This is a Local Spot

I don’t hate Black Friday. I’d much rather put something on layaway and then pick it up a week before Christmas, or just do all my shopping in October, which I did this year. Just about all of it, barring specific requests for things, came from either Etsy, other small e-tailers, Ebay, or antique stores. I don’t partake, myself, in getting up before dawn and hitting the stores for deals, but I know people who do it and enjoy it. It’s like a ritual, almost like a sporting event. Having gotten caught up in some pretty weird stuff myself I can’t exactly mock.

What I do hate, though, is the coverage of Black Friday, the frantic stories about people lining up, trampling each other, getting into fights, the basic tone that this is insane SO THEN WHY ARE YOU COVERING IT? The total lack of editorial standards that dictate that every TV station has to have a reporter at a Wal-Mart at 3 a.m. and every newspaper has to lead off stories with projections about how much money we’ll all make or not make and what that says abou the economy … all of it in that “and isn’t consumerist Christmas terrible” tone that says we should all be very ashamed of ourselves while feeling vaguely guilty for not spending more.

And while I can usually ignore the bullshit, more and more it seeps into online where I can’t escape. So as an antidote, a sort of middle ground between those of us who love gift giving but can’t deal with the stampedes, I’d like a suggestion thread for your favorite non-chain, on- or off-line places to pick up something special. They don’t have to be Christmas gifts only, after all, people get sick or need care packages or have birthdays or graduations all year round. So gimme your favorites. A few of mine:

Keeney’s Sporting Goods & PK’s Antiques, Elgin, Ill.

The Mars Cheese Castle.

Boondock G.

Angels of Olde.

The Careful Peach.


8 thoughts on “This is a Local Spot

  1. Dan says:

    A good friend of oursruns this, and while I’m not an especially good judge of these things she’s generally gotten positive responses.

  2. You never know what you’ll find at Tuesday Morning, since they have new stuff coming in all the time.

  3. Jude says:

    As long as we’re plugging local places, A Woman’s Touch is very nice, has wonderful owner/proprietors, and they ship to anywhere in the country.
    Then there’sThe House of Wisconsin Cheese, for all you squares.

  4. Interrobang says:

    ThePine River Cheese Cooperative, which is a family-run cooperative since the 1880s, makes the best cheese in Ontario (which I can unfortunately no longer eat). They do have an online store and will ship products, but I don’t know how far. If you’re outside southern Ontario, best e-mail them for details.
    If you like antiquities, Talbot’s Fine Accessories can set you up with real ancient artifacts. (I own an 800 year old horseshoe from them.) They ship to US and Canada, as far as I know.

  5. whet moser says:

    * Red Rooster, akaRR&1, at Chicago and Ashland in Chicago
    *Bobbie Nelson’s in Kenosha (near the cheese castle mentioned above)
    *Cyberoptix TieLab
    * Anything fromDiana Sudyka; she sells on Etsy. She’s the wife of Jay Ryan, another major figure in the Chicago poster scene. Her rock posters are great, but I particularly love her ornithology illos.

  6. whet moser says:

    Oh, and A.: if you’re going to the Mars Cheese Castle, I highly recommend a side trip to theHobnob. Haven’t eaten there, but as you can tell from the Web site, it’s a perfect old school bar/supper club.

  7. pansypoo says:

    i always think at estate sales. but the best xmas shopping i did was 1/2 hour on ebay for my coin collecting uncle. OOOH, a 1776 russian kopec! a nazi era hindenburg coin. had toget uncle out of the wheat penny rut. roman coins. indian heads! last minute deals rock!

  8. whet moser says:

    Oh, and Hoosier Mama pies (if you live in Chicago). The window seat in their little storefront is my favorite place in the city.

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