Boston is a city that’s full of many wonderful neighborhoods. By living in the South End and working in the North End, I’ve had the opportunity to get to know many of the city’s local, small businesses. As often as I can, and especially during the holidays, I try to shop local to support the boutiques and gift shops that add such color and personality to my favorite neighborhoods.
If you haven’t taken the time to shop small in Boston this holiday season, I highly encourage you to make a trip (or two!) to one of my favorite local shops. I’m always in awe of the one-of-a-kind, beautiful merchandise that is thoughtfully placed throughout the stores. Additionally, these local businesses always have the best window displays. I love walking by and marveling at the level of detail that the shop owners put in to creating the ultimate first impressions for their customers.
I promise you’ll find the perfect gift for everyone on your list and maybe even a little something for yourself.
Happy holiday shopping!
The A-Lyst for Best Local Shops for Holiday Gifts
Located on Salem Street, steps away from the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway, Shake The Tree is my go-to for Instagram-worthy mugs and trays, beautiful smelling perfumes, and the cutest little trinkets. On a recent trip, I fell in love with the shop’s extraordinary collection of cookbooks and novel accessories for the favorite chef or bartender in your life (think cocktail bitters & adorable stirrers to decorative cheese boards & gold-plated serving spoons). If you have a Secret Santa to buy for or need to find the perfect stocking stuffers, this can be your one-stop-shop for everything. The store is stocked with items at a variety of price points and there is truly something for everyone on your list!
Owner Sofi Madison has carefully curated her South End shop to offer only the best up and coming products. From barrel-aged maple syrups and scrumptious chocolates to the most delicious smelling candles and hand-carved coasters, Olives & Grace helps shoppers uncover a wide variety of emerging food and gift creations in a bright and friendly environment. Don’t miss the frequent weekend pop-ups and samplings at the shop, as they’re a great way to support local businesses that may not have a storefront yet.
I fell in love with Flat of the Hill when I first moved to Boston and discovered the oh-so-charming neighborhood of Beacon Hill. Anytime I’m in the area, this gift shop is on my list to visit. From their beautiful wall art (I love the wooden frames they sell that display famous quotes!) to housewares, handbags, frames, and beauty must-haves, I know that I can always count on Flat of the Hill for great gifts. The store is small and can be crowded on the weekends with tourists, so if your schedule allows, I recommend a week day visit.
For the guys in my life that are difficult to buy for (which is basically all of them!), I love SAULT in the South End. Throughout the year, I find myself swinging by on my way home from work and picking up great accessories and useful odds & ends for my husband. Their Jack Spade weekend bags and knits, creative bottle openers, needlepoint wallets, metal collar stays, and grooming kits are always a hit!
Beauty lovers unite! Not only is this store filled with every eye cream, face wash, and anti-aging serum you could ever desire, but every product is healthy for your body. One of my favorite gifts to buy for friends who are local to Boston are Follain’s refillable liquid soaps. You buy the glass bottle and the first batch of soap, and then each time you run out, you bring the empty bottle to the store and choose your new soap scent, which Follain fills up for a fraction of the original cost. It’s an easy, eco-friendly way to get good-for-you soap and visit this great local store on a regular basis. Follain’s original shop is in the South End, but they also have locations in Beacon Hill, Nantucket, New York City, Washington D.C., and continue to expand.
When I’m invited to a housewarming party, Neatly Nested is my first stop. Home decor and interior design fanatics will be in heaven as they enter this corner shop on West Broadway in South Boston. With statement mirrors and stand-out pieces of restored furniture lining the walls, I simply adore the aesthetic of the shop. For gifts, Neatly Nested has lovely accessories, including decorative trays, candles, wall prints & wooden signs, and throw pillows, all of which are sure to make decor enthusiasts smile.
Ok, so I have a confession: I really love to shop for myself. In fact, half the time I go shopping, I don’t even need anything specific, I just truly enjoy gingerly thumbing through the racks, playing with sparkly baubles, and trying on items that I might need to add to my closet “someday.” When this so-called shopping urge calls, these boutiques are my favorite places to stop by on a whim. If you have a style lover in your life and on your gift list this holiday season, I suggest a visit to one of my favorite clothing boutiques in Boston. Even if it’s just picking up the wittiest greeting card or warmest pair of hand-knit mittens, you will not leave empty-handed!
Earrings: Past season; similar here
Nail Polish: OPI The Thrill of Brazil