This Christmas, Baby, Please Shop Home
Back in the early 2000s, I spent a few years writing shopping guides to Paris and London. Which essentially amounted to going around to little shops and looking at all their clever wares, then talking to the owners about their vision and their store’s concept and writing it all up into tourist-friendly, bite-sized pieces.
I didn’t know it then, but it was probably the last moment in history when such a thing would have been possible. Even in large cities, nearly all the shopping real estate is taken up by mass-produced tchotchkes that anyone can buy anywhere.
Fortunately, here in Omaha, we have some great options for shopping local, and we should support them before they disappear.
If, like me, you find it Scroogey that big box stores force employees to cut their time with their families short on Thanksgiving – or you just want to stay home and watch the football game – I ask you to join me in skipping Black Friday altogether and opting for Small Business Saturday instead.
Here are some ideas of where to spend your LOCAL shopping dollar:
Borsheims: This is the highest end place I will discuss, but it bears mentioning. Borsheims is on the list of every luxury watch and jewelry distributor in the world. Omahans may take it for granted because we grew up with it, but, I promise you, no one will complain when they receive a gift in the gray box.
Spruce: Owner Amy Sporrer opened her beautifully merchandised store in 2012 and has had a cult following among Omahans seeking chic and unique gifts and home décor ever since. While she does carry some luxe items, she also stocks lower-priced things that make great teacher and host gifts. While you’re in the neighborhood, check out the cute antique stores nearby.
The Gadgeteer: Go-go Gadgeteer for Eames chairs and Alvar Aalto vases. This unassuming-looking retailer, right off of 72nd and Dodge, is crammed with MoMA shop-type items that will delight any design lover.
Provisions by the Grey Plume: The Grey Plume has been racking up national awards since it opened and is also one of the greenest restaurants in America. Lovers of fine foods will be dazzled by a gift of the restaurant’s coffee, charcuterie, jams, preserves or mustards from Provisions.
The Bookworm: In its shiny new location, The Bookworm is still fighting the good fight for independent bookstores.
Mangelsen’s: You can’t get more local than something you’ve made yourself, and this Omaha institution probably has whatever you need for the job. Plus, they’re dog-friendly!
Restaurants: A host of locally owned restaurants including Dante, Petrow’s, Lot 2, The Egg & I, Railcar and Hiro 88 have offered holiday gift card promotions (along the lines of “spend $25, get an additional $5) in the past and probably will again this year.
Memberships: One of my favorite gifts to give or receive is an annual membership to one of Omaha’s attractions or museums. Some to consider include the Henry Doorly Zoo, the Durham Museum, Fontenelle Forest and The Joslyn Museum. Season tickets to The Holland Center or the Orpheum, the Rose Theatre or a community theatre such as The Bellevue Little Theatre might be the perfect fit for lovers of the arts.
This is obviously only a small sampling of the simply amazing local shopping to be had out there in our fair city. We want to know your favorites in the Comments.