I consider shopping to be the worst of all possible chores. But this time of year, it’s fun to delight your loved ones with carefully selected gifts. I am able to avoid the big box stores and the malls for the most part by visiting local vendors and shopping online. Here are some of my favorites:
Elmwood Village – This part of Buffalo is full of funky little independent shops and lots of places to stop for a cup of coffee, glass of wine or a bite to eat.
Village of Williamsville – Plenty of little shops and restaurants here as well, on a smaller scale than Elmwood. The Locavore movement is so big in dining that Locashop seems the next logical step.
If you really want to support independent artisans, visit etsy.com. Hundreds, maybe thousands of hand-crafted items. It’s like a gigantic online upscale craft fair.
Zappos – I can’t say enough good things about this site. Great customer service, free shipping and returns. I’ve had my shipping upgraded a couple of times and there is a wide range of product offerings.
Barnes & Noble – This is a brick and mortar store, but the website is great as well. Books, music, games and of course, The Nook.
Thinkgeek – Lots of fun items like T-shirts and gadgets for the geek in your life.
If you are looking for a huge selection of Ts and hoodies, check out NoiseBot or Cafe Press.
Shop at Archie McPhee for the craziest collection of stocking stuffers you’re ever going to find. Ninja Bandages anyone?
For everything else there is Amazon and Target. I’ve had great luck with both and there is something for everyone.
A couple of my favorite items to give and get are iTunes and Starbucks gift cards. You can order these online if you like, but I am able to pick up a wide variety of gift cards at my local Wegmans. This is a great option even at the very last minute.