2016 Holiday Gift Guide

by / Nov. 23, 2016 12am EST
One year, in the late 1970s, my sister and I gave everyone in the family pet rocks for Christmas. Not the pet rocks you bought by mail-order, conceived by (perhaps evil) marketing genius Gary Dahl in 1975. Rather, we gathered rocks in the backyard. We did nothing to label or to individualize them. We did not, to the best of my recollection, wrap them. We gave them to our siblings and to our mother, thinking this was just compensation for the many and splendid gifts for us under the Christmas tree.

Another year, she and I gave our elder siblings books. Not books we’d purchased for them, thinking about their tastes and their current stations in life: rather, books we’d found on the family bookshelves, wrapped (badly, I think), and presented as if new. I gave my eldest brother that year a Spanish-language Charlie Brown book, which he may have recognized, as there was an inscription on the inside title page that read “Feliz Navidad, David, 1965.”

The point is this: You have time to do better than my sister and I did. And in the following pages, you’ll find some tips on how to do so. Feliz Navidad, brother. I’m still using the last wallet I bought you for Christmas, going on 30 years ago. —GEOFF KELLY


1027 Elmwood Avenue

One of the Elmwood Village’s newest gift shops is Parables Gallery and Gifts. The residence-turned store front opened earlier this year. The gallery consists of three rooms: The first is overflowing with arts and crafts from handmade pillows to Buffalo-themed t-shirts. In the second room you’ll find original artwork by owner Glenn Kroetsch in the form of his acrylic paintings. Finally, the third room is reserved for solo or group artwork shows that change on a regular basis.

If you like this you might like:
Albright-Knox Gift Shop (art, gifts)
1045 Elmwood Gallery (original art)

1055 Elmwood Avenue
One of the longest-standing gift stores in the Elmwood Village, Poster Art, in their brick building on the corner of Elmwood and Bird, has been serving holiday gift-buyers for more than a few decades now. Some gift ideas include Buffalo-themed t-shirts, collectibles, and of course, any kind of poster art you can imagine.

If you like this you might like:
Spiral Scratch (record shop)
Talking Leaves (book shop)
Gutter Pop Comics (comic book shop)

773 Elmwood Avenue
This shop is more like something you’d find on Queen Street West in Toronto than on Elmwood Avenue in Buffalo. And that’s a compliment. The store features a finely curated selection of home wares, books, flasks, home décor, and some jewelry and clothing too.

If you like this you might like:
Everything Elmwood (gifts)
Neo Inc (gifts)

719 Elmwood Avenue
Tucked inside of Thin Ice on Elmwood is a new gift shop called Shop Craft. The shop-within-a-shop features a few neat gifts including locally made seed bombs. Think bath bombs but for growing unique plants. While you’re there, you might as well check out Thin Ice, one of the area’s largest gift shops. Look for the hockey puck bottle openers for an awesome gift idea.

If you like this you might like:
Urban Roots (gardening)
Renew Bath and Body (bath bombs)
Thin Ice (gift shop)

736 Elmwood Avenue
Elmwood’s longtime standby for chic, modern clothing and outerwear, this bright storefront packs it in with threads for both men and women with a range of styles one might need for a formal holiday party, a long night of dancing, or even a day on the slopes. Hell, they even sell stand-up paddleboards! 

​If you like this you might like:
Buffalo Fleece & Outerwear (winter clothing)
Anna Grace (women’s clothing)


385 Franklin Street
This brand spanking new gift shop in a classic Allentown location features trinkets, art pieces, and other goods created by local artists. Fred, located on its namesake corner of Franklin Street and Edward Street, has Buffalo inspired t-shirts, change purses, beanies, cards, and more to browse through during your holiday shopping time. 

​If you like this you might like:
Furnishings (wares)
Rust Belt Love (cards)

93 Allen Street
Allentown hosts FreshlyDippedClothing.com’s flagship location, which offers contemporary goods and clothing inspired by only the most styling trends. Look here for your choice of snapbacks, denim, sweaters, sneakers, and as much Kanye apparel that you could possibly want.

​If you like this you might like:
Sole High (sneaker store)
Bureau (men’s formal wear)

Photo by Ariel Aberg-Riger
435 Rhode Island Street
Quaint, cozy, and easily your one-stop liquor shop for the holidays. Find that perfect bottle of wine as a gift, or supply your entire office holiday party. Or just supply your own liquor cabinet while you’re at it.

