Monday, July 31, 2006

Shopping Hints:

Christmas shopping on the Commons16 November 2005 filed under Ithaca Information.

The best time to shop on the Commons is now! The majority of the shops are small boutiques run by locals, and they offer plenty of nifty merch suitable for unique Christmas giving. Though I’ve been in Ithaca for nearly 18 months and walk by these places many times in a week, this is the first time I’ve really poked my head into most of the stores.

Usually when I walk on the Commons the only storefronts I ’see’ are Ithaca Books and Autumn Leaves, both used bookstores with great selection. Most everything else falls into my blind spot.
So I give you my Quick Guide to Gift Shopping on the Commons:

For Kids - Alphabet Soup. How convenient it is that this store has a large display window and rotates what’s in it very regularly. The best, most fun and newest stuff is in the window, which means you can pick what you like before going in and save yourself further confusion.

For Teens, Women and/or couples - House of ShalimarBeing a lover of textiles, his store offered me the most surprises. They have ‘Ethnic and contemporary clothing, jewelry and gifts from around the world’. Not only did I find a few gifts on my list here, but I bought myself an original felted handbag from Nepal. They have huge, drool-worthy woven rugs at the back, a large selection of batik linens and cool handknit sweaters, but that’s just a smattering of what’s offered.

For Mom & Dad - Handwork or American CraftsThese stores are where local craftspeople get to shine. Handwork has a huge selection of art, woodcrafts and pottery by different artists. In the windows you’ll see several handmade teddybears that need good homes. I picked the one I wanted to adopt for my niece, but the $180 price tag didn’t convince me to bail him out. Many items are more reasonably priced though, so don’t let that deter you. American Crafts is the home of blown glass and jewelry and, if you’ve got the bank for it, stunning wooden jewelry boxes.

For The Cook - Now You’re CookingA lot of stuff is packed into this store, and I really wish their cookbook selection was organized. As it is, the selection is limited but more hassle to browse through that a used bookstore, which is just ridiculous. But any cook would be pleased with a gift from here.

For a Knitter - Homespun BoutiquePick out something pretty and buy it. Just make sure you’ve got enough balls.

Stocking Stuffers - Spirit & KitschAll matter of very affordable knick-knacks, including fun smaller art pieces made locally.

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