Sunday, November 30, 2008

shopping tips!

Today I share with you my thoughts on holiday spending. If you don't care what I think, go ahead and move on. But if you want some fun shopping spots, read on:

The media is telling us everyone is cutting back, spending less. In some ways, I think that is a good thing. I keep hearing more people talking about how they will figure out how to celebrate without going into debt. They are going to spend more time together as a family, play games, make cookies, go for walks, create some homemade gifts. What part of that sounds bad?

But being in retail, the holidays are a pretty important time of the year for us. And if everyone stopped spending, we wouldn't be in business for long. And I would have to get a job delivering newspapers at 3 in the morning, or perhaps as a cashier at the grocery store. Maybe even go back to my corporate job at Target.

Gosh, I hope not. I've become really accustomed to working in my office in my pajamas.

Let's face it, we still need to buy SOME gifts. And here are some of the little, mostly locally owned business I love to shop at this time of year:

Gypsy Moon on Randolph Avenue. The owner always has a wonderfully eclectic offering of gifts, furniture, and fun things you won't find elsewhere. It's a combo of new items, estate sale items, and other finds. The best part? Everything is so reasonably priced, you will look at the tag and ask whether or not you need new glasses! And if you DO need new glasses, or know someone who does:

May I recommend our dear friend's optical shop, Specs, in Uptown? They have the most unique collection of eyewear in the Midwest, and an incredible staff to assist you. On top of that, it's just a crazy, fun spot to shop in.

The Wine Thief on St. Clair Avenue. For the wine or beer lover on your list, you can't go wrong here. The owners are so helpful, there are regular tastings to sample new things, and nothing is more than $20 a bottle. They have wonderful finds you won't see at the bigger stores, and a selection of unique beers and saki to delight anyone. And did I mention that they are REALLY nice?

The Golden Fig on Grand Avenue. This is owned by a woman who started selling her wares at the Farmer's Market. Everything in the store is local, and there is a wonderful selection of goodies, perfect for putting together a gift basket.

Penzey's Spices on Grand Avenue. This was started in Wisconsin, and they now have locations all over the United States. But it still feels like a small business with people who care. Their gift boxes make the perfect present for your favorite foodie.

The Bead Monkey on Grand Avenue. If you have anyone on your list who loves to make jewelry, get them a gift card from here. They have a great selection of beads (even more in their Edina location) and the staff is always there to help. Or pick up a kit and make something for a special friend.

If you have a sewer on your list, get them a gift certificate to Treadle Yard Goods. This St. Paul institution has been around forever, they carry the most beautiful fabric in town. It still operates like an old fashioned yard goods store, but carries the most current, up-to-date, amazing product. From Amy Butler fabric, to Japanese import, to antique buttons and trims, you can find it there.

Patina (several Twin Cities locations). A huge selection of unique finds, and amazing jewelry (if you don't want to make your own.) A bit more expensive, but I always make sure to hit them the day after Christmas for unique goodies for next year!

Krueger's Sprucegate Tree Farm in Lake Elmo. This is where we will be heading to get our tree. Mike insists on having snow on the ground first. This is a family run business, they have a little warm spot with hot cider, and they are so very nice. A wonderful tradition.

Have fun shopping!

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