Attract and keep an amazing population of creative minds, and what do you get? A fascinating place to live and nearly limitless possibilities for unusual Christmas gift options.

Our uniquely bounteous dozens of miles of the Pacific Northwest coast must be home to one of the richest assemblages anywhere of artists, craftsmen, musicians and purveyors of fine food and drink. Not only do they make for interesting neighbors, they also are a big part of our economy in Clatsop and Pacific counties and the surrounding area.

The products and services available from homegrown talent are firmly rooted right here in the spectacular waters and forests of the Pacific Ocean, Columbia River, Willapa Bay and the Coast Range. Nothing against the rest of the USA or even China, but why wouldn’t we always seek out ways to spend our holiday gift budget on things of here, by here and for here?

In surveying some of the possible gift options produced by local people, it quickly became apparent that we could produce a 50-page catalog of delicious, beautiful and fun options. The few selections printed in this month’s edition of Coast River Business Journal merely hint at everything you can find if you take the time to shop the streets of Astoria, Seaside, Cannon Beach, Warrenton, Ilwaco, Long Beach, Ocean Park and a dozen other picturesque towns and villages within an hour’s drive.

Bear in mind the option of buying your special someone a gift certificate for a delicious meal or an unforgettable experience, from a charter-fishing trip to an afternoon at a spa.

Plan a fun day going from place to place and stopping to window shop. You can expect a friendly greeting in every store or gallery you enter. And you may leave with an object or an idea that will enhance your life for years to come. At a minimum, you’ll have a rich experience and make some new friends along the way.

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