If you like this you might like:

Gates Circle Wine (liquor)
Savory Sips (wine)
Village Beer Merchant (craft beer)

Photo by Nicole Cooke
224 Allen Street
Opened by a group of local artists—Mickey Harmon, Tom Holt, Sarah Liddell, Mike West, Esther Neisen, and Yames Moffit—Pine Apple Company is a much needed addition to the Allentown shopping scene. The store features artwork by the aforementioned artists—from small pieces of visual art to mini stuffed animals, and knicknacks—as well as new local artists on a rotating basis. This month
features artist Nikolai Failla.

​If you like this you might like:
Starlight Studio and Art Gallery (art gallery)
Studio Hart (art gallery)
Burchfield Penney Gift Shop (gift shop)


25 Grant Street
You’re guaranteed to find unique, one-of-a-kind gifts at the Westside Bazaar. Local artisans, crafts people, and vendors fill the space on Grant Street with clothing, jewelry, and more. Oh yeah, and it’s a fantastic place to grab a snack or more. We recommend the dim sum. 

​If you like this you might like:
Buffalo History Museum Gift Shop (gifts)
Inspiration point (gifts)


1508 Hertel Avenue
When you walk into Cone Five Pottery Gallery on Hertel, you’re greeted by a vast array of pottery. Greg Link, owner of the gallery, makes it all. Of course the store carries way more than pottery, from glass ornaments to picture frames and other decorative art, but it’s the one-of-a-kind, handmade pottery pieces that generate the appeal of this wonderful store.  

​If you like this you might like:
El Buen Amigo (art and gifts)
Chatham Pottery Studio (pottery)

1419 Hertel Avenue
Hertel’s newest art gallery is called Revolution, and you’re liable to find some of the funkiest, strange, and most intriguing art in Buffalo there. Run by artists Maria Pabico LaRotonda and Craig LaRotonda (you might remember Craig as the artist who created the cover image for our first issue), the gallery will feature their unique artwork—full-scale visual arts pieces as well as postcards,
jewelry, and the artwork of featured local artists. Successfully funded through KickStarter, the store officially opens on Black Friday, so you can be the first to buy some of their original artwork. 

​If you like this you might like:
Dana Tillou Fine Arts (art gallery)
Bon Fire Craft (artisan crafts)

1451 Hertel Avenue
What makes this one-room record store in North Buffalo special is its extensive collection of both new and used records. Finely curated, you’ll find everything from the newest trending indie rock records rare psychedelic LPs and hard-to-find disco singles. And if you can’t find it in the store, owner Phil Machemer probably has it in his garage. Just make an appointment. 

​If you like this you might like:
Record Theater (record shop)
The Second Reader (book shop)
John Marfoglia (antiques)

1172 Hertel Avenue
Oh, Terrapin. Hertel’s classic head shop is the go-to for all of your incense- and tapestry-deprived relations this holiday season. The shop also has a great selection of knitted mittens, hats, scarves, Baja hoodies, socks, and more to protect against the cold Buffalo winter, as well as a variety of natural fiber clothing and lovely jewelry. 

If you like this you might like:

Headin’ to Hertel (head shop)
Headspace (head shop)
Decades (head shop)


56 East Spring Street
This place is a 10-year-old’s dream come true. Of course they carry just about any comic book you can think of, but 1811 Comics also has a huge selection of Funko Pop collectiable action figures, superhero memrobelia, and even houses a retro video game arcade. And that’s just the second floor. The first floor is a candy shop.

If you like this you might like:
Talking Leaves Books (book shop)
Queen City Book Store (comics)

5596 Main Street
Ten Thousand Villages is a reliable chain store dedicated to selling fair trade and handmade gifts and crafts from around the world. Truly a variety store, the Williamsville shop has plenty of jewelry, kitchenware, clothing, art, decor, office supplies, and more to chose from while looking for family and friends. Added bonus: Shopping here supports a working system of fair wages, recycled
materials, and time-honored craftmanship. 

If you like this you might like:
Dovi and Girls (fair trade products)

5225 Main Street
Though Clayton’s recently opened up a new location in the Harbor Center, their longer-standing location on Main Street in Williamsville is still stock-piled with great games, puzzles, dolls, and more.  One of our favorite gifts is a classic: the spirograph art set.

If you like this you might like:

The Tree House Toy Store (toys)
Dragon Snack Games (board games)
Oogie Games (video games

At dailypublic.com: a shopping trip to East Aurora (Toytown USA!) and other points south.