Embracing The True Spirit Of The Season — Shopping!
The Local, The Unusual And The Downright Bizarre: Suggestions On Where To Drop Some Cash
By Richard Davis
TFW Staff Writer
Yes, it’s that wonderful time of year again when nearly everyone is suddenly and so fervently cheery-eyed and sanctimonious about crass commercialism.
Local and national columnists will rail endlessly against tarnishing the spirit of the (Insert one here: Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Festivus) season and how this time of year should really be about (Insert one: goodwill toward men, peace on earth, providing padded birdhouses for disadvantaged owls).
If you enjoy the giving and receiving of gifts, revel in the excitement of spending that hard-earned cash or easy money that came your way in 2010. Here are a few places to visit that you might not have considered.
One Stop Shopping
Many people enjoy the convenience of shopping for a variety of objects at a single, if sprawling, location — the mall. You can pick up shoes for your sister, chocolates for your mom and even gag gift fart pills for that brother-in-law who you really don’t like very much. Stuff that in your stocking, mister!
But there are more places than just malls to find a variety of gifts under one roof. Places like the Fayetteville Trading Post — which bills itself as an “upscale resale flea market” — has everything from furniture to jewelry to knick-knacks to games to toys to movies and even canned preserves and vegetables. Owner Nancy Andreasen even managed to point out a perfect give for a young Razorback fan: a wooden rocking pig.
In addition, the Trading Post can be a less stressful shopping option than fighting through the throngs at the mall. The market even has Amanda Harris of Fiddlehead Fern Therapeutics providing chair massages to further reduce stress (tips accepted). And, as the Trading Post points out on its Facebook page, “reusing items that are in great shape” is a nice way to go green.
Why not give a gift that tickles the ear with some tastes of the region? At locally run music shop Sound Warehouse, Michael White managed to narrow down a top three recommendation for area artists Candy Lee & The Sweets, Charliehorse and Shannon Wurst. Naturally, the store carries a variety of other CDs by local artists including Benjamin Del Shreve, BoomKinetic, The Plaid Jackets, Randall Shreve and Wade Ogle.
Local music not your thing? White also threw out some suggestions for national acts, some of whose albums are also available in vinyl: “I and Love and You” by the Avett Brothers, “How I Got Over” by The Roots, “Come Around Sun” by Kings of Leon and “Sign No More” by Mumford & Sons.
Clothing and More
Looking for some “new” clothes to give as a gift? Cheap Thrills might have the answer for you — an answer more unique than you might catch at a major retailer. With ample stock of vintage and resale clothing, jewelry and footwear, Cheap Thrills has loads of options for you to offer an update to any recipient’s wardrobe.
Or if you’re looking for something more unusual, the store even carries a variety of costumes and accouterments. Hey, maybe Grandma Edna’s always really wanted a hula skirt.
And speaking of unique, how about a pair of Birkenstocks, which can be custom fit, from Flying Possum Leather? In addition to comfortable, orthopedic-recommended footwear, you can also pick up belts and other leather gifts, including owner Bruce D. Walker’s own designed leather strap for acoustic guitars.
It’s a gimme to think of on Valentine’s Day, but this is also an excellent time of year consider treating someone to a salon or massage trip. Area pampering palaces such as Salon Professionals or White Lotus Salon and Massage often offer gift cards and packages and can help you fill a basket with all sorts of beauty product goodies. Go ahead and treat Auntie Rosie to that pedicure or new hairdo, just in time to look boffo for the new year.
The Written Word
Buying something for that book lover who thinks a Kindle sounds more like something to start a fire with? Area bookstores have you covered. On Dickson Street, Nightbird Books has a fine selection of tomes by local writers, some even autographed, and, if you’re looking for something older or out of print, the Dickson Street Bookshop might have just what you need.
Or if you need something a bit more picturesque, Rock Bottom off Garland Avenue can supply you with and even recommend a variety of comic books and graphic novels, as well as action figures, trading cards and more.
There are lots of great options locally, but sometimes you have to cast a wider net to find that special gift for someone who may be a bit more … eccentric.
From the practical to the absurd, this site will definitely appeal to that person who can quote every line of dialogue from “The Empire Strikes Back.” From Star Trek Enterprise pizza cutters to Star Wars toasters that burn the image of Darth Vader into each piece of bread to an iPad Bluetooth keyboard case to a guitar T-shirt that can actually be played, ThinkGeek has lots of pleasing options.
Need something downright bizarre? Well, ArchieMcPhee.com — which bills itself as “Slightly Less Disappointing Than Other Companies” should be just what the witch doctor ordered.
This wacky site includes a variety of novelty toys, foods and more, including a special section devoted to bacon: bacon mints, bacon gumballs, a bacon wallet, bacon air freshener and even bacon floss.
Archie McPhee could be especially useful for oddball stocking stuffers with lots of options from absinthe-scented soap to pirate bandages to an emergency bow tie to an inflatable Van Gogh painting.