If you still haven’t found a gift for that hard-to-buy-for holdout on your Christmas shopping list, or if you’d rather steer clear of the congested parking lots and crowded malls this season, you’re in luck. These five retailers offer unique, offbeat and fun gifts that just might make you the holiday shopping hero of 2012. And if you do need to run out for a last-minute item, Dex can help locate a retailer near you.
The Spoon Sisters
Named one of TimeOut New York’s Top 10 Favorite websites in 2011, The Spoon Sisters is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. The site features an eclectic array of gifts, from the practical (a can strainer for the foodie on your list) to the practical joke (a hoodie for your teenager’s smartphone). Shop for hostess gifts, Hanukkah gifts, stocking stuffers and much more. Prices start at under $10.
Chicago-based Threadless is more than just a T-shirt vendor; it’s an interactive community. Indie artists from anywhere in the world are invited to submit their original designs for consideration. And even if you don’t have an artistic bent, you can still browse a selection of unusual and edgy smartphone cases, throw pillows, mugs and more. Check out accessories for under $10 as well as apparel for him and her starting at $11.99.
Be sure to bookmark SHANALOGIC for handmade crafts and independent items. The site was launched in 2003 by Shana Victor in Ann Arbor, Mich., and you’ll find just about anything crafty here, from home goods and collectibles to tech accessories. Looking for something offbeat? A Day of the Dead mobile sells for $36, and you can also browse Steampunk-themed items and stocking stuffers for $25 or less.
Founded in 1999 in New York City, Uncommon Goods is sure to have something for just about everyone on your list. Items are conveniently grouped by department (housewares, office gifts, jewelry and accessories) and by recipient. Check out a fun set of Bad Dog tumblers ($35), an Adam the Doodles Man sculpture ($25) or a set of literary caricature throw pillows ($50). You can also find gifts in the under $20 range.
Were chemistry kits and erector sets popular toys when you were a kid? They’re still available at MindWare, based in Minneapolis, where its many educational toys and games might just inspire the kids on your list to spend time away from the computer screen. One of the site’s best-selling games is Qwirkle, a colorful matching game that requires strategic thinking and has won numerous industry accolades, including a Mensa Select Award.
One of the many benefits of independent retailers like these is that they pride themselves on personal attention and responsive customer service. Another thing to keep in mind for holiday shopping 2012: Extra shipping charges and sales tax may apply, and sites will specify ordering deadlines so that holiday gifts can ship in time.
And, hey, if you miss the ship-by date, no sweat. Dex can help you find retail stores and malls in your neighborhood for those last-minute purchases.