2016 Gift Guide: What to Get Your Favorite New Jerseyan

It's that time! Pumpkin spice lattes are back, and soon will the Peppermint Mochas. We bet you're wracking your brain trying to figure out what to get your friends and family. One thing unifies us, dear readers: the love of New Jersey. You can't go wrong with a New Jersey themed or related gift. Read on for more suggestions.

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For the Home Decor Obsessed...

New Jersey pillow
Courtesy of uncommongoods.com

These Hand Embroidered State Pillows from uncommongoods ($168), designed by a travel-loving, Californian couple, feature New Jersey's famous landmarks, as well as many New Jerseyan's favorite towns. We love the uber-thoughtful and unexpected elements like Ol Blue Eyes, a car traveling down the Parkway with the "What Exit?" speech bubble, and the state bird, the Eastern Goldfinch hanging out in the top left corner. Any New Jersey home décor lover would find this to be the perfect accent for any room. Conversation starter, anyone? Bonus: there are also state-themed dish towels, so you can bring the conversation from the living room to the kitchen!

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Because Alcohol is Just Always a Good Gift No Matter What...

Jersey Artisan Distilling Busted Barrel Rum
Courtesy of Jersey Artisan Distilling

According to its website, Jersey Artisan Distilling is "The first distillery to open in New Jersey since before Prohibition", and are the masterminds behind Busted Barrel Rum (Alc. 40%, 80 Proof), which is carried in stores, bars, and restaurants statewide ($24.99-$34.99). Why not gift your favorite Jerseyan with a bottle of the good stuff? The distillery has also crafted Jersey-themed cocktail recipes (The Jersey Girl Mojito, Jersey Fresh) so you can enjoy right at home. 

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For the Traveler...

The Asbury Hotel
Nikolas Koenig

Sure, traveling is fun. Half the fun is the hotel stay, though, especially if it's swanky and a destination in itself. The newly-opened, 110-room Asbury Hotel is just that. We recommend gifting your travel-loving New Jerseyan a stay at this hot spot (rates starting at $125 per night). Grab a bite to eat at Salvation or The Baronet, the latter of which transforms into a "carless drive-in" at night. For those not interested in swimming int he ocean, a pool, complete with bar, is open daily from 7am to 7pm.

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For the Sports Fan...

NJ Devils
Bruce Bennett / Staff / Getty Images

The pride of where you grew up or reside often finds itself weaved into your favorite sports teams. Sure, the New York Giants and New York Jets play in New Jersey, but they are the teams of the rival state. Here's where the New Jersey Devils come in—a true Jersey team. A team whose fans love, absolutely love, to hate on the New York rival, the Rangers. Get your favorite Jerseyan Devils tickets this holiday season. We recommend the Saturday, February 25th game: the Devils will destroy the Rangers at The Rock, totally making your Saturday night. If you're really looking to splurge, purchase a membership for season tickets or a flex membership which allows a bit more leeway in terms of choosing the games you want to see (tickets start at $49.23 and range up through $227.25+). 

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For Those Who Need to Relax...

Homesick Candles
Courtesy of Homesick Candles

Have you seen these in your Facebook feed? The Homesick Candle, a soy-based candle that is crafted to smell like the state on its packaging, perfects the experiential, yet material, possession. The company's tagline is "Fill your house with home", and what better to evoke feelings "home" than a really good scent? When one thinks of New Jersey, the Jersey Shore comes to mind, and this candle ($29.95) smells of the beach. No silly, not greasy boardwalk sandwiches or garbage (yes, we know some of you may be going there in your mind). The New Jersey Homesick Candle is the perfect give for Jersey lovers and those who have moved away from Jersey alike. The total burn time is 60-80 hours, so you'll be transporting yourself to [insert favorite shore town here] for days to come.

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For the Gamer...

elPadawan/Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0

Did you know that the street names on Monopoly boards were based on streets in Atlantic City? We bet your favorite New Jerseyan does, which is why if he/she is at all interested in games, nab an old-school copy (and not one of the hundreds of variations on the game that stray so far from the original, including Jersey-Opoly). Read up on the history when you have the time, if not, play on.

