The search for unique holiday gifts often comes to endless hours of Googling what the best gifts are and scrolling through blogs and roundups of what you should be purchasing for friends and family. The next thing you know, you’re filling your online shopping cart with items that really may not mean that much to you. Sometimes overlooked is the small local business that stocks items unique in that they are local. Support North Fork artisans and businesses this holiday season while also finding the perfect meaningful gift. As you make your list, and check it twice, we recommend chatting with shop owners and staffers that make the season just a little easier.
Lido in Greenport is a globally inspired store curated by owner and avid traveler Heidi Kelso. She understands holiday shopping can be quite tricky, and as a general rule she buys things she would want for herself as well as items that are both original and practical.
“At Lido, we design and manufacture most of what we sell, so most products won’t be found anywhere else and that’s something that’s important to our clients,” Kelso explains. “Some of my favorite items for winter are our hand-loomed scarves and shawls that come in cashmere and silk. They aren’t size dependent and are perfect for travel.”
Custom blankets and throws ranging from solids to prints make for great unisex gifts from Lido. Even for oneself, they can add a warm and cozy layer to home décor easily. The store is stocked with other unique choices like Turkish towels, poufs, embroidered pillows, and more. They also carry globally-inspired women’s clothing, accessories, and jewelry.
Oversized gemstone cocktail rings are a personal favorite of Kelso’s. “I select the stones in Jaipur and our jeweler there sets them in sterling silver,” she shares. “They are all one of a kind and they are great statement pieces because they are bold and elegant with a minimalist, modern design — super chic. We also sell them at Quincy in Montauk and Patmos in Brooklyn.”
Shopping for the man in your life can be especially challenging. After all, how many dress shirts, ties, and slippers can one man have? Michael Aron, owner of Ray design shop in Greenport, suggests a “Mad Men” theme for gift giving. Things like a midcentury decanter set, desk-size sculpture, a crystal model Porsche, a brass puzzle, or a cobalt blue Murano paperweight make for great gifts that are both thoughtful and interesting.
Featuring vintage décor, original prints, and modern objects for the home, the shop offers a number of thought provoking items that add interest to living spaces for all types of recipients. “Trending in the midcentury category is Italian sommerso glass,” Aron shares. “This technique layers different colors of glass yielding amazing specular effects when viewed from different angles. The best were designed in the early 1960s by Flavio Poli of Seguso d’Arte in Murano.”
As for how to display Scandinavian midcentury glass in your own home, Aron suggests grouping together similar colors. His pro tip is to mix in less expensive reproductions with real vintage pieces and vary the shapes. For the modern design lover and collector, one of these pieces would make an excellent gift.
Handmade gifts are the best gifts according to Norine Pennacchia. Her store, touchGOODS in Southold, is doing particularly well with earthy, modern wood accessories that bring a touch of nature indoors. The Tailor Coat Hook for example makes for an interesting gift that somewhat resemble little trees… perfect for Christmas.
One can also never go wrong with candles. The offset tealight by Rekindle is handmade in small batches in different settings to hold one, three, or five tealights. They are also available in walnut or white oak. “These make great gifts for the modern woodsy type in your life and they (and the hooks) come in recycled tube packaging for easy stocking stuffing,” Pennacchia says.
Buy a piece of Shelter Island at several shops for the holidays. Find every day products in bold patterns, cheeky type, and pops of vibrant color at Dabney Lee. Shop French-inspired clothing and accessories at Marie Eiffel (or get a gift card to her delicious market!). For coastal products that remind us of summer even in the coolest of months, 8Knots is a must. They also offer custom gift wrapping in their signature packaging and unique, hand-printed Mau-House notecards. Of course, the Toy Store at Jack’s is a must-visit when shopping for kids and also adults young at heart.
The Shoppes at East Wind in Wading River provide a number of shopping opportunities. Foodies will love what’s stocked on the shelves of the Cheese and Spice Market, including artisanal cheese and meats, loose leaf teas, and exclusively selected gourmet products. They also carry many local products including cheese, honey, jams, nut butters, chutney, caponata, marmalade, spread, roasted coffee, organic chocolate, and seasonings, as well as a selection of cheese boards, slates, and marble slabs. These are perfect for both serving to guests and giving as hostess gifts, according to owner Gary Kaczmarczyk.
“The market also has many gift items that any foodie would love to receive including cheese graters, knives and slicers, fondue pots, cheese making kits, pepper mills, spice jars and tins, tea infusers and pots, and ‘make your own’ vanilla kits,” Kaczmarczyk says. “Cheese and Spice Market associates can help you create your own distinctive gift basket or box with a theme around specific products, such as cheese and meats, spices and salts, coffee and teas, pasta and sauces, jams and spreads, or with local products.”
There are so many options for holiday shopping on the North Fork. You are sure to find great items for men, women, children, and even your four-legged friends, across the East End to meet anyone’s style. Whether it is clothing, thoughtful home décor, globally inspired accessories, toys, stocking stuffers, foodie favorites, and everything in between, shopping is a little more fun when you do it locally. Happy Holidays!