Suggestions from our staff and contributors
Give a unique “locally-grown” gift and support artists in your community! Think CDs of “provocative pairings” from Mélomanie; early music from Brandywine Baroque; new releases from singer-songwriter Jessica Graae or “dork-rock” duo HOT BREAKFAST! Grab tickets to “Carols in Color” (Christina Cultural Arts Center), Love’s Labour’s Lost (City Theater Company) or Diner (Delaware Theatre Company).
— Michelle Kramer-Fitzgerald, Contributing Writer
Grooves And Tubes
Vinyl is back, and if you don’t believe it just ask my kids. Both have conned me into a visit to Grooves And Tubes, a vintage electronics shop in Centreville, where owner Gerald Young has an impressive collection of used receivers, turntables, speakers, LPs and 45s. The prices are reasonable, he takes trade-ins, and now my kids are experiencing the magic of buying albums and listening to the inimitable sound of needle on vinyl. For me, it’s a satisfying trip down memory lane. 5716 Kennett Pike, Bldg. C, Frederick’s Country Center, Centreville; 652-3140.
— Jerry duPhily, Publisher
For the females on your gift list, you can’t go wrong with Grassroots, which has a North Wilmington popup shop on Marsh Road near Branmar Plaza, as well as a larger Main Street shop in Newark. Both have unique, hand-crafted, guaranteed-to-please clothing, jewelry and clever niche gifts. The store has a cool vibe with lots of local artists represented. 93 E. Main St., Newark; 453-9751.
— Suggested by both Julie Miro Wenger, Principal, Event Allies, and
Joe del Tufo, Contributing Photographer
The Wine & Spirit Company of Greenville
My go-to gift for most people in my family is a bottle of their favorite booze or something I think they might like to try. Usually this means a nice wine or a large format bottle of craft beer. This is where The Wine & Spirit Company of Greenville comes in; their staff are experts on wine and beer and do an excellent job selecting something. Usually they just ask, “What kind of wine do they like?” and then take it from there. 4025 Kennett Pike, Greenville; 658-9463.
— Tyler Mitchell, Graphic Designer
Eunice LaFate Art
Jamaican-born folk artist Eunice LaFate, a 2014 recipient of the Governor’s Arts Award, has opened a new gallery in the 200 block of Market Street. The compact but attractive gallery features her colorful, vibrant art, including her oils and watercolors, which capture a variety of Caribbean and American scenes. She also sells some prints and notecard versions of her art. LaFate Gallery, 227 N. Market St., Wilmington; 656-6786.
— Mark Fields, Movie Reviewer
Hagley Museum Store
Located on the grounds of the museum next to the pedestrian entrance to the museum, the shop offers a variety of craft, decorative, historical and technologically themed items that includes books, toys, kits, decorative, educational games and household objects, whirligigs, utensils, candles, etc. 200 Hagley Creek Rd., Wilmington; 658-2400, ext. 274.
— Les Kipp, Contributing Photographer
Every year, I need to locate last-minute holiday gifts, and every year, I pop into Frank’s Wine on North Union Street. The diverse collection of wines, spirits and beers allows me to shop for a variety of friends and family. Frank’s even offers a growler bar for when I want to treat myself. 1206 N. Union St., Wilmington; (800) 283-7265.
— Matt Loeb, Creative Director & Production Manager
This boutique located at the corner of Gilpin Avenue and Union Street is a great option for gifts for the ladies on your holiday shopping list. They sell cute, trendy, affordable clothes and accessories—everything in the store is under $100. And the women who work there are always friendly and helpful. 942 Gilpin Ave., Wilmington; 655-1686; shopmamie.com.
— Marie Graham, Director of Digital Media
Rainbow Books & Music
Some of the most wonderful things on earth are reading and listening to music, and at downtown Newark’s Rainbow Books & Music on Main Street, I always find the best of both. The independently-owned shop features brand new albums, CDs, cassettes and books, perfect for your holiday gift stop. And if your giftee is more into vintage albums or the look of older novels with their classic charm, used options are available as well.
