Monday, November 17, 2008

Stamford Talk Holiday Shopping Guide

A traffic-filled trip to a store on Central Ave in Yonkers has got me freaking out: the holidays are coming, people! Don't wait until after Thanksgiving to start planning. Start NOW, today. Here are my best tips for shopping in the Stamford area. I hope you'll add your own tips as well. Just make sure they’re geared toward lazy people who don’t like to fight crowds.

Tip 1: Go online to avoid dealing with the stressed out, perfectionist FC shoppers and their SUVs. Anyone with an iPod loves iTunes gift certificates, and I always do iPhoto calendars for my family. On Kodak Gallery, you can personalize stuff with photos. I made Christmas ornaments with my nephews' photos for their first Christmases.

Tip 2: To avoid the mall, go for some of the smaller stores in the area.
For women:
--Goldenberry in Darien- home goods store. It tends toward knick-knacky, but it's really nice stuff. I once got my cousin some stunning placemats. It’s on the Post Rd. past Trader Joe’s.
-- Artistic Hand Blown Glass on Bedford. Here's where to get something for your mother-in-law and/or the person who already has everything she needs. Last year we got my mom-in-law a blown-glass angel Christmas tree ornament. At 40 bucks, it was one of the cheapest things in the store, and so pretty. The store also has stunning glass (unbreakable, Pyrex-ish) bracelets that I’m still upset don’t fit me. They’re $80 bucks and in my semi-stylish opinion, totally worth it.
--Anthropologie has stand alone stores in Greenwich and Westport, so you can buy unusual clothes/home goods without dealing with the mall.

For men:
--My husband is impossible to shop for, but I can usually find something for him at GameStop; just ask the clerk for a rec based on a list of games he already has. Stores are on Summer St. or the mall; I know that's breaking my lazy rule, but desperate times...
--Montana for Men, a salon right beside g/r/a/n/d, has nice, expensive shaving stuff.
--Gift certificates for a massage at Noelle Spa also work well in a pinch.

For kids:
--Graham’s Kids Cuts on Greenwich Ave in Greenwich, a children’s hair salon, has a small selection of quality, unusual toys. I always go there at Christmas for my niece and nephews.
--Smart Kids Co on Elm St., just off Greenwich Ave, has a much larger selection of more typical toys like Legos and stuffed animals.
--This year I’m also going to check out Kaleidoscope Kids' Boutique in Bull’s Head, Stamford, to see what they have. I also want to try Stamford Toys. Evidently it's on High Ridge behind Kinko’s, which is why I've never seen it.

Tip 3: Big fat duh: Do not ever go to the Bed Bath Beyond complex on Summer after 9:15 am on a weekend from now on. After that, you'll never find a spot, and you'll hate everyone, because that parking lot is a nightmare. I took this photo at 8:35 last December 22.

Any other suggestions for shopping in Stamford?
I’d like to steal some ideas from you.
I have not even made my list yet, so I need to get cracking!

Related Stamford Talk posts:
--Dec 25 2007-- Stamford Holiday Shopping Analysis
--Feb 29 2008-- Beautiful Bracelets I'll Never Wear


Chris Preovolos said...

They carry Geo. F. Trumper shaving soaps and double-edge razors are Montana. That stuff is awesome.


Anonymous said...

I really like Bella's Boutique on the corner of High Ridge Road and Vine Road. It's on the second floor, and you need to go up a rickety staircase in the rear of the building to get there. But there's lots of nice stuff in the jewelry/scarf/accessory category in there. I've driven past it a million times, but I finally stopped in this past summer and was very pleased. It felt like I was making this great local discovery. So I'm sharing the joy here.

irenesbooks said...

I prefer the Bed, Bath & Beyond store in Westport on the Post Road, not too far away from the Whole Foods there.

Amanda said...

Agabhumi on Magee is fun for jewelry, scarves & bags.

Julie said...

I would pretty much avoid the whole Ridgeway area no matter what time of day. Anything that is over there (BBB, Marshall's, Michael's, Staples) is probably also somewhere else nearby with a less screwed up parking situation.

Anonymous said...

The economy should take care of the crowds.

Shashew said...

This sounds totally self-serving, and it is, and I don't want to spam, but there are other options to the parking lot scenario and malls. There are plenty of independent direct sales people, many of whom make their own products, like jewelry, that give great customer service and truly appreciate the business. These are generally people who really need the extra income, or like me (recently unemployed again) who support their families with it. You can find them online at places like and at the holiday boutiques. Find a product line or type of craft you like and make it a “theme” for your family and you can get your shopping done at once, and I’ll bet they’d negotiate like I would. I'm a Mary Kay consultant here in Stamford, and I offer my customers private shopping at their house or mine, or online, or email or by phone, free gift-wrapping, free delivery and a great holiday sale because times are tough: Buy 2/Get one free or -$25 for every $100. My customers appreciate the service I give them and I do it because they’re helping to support my son and I. If anyone wants to know more, visit me at Sorry for the commercial, but I had to throw that idea in.

Melina said...

My favorite gifts these days involve which is now very involved with not only foreign crises but America as well!

Something new that I love is the 100 bag at whole foods...its a really nice tote bag for $25, the purchase of which feeds 100 kids, I think...I'm gonna look at it when I do my pickup (sides!...really good!...and a great backup if the gravy doesn't come out...or you're at my sister's house;-)

I dont know how much more stuff I need, considering that Im listing tons of said stuff on ebay and working still on the tag sale for spring...I like little odd things, but as I get older Im downscaling just as fast as I seem to find...oh, you know, ostrich eggs that feed 20 people so I can keep the shell, and the like!
And hey! That egg would make an excellent gift for anyone you know that bakes!
Of course, I have a beautiful dozen eggs every couple of days, so....

Melina said...

One other thing that makes a great gift can be found online and at costco: a case of little hotties for your hands. They are great when its really cold in your gloves or your bra (men will just have to figure it out for themselves!)
Give them to your firemen and mail carriers, etc...
Keep a box for yourself!
I love 'em!

Stamford Talk said...

Is is pathetic or practical that I just had to look over my holiday shopping guide because I have some very last minute shopping to do?

I blame the husband for messing up our plans to go to the Greenwich Ave toy stores both yesterday and today by working too late.