Holiday shopping can drive many to madness. What do you get for your best friend? Your brother in-law? How about a host gift for that upcoming holiday party? Or something for the gift exchange at work? However short or long your holiday shopping list, it can be stressful to find the perfect gift for everyone. And it can be even more stressful to head out into the hustle and bustle at major malls and retailers.

hawks prairie casinoWhat if this year, you did things a little differently? What if you stayed local, heading out into your own neighborhood to gather the perfect gifts for friends and family? By shopping local, you’ll get to avoid the crowds and long lines, while at the same time investing your holiday budget into your very own community – the same community that you live, work, and play in. This year, don’t just celebrate the holidays, celebrate the South Sound retail scene as well. With this guide, you’ll learn some of the best spots to get great gifts and support local business owners, artists and entrepreneurs.

Local Gift Shops

Compass Rose

Compass Rose
With everything from kitchenware to clothing to fun little knick-knacks, Compass Rose makes holiday shopping easy with a one stop shop. Photo credit: Chelsea Clark.

With locations in both Proctor and Olympia, Compass Rose is a staple for local gift shopping. Kitchen goods, jewelry, clothing, notebooks, candles, soaps, lotions and toys fill this spacious, elegant gift shop. The selection is always fun to browse, and you are bound to find something for anyone on your list, for nearly any kind of occasion. The shop features plenty of work by local artists, along with Tacoma and Washington-themed goods.

3815 N 26th Street
Tacoma, WA 98407
253-759-0077

Colors Gift Shop

Colors Gift Shop
Living up to its name, you’ll find a colorful collection of gifts of all sorts at Colors Gift Shop in Proctor. Photo credit: Chelsea Clark.

Another Proctor gem, Colors Gift Shop lives up to its name and its slogan, “Bring color to your life.” Inside, you’ll find a wide array of gift items and a little bit of everything, including home goods, jewelry and art. In the back, you’ll find the largest selection of colorful Fiesta dishware in the area.

2704 N Proctor Street
Tacoma, WA 98407
253-759 8850

Creative Forces Gifts and Sundries

Located in the beautiful lobby of the Hotel Murano, Creative Forces Gifts and Sundries is stocked full of unique finds all made by local artists. With beautiful handmade jewelry, artwork, home décor and everything in between, there’s something to match any style. The one-of-a-kind creations found here will make for a very special gift for anyone on your list.

1320 Broadway Plaza
Tacoma, WA 98402
253-227-8871

Watermark Gifts

Whether those on your list are young or old, Watermark Gifts has got you covered. With stationary, kid’s toys, books, body care products and trinkets of all sorts, you can assemble a fun, thoughtful gift for friends, family or hosts. This wonderful gift shop is a true piece of Tacoma history, having first opened its doors in 1974.

1115 A Street
Tacoma, WA 98402
253-383-2041

The Pacific Northwest Shop

Pacific Northwest Shop
If you want a to include a touch of the Northwest in your gift-giving this year, head to The Pacific Northwest Shop for everything and anything Washington-themed. Photo credit: Chelsea Clark.

If you’re looking for a local Washington-themed gift, The Pacific Northwest Shop is your one-stop shop. Appeal to the taste buds with locally produced treats like smoked salmon, huckleberry syrup or Chukar cherries, or consider the selection of home décor, clothing and artwork. There’s even a selection of greeting cards by local artists. You’ll also find shelves full of books on topics like local hikes, the history of nearby neighborhoods and cooking with Northwest flavors.

2702 N Proctor Street
Tacoma, WA 98407
253-752-2242

Marlene’s Market and Deli

This local business is most well known as a grocery and deli, but it also has a great gift shop area for the eco-friendly minded on your shopping list. Get organic cotton clothing, natural personal care products, fair-trade purses and other unique finds at Marlene’s mercantile section. And while you are at it, you can grab a healthy snack to keep you fueled for a busy day of shopping.

2951 S 38th Street
Tacoma, WA 98409
253-472-4080

Support Local Artists by Shopping at South Sound Galleries

Throwing Mud Gallery
Specializing in locally made pottery, Throwing Mud Gallery also sells a variety of other homemade goods that make great, personal gifts. Photo courtesy: Throwing Mud Gallery

A great way to do your holiday shopping is to head out to the many galleries in the area that feature work by local artists. You’ll be guaranteed to find unique and original creations that can’t be found anywhere else, and you’ll feel good supporting the local arts community while you are at it. Try out Old Town’s Throwing Mud Gallery (specializing in pottery), The Art Stop on Broadway and more. Read our article on local galleries to learn more about the local art gallery scene.

Participate in Small Business Saturday to Get in the Holiday Spirit

The holiday season can be crazy, hectic, and overwhelming. For many, the holiday shopping scene starts the morning after Thanksgiving on Black Friday. For some, the long lines and crowds might seem worth it. For others, the allure of Cyber Monday is more appealing, with no need to even get out of your pajamas to grab some deals. But what if there was more to the holidays than online shopping, giant malls and major retailers?

That’s what Small Business Saturday is here for. Saturday after Thanksgiving is a day to show your support for local, mom-and-pop brick and mortar businesses. You get the chance to invest in the local economy, meet store owners, mingle with fellow neighbors and actively engage with your community. And plus, you’ll enjoy a festive atmosphere to really get into the holiday spirit.

So what will you be doing this year on Saturday, November 26? We hope you’ll be out in your community, shopping small and local.

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