Better late than never….

You’re all probably smarter and more organized than I am and have already finished your holiday shopping. But just in case you haven’t, I’ve written about some of my favorite sources for unusual and delightful gifts. (And here’s another great list.)

This year especially, it feels important to me to support independently-owned businesses as opposed to big box stores/monopolists, so that’s what you’ll find below.

One way to support your local economy is to buy gift certificates. Everyone from your local ice cream shop to your favorite spa, aesthetician, or massage therapist, to a neighborhood restaurant likely offers gift certificates, redeemable for whenever it’s safe to go back to places like that. But if you want something more specific, read on..

My favorite puzzles come from Liberty. They’re made of wood, and the pieces are cut in fanciful shapes. This makes them more challenging and satisfying to put together, and you’ll want to keep them forever. They offer all kinds of images, from classic paintings to vintage posters to contemporary art.

The enterprising and adorable young Gill brothers created Frères Branchiaux candles three years ago. Their products are complex, long-burning, and imaginative, with names like “Heart of Wakanda,” “This Woman’s Work,” and “Lime Cotton.”

I’ve written about Château de Gudanes before, but their gift shop still has lots of lovely stuff in stock. (Check each item to make sure it can be shipped to your country.)

Bigelow Apothecary is the oldest pharmacy in Manhattan. They have a great selection of deluxe self care items. I especially love their own branded Mentha lip balm and the Italian Marvis toothpaste, both of which would make great stocking stuffers.

Museum gift shops like the Huntington Library’s are a treasure trove of unique jewelry and accessories, books, and custom prints. This is another place where you could get me almost anything, and I’d be happy.

If you love any Ted Lasso fans (and I hope you love several), get them JoeArthur GateStack T-shirts, which advertises four of Kansas City’s most famous barbecue joints: Joe’s, Arthur Bryant’s, Gates, and Jack Stack (which ships across the U.S., by the way — another genius gift idea).

Cheeses make an excellent gift. Our favorites come either from Cowgirl Creamery or Jasper Hill. You can do a single shipment, or a monthly subscription for the gift that keeps on giving. The cheeses arrive nicely packed and insulated and ready to enjoy.

Or, for your favorite chocoholic, check out Garcia Nevett, created by two Venezuelan sisters and based in Miami. Truffles? Cookies, brownies, and cakes? Hot chocolate mix? The answer is YES.

Hit up The Grommet for all kinds of cool stuff for just about everyone on your list — games like Sudoku in Color or Jabuka, fun toys, and gadgets galore. The Grommet sources their offerings from small businesses and independent artisans, and they have excellent customer service.

Do you have an environmentally-minded teen or hipster college student on your list? The Onaman Collective offers cool T-shirts, hoodies, and mugs, and 100% of the proceeds benefit the Nimkii Aazhibikong culture and arts camp in Canada.

We visited the Santa Maria de Novella apothecary in February, which was a highlight of our trip to Florence. Caterina de’ Medici commissioned a personal fragrance from the monks of Santa Maria de Novella in 1533, and they’ve been making perfumes (including Caterina’s) ever since. Their collection of colognes, cosmetics, and home fragrances is huge and wonderful; you cannot go wrong.

If you’re feeling splurgy, check out the vintage Hermès scarves or Movado watches (and lots more) at The Real Real online consignment shop. Everything is certified genuine and much less expensive (but still spendy) than you’d pay at a retail store.

If you live in the Los Angeles area, Vroman’s is the best place to buy books. They also have wonderful games, cards, ornaments, pens, stationery, and much more.

After you’ve stopped at Vroman’s, head to Leonora Moss (or call) for the loveliest collection of home decor, flowers, wreaths, and accessories. I’ve told my kids that if they ever need to shop for me, they can go to Leonora Moss, close their eyes, and choose just about anything in the store, and I’ll be thrilled with the results. Leonora Moss is also the best florist ever, so file that piece of information away.

There you have it: all my shopping secrets! Use them wisely, my friends, and enjoy your holidays!

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Novelist, foodie, francophile. Top Writer in Books. My Patronus is our corgi, Moneypenny.

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