While I appreciate all the convenience and functionality the internet has provided, this is the time of year when I want to shop locally, and shop in person. It’s all very personal and fun, as the holiday gift shopping experience goes. And after ordering the gifts I need to order online these past few weeks, I’m free to spend the time between now and Christmas browsing my favorite local stores, enjoying the goodies they sell, and supporting my neighbors with my stuff. I go shopping—with my friends and family for things I get from each other.
Taking your time, shopping in person is quickly becoming a rare practice, as more and more commerce moves online. But thanks to cute, locally owned shops like the following few—a few of my favorites—it’s still a pleasure worth taking time for.
First up are the places that cater to the people who love the holidays the most: children. CouCou (https://coucou-boston.com) at 24 Union Park St. in Boston’s South End is a mix of great toys, art, and books—from retro toys and dinosaur-themed activity sets to hardcover stories with gorgeous illustrations. that years and years. Owner Astrid Motsenigos also sells beautiful and well-designed clothing and accessories. A visit here brings the joy and magic of childhood to life.
Nearby at 2 Dartmouth Street you’ll find Gifted (https://www.giftedboston.com) — treasures from 75 American artists and makers, as well as unique pieces from around the world. Check out sea salt and lavender gift sets, Ted Lasso mugs, drink coasters printed with Boston street scenes, and tons more. The independent, woman-owned boutique offers incredible service, so finding the perfect gift is just a quick conversation away.
Over in Cambridge, I always stop at Bob Slate Stationer (https://www.bobslatestationer.com) at 30 Brattle St. It’s the perfect place to browse high-quality holiday cards, beautifully designed stationery, cool and stylish notebooks, and beautiful pens. The store has been around since the 1930s, and the staff have always taken considerable pride in knowing their stock and helping everyone find the right item.
Also in Cambridge, for home design lovers of all kinds is Pod (https://shop-pod.com) at 35 Sacramento St. Here art director Julie Baine has put together a stunning array of high-quality home goods (I love the handmade beeswax candles), women’s clothing (like hand-woven cable tanks), and hard-to-find personal care scores (like Goe’s body oil).
In Brookline, a visit to Boston’s last farm is like stepping into Santa’s workshop. In addition to Christmas trees, wreaths, and natural decor, the indoor store at Allandale Farm (https://allandalefarm.com), 259 Allandale Road, sells beautiful handmade pottery, locally made crafts, and a whole wall of Penny’s candy for kids. with nuts. They also offer workshops to make your own wreaths—more locally made than making your own!
A quick trip to Brookline is Giftsmith at Brookline Booksmith (brooklinebooksmith.com/browse-gifts) at 279 Harvard St. at Coolidge Corner—a one-stop gift shop for everyone. I love going in and perusing the shelves, finding everything from flower growing kits and hand painted mugs to cute teapots and clever and colorful puzzles.