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For Mom...

Sea Glass Set
Courtesy of uncommongoods.com

Mom probably does a lot for you. If she's a Jersey mom, she's probably even more high strung. In keeping with the Jersey Shore theme, Sea Glass is big in the Cape May area. Uncommongoods boasts this beautiful gift set ($45), which is made in New Jersey, that will surely relax mom to her heart's content.

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For the Lucky Ones...

NJ Lottery
Courtesy of YouTube

So you know a lucky New Jerseyan? First, get a little of that luck all to yourself. Second, your job is done. Scratching off lottery tickets is someone's idea of a fun Sunday afternoon, cough cough. However, you actually can win big on those things. Do your research: the NJ Lottery website is extremely helpful in addressing each game and listing out the locations where that particular game was won by (most likely) native New Jerseyans.

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For the Beauty Queen or King...

A&M Handmade soap
Abby Hocking / Courtesy of A&M Handmade Soap

Who doesn't love a good local operation? Made in New Jersey, woo hoo! A&M Handmade Soaps, the brainchild of Abby Hocking out of North Arlington, runs a burgeoning etsy shop and is a familiar face in the New Jersey craft festival scene (check out her booth at the upcoming Hoboken Arts & Music Festival). The soap ($5-6 per bar)  is natural, cold-processes, and most varieties are palm-oil free and vegan. We recommend the Natural Pink Himalayan Exfoliating Salt Soap Bar; it smells lovely, but also gently exfoliates without the need for a loofah. Abby's latest soaps experiment with ale, so don't hesitate to pick one up for a beer lover!

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For the Hard Workers...

Pompton Spa
Danielle Berman

For a mere $40, you'll be in a state of pure relaxation for a full 60 minutes. Pro-tip: for an extra $20, spring for the 90-minute massage. It's always safe to call ahead or make an appointment, however, it's rare that a walk-in would not be honored within 10 minutes and the hours could not be more convenient (10am-10pm daily). The spa is extremely clean and inviting, complete with super-comfy massage beds and the perfect soundtrack (not that obnoxious elevator music you might be used to hearing in a massage parlor). The masseuses always check in to designate your desired level of pressure and will concentrate on problem areas if you inform them (otherwise, it's a typical Swedish, full-body massage). Plus, since you're in such close proximity and if you're in the mood to splurge, stop by Famous Ray's pizza for a slice before heading home.

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For the Kids...

Good Night New Jersey
Courtesy of Amazon

This famous book (you'll recognize the cover) has branched out into personalized regional versions, including a New Jersey version! The kids will love reading all about the Jersey Shore, Camden Aquarium, and other South Jersey locations. We must say we are petitioning that a North Jersey version comes out soon. These books are wonderful because most kids these days do not know where they live or anything culturally related to where they grow up until they are almost adults themselves.

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For the Art Nerd...

Wally Gobetz via Flickr / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Two words: Museum Membership. New Jersey is home to many wonderful museums, namely the Newark Museum and Montclair Art Museum. Hook your New Jerseyan up with 365 access to soak up the culture. For just $50 at Montclair Art Museum, you get unlimited access, plus a 10% discount at the MAM store, discounts at special events, invitations to members-only exhibitions, and discounts at local restaurants. Newark Museum's membership is $60 and includes many of the same perks, plus 10% off at Dinosaur Bar-B-Que, travel opportunities, express entry (skip the line), discounts on programs and workshops, a free magazine subscription to the museum's own publication, and the coolest perk of all: reciprocal admission at 600+ museums around the world. It pays to invest!

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For the Foodie...

Taylor Ham
Courtesy of Goldbely

Goldbely is a genius service that brings the delicacy's and famous/viral foods from cities across the country to your door. We once had a pie shipped from the diner in North Bend, WA that served the cherry pie from the Twin Peaks TV series. It arrived perfectly and was ever-so-tasty. Well, guess what New Jerseyans: the phenom that is Taylor Ham is available for the entire country to furiously order. Don't like the pork roll treat? Don't fret: there are plenty of other New Jersey items to ship to family and friends (or yourself - I see you Bagel Nook Oreo bagel). 

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