— Krista Connor, Associate Editor
The Garden Shop at Longwood Gardens
As anyone who has ever visited the one-time du Pont estate knows, Longwood Gardens offers plenty of wonders for the senses. Likewise, its Garden Shop, while not large, covers a lot of area in terms of gift ideas. Young nature lovers might enjoy playing with the two-way bug viewer or high-end coloring books, while older gift-getters will appreciate the selection of live seasonal plants and gardening resources. My pick this year: The Drunken Botanist: The Plants That Create the World’s Great Drinks. I know plenty of folks who will appreciate the gesture. 1001 Longwood Rd, Kennett Square. Pa.; (610) 388-1000.
— Jim Miller, Director of Publications
The aisles are full of gifts that any foodie would love to get in his or her Christmas stocking: top-notch olive oils and vinegars, intriguing spice rubs, locally-made gourmet gems like pickles from Crisp & Co. (recently featured in Bon Appetite magazine). I love getting things at the holidays that I wouldn’t necessarily buy for myself (truffle mustard?), but have always wanted to try, and Janssen’s is full of them. 3801 Kennett Pike, Wilmington; 654-9941.
— Matt Sullivan, Contributing Writer
Ninth Street Book Shop
I prefer bookstores that are staffed by readers and not distracted teenagers, so I usually find my way to Ninth Street Book Shop. Gemma and Jack Buckley provide excellent service for their customers, many of whom are regulars. They are always quick with a thoughtful suggestion. 730 N. Market St., Wilmington; 652-3315.
— Mark Fields, Movie Reviewer
You never know what you’ll find, but there’s always something on Brandywine Boulevard to fit your budget. For art work, try Bellefonte Arts, then head to Bellefonte Vintage for antiques, home accents, jewelry and accessories. Cross over to Eclectica for funky jewelry and an ever-changing array of amusing and uplifting accessories for your home. Tired of shopping? Enjoy a leisurely—and healthy—lunch at the Bellefonte Cafe.
— Larry Nagengast, Contributing Writer
Trail Creek Outfitters
For high-quality outdoor gear, most people know about the big brands like REI and EMS. But my go-to is Trail Creek Outfitters in Glen Mills. I love to buy local, but not if it’s costly or lacking in selection; neither is the case at Trail Creek. The store also has a stellar track record of being involved in the local outdoor community. Glen Eagle Square, Glen Mills, Pa.; trailcreekoutfitters.com.
— Allan McKinley, Contributing Writer
Booths Corner Farmers Market
This eclectic collection of shops and stores offers a cornucopia of food, crafts, clothes, toys, trinkets, furniture, collectibles, a few antiques, some items that can only be described as junk, and much more. Open only on Fridays and Saturdays, its narrow aisles are sure to be crowded during the holidays, but everyone is friendly, and dealing with the occasional human traffic jam is well worth the experience. 1362 Naamans Creek Rd., Garnet Valley, Pa.; (610) 485-0775.
— Bob Yearick, Contributing Editor
The Palette & The Page
Located at 120 E. Main St., Elkton, Md., this is my go-to shop. It specializes in artists from the tri-state area and has a wide variety of interesting and unusual works. You can find calligraphy, jewelry, glass, clay, textiles and wood. Paintings by Geraldine McKeown and charcoal art work by Patti Paulus are some of the highlights. December will feature two artists in the Exhibit Gallery: Brad Hagamayer is a ceramicist specializing in animals like bears, fish and octopuses, and Mary Lou Griffin is a pastel artist known for her unique abstracts and landscapes. (410) 398-3636.
— John Murray, Contributing Writer
Deep Muscle Therapy Center
If you’re looking to give a gift that will not only make someone very happy but is going to help their physical and emotional well-being, look no further than Deep Muscle Therapy Center. I recently had a massage by Tom and can tell you that it was wonderful. His knowledge and expertise allow him to really focus on what the client needs and truly helps you feel better. During this holiday season, if you purchase a gift card at dmtcmassage.com you will receive a discount. 5700 Kirkwood Highway, Suite 206.
— Kelly Loeb, Account Manager, Catalyst Visuals, LLC
For those looking for unique gifts, Creations Gallery in Hockessin offers an array of one-of-a-kind, wooden craft goods such as natural-wood picture frames, natural-edge vessels and bubinga desk boxes 443 Hockessin Corner, Hockessin; 235-2310). For those with a larger budget and perhaps more particular needs, local woodworker Jim Buckley of JKB Design (who admittedly is a friend of mine) creates custom wood furniture specific to your home’s needs (jbuckley.net).
— Jim Miller, Director of Publications