Gift-hunting season is officially upon us! Do you need a little inspiration?
We dispatched our cheerful team of industrious reporters to flit elf-like through Southwest Minneapolis in search of the city’s most delightful treasures.
Take a break from online shopping this holiday season, and enjoy a peek at what some of Minneapolis’ many thriving gift merchants have to offer.
We hope our gift guide can spark some ideas for what to buy to please your loved ones. Happy holidays!
Children’s art books
While the overall selection at the Walker Art Center’s gift shop seems to have dwindled over the past year, its section of children’s books and toys remains a go-to when it comes to presents for tots. From hand-felted mobiles to artfully designed wooden blocks, the store offers many options for aesthetically conscious babies (or their parents).
A number of books and flashcards aim to inspire an early appreciation for art. We recommend Italian artist Fausto Gilberti’s children’s book “Yves Klein Painted Everything Blue and Wasn’t Sorry” or “Baby Art Gallery,” a set of high-contrast black-and-white cards with images referencing works by Picasso, Matisse and others.
For a fun activity you can gift the interactive kids book “Art This Way” to a young art appreciator and then take them on a stroll through the Walker’s galleries, where they can see works by Cindy Sherman, Andy Warhol and other artists mentioned in the book.
Price: Under $20
Where to find it: The Walker Shop at the Walker Art Center, 725 Vineland Place
‘The Forever Sky’ by Thomas Peacock
The Northern Lights are a spectacle for anyone to see, especially considering Minnesotans don’t have to go far to get a glimpse.
Thomas Peacock, a member of the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, writes of that experience in his recent book “The Forever Sky.” The book follows two young brothers, Niigaanii and Bineshiinh, who look to the night sky for answers. They observe the constellations, picking out shapes that resemble moose and loons, until one night, beautiful colors fill the sky.
The two brothers learn that the Northern Lights are the spirits of their ancestors and, after some time, are presented with a message that furthers their understanding of their family history and their culture.
The book is beautifully illustrated by Annette S. Lee and is sure to bring the wonderment of the Northern Lights to any kid reading it.
Where to find it: Birchbark Books, 2115 W. 21st St.
Hagen and Oats cribbage boards
These wooden cribbage boards, created by Newport, Minnesota-based Hagen and Oats, have the state of Minnesota carved out of them. One of the boards, created for the company’s “Stainbow” initiative, has the colors of the rainbow. The company donates 10% of Stainbow sales to organizations supportive of the local LGBTQ+ community, such as St. Paul-based Reclaim. Hagen and Oats, which designs custom wood decor and signage, was founded in 2015 by sisters Anna Hagen and Nikki Hollerich. The duo sells their wares at over 50 locations, including the Mall of America and Grand Collective in St. Paul. A popular item is custom dog portraits, Hollerich said.
Price: $25 (price of cribbage board at hagenandoats.com); $34.95 (price at Bibelot + GoodThings Linden Hills)
Where to find it: Bibelot + GoodThings Linden Hills, 4301 Upton Ave.
A labradorite pendant
Crystals have gained popularity in recent years for their potential to heal, but they’re also aesthetically pleasing to the eye. If you swear by the power of the crystal, ZRS Fossils and Gifts in LynLake has you covered.
Labradorite is a beautiful blue-green crystal and it’s said to have “magical prowess.” A card near the pendant claims that the crystal enhances experiences including telepathy, prophecy, spiritual connections and more. It also “protects and strengthens your personal energies.” Even if you personally don’t believe in the crystal’s powers, you can definitely appreciate its beauty.
ZRS Fossils and Gifts has the largest selection of fossils and crystals in the Twin Cities. Walking into their store on Lyndale is almost like walking into a museum and the staff are excited to help you find the best healing crystal for all your needs.
Where to find it: ZRS Fossils and Gifts, 3018 Lyndale Ave. S.
France 44 gift baskets
Linden Hills-based France 44 sells three standard gift baskets. Its wine-and-cheese basket has three half-pound cheese wedges, Minnesota honey, chocolate, Potter’s crackers and two bottles of wine. The beer basket has a selection of the store’s bestselling and favorite Minnesota beers, such as St. Louis Park-based Steel Toe Brewing’s Size 7 India pale ale. A third basket comes in the form of a tote bag and has popcorn, granola and chocolate chip cookies, among other goodies. Customized baskets are also available and can include wine, spirits, beer, cider, food and other accessories.
Price: $69.99 (beer basket), $79.99 (snack tote), $99.99 (wine and cheese basket); custom baskets start at $50
Where to find it: France 44, 4351 France Ave.
50th & France
Give the gift of restoration with a gift card to Halo Cryotherapy in Fulton.
It might seem odd to want to step inside a dry nitrogen vapor chamber at negative 230 degrees in the middle of winter, but you’ll feel better afterward. Cryotherapy is used to treat soreness, inflammation and pain and also helps improve blood flow. The treatments burn a considerable number of calories and are known to release endorphins in a way that mimics a runner’s high.
Cryotherapy has become a common recovery tactic for professional athletes. Just be sure your loved one is using the proper protective footwear.
Price: $100 for four sessions for new clients.
Where to find it: Halo Cryotherapy, 3615 W. 50th St.
100% natural beeswax candles
Any excuse to visit The Foundry Home Goods on the corner of 48th & Grand results in at least a half hour of close looking and a considerable amount of longing for the tightly curated selection of items on display.
As you wend your way through the store and try to resist the urge to pick up every delightful tool or trinket in sight (a petite black goat hair dust brush! a white porcelain fine ginger grater!) you might stumble upon a bundle of amber-hued beeswax candlesticks — a Foundry Home Goods staple.
These locally crafted candles hail from the Ellis family’s fourth-generation-run farm in western Minnesota and burn beautifully at the dinner table. It’s a gift that keeps on giving: The candlesticks are long-lasting and can be used for many a merry occasion, and once they’ve been used, your recipient will surely delight in replenishing their stock with their own visit to the store.
Price: $8 (for 10-inch taper)
Where to find it: The Foundry Home Goods, 322 W. 48th St.
50th & France
Magic Light Wand
The holidays are a magical time of year, so it only makes sense to give a wand.
The Magic Light Wand puts the power of the season in your hands. The wand syncs up with the lights on your tree or in your yard and gives kids (or adults) the power to control the lights with a simple flick (or click).
Rena Lenz said she ordered the Magic Light Wand at her Fulton gift shop Burlap & Brass after seeing her nieces and nephews enjoy it last holiday season. It’s a fun and interactive gift that might be best to give before Christmas and Hanukkah to get the most out of the season.
Where to find it: Burlap & Brass, 5013 Ewing Ave. S.