Keep it local with these Avenue options

By April Lisante
Posted 12/31/69

The holiday spirit is alive on the Avenue, and with just a week left until the festivities, there is no better time to finish your gift list than now.

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Keep it local with these Avenue options

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The holiday spirit is alive on the Avenue, and with just a week left until the festivities, there is no better time to finish your gift list than now.

Local shops are working hard to deliver unique gifts for everyone on your list, and this year it is more important than ever to shop local and support Hill businesses so they can survive and thrive.

Shop owners are going out of their way to help customers find special gifts. Many have designed new Web sites for shopping and offer facetime shop tours, as well as home delivery and curbside pick-up. The Hill stores even have a collaborative Instagram this holiday season (#KeepItOnTheHill) to let shoppers know they are open and ready for orders, but it is important to check with each individual store to see what pick-up and delivery services are available.

With 125 retailers on the Avenue, there are so many one-of-a-kind ideas waiting to be discovered, and this year’s theme is all about keeping it local while gifting all kinds of comfort and joy to loved ones, from blankets to chocolate.

“We live in such a unique town that the store owners are the eyes and ears of the community,” said Threadwell owner Molly Ellis. “By Keeping it on the Hill, we are not losing that element of community and safety, almost. I feel if our community can keep businesses open until June, we’ll be fine but it’s going to be precarious in the winter.”

Ellis is one of the retailers offering facetime tours of her shop at 8432 Germantown Ave., and says she has given more tours this month than throughout the whole pandemic. This year, the shop’s trending item is the Threadwell monogrammed blanket. For $104 or $140, customers can gift a washable cotton and acrylic blanket that friends or family can use for socially distant dining and visiting time outside. The blanket comes in a plaid or solid, and Ellis herself has been known to deliver it on her bike for customers.

“Everyone is a little different about what they are doing for the holiday,” Ellis said. “We are selling a lot of blankets to use while dining out or on the patio by the firepit.”

While you are perusing Threadwell’s offerings, take a look at their unique baby gifts, including pillows, hooded towels and totes (prices vary) or their custom pencil cases for students. (Threadwell, 267-385-5206, threadwell.net.)

Blankets are big at Serendipity as well. The store offers $35 LOVE stadium blankets made of sweatshirt material for nights outside.  Serendipity’s selection of guitar strap bags are also really popular this year. The bags are 100 percent leather or suede, and range in sizes with solid or animal print designs to choose from. Prices range from $65 to $110. (Serendipity, 8506 Germantown Ave., 267-368-5002, shopsofserendipity.com.)

With more time outside, you may want to check out the hats, mittens, scarves and wraps popular this year at Sara Campbell. A red knitted mitten and hat set is $38, and a fur-trimmed or cashmere wrap ranges from $78 to $500, making it the perfect gift for a friend with a firepit. The store’s selection of infinity scarves come in ivory, black or fuchsia for $78, and their Rex ladder scarves are $44. “The scarves look great under a coat,” said manager Sue Morrison. (Sara Campbell, 8409 Germantown Ave., 215-381-0325, saracampbell.com.)

Chestnut Hill Sports Co. is featuring sales galore for the holidays, and there is still time to check out their sale on paddle and pickleball rackets, as well as a huge sale on Under Armour cold gear and undergarments. (Chestnut Hill Sports Inc., 8628 Germantown Ave., 215-242-6167, Facebook.)

If you’re looking for a real conversation piece, El Quetzal is proud of its top holiday seller: an expanded new pottery collection. The ceramic collection now features artists from the U.S., Poland and Canada and no two pieces are alike. Mugs start in the $20s and bowls range from $30 to $100. There are also serving dishes and accessories. (El Quetzal, 8427 Germantown Ave., 215-247-6588, elquetzal1963.com.)

“I definitely think it is really important this year to shop local,” said El Quetzal manager Lindsey Kiska. “When you shop small, you are supporting a dream. I feel like in 2020, we want to keep those dreams going.”

If you’re looking for something to gift the college kid in your life, Bohemian Pink’s red tartan plaid purse is a versatile clutch and crossbody combo at a reasonable $39. And if you need last-minute stocking stuffers, they also have the Lip Smackers kids are addicted to right now in a variety of flavors for $5.95. (Bohemian Pink, 8638 Germantown Ave., 215-432-0382, bohemianpink.com.)

Down the street at Busy Bee Toys, stress relief is this year’s theme. Owner Nerice Kendter stocks a complete line of Squishables soft plushies and they are flying off the shelves.

“They are big, colorful and cheerful, and especially now during Covid, it’s soft and comforting,” Kendter said.

You can find all kinds of Squishables veggies and other types of plushies for $20 to $45, or you can really go holy guacamole with a $250 Squishables plush avocado.

For all the kids who’ve been stuck at home, arts and crafts have made a tremendous comeback this year. Kendter carries a whole line of make-your-own gifts, including the ever-popular Rainbow Loom – yes, it’s back – for $10, and the Loop De Doo friendship bracelet maker for $30. Kids into Legos and STEM will dig the Gear Bots collection, a collaborative toy from Lego and Klutz that lets you turn Legos into moving bots for $24.99. (Busy Bee Toys, 8511 Germantown Ave., 215-242-8511, busybeetoys.net.)

If you know someone who loves chocolate, try a locally made version of one of the hottest Tik Tok trends of the season, the Hot Chocolate Bomb. It’s like a bath bomb, except you pop the round chocolate shell in a mug and it melts to reveal marshmallows and goodies that make some of the best hot chocolate ever. Made By Me’s Mary Ellen Salamone has a supply of the bombs for $7 each at her store in the Market at the Fareway. While you are there, don’t forget to pick up her annual favorite, peppermint bark, packaged at $8 each. (Made By Me, 8221 Germantown Ave., 215-450-3165, madebymechocolates.com.)

And while you’re in foodie mode, don’t forget that someone in your life who lives to cook. Kitchen Kapers says this year’s hot kitchen gifts are the Staub four-quart Dutch oven at $99.95 and the Vitamix Ascent mixer at the sale price of $524.95. (Kitchen Kapers, 8530 Germantown Ave., 215-242-2866, kitchenkapers.com.)

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