Holiday Guide 2023

Come One, Come All to the Mercury’s HOLIDAY SPECTACULAR!

Welcome the carnage of the holidays with our annual guide—also in print at more than 500 locations citywide!

For the Rest of Us

Six things to do on Thanksgiving and Christmas other than be with your family.

Gifts for Those Who Love to Eat!

Everyone likes food, and here are some local shops that should be on every culinary gift giver’s list.

Finding Family In Unexpected Places

How a spontaneous Thanksgiving gathering gave birth to a new tradition.

The Coziest Cafe Beverages to Warm Up With This Holiday Season

Where to warm up with the yummiest local hot drinks.

The Great Santa Debate

Should you confess to your kids about Santa? The pros and cons of the biggest lie of the holiday season.

The Holiday Brisket Roundup

Where to find Portland’s finest, most tender brisket for your Jewish celebrations.

The Terrorism Trap

In 2010, a young Portlander attempted to detonate a bomb at the annual Portland Christmas tree lighting. Was he a burgeoning terrorist or just a disturbed kid entrapped by the FBI?

The (White) Elephant In the Room

Sometimes a white elephant gift exchange goes awry. Other times, you end up with a portable bidet that can put out fires.

Clocking In for Christmas

Dispatches from job sites that don’t shut down for the holidays.

Your Guide to 2023 Holiday Events in Portland

The Muppet Christmas Carol in Concert, The Jinkx & DeLa Holiday Show, and More

Portland is a mecca for coffee lovers, and if the fall season is any indicator, there’s going to be lots to love in a mug this holiday season. Whether you’re stepping into your basic bitch era while clutching a can’t-miss offering in a red cup å la Big Coffee or snuggling up to drinks from strictly local cafés and coffee shops, here are some of the coziest beverages to warm up with this winter. 

The Hug, Never Coffee

4243 SE Belmont; 537 SW 12th

Never Coffee is an innovative coffee roaster and café specializing in unusual drinks. Regulars rave about the Oregon latte made with a surprising addition of hops, dulce de leche, and sea salt, but for the 2024 holiday season, it only makes sense to start your mornings by asking your barista for a “Hug.” This drinkable and delicious Hug accomplishes just the right spice level, a balanced blend of spicy cacao, cinnamon, and smoked chilies. If you’re the person who puts hot sauce in your bag and in everything else, this spicy hot cocoa is a must-try and available at Never Coffee’s two brick and mortar locations. 

Cardamom Latte, The Sparrow Bakery

8195 N Lombard

Available year-round at The Sparrow Bakery in St. Johns, this ultra-warm Cardamom Latte is one of the comfiest, most pleasant lattes in town. With housemade chocolate syrup, Stumptown Hairbender espresso, choice of milk, and soft cardamom notes, this one is a fan favorite and goes extra well with the bakery’s signature pastry, Ocean Rolls, which embody a masterful blend of cardamom, sugar, and vanilla flavors. 

Apple Crisp Macchiato, Starbucks

All Starbucks Locations

As someone who used to be a barista at Starbucks, I can say with certainty that customers are obsessed with the damn Caramel Macchiato—the brand’s signature espresso beverage, which is basically an “upside down” vanilla latte with one less pump of syrup and floating espresso shots. Since this fall, longtime CM fans are also going wild for the Apple Crisp Macchiato. The seasonal drink uses apple brown sugar syrup in place of vanilla, and instead of caramel sauce drizzle, it comes topped with spiced apple drizzle. In short, it is foamy perfection. 

Brown Sugar Cinnamon Matcha, Portland Cå Phé Roasters

2815 SE Holgate; 2601 NE MLK Jr. Blvd.

Kim Dam opened the first location of stellar Vietnamese coffee roaster Portland Cå Phé in 2021, whipping up standards like purple-hued Ube Blossom Lattes and rotating seasonal drinks. Thankfully for customers who find SE Holgate to be a bit of a trek, Dam and business partner Alex Tang recently opened a second location on NE MLK boulevard. Come for seasonal drinks like a Cinnamon and Brown Sugar Matcha Latte, available hot or iced, which arrive with cinnamon brown sugar in the bottom of the cup, topped with matcha and choice of milk, and for latte art, get into a dusting of cinnamon through a teddy bear stencil. Look for holiday drinks like past iterations, which have included revamped classics like an Eggnog Cinnamon Latte, Eggnog Chai, or tempting and original cold drinks like Iced Tiramisu Latte. 

Bruleé Latte, Kopi Coffee House

2327 E Burnside

Kopi Coffee House has a slew of unique and enticing takes on traditional Southeast Asian coffee drinks and items that satisfy. The folks at Kopi whip up items like the shop’s most popular drink, Kedai Susu—a delicious concoction made with house lime leaf-lemongrass sweetened condensed coconut milk. And there are seasonal fall drinks like Chocolate Cherry Truffle, available through November, in which your barista steams the milk of your choice and pours it with organic locally-made chocolate sauce, a pecan and cherry syrup, and a dusting of chocolate powder. Past holiday seasons have seen the shop slinging Mint Matcha Mochas, Gingerbread Lattes, and Steamed Candy Cane Cold Brews. But perhaps their coziest mug is the Creme Brulee Latte, which gets its top torched just before hand-off.