Best of Boston

BEST Gifts

2014 BEST Gifts
Photograph by Toan Trinh

Olives & Grace

Boston

In keeping with her whimsical shop’s slogan, “a curtsy to the makers,” owner Sofi Madison can tell you the tale behind each small-batch snack, bracelet, necktie, and bar of soap she sells. Get this knowledge to go with a personalized… read more»

2012 BEST Gifts

Gift at the Gardner

Boston

Unveiled as part of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum’s new wing in January, this shop’s jewelry, housewares, books, and children’s items are crafted by artists from all over the world. Plans are also in the works to sell prints of… read more»

2011 BEST Gifts
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Hudsons

North Adams

When you want to get a truly original gift for your best friend or the happy couple, this is the place to come. Run by two former art professors, Hudsons is a well-curated mélange of antiques, accessories, and contemporary-art pieces…. read more»

2011 BEST Gifts
Photograph by Jared McCabe

Simon Pearce

Boston

With artfully arranged pedestals of bowls, vases, and handcrafted housewares, Simon Pearce comes off more like an MFA gallery than a gift shop. These pieces, made by master potters and glass blowers at the Quechee, Vermont, flagship store, are undeniably… read more»

2010 BEST Gifts, For Kids
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Stellabella Toys

Cambridge

Whether you’re the grandma seeking something educational or the free-spirited auntie who extols the virtues of dress-up, Stellabella has gifts sure to please you—and, er, the kids you’re shopping for. All the latest in toys, games, books, and stuffed animals… read more»

2010 BEST Gifts, For Weddings
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Abodeon

Cambridge

Sure, you could pick out a nice blender from the registry. But for a more original present, hit up Abodeon. The store’s vintage and modern furniture and home accessories will outshine and outlast any kitchen appliance. Choose a set of… read more»

2010 BEST Gifts, For Him
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The Boston Shaker

Somerville

Most men appreciate a stiff one (we’re talking drinks, people). And most men enjoy impressing others with their knowledge of crafting a good stiff one (please). Adam Lantheaume’s recently expanded cocktail-supply shop, in a new Davis Square location, is like… read more»

2010 BEST Gifts, For Her
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Passport

Cambridge

When you’re looking to impress, skip the lame box of chocolates and head to Passport in Harvard Square. Inspired by her own adventures, owner Jessica Good’s collection of travel-ready clothing and accessories features something for every jet setter, urban nomad,… read more»

2009 BEST Gifts
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Abodeon

Cambridge

A tightly focused inventory is all well and good for precision shoppers. For hapless procrastinators—the other 99 percent of us—less focus and more serendipity goes a long way, especially when we’re floundering about for a special-occasion gift. Among Abodeon’s inspired… read more»

2009 BEST Gifts, West
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Trove

Weston

In the overflowing box marked ‘Good Idea at the Time,’ you’ll find, along with DIY plumbing and getting bangs, plenty of gift-buying impulses gone wrong. Pewter-starfish-napkin-holder wrong. What you won’t find is anything bought at the rigorously tasteful Trove. A… read more»