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5 Places to Shop for Unique Gifts in Every City

Shopping locally can instantly make you a distinctive gift giver this holiday season

By Kari Kynard Ridge on November 20, 2014

Nashville, TN
Nashville / Brian McCord

When you’re stumped for gift ideas, look no further than your own hometown. Every city has places to find memorable and unique presents, whether it’s a one-of-a-kind necklace crafted by a local artisan or a hand-constructed birdhouse. For friends and family living far away, you can find items to send that represent your region, such as a jar of maple sugar from New England or a box of smoked salmon from Seattle. Or perhaps they're transplants from other places, and you can order packages of goodies they miss from "home."

Check out these places to find unique gifts in every city:

1. Winter Farmers Markets

Farmers market gift ideas are bountiful. Right next to the locally grown winter produce may be potential gifts such as hand-knitted sweaters and scarves made from the wool of local sheep, handmade soaps, jams, salsas, dried floral arrangements, ceramic vases and jars of fresh honey.

2. Craft Shows and Holiday Fairs

If you’re looking for handmade items, you can't beat a craft show or holiday craft fair. These types of events, large and small, offer items such as hand-stitched linens and tote bags, wooden birdhouses and feeders, quilts, children’s clothes, canned fruits, baked goods, candles, and toys.

3. Local Wineries/Breweries

As well as being a fun outing for yourself, a trip to your local winery or brewery can yield a variety of gifts such as handcrafted chocolates to pair with wines, corkscrews and stoppers in interesting shapes, insulated travel totes, beer steins and, of course, bottles of local wines and beers.

4. Artists' Open Houses

Artists often open their studios around the holidays where you can usually find one-of-a-kind gifts for nearly everyone on your list, such as ceramic bowls and colanders, hand-woven baskets, paintings and prints, jewelry, stained glass, metal sculptures and illustrated children’s books. And, in having the opportunity to talk with the artists, you can learn the background of the artworks you are purchasing. Many people say that buying art for others is difficult, but here's a guiding tip: Make note of items your friend or loved one already collects, as well as color schemes they use in their homes.

5. Pieces of There

If you want to send a gift that reminds someone of home – yours or theirs, the Pieces of There online marketplace makes it easy by offering collections of state-themed food and gift items. A basket from Florida includes key lime cookies and dried tropical fruits, while a basket from Idaho includes huckleberry syrup and pancake mix. With a motto, “Homesick Cure Gifts from Around the World,” the company also can assemble collections of items from several countries, as well as military care packages.

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