Looking for those special places to find special gifts for your holiday shopping in Houston? A city our size has so many options it can be overwhelming. Here is a snapshot of a few unique Houston's retailers offering a variety of gift ideas to fit your needs.
Shop Local This Holiday Season
It's always a good thing when you can support local "mom-n-pop" stores with your purchases and gift giving. Some of my favorite "shop local" spots are located in the Heights.
Jubilee has been open for more than 20 years on W. 19th Street. It features unique apparel, gifts, vintage antique furniture, locally-made jewelry, glittery chandeliers, precious Texas-themed items plus fabulous women's cowboy boots. Don't miss its monthly events, 3rd Thursday Sip & Stroll plus the annual Holiday on 19th Street held the first Saturday in December.
2. Big Blue Whale Toys & Curiosities
Another local favorite on W. 19th in the Heights is Big Blue Whale Toys & Curiosities. This locally-owned store is filled with handmade, classic, and hard-to-find toys including books, puppets, educational games, dolls, dress-up fun, European lines and more. Parents love the nostalgic toys such as marbles, Pick-up Sticks, Magic 8 Ball, electronic Simon from the 1980s and yoyo's. Owner Vanessa wants the store to be "fun and silly" because that's what motivates her!
3. Houston Visitor’s Center
If you're looking for Houston or Texas-themed products, consider the Houston Visitor's Center! Open from 7 am – 10 pm, this spot not only offers all the information you need on local history, cultural arts, restaurants and more but also its unique gift shop. Local bikers might love the Official City of Houston Bike Jersey made in partnership with Houston's BP MS150 Bike Team. It's beautiful – at $95!
Handmade Holiday Gift Ideas
4. Space Montrose
Montrose area is home to a great little find, Space Montrose, which features local and U.S.-made products. From clothing to jewelry, candles, ceramics, paper products, toys, baby items, and wall art – there is something for everyone on your list. Many are one-of-a-kind items!
5. Brookwood Gift and Garden Center
Have you heard of the Brookwood Community? This amazing organization supports adults with disabilities allowing them to live onsite and create beautiful products available for sale. This gives the residents such a feeling of purpose. The original location in Brookshire, Brookwood Gift and Garden Center, also includes The Café at Brookwood where Houstonians can enjoy lunch overlooking the garden. Residents are skilled in making candles, ceramics, and cards. The Gift Center is filled with beautiful ceramic Christmas ornaments, Texas Flag and Bluebonnet-themed dinnerware pottery, crosses, candles, nativities, gourmet food and more. Folks also can visit the Grand Parkway Brookwood Store and the seasonal Brookwood Holiday Store at Town & Country, which opens November 1 through the holidays.
6. Pop Shop Houston
If you're not into the Black Friday madness, consider shopping the annual Pop Shop Houston held the Friday through Sunday after Thanksgiving at Silver Street Studios. This is a local curated festival of handmade and vintage shopping, craft workshops, art exhibitions, live music and free DIYs. One year I made a mini succulent terrarium!
Holiday Gift Deals and Bargains
7. Harwin Drive
Familiar with the shopping mecca, Harwin Drive, between Sam Houston Tollway and Hillcroft? This is the land of designer look-a-likes with store after store offering similar products of jewelry, clothing, electronics, perfume and more. It can be a little overwhelming but VisitHouston.com has a great listing of more than 80 shop names, addresses and phone numbers to keep you organized.
8. Houston CityPass
Give the experience of Houston at a bargain! Consider giving your family a Houston CityPass to visit Houston's best attractions at a fraction of the cost. Houston CityPass provides admission to five of Houston's top attractions such as Houston Museum of Natural Science, Downtown Aquarium, Space Center Houston, Houston Zoo, The Children's Museum of Houston, and Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. (You choose five of the seven options.) Adult passes are $59 and kid passes are $49. While the price might look steep, it is a savings of 49% off full price of these venues. Houston CityPass is valid for 9 days. Passes can be purchased online or at the Houston venues.
Hopefully these ideas will spark some ideas and keep you from aimlessly wandering around the shopping malls this holiday season. Houston's malls are amazing, too, but these gems offer some additional unique options.