Holiday Gift Guide

4 spots to shop

Want to break away from the usual retail locales this season? Try one of these neighborhoods for surprising, affordable gifts to dazzle everyone on your list.

By Courtney Hollands and Marni Elyse Katz
November 29, 2009

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1. Dealer/designer Peter Levis curates an eye-catching collection that focuses on mid-century modern but also explores earlier times. Vintage Alfred Sciarotta silver candle holder, $95 at Beyond Gorgeosity, 234 North Street, 781-740-4770,

2. South Shore seductresses can rev up romance with bewitching nighties and underthings at Bloom Lingerie, where shoppers receive as much service as style. Fleur’T chemise, $80 at Bloom Lingerie boutique, 61 Water Street, 781-749-0063,

3. Be it an ensemble for weekend shopping sprees or one for cocktails after 5, Chel Bella provides all the fixings for a polished look from the labels you love. Party Bling earrings, $35 at Chel Bella, 66 South Street, 781-749-1219,

4. Taking cues from France, La Petite Maison is filled with luxe bedding, crisp table linens, hand-milled soaps, and decorative accessories that will incite an “oh la la.” Iosis by Yves Delorme Eiffel Tower zip case, $72 at La Petite Maison, 142 North Street, 781-741-8393,

5. Kim Sylvester bakes peanut butter cookies, pizza bones, and frosted fire hydrants using all- natural ingredients, proving dogs are the newest gourmets. Nutty Buddy Cones doggie treats, $1.59 each at Maggie’s Dog House, 17 Main Street, 781-740-7297,

6. Interior designer Robin Pelissier stocks her aerie with treasures for the garden and home as well as gear for travelers, like duffels made from rugged materials. Au Sailwax duffel bag, $189 at Robin’s Nest, 28 North Street, 781-740-4843

7. Mohair, merino, and cashmere throws in vibrant hues are the specialty at Sorcha, where a number of earthy Irish imports are the perfect prescription for warming winter chills. Solid mohair throws, $198 each at Sorcha, 102 North Street, 781-749-7110,


1. Have you ever wanted to move into a store? Nikki Dalrymple’s artful mix of modern and vintage home accessories might make you want to camp out there forever. Teroforma whisky stones (chill them to keep your drink cold without diluting the flavor), $27.50 at Acquire, 61 Salem Street, 857- 362-7380,

2. Sparkly statement jewelry, party dresses and jackets from under-the-radar designers, and friendly price tags -- nothing is more than $100 -- will put you in good cheer. Bib necklace, $50 at Bobbles and Lace, 26 Prince Street, 617- 248-0419,

3. Stylish jeans are a girl’s best friend, but In-jean-ius also carries sweaters, evening-ready tops, and all kinds of accessories. Joe’s Jeans leggings, $78 at In-jean-ius, 441 Hanover Street, 617-523-5326,

4. Tasting notes from The Wine Bottega’s helpful staff will stave off the paralysis that can strike when you step into a wine store. Try the six-bottle Discovery pack (with tasting notes), about $75 (price varies) at The Wine Bottega, 341 Hanover Street, 617-227-6607,

5. At The Velvet Fly, vintage gold-mesh clutches and Diane von Furstenberg dresses keep company with new pieces from Lia Molly, Hazel, and French Connection. Mata Traders earrings, $24 at The Velvet Fly, 424 Hanover Street, 617-557-4359,

6. Imagine walking up to a tree and giving it a rattle to see what delightful gifts would fall. Maybe a soft Splendid T, or salad servers that look like twigs. W2 Pantone mug, $12.50 at Shake the Tree, 67 Salem Street, 617- 742-0484,

7. Duck into this beauty haven for masks, makeup, and creams from Bliss, Darphin, and Caudalie, plus products for the guy on your list. Tocca Vittorio candle, $46 at A Matter of Face, 425 Hanover Street, 617- 742-5874,


1. This new shop’s name -- JP Comics & Games -- tells you all you need to know. Rorschach party game, $19.99 at JP Comics & Games, 603 Centre Street, 617-553-4247,

2. Goodies for your newborn nephew, your favorite aunt, and everyone in between await at this gift and housewares shop. EarthLust stainless-steel water bottle, $22 at ON CENTRE, 636 Centre Street, 617-522-2255

3. If you’re green and you know it, shop at Hatched for organic and eco-friendly baby and kids’ clothing, simple toys, books, and more. Satch & Sol slippers, $36 at Hatched, 5 Green Street, 617-524-5402,

4. There are tea kettles literally hanging from the ceiling at Gadgets, packed to the gills with housewares and kitchen supplies from classic to kitschy. Boston Warehouse New East origami soy sauce jar, $9 at Gadgets, 671 Centre Street, 617-524-6800

5. Hats are the focus here, but there’s also a delicious hodgepodge of scarves, jewelry, clothing, and belts from up-and-coming designers. Melie Bianco bag, $78 at Salmagundi, 765 Centre Street, 617-522-5047,

6. Walking into Dame is like walking into another era entirely. Stylist/designer Dany Pearson opened the store early this year and stocks it with clothing from the 1930s to the ’80s. Vintage Fuss cuff, $36 at Dame, 68 South Street, 617-935-6971,

7. Dogs of Jamaica Plain, your prayers have been answered. The South End’s Polka Dog Bakery and pet supply store now has a spacious outpost on South Street. Monkey toy, $14 at Polka Dog Bakery, 42 South Street, 617-522-1931,


1. While Chameleon is primarily a gallery for dozens of local artists, eye-catching trinkets and whimsical gag gifts enhance the inventory. TKO Orlogie watches, $100 and $125 at Chameleon, 18 Liberty Street, 978-463-7623,

2. The feeling at Comina is Old World, and the home furnishings -- from Indian rosewood armoires to hammered-silver bowls -- hail from around the globe. Horned salad servers, $65 at Comina, 55 Pleasant Street, 978-499-1775,

3. With a vibe akin to poking around Grandma’s parlor, Fancy Schmancy blends charming tchotchkes with more contemporary designs. Utility matches, $3.95 each at Fancy Schmancy, 43 Pleasant Street, 978-462-4484,

4. Culinary goodies like black truffle oil, chestnut jam, and pure lavender honey nestle among wines and cheeses hand-picked by the foodie proprietors. Raineri extra virgin olive oil, $27 at Grand Trunk Old World Market, 53 Pleasant Street, 978-499-4441,

5. Urban sensibilities reign in dealer Peter DuPlace’s Great Hall, where vintage finds hold their own against modern marvels. Andy Warhol Marilyn Monroe plate by Rosenthal, $110 at Great Hall, 52 Pleasant Street, 978-465-1896,

6. Kitchen gadgets with a modern edge and in all sorts of colors line the shelves at this boutique-cum-coffee bar just off Market Square. Benny Munchler kids’ lunch bag, $12 at Souffles, 14 Market Square, 978-465-1523,

7. This catchall waterfront boutique holds items that range from a bucket of birdseed to snuggly hoodies for tots. Angel Dear chenille hoodie, $39 at Valentine’s, 27 Water Street, 978-463-0002,¦

Courtney Hollands is a senior producer at Marni Elyse Katz blogs about design at Send comments to