Admit it — you’ve still got last-minute Christmas shopping to do

Whether you’re getting together with family and friends, or you need a last-minute gift idea for a neighbor or a co-worker, there are lots of great options across the region to lift your holiday spirits. If you’re looking for wine, chocolate, a gift certificate, or something more creative, there are countless local shops that will happily help you find the perfect gift.

“Gift certificates are a great gift option. We say it’s a gift that keeps on giving. It gives when you get it, it gives when you redeem it, and it gives when you see your art hanging in your home,” said Cheree Gallant, owner of Painting with a Twist in Mason and the Cincinnati-West location.

An option like chocolate from the Golden Turtle Chocolate Factory is a tasty choice. It also gives shoppers an opportunity to support a local businesss.

“People get a lot of pleasure out of a chocolate. When they come in, and they are happy and thrilled, it makes us feel good doing something that is making somebody else feel good,” said Joy Kossoudji, who owns the Golden Turtle Chocolate Factory with her husband, Ted.

THE GIFT OF SPIRITS: A dozen boozy bottles for the days before and after Christmas

“We have friendly service, and we are very customer-oriented. We also do free gift-wrapping, and we have a great variety of different boxed chocolates and gift items, which are available in different kinds of boxes. …We don’t freeze our chocolates like a lot of companies do. We make it, and we sell it,” she said.

Melanie Cedargren, owner of The Spicy Olive, said they can customize gifts. The store stocks a variety of options to meet all price ranges. The friendly staff can help you pick out and gift wrap each selection. Everything is in a nice gift bag with a ribbon and bow. So, when you leave The Spicy Olive, the gift is ready to give.

“We love to customize gifts for people. People love gifts that they can enjoy, and eat. It’s not something they’ll have in their house, it’s something they can use and enjoy. We also have a wide range of items between the skin-care products, the spices and the oils and vinegars, and the wines, you can certainly find a gift to please here,” Cedargren said.

Golden Turtle Chocolate Factory in Lebanon at 120 S. Broadway St. makes premium chocolates daily. A few of their signature chocolates include the company's Texas Tortoise and Pecan Toffee as well as buckeyes, nut clusters, barks, truffles and much more. Customers can purchase everything from individual pieces to gift-boxed chocolates. Shop in person or online at The Texas Tortoise is a turtle with caramel and Texas pecans. They are available in milk chocolate and dark chocolate. Another signature item is their Pecan Toffee, which tastes a lot like a praline.

The Spicy Olive specializes in fresh and flavored olive oils and aged balsamic vinegars from Modena, Italy. Gift packs, samplers and gift baskets are available for gift-giving. "The Best of The Spicy Olive" sells for $58, but various price ranges are available, starting at $6.50 and up. For the wine lovers on your list, The Spicy Olive West Chester recently opened The Wine Cellar at The Spicy Olive. The Spicy Olive ( has three locations, including locations in Hyde Park and at Austin Landing. The West Chester location is the only store that features The Wine Cellar at the Spicy Olive. The Spicy Olive's three locations also offer handmade bath bombs for $6, which are high-demand during the holidays, because the bath bombs make inexpensive gifts and proceeds go to the American Cancer Society in support of Relay For Life. The store also carries other olive-oil based skin care products, including moisturizers, body wash, hand creams and more.

Painting with a Twist in Mason (and Cincinnati-West) offers gift certificates. With a convenient shopping option, gift certificates can be ordered online. The gift certificates don't have an expiration date, and are available starting at $35 and up. In each Painting with a Twist class, guests have a chance to create a fun, art experience in a party-like atmosphere. With step-by-step instructions, there are two- and three-hour classes available as well as classes for children and teens. Participants can also support area non-profits through a monthly "Painting with a Purpose" fundraising class that is devoted to supporting worthy causes. Painting with a Twist is at 6196 Tylersville Road in Mason. To purchase a gift certificate, or for more information, visit Franchise owners, husband and wife, Steve and Cheree' Gallant also have a second Painting with a Twist location, Cincinnati-West, at 6507 Harrison Ave. Painting with a Twist has over 350 franchise locations, nationwide.

Other last-minute shopping stops:

Blu Clover in Lebanon: handcrafted home accents, clothing and wall art.

Society in Middletown: men's and women's clothing, household items, artisan candles and collectibles.

The Kindred Nest in Waynesville: one-of-a-kind artful gifts, from pottery and jewelry to handbags and vintage-style serving pieces.

Sara's House in Hamilton: locally made jewelry, candles, furniture, signs and original art as well as their signature "Nine Lives" lamps.

Art on Symmes in Fairfield: handmade wares by local and regional artists, jewelry, outdoor art, apparel and more. Like an art fair, every day.

sMari designs, a one-of-a-kind gift shop, local to Liberty Township, home decor, jewelry, accessories, candles, garden décor and more.

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