19 Gifts to Get on the Cheap
A random sampling of cool things from great local stores.
CLOTHING AND ACCESSORIES
You Are My Sunshine
The Swim Shop in Fairfax Shopping Center has more in stock than bathing suits and flip-flops. If your loved ones are heading to warmer climates this winter, send them off in style with a wide-brimmed woven hat ($29) by Scala Collezione that also has a UPF 50+ rating, meaning it will block 97.5 percent of the sun’s UV rays. The beach chapeau is crushable, too, so you can squeeze it into any nook of your suitcase. We just don’t want to hear the travelers humming “Let It Snow” to those of us left behind.
2115 Concord Pike, Wilmington, 575-1224.
Now You See Them
Bloom owner Mimi Sullivan recommends the peek-a-boo earrings, just $32. They come in gunmetal, white and champagne at both the Newark and Trolley Square locations. “No one has them in their wardrobe yet. They are the perfect price for the holidays,” she says.
92 E. Main St., Suite 1, Newark, 454-7266; 1725 Delaware Ave., Wilmington, 510-4990.
The Big Cover Up
Alashan toppers ($138) at Aquamarine at 114 sell out every year. No surprise. The cashmere poncho is available in an array of beautiful colors, from calming Bermuda blue to sultry spice. It comes in only one size, so you don’t have to worry about sizing up your friends. You’ll get it right every time.
114 Second St., Lewes, 644-4550.
Make Her Blush
If you are shopping for a makeup maven, Houppette has it all. Lizzie Johnson recommends Laura Mercier’s Stroke of Genius Brush Collection ($98), a limited edition collection that contains a flat eyeliner brush, crease brush, ponytail brush, all-over eye color brush, powder brush and secret camouflage brush in a travel case. Johnson also loves Laura Mercier’s Sweet Temptations Almond Coconut Milk Luxe Body Collection ($75). The gift set contains a body cleansing oil, soufflé body cream, eau gourmand fragrance and soothing honey bath. “It’s a delightful escape for the senses,” says Johnson.
3842 Kennett Pike, Wilmington, 421-9036; 101 W. State St., Kennett Square, Pa., (484) 732-8451.
Neck to Toe
Hot gifts for guys at J. McLaughlin: patterned socks. From club prints of crabs and lobsters to martini glasses to beagles, setters and corgis, there’s a pair (or several) for any man, all in great colors and at great prices ($24). That’s not to mention holiday patterns such as black labs in Santa hats. Teen and tween boys are loving the bowtie. They come in linen and wool for $85 and silk for $95.
4001 Kennett Pike, No. 136, Greenville, 654-2919.
Bargain V. Value
We’ll take value every time, which is why we love Wright & Simon men’s store. To wit: Jack Victor travel trousers that still look crisp at the end of the day ($155) and the Freedom line of cotton shirts by Forsythe of Canada, with special threads that reduce wrinkles ($75). They come in dress and sport styles.
911 N. Market St., Wilmington, 658-7345.
The Cat’s Meow
Sometimes, you need a little feline love to take care of your tired dogs. And what better way than with a pair of cat slippers ($83) from in2soles? We adore the silver-gray, wool slip-ons with the sassy kitty appliqué. Soft felt on the foot bed helps to wick away moisture, and the wool-covered latex arch support molds to your feet for a customized fit.
170 Rehoboth Ave., Rehoboth Beach, 226-5202.
HOME AND GARDEN
Thinking Outside the Box
Among the high-quality reproductions and amazing antiques in the showrooms of Mark Showell Interiors are plenty of typical gift items—candles, china and the like. But careful shoppers will notice a profusion of unique decorative boxes in various sizes: hand-fashioned dice for your high roller, covered in computer keys for your geek, pasted with cloth book spines for your big reader. All are handmade, all are reasonably priced ($25-$100). Or you could buy an antique diving helmet. (If you have to ask...)
59 Baltimore Ave., Rehoboth Beach, 227-2272.
Anyone who loves to garden—no matter their experience—would enjoy a terrarium kit from Gateway Garden Center. Everything is included except for the plants. Kits come in three sizes—8 inch ($60), 10 inch ($87) and 12 inch ($100).
7277 Lancaster Pike, Hockessin, 239-2727.
A Cut Above
Show some local pride with a beautifully grained, hardwood trivet ($38.50) from Everything But the Kitchen Sink. The round, maple board by Martin’s Home Wares in Lancaster County, Pa., is customized with the shape of Delaware ingrained in the wood and a big DE, just in case you need a reminder of what the First State looks like. Rubber bumpers on the bottom protect your table from scratches. Or you can hang it on the wall like a decorative plaque.
