It seems as though the holiday season starts earlier and earlier each year. Lights and wreaths decorate storefronts in late October and Christmas carols start playing on the radio before the turkey is cut on Thanksgiving. But it's never too early to start planning and shopping for holiday gifts. As you create your list (and check it twice!), check out our guide for gifts your family and friends will love.
islandjackonline.com or 410-939-4414
Need a gift for the woman who has it all? Take a trip to Island Jack in downtown Havre de Grace. The small shop carries the complete line of Vera Bradley products, including the carry-it-all wristlet. Especially designed to fit smartphones, the wristlet, which is available for $40, also comes with four card slots, a zippered coin pouch, ID window and a bill slot. “It's a great, versatile item for women on the go,” says Kelly Falkenstine, owner of Island Jack. “You can grab it and throw it in your purse and it's really cost effective.”
Bornfriend's Fine Pens & Crafts
Pens crafted from wood and designed by local artist Bryan Bornfriend are unique and functional gifts for the men in your life. Based in Jarrettsville, Bryan began crafting fountain, ballpoint and roller ball pens earlier this year as a hobby. “Every product is handmade and the quality is excellent,” Bryan says.
Bryan also makes darts, bottle openers, magnifying glasses, shaving sets and shoehorns. His products are available for sale online and at Harford Winery in Forest Hill, Jarrettsville Pharmacy and Bella Patri Consignment Store in Jarrettsville. A portion of the proceeds is donated to charity.
vincentidecoys.com or 410-734-7709
Founded in 1986 by husband-and-wife team Patrick and Jeannie Vincenti, Vincenti Decoys is American folk art at its best. The couple makes Upper Chesapeake Bay-style decoys inside their Churchville shop. In their Havre de Grace store, the Vincentis sell antique collectable decoys from the Chesapeake Bay region, decoy making supplies, decoy carving tools and decoy lamps among other products.
heartbeatbelair.com or 410-420-0425
Show Grandma how much you love her with handbags and jewelry from Brighton, available at HeartBeat Boutique in downtown Bel Air. The Roselie Shine coin purse is available for $92 in a variety of colors, including orange, green and fuchsia. Or get her a “Grandmother” ID bracelet for $33.
tiddlywinkstoys.com or 443-371-6420
As their name suggests, Uglydolls are, well…ugly, but tweens and teens love the plush little monsters, according to Kim Norris, owner of Tiddlywinks, a toy store on Main Street in Bel Air. “The dolls come with different names and personalities,” says Kim. “They're kind of goofy looking, but cool to have as a decoration on your bed.” Prices range from $6 to $20, depending on the size of the doll.
shoptinytoes.com or 410-420-6727
If you have a little one on your list, be sure to visit Tiny Toes, a children's boutique on Main Street in Bel Air. Owned by Tina Lewis and Karen Jacobs, the store features Wheely Bugs, animal inspired sit-down scooters for toddlers. Allowing children to move in all directions-forward, backward, sideways and in circles¬-the Wheely Bug, which sells for about $80, promotes gross motor skills.
Tiny Toes also carries apparel for infants and toddlers, as well as a carefully selected line of strollers and diaper bags, and educational toys, such as Melissa & Doug, which makes a variety of puzzles, dress-up dolls for boys and girls, and wooden vehicles.
Tiger Lily Boutique
tigerlilybelair.com or 410-420-9784
For unique accessories and clothing, Tiger Lily Boutique on Main Street in Bel Air is the place to shop. The store is an authorized seller of Trollbeads, an elegant jewelry line that includes charms, bracelets, necklaces and rings. “Men love it because it's an easy gift for women,” says Toni McCracken, owner of Tiger Lily.
Tiger Lily also carries Free People clothing, a brand marketed toward contemporary women. “The boutique line is different from what is sold in the Free People stores,” says Toni. “We have exclusive items you won't find at the mall.”
The Wine Enthusiast
Harford Vineyard & Winery
harfordvineyard.com or 443-495-1699
Located in Forest Hill, Harford Vineyard & Winery offers a variety of wines, including dry whites and dry reds, semi-sweet and sweet. Other gift items include private labeled wine, custom wine baskets and wine specialty gifts, such as wine bottle candles, bottle toppers, wine stoppers and handcrafted wine lamps. For do-it-yourselfers, Harford Vineyard & Winery also sells winemaking supplies, such as grapes, juices and barrels.
Charm City Run
charmcityrun.com or 410-838-3243
For the runner on your list, visit Charm City Run on Main Street in Bel Air for practical gift ideas. The store carries Vibram FiveFingers, which are barefoot sports shoes designed to promote proper running technique.
“It helps you sense more and helps you better understand some of the running mechanics,” Brad Viers, manager of Charm City Run in Bel Air, says of the revolutionary shoes. “It should be thought of as a tool that helps you run in the form as if you're barefoot.” The Women's TrekSport edition is great for outdoor enthusiasts with its rugged design, while the Men's KomodoSport can be used for a variety of cross training activities.
doodads.us or 410-939-8003
This global fair trade gallery in downtown Havre de Grace is perfect for do-gooders. A portion of the proceeds goes back to the artisans in underdeveloped countries, such as Guatemala and Tibet.
“Our focus is mainly on jewelry and clothing,” says Becky Collins, owner of Doodads. “Everything is handmade and it's all unique. We have something to fit every budget, from $8 to $200.” With handbags and wallets made from recycled material, such as seatbelts, tires and snack bags, to handcrafted rings from Kenya, you will always find something different at Doodads.