No more ties and frying pans for dad, mom
Saturday, December 08, 2012 4:00 AM
Christmas shopping could prove to be costly with many of the electronic must-have items featured in national advertisements, yet ideas to fit any budget can be found with a trip to Madison's local businesses.
UNUSUAL GIFT IDEAS: Clockwise from left — cookies for pets at the Blue Cerebus Dog Boutique; waterproof backpack at Fizz’z Bike Shop; binoculars at Cultivate; purses, jewelry and scarfs at E Boutique, and picture frames and mittens made from recycled items at the Little Golden Fox
There are many unusual - and affordable - Christmas gifts to be found in Madison. Courier Staff Writer Renee Bruck went shopping and found some great gifts for the entire family.
Local merchants have a mixture of gift ideas for the entire family during the holidays, from children and teenagers to mom and dad. Some shops even have items for your favorite pet.
Cultivate Nature Shop, 108 E. Main St., features many items that encourage children to explore the outdoors. The store features items, such as children-sized garden tools and binoculars for adventures outside in a variety of price ranges, from $10 to $40 or more.
Other smaller items - like plastic bugs, snakes and other insects - cost anywhere from a few cents to a couple of dollars and always work well as stocking stuffers, Cultivate owner David Misamore said.
"We'll have grandmas come in and spend $50 on stocking stuffers," he said.
The store also sells Monopoly-like versions of games that aren't found in most retail stores.
Cultivate also stocks several items for other members of the family. Boxer shorts have been a sought-after item this year at the store. Most people buy the shorts as a gag gift for dad, Misamore said, but lots of customers return to buy more than one pair after finding the shorts to be both fun and comfortable.
For the more practical gift ideas for dad, the store carries grilling items like a hamburger grilling basket or a toasted sandwich iron, which start at $12 and up.
Fizz'z Bike Shop, 311 West St., stocks a variety of items for the outdoorsmen, including bikes for any age, but the store also has the tools and other items needed for riding cross-country or just across town.
Even though several bikes are on lay-away for the holidays, the store also sells quite a few seat bags and tools. Prices of the items range from $29 to $69, Jerry Barnes of Fizz'z Bike Shop said.
The Mr. Fix-its on holiday lists might enjoy an all-in-one multipurpose bike tools that have been selling for stocking stuffers. The tools start at $19.99 and can fix a variety of issues, Barnes said.
Hydropak water backpacks could also help dad prepare for summer outdoor work or make the heat more bearable during fair days or the Madison Regatta.
Cara Fox, owner of the Little Golden Fox, said picture frames made from reclaimed wood have been a popular gift for mothers. Many people plan to include family photos in the frame for a more personalized touch.
"It's the kind of gift that everyone enjoys," Fox said.
The frames usually sell out quickly, Fox said, but she tries to keep several sizes of frames in stock. The frames are created by two women in Georgia who take recycled materials to make new creations that can go with almost any interior. Prices vary from $22 to $44 depending on the size of the frame.
Wool gloves made from recycled sweaters are also a sought-after item this holiday season at the Little Golden Fox, 402 Broadway. The handcrafted gloves are made locally by Connie Lynch and feature designs that are one-of-a-kind because of the different cuts of cloth, Fox said.
Mom might also like a handcrafted wool hat created by local resident Renee Osburn. The hats, which are sold at Cultivate, have been quite popular during the holiday season, Misamore said. Each of the hats features unique patterns and colors, and each creation comes with its own name on the tag. Prices vary per design starting around $50.
E Boutique has several gifts for mothers and daughters. Several pieces of jewelry and other items in the store are handmade to help girls express their unique styles. Many of the items are one-of-a-kind and are not sold in other stores.
"I'm known for my handbags and jewelry," Liz Hill, owner of E Boutique, said. "Everything's unique."
Scarfs and hats are also holiday gift ideas that are available at E Boutique, with most items in the store ranging from $10 to $52.
Several furry friends in the area will find special treats under the tree this season as well.
The Blue Cerebus Dog Boutique, 113 E. Main St., has treats for man's best friend from cookies to pet beds to collars and leashes.
Dawn Cleary, owner of the store, said most of her customers buy toys and leashes or collars for the holidays, but the holiday-themed cookies have been a large seller too.
"Our cookies are always huge (sellers)," Cleary said. "Toys are (good sellers) because it's Christmas."
Many customers buy the cookies on a regular basis anyway, but the new designs for December continue to draw in new and out-of-town customers as well.
"We change them constantly," Cleary said, even though pets may not enjoy the decorations as much as the owners.
Cookies sold at the Blue Cerebus range in price from 10 cents to $4.50. The toys range from $4 and up, while leashes and collars are $21.