Holiday Shopping Guide: 26 Best Gifts to Give in Philly
Consider this your holiday shopping road map, gift-givers: We scoured the top boutiques in Philly to unearth the best presents to give now, from cool tech and cute toys to locally made treasures and all-out luxury. You’ll find little-known offerings (a tea subscription service!) and shop-owner faves (that kid’s matching set came highly recommended), plus some brand-new, fresh-on-store-floor items you’ll want to know about before everyone else has a chance to get their hands on them.
So go, take a look, and get out there and get shopping. Have a question or need some gift-giving advice. Send Shoppist an email. Just think of us as your elves. (Only wearing slightly better shoes.)
They’re mostly one-size-fits-all, they won’t go out of style, and if you put them in a pretty little box (like these velvet beauties from The Mrs. Box), you won’t even have to break out the wrapping paper. Bingo! Clockwise from top left: Loriann Stevenson amber diamond ring, $8,100, and diamond wrap ring, $7,100, Gabriella Kiss chrysoprase earrings, $1,980, Maria Beaulieu gold and white sapphire bracelet, $4,700, Kimberlin Brown pearl and diamond ring, $2,730, and Gabriella Kiss amethyst pendant necklace, $3,080, all at Egan Day, Rittenhouse.
In the clutch? Gift a classic navy carry-all with a double swan-neck handle. It’s no Birkin; it’s better. Thalé Blanc Audrey mini tote, $1,395 at Boyds, Rittenhouse.
The go-to hostess gift gets an upgrade with Vagabond’s newest wax-and-wicks line, Na Nin. Get the Cripple Creek scent, an inviting mix of smoky pine and butter cookie. $26 at Vagabond, Old City.
Buy modern, wear-everyday diamonds, set in unfussy bangles. Rene Escobar bracelets, from $825 at Ella’s Grove, Haverford.
Let the experts at Momo’s Tree House point you in the direction of IQ-boosting playthings like a USA-made wooden matching game (“Y is for Yoga”). When your tot grows up to be the next Einstein, you can take all the credit. Hipster ABC tile set, $34.99 at Momo’s Tree House, Old City.
Easily transportable when zipped, this heritage-inspired stadium cushion unfolds to make an extra-toasty layer should game day fall in the dead of winter. Faribault Woolen Mill Pak-A-Robe, $238 at Stars & Stripes, Rittenhouse.
You could get him run-of-the-mill gloves. Or you could gift him Austrian-made leather gloves with stitching so tight that not an ounce of heat escapes, and lining so luxe (rabbit fur!) that you’ll want to keep them for yourself. From $195 at Tobox, Rittenhouse.
Hey, sometimes a rough morning is the sign of a great night. Your best bet: the Franklin Bar’s tasting menu, a prix fixe trio of cocktails served in the sexy subterranean drinkery, and well worth the Advil. Prices vary, Rittenhouse.
One reason to invest in a great phone case: The more you love it, the less pissed you’ll be when Apple releases the 7s in, oh, a month or so. Stella McCartney shark case, $145 by special order at Saks Fifth Avenue, Bala Cynwyd.
And jam. And cheese for white wine. And cheese for red wine. And any one of the delectable combinations offered in Di Bruno Bros.gourmet gift baskets, perfect for weary hostesses. From $49.99 at Di Bruno Bros., Rittenhouse.
Because we all secretly want to live in a kitchen from a Nancy Meyers film, and these graphic marble serving boards get us one step closer. (Also, everyone already has a drawer full of wine stoppers.) From $68 at Terrain, Glen Mills.
It’s like Siri + the Dalai Lama + the weatherman, all wrapped up into one sleek voice-activated wireless speaker. The Amazon Echo plays music, but it can also give you the weather, traffic and news, read you your daily to-do list, turn on your lights, and do everything else you’d want a robot to do (except cook). $179.99 at Amazon.com.
Presents that pack staying power: CSArtisans sends subscribers a seasonal package of rustic lifestyle wares by Philly makers (from $248; thekitchengardenseries.com), while entertainment-centric varieties from the Philadelphia Film Society (from $35; filmadelphia.org) and FringeArts (from $65; fringearts.com) offer free or discounted tickets as well as VIP perks like early access and priority seating.
A Burberry scarf ($475) is a classically great present, but to really make it special, take a spin through the brand’s newly launched custom monogram options (an additional $75). Pick an embroidery color at the KOP outpost, and within seven business days, your custom cashmere is fit to gift.
Buy these for him, because a polyester messenger bag just doesn’t telegraph the same sophistication as ruggedly cool (and Main Line-made!) leather accessories. Riley portfolio sleeve, $185, and Avery big portfolio, $195, at Waltzing Matilda, Wayne.
Local illustrator Melissa Noucas creates frame-worthy paper goods (notebooks, stationery, prints) that make sweet, chic gifts for those on your under-$50 list. From $26 at Theateliershop.com.
Book her the Rittenhouse massage ($130 for 60 minutes) at the Rittenhouse Spa, then remind her that a spa treatment gives her all-day access to the indoor pool, which is open until 10 p.m. and has a lunch-and-drink menu. Oh, and then offer to watch the kids.
Barefoot Dreams creates the coziest robes on earth—cloud-soft pieces of heaven that’ll make you never want to wear clothes again. $114.95 at Scarlett Alley, Old City.
Easiest hostess gift ever: Pick up a set of soaps by Philly-based Hand in Hand. They come in delicious, uncloying scents like fir and vanilla spice, and picture-perfect packaging. Better yet, founders Courtney and Bill Glaab tie charitable donations to the sale of each product, to provide soap and clean water to those in need. From $20 at Anthropologie, multiple locations.
The tea sommeliers at Lotus Farm to Table in Media will work with you to curate personalized monthly boxes for loose-leaf lovers—complete with teapot, strainer and seasonal flavors—and deliver them to your giftee’s doorstep (from $30). Present them with a tea towel or two (pictured), illustrated by a local artist with annotated nutcrackers and gingerbread houses. $16 each at Occasionette, South Philly.
The handmade derby shoes and soft-soled baby booties that come out of Heather Holiday’s Fishtown studio are worth every penny, and cut generously so that small feet have room to grow. From $60 at Masondixonmade.com.
Retro in form, not function, this briefcase-style turntable boasts old-school charm while still appealing to tech-y folks; its USB capability easily converts records into digital files, while music makers can connect to Software Suite to edit the audio content afterward. Crosley Radio USB turntable, $99.99 at Bloomingdale’s, King of Prussia.
The Apple watch is arguably the most sought-after arm candy of the year. The Hermès version, complete with handsome leather straps, is the icing on the cake. $1,250 by special order at Hermès, King of Prussia.
Beauty-centric presents call for a delicate balancing act: Botox is offensive; gift sets are impersonal. But giving your mom, sister or daughter long, full, natural-looking lashes is neither of those things. At LashBee, owners Anjali Bhatia and Erin Soletski painstakingly apply semi-permanent lash extensions that leave their super-loyal clientele doe-eyed and Deneuve-esque. (Did you really think we’d say xylophone?) From $150 at LashBee, Midtown Village and Market East.
In the form of a cozy, chunky sweater she won’t want to take off until Memorial Day. Alice + Olivia sweater, $396 at Knit Wit, Rittenhouse and Bryn Mawr.
The locally crafted PVC- and phalates-free yoga mats by Spiritual Revolution ($85, spiritualrevolutionyoga.com) are ultra-absorbent, made from completely biodegradable materials, and machine-washable. Pair one with a gift certificate to Fishtown’s Amrita Yoga for one month of unlimited classes ($108), so your yogi can break it in properly.