Holiday Hunting for Presents

Shopping the Old-Fashioned Way


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Admit it: The holidays are practically here, but you haven’t made your shopping list, much less picked up anything yet for mom, dad, sis, and bro. The kids may be covered, because parents magically seem to be able to pull off that side well ahead of the big day. But who has time to plan for that in these busy times, especially when it comes to gift giving for friends and relatives?

As for shopping, I’m not that into it, though you probably wouldn’t guess that if you measured the mound of catalogues stacked up in my house. I love flipping through them, frequently doing so time after time the week they arrive. I study them, longing for this cozy Title IX sweater and that REI outerwear. And yet rarely, if ever, do I order from those catalogues.

My mostly ignored Gmail account is a daily cornucopia of special deals. Oh, I check them out, those Road ID offers for flashlights and the Tack of the Day specials on riding breeches. But still I do not buy.

It’s partly that I like seeing and trying on and comparing and touching items in person, the old-fashioned way, which means I have to go to Park Street or College Avenue and drop into the cute stores and clever boutiques. I wind up talking to the shop mavens and sales clerks, glean a few back stories and interesting details that culminate with the buying the perfect gift. Or something for myself.

photo by Ruth Marcus

Our annual gift guide, “Presents of Mind,” which begins on page 36, is much like those catalogues I’m so fond of: full of gorgeous baubles and trinkets, exciting bikes and electronics. Cosmetics, calendars, soaps, air plants, and Nixie clocks pop on the pages, as chocolates and coffees and superfoods compete for attention. My personal favorite is the celebrity pet photos by Ruth Marcus (See above).

But unlike those circulars I so adore, our holiday gift guide includes plenty of items you can get right here, from an actual place, though what would the holidays be without referencing the bike of the future and an Apple Watch? Happy holiday hunting.

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