Deck your halls, friends and family

In a Christmas shopping slump? We’re here to help you pick the perfect present.

by Kara Nesvig

Forget “A Christmas Carol,” stockings all hung by the chimney with care and the nativity scene outside the local truck stop: ‘Tis the season to be spending! And where better to drop your dollars than in our fine metropolis? Need a little help on your quest for the perfect present? Look no further than your own backyard – there’s a bevy of boutiques all around Minneapolis! You might have to hop on a bus or two, or grab a cab, but be assured you’ll delight everyone on your Christmas list with a little help from your Twin Cities consumer counterparts.

Saving the earth, one soy latte at a time

It’s not that easy being “green,” and doesn’t that tree-hugger on your list know it! What on earth can you possibly give the person who calls you out for using plastic bags at Target, only drinks Fair Trade coffee, and insists on turning off the power strip when you leave the house? Perplexed?

It’s Twin Cities Green to the rescue! This Uptown boutique caters to your environmentally concerned pal, and boy can you get some fabulous gifts there, including eco-friendly art and even hemp-covered furniture!

Once finished, walk a few blocks down to American Apparel for some sweatshop-free threads, or make your way to Grand Avenue in St. Paul and visit the Birkenstock store. Your granola pal will thank you.

Diamonds are a girl’s best friend

Got a gal on your list who loves the finer things in life? If she simply won’t settle for less than the best, get yourself to Minneapolis suburb Edina A.S.A.P! Not only do they have a mall (Southdale, the first indoor shopping mall in the United States) a bit less chaotic than the tourist trap we like to call M.O.A., but they also boast the ultra-sophisticated and extra-chic Galleria.

There’s a Tiffany’s! Keep in mind that Tiffany’s doesn’t have to be expensive; they have a beautiful selection of sterling silver baubles and charms that won’t send you to the poorhouse – the crystal ornaments are just $30 and come in that wonderful little blue box.

And just a short distance away, in the much-hyped 50th and France shopping district, you’ll happen upon lovely locales such as Urban Outfitter’s more stylish, less commercial big sister Anthropologie; upscale consignment shop Fashion Avenue where you could score some gently used Marc Jacobs for a song; luxury cosmetics-and-perfumerie Cos Bar; and the cute and trendy, Lindsay-Lohan-would-shop-here Bluebird Boutique. (Or, if you’re really feeling generous and would love to spend a good chunk of your yearly rent budget on this lovely lady, there’s a Louis Vuitton store nestled in the confines of the Nicollet Mall Macy’s just begging for your credit card!)

“Almost Famous” at the Fetus

For the future music critic who’s got a place in your heart this holiday season, look no further than the legendary Electric Fetus music shop. There are only three of these gems in the world and one is located right on Fourth Ave., just a hop and a skip away from campus! (The other two call St. Cloud and Duluth home.)

If your personal Lester Bangs digs the obscurest of jams and even iTunes doesn’t carry their current obsession, it’s pretty likely the very knowledgeable staff at the Fetus can help you out. Of course they’ve got record-store mainstays like Nag Champa incense and gently used CDs and vinyl, but the Fetus has a pretty impressive clothing and jewelry section as well, just in case.

Mommy dearest

Ah, your mom – she’s so hard to shop for, isn’t she? If the woman who gave you life loves the Food Network, bop into Williams-Sonoma, cleverly hidden in the downtown IDS building, for stylish kitchen accoutrements and the most delightful little cake and cocoa mixes. Even their spatulas are chic, so don’t worry if you don’t spend a bundle; Mom will feel just like Giada di Laurentiis. Macy’s, only a short distance through the skyway, has Martha Stewart’s charming collection of cookware as well.

Presents for your padre

What about dad? Uptown bookstore Magers & Quinn has an overwhelming selection of current bestsellers, rare first editions, and a tome on every subject under the sun. Plus, most of these new and used novels are set at discount prices, so you’re not breaking the bank while purchasing the complete works of David Sedaris for your pop.

Cadeaux close to home

If venturing all across our fair city and navigating Metro Transit isn’t your thing as the days get colder, there are some great little shops right on campus practically begging for your Christmas business. Take into consideration campus’ very own Weisman Art Museum Gift Shop, which is perfect for unique handcrafted jewelry and covetable art books.

Or, take a short stroll to Dinkytown and stop in at designer denim boutique Covered – if you can’t splurge on the premium jeans, there’s also a fabulous vintage-and-new jewelry selection that’s sure to please your sister or best gal pal.

Even funky secondhand shop Everyday People has Christmas potential; perhaps your brother would be delighted to find a few perfectly-worn-in flannel shirts under the tree.

Pretty little packages

Don’t just give beautiful presents, but make sure their outsides are just as picture-perfect at PaperGami, a quaint little shop near Uptown specializing in what else – paper! Before you pooh-pooh it as a fire hazard in the making, drop in and check out the gorgeous assortment of uniquely stylish wrappings, or its plethora of sweet little Christmas cards perfect for your friends far away.

It’s the time of year to show others you care, and what better way to do it than with three French hens, or seven swans a-swimming? Well, maybe poultry isn’t the greatest gift to present to your loved ones, but no matter the package, a plethora of friendly Twin Cities vendors have got your back.