspa, Japonica Archive Gift Set, $75
This beautifully packaged collectible features Voluspa’s signature Japonica Collection fragrances in 12 embossed glass votives. Inspired by the art of Japanese paper making, no detail is spared in this set of the iconic brand’s signature scents and candles. (Available at Seagrass Boutique in Linwood.)
Gratitude journal; $11.72, Target, Mays Landing $11.72
Studies have shown that there are numerous health benefits to expressing gratitude: people who regularly take time to convey thankfulness for their lives experience better sleep, reduced stress, an enhanced sense of well-being and improved heart health. A gratitude journal is a great gift or stocking stuffer for the holidays to get ready for the new year. Showcasing beautifully styled inspirational quotes, from beloved luminaries such as Cheryl Strayed to actress Emma Watson to Jack Kerouac, and artwork coupled with thought-provoking prompts to help you positively acknowledge the people, things, and experiences in your life, this stylish and handy journal will help you be mindful and provide perspective as to what’s important.
Awesome stocking stuffers
Accessories: buy one get one 50 percent off; Vans, Tanger Outlets
Socks $7.95; Lanyard $6.95; Wallet $15