425 Hockessin Corner, Hockessin, 239-4790.
Willey Farms nursery-country market is a great place to find unique gifts such as a dishtowel ($16.99) that celebrates the First State with depictions of ladybugs, a blue hen, a farmer and more. Willey Farms also sells themed crockery, town signs and home and garden accessories such as wicker furniture, birdbaths and concrete statues. Plus, you can pick up a homemade pie or purchase citrus by the case.
4092 DuPont Pkwy., Townsend, 378-8441.
For the Birds
Yes, Ronny’s Garden World showcases a magnificent display of decorated trees and ornaments during the holidays, but the family-owned operation still keeps green thumbs and nature lovers in mind all year long. The Gord-O Birdhouses ($39.99) by Songbird Essentials will thrill any backyard enthusiast on your list. The folk-art, songbird shelters are hand-carved from albesia wood (a renewable resource) and painted with nontoxic paint. They’re adorable, too, in the shapes of cardinals, bluebirds, goldfinches and more.
5580 Dupont Pkwy., Smyrna, 653-6288.
TRADITIONAL GIFT SHOPS
Service With a Style
For your hostess or the gourmand on your list, Beatriz Ball service pieces are among the popular gift items at The Wooden Indian Ltd. Handcast in Mexico of recycled aluminum, the beautifully styled pieces go from freezer to oven (up to 350 degrees) while maintaining their stunning luster with no special care. Their two-piece chip-and-dip bowl is a steal at $220. Of course, there’s also traditional Spode holiday tableware.
25 Baltimore Ave., Rehoboth Beach, 227-8331
Artisans Gifts & More is a gift-giver’s paradise. Owner Betty Brownstein says you cannot go wrong with Pandora jewelry. Starting at $25, Brownstein says Pandora’s unique pieces make the perfect gift for anyone. Brownstein also recommends the Scout totes ($50). Great for travel, tailgating and groceries, they come in a variety of patterns and colors.
2113 Concord Pike, Wilmington, 651-9900
The folks at Bella Luna buy from small companies, so you won’t find many of their items anywhere else. Victorian Christmas ornaments are a popular gift—especially the glass whales with tinsel as the spout ($20). The woodland animal ornaments (think cute mice, owls and raccoons) are also big sellers. Other unique items include candles, mugs and luxurious scarves.
127 Rehoboth Ave., Rehoboth Beach, 227-0267.
Delaware Store is the place to find—you guessed it—Delawareana. Everyone knows how we love our license plates. Delaware Store is the place to find a pewter plate emblazoned with the state seal ($32.95). Among the other gifts and collectibles are Del-a-where? T-shirts, framed prints of the Old State House and other local landmarks, as well as the Delaware flag and a replica of the Betsy Ross American flag. And to add historic cred, the store is on the site of the original Golden Fleece Tavern, where the U.S. Constitution was ratified making us the First State.
325 S. State St., Dover, 674-1787.
Out of Bounds
Outdoor enthusiasts waited months for the new Recreational Equipment Inc. (REI) to open. Now they’re gift shopping there. Among the classic items available are Pendleton wool blankets ($119). Fun gifts include the Picnic at Ascot insulated backpack and blanket with service for four ($110). Join the co-op to earn a dividend check on your purchases at year’s end.
2300 Fashion Center Blvd., Newark, 369-1938.
For avid cyclers, owner Rob Garrison of Garrison’s Cyclery of Centreville recommends Knog Blinky lights for roadway safety, typically starting at $44.99. They’re USB rechargeable, 100 percent waterproof and amazingly bright. There is also selection of vintage bicycle posters—licensed, reproduction prints from the early 1900s ($50 unframed, $125-$150 framed).
5801 Kennett Pike, Greenville, 384-6827.
Now that we finally have our national park, we can brag by wearing and sharing a First State National Historic Park T-shirt ($32) from Trail Creek Outfitters. And the good folks there donate 100 percent of the trendy tee’s proceeds to The Conservation Fund. Of course, Trail Creek carries the newest apparel from Black Diamond, and other popular brands like Patagonia and The North Face’s active Summit Series.
Glen Eagle Square, 487 Wilmington West Chester Pike, Glen Mills, Pa., (610) 558-4006.