of a single thing to buy? And to make it even worse, you need that gift by tomorrow? Rather than paying through the nose for overnight shipping, just take a quick ride on the T to one of these shops for a can't-help-but-love-it last-minute gift. - Paige Lewin
If you're looking for a gift with Boston sensibility, but more unexpected than a Sox cap or college t-shirt, take a trip to family-owned Boston Coasters in Porter Square. This affordable art shop offers vintage and reproduction maps, prints from emerging artists, coasters, ceramic tiles and original subway signs.
Rings made out of leather, colorful stacking coffee cups for every day of the week, and vegan wallets are just a few of the options from the eclectic collection at Davis Squared. Owned by long-time retail maven and local resident Melisa Ford Christie, Davis Squared has so many interesting choices, you need to watch the clock or you might spend all afternoon perusing the shop shelves.
Known primarily to crafters for its selection of gorgeous papers and do-it-yourself workshops, Paper Source also has books, textiles, and sassy office accessories for the creative chic. Five area locations include Boston and Brookline.
Bookstores can be a great source for gifts, but some are so large it's hard to find what you need. In addition to a great selection of titles, independently-owned Wellesley Booksmith has jewelry, handbags and toys. The children's section is well stocked with artistic and educational puzzles, games, craft kits and other goodies.
Newbury Street is known for its shops, but the one place I go to when I need an elegant gift in an instant is Dona Flor, a shop specializing in handmade ceramics imported from France. Ceramic styles can vary widely, so I love that Dona Flor stocks everything from clean simple lines to organic shapes to highly ornate pieces, and most are dishwasher, microwave and oven-safe.
What do spools of bakery string, dinner plates depicting the adventures of
Belgium's Tintin and vintage locker baskets have in common? They can all be found in Harvard Square's quirky Black Ink. This small shop in the heart of the Square is filled with housewares, paper goods, books, toys and other curiosities for anyone with a sense of humor. Add treats from Sweet cupcake shop across the street and Brattle Square Florist down the block, and no one will ever suspect you nearly forgot the big event.
Paige Lewin is a Boston lifer who has been a last-minute gift-hunter more times than she cares to admit. Paige spends her days in academia surrounded by hip co-eds, while at night she retreats to her life as a mother, writing about fashion, shopping and home design after the lights are out. She contributes to Boston Mamas and is the creator of Mudroom Boston. Paige lives north of Boston with her husband and two sons.
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