Treat yo’self! Upgrade your holiday grocery shopping


Let me guess: You got out of hosting your family for Thanksgiving dinner, but you want to get fancy for a Christmas or New Year’s meal? Maybe, you want to be the perfect party guest and whip up some small bites to accompany your bottle of wine, as a gift to a party host. Either way, you’ll likely have to go into a grocery store this holiday season, which can be enough reason to decline an invitation. Lucky for you, there are plenty of places you can go in Central Ohio to turn your shopping trip into something you’ll actually look forward to checking off your to-do list.

Fresh Thyme Farmers Markets: Double-Duty Play Date
If your shopping plans are less wine and small bites and more sippy cups and goldfish crackers, give Fresh Thyme a try. They host a number of family events throughout the year that could help keep your child(ren) entertained while you shop, or, at the very least, serve as the bribe incentive, you all need to survive the trip. No judgment. All I know is if you have a productive shopping trip at the same stop as your kiddos burning off some energy, everyone wins.

The Hills Market: Grocery Meets Girls Night Out
You’ll never be the only one in your group who needs to go shopping, so why not make an outing of it? Check out the events calendar for the Hills Market’s Downtown or Worthington locations and schedule your trip during one of their 10 for $10 wine tastings. True story: I went with my girlfriends earlier this fall before my birthday dinner. The best part was the tater tot bar. With all the fixins’. Hear me when I say I have no regrets and neither will you.

Authentic Mexican food for the holidays? Yes, please!

LaMichoacana Mexican Markets: Authentic Foodie Finds
Mexico is my happy place, but I don’t make it there nearly as much as I would like. That’s why LaMichoacana Mexican Markets are on my local must-visit list. Maybe I’m biting off more than I can chew here, but trying my hand a making an authentic molé or empanadas is a new holiday tradition I could really get behind. If that’s indeed too ambitious, it’s still worth stopping by for the in-store restaurant. The store’s website lists nine locations, so it’ll likely be convenient for whatever other stops on your agenda for the day.

Whole Foods: Instagrammable Happy Hour
If you’re going to have your phone out to document that you’re crazy enough to brave a grocery store during the holidays, Whole Foods is a good place to do it. While it isn’t in my after-work commute route, the Easton location is one of my girlfriend’s preferred stops. It has a great patio where you can enjoy wine and food tastings while you relax by the fire pit. You just may forget you’re in a grocery store and not your favorite eatery. It’s fine, you deserve it.

You deserve wine tasting on your next grocery trip.

Giant Eagle Market District and Kroger Marketplace: Big Box=Big Convenience
While I’ve opted for the smaller/independent grocery stores, let’s not forget the bigger chains. My local Kroger Marketplace has a bar with weekly live music that had my daughter and I singing and dancing on a recent trip. It also has the mini carts for older children to help or car carts for younger children to “drive.” Some Giant Eagle locations even have the “Eagle’s Nest” short-term childcare service so you can be your most productive shopping self.

Whether you choose to taste a few wines or enjoy an entire authentic Mexican dinner, there are plenty of places you can go to take the sting out of grocery shopping this holiday season. Be sure to check the links for events and availability before you head out. Happy shopping!

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Tiarra dreams of living in the Caribbean some day, but Central Ohio is the next best thing! She lives in Newark with her husband, daughter (5), and son (2) and is a proud Ohio University alum (go Bobcats!). Don't worry, she's lived in Central Ohio most of her life, so she has plenty of love for the Buckeyes. Tiarra has worked in communications for the last four years; when she’s not at work, you'll probably find her cooking, traveling, or running around with her family. She collects cookbooks, but finds most of her inspiration from meals around town or signature dishes from her travels. New Orleans is her favorite new destination, so she's looking forward to trying her hand at po'boys and beignets. Tiarra also volunteers at the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Ohio and her church's children's ministry.