10 Great Gift Shops in Boston to Check Out This Holiday Season
Yes, you can go to any retailer, pick out something red and green, wrap it in some paper from CVS, and consider your holiday shopping done. However, if you’re the type of person—or want to become the type of person—who buys high-quality, one-of-a-kind gifts that make the recipient’s eyes widen in delight, then here are some of the shops around Boston you’ll want to hit during your holiday shopping:
Olives and Grace
Owner Sofi Madison can give you the backstory on just about every item in her store, which currently includes all kinds of delicious snacks, hand-painted jewelry, housewares, and more. Madison likens her shop to a farmers market, where you can find locally sourced goods like Fat Toad Farm caramel, South End Honey, and Sprout, the “plantable pencils.” Best of all: you can curate your own O&G gift box (see a few recommendations above) for no additional cost.
623 Tremont St., South End, Boston, 617-236-4536, olivesandgrace.com.
This relatively young boutique is stocked full of worldly gems. The store is filled with unique accessories from statement jewelry (some designed by owner Lana Barakat), to fun animal masks (for that masquerade ball you plan on crashing), to super-chic leather bags and housewares. December Thieves has been in the South End for just over a year, and recently opened a second location in Beacon Hill.
524 Harrison Ave., South End, Boston; 88 Charles St., Beacon Hill, Boston; 617-375-7879, decemberthieves.com.
Magpie in Davis Square offers all sorts of handcrafted indie items, but it’s their baby and toddler products that shine. Among their diverse selection, the team recommends sailing ship kites by Haptic Labs ($40), wooden animal box totems from Areaware ($49), and Abby Berkson ceramics. Oh, and if you need a new calendar, consider the 2015 “World’s Most Super-Amazing 100% Awesome Cat Calendar” ($16).
416 Highland Ave., Davis Square, Somerville, 617-623-3330, magpie-store.com.
You’ll find all the geek chic you need at Xylem, appropriately located in the tech-obsessed Kendall Square area. The products you’ll find here are ultra modern, bright, and smart—think: Joseph Joseph kitchenware and Nervous System designs. “One of our most popular items are these silicone coasters modeled after mosaic tiles from the Middle East ($6, Images d’Orient),” says owner Madalene Sullivan. “Available in many colors and styles—great hostess gift.”
287 Third St., Kendall Square, Cambridge, 617-494-9953, shopxylem.com.
Sault New England
For the well-dressed man in your life who appreciates quality goods—a GQ man, if you will—look no further than Sault NE, where owner Philip Saul currently stocks cashmere blend socks in various patterns ($18), Harrys razors ($10+), beer soaps ($8), lightweight wooden speakers for your smartphone from Kikkerland ($50), and much more.
577 Tremont St., South End, Boston, 857-239-9434, saultne.com.
Plenty of us have predisposed notions when it comes to museum stores, but the ICA Store can certainly hold its own. This season, in line with the museum’s fiber exhibition, the ICA Store is also selling super-soft, brightly colored yarn from Loopy Mango NYC ($78) and a Pom Pom-making kit for kids ($27).
100 Northern Ave., Seaport/South Boston, 617-478-3104, icastore.org.
Flat of the Hill
Do you need that gorgeous brand-name bag? No. But you’ll want it anyway. And while you probably aren’t going to buy a casual friend a $500 handbag, surely they’ll appreciate a nice luscious candle or other accessory from Flat of the Hill, a shop stocked with girly accessories galore.
60 Charles St., Beacon Hill, Boston, 617-619-9977, flatofthehill.com.
Ball and Buck
Here’s a mens’ store catering to sporty lads who want to look good while doing guy stuff in the woods. The company prioritizes American-made products, which include red, white, and blue patterns, camouflage prints, and plenty of leather goods. Consider gifting your guy a set of Randolph Engineering aviators ($129+), Moonshine Cologne ($76), or an American flag lighter by Zippo ($48).
144B Newbury St., Back Bay, Boston, 617-262-1776, ballandbuck.com.
Willey’s home store carries goods that any hostess would appreciate—and use. Who wouldn’t love to dive into a soft alpaca throw from Shupaca ($100) and rest their head on a Frenchie linen pillow ($100)? This holiday season, Willey recommends Pillivuyt cow creamer ($28)—“a porcelain white creamer in the shape of a cow—perfect gift whimsy”—and a cheese knife set from Sabre ($22+).
8 Union Park St., South End, Boston, 617-424-6700, michellewilley.com.
On Centre is a bright gift shop in Jamaica Plain that embodies the JP spirit perfectly. The colorful store has a range of goods from handbags to baby clothes. A few gift recommendations from owner and artist Philip Celeste: Baggu leather totes in several colors, brightly colored alpaca blankets, and scarves for guys and gals. “We also have tabletop fireplaces which burn Ethanol, so they are safe to use indoors ($160).”
676 Centre St., Jamaica Plain, Boston, 617-522-2255, oncentrejp.com.
— Plus —
Find one-of-a-kind gifts at these great shopping events coming up:
CraftBoston Holiday Show
Craft is the Society of Arts and Crafts’ holiday season show at Hynes. Here you can find unique pieces, chat with the makers, and buy direct.
$15 general admission, December 5-7, Hynes Convention Center, 900 Boylston St., Boston, societyofcrafts.org.
MassArt Made Holiday Sale
Support the gifted students at MassArt—their midterm projects might be your final gift selections.
December 7-13, Tower Building lobby, 621 Huntington Ave., Boston, massart.edu.
SoWa Holiday Market
The best of the best will present their gift-worthy items at SoWa’s annual holiday shopping bonanza.
$5 general admission, December 13 and 14, Benjamin Franklin Institute, 41 Berkeley St., Boston, sowaholidaymarket.net.