From a “shop local” campaign launched by American Express, to a “National Buy Local Day” movement on Facebook, to an “Occupy Black Friday” trend sweeping America (in Boise, Idaho, “consumer zombies” are planning a coordinated effort to wander around a mall in silent protest of what they view as unnecessary spending, according to USA Today) – the message to “unchain” oneself from chain stores is competing with Black Friday promotions for your consumerist consideration.
If you want to avoid the frenzied chaos accompanying the unofficial start of the Christmas shopping season – which, in the past has drawn tens of thousands of discount-hungry patrons armed with credit cards and caffeine to the big box stores at Gilroy Crossing and Gilroy Premium Outlets (which open at 9 p.m. on Thanksgiving) don’t forget about South County’s local entrepreneurs.
Sure, iPads are awesome. No arguing that. But also consider…
Booksmart Kids: Whimsical toys, classic games, beloved children’s books. Ask about the “Bubber.” Located: 7490 Monterey St.
Rapazzini Winery: Here’s a great gift idea for your stoic in-laws. Pick a specialty fruit wine (apricot, peach, raspberry delight or berry berry), and pair with a bottle of Almond Champagne to make a concoction Rapazzini co-owner Alex Larson calls “the baby maker” – because if you have two of those, “you want to practice making babies.” Located: 4350 Monterey Road.
The Nimble Thimble: Handmade goat milk soaps from Bell Hill Farms in Hollister, or cookbooks with Garlic Festival recipes, make awesome stocking stuffers.
Mango Street Kids: No sooner did you buy that $50 fleece hoodie from Baby Gap, than your brand new baby niece grew out of it in a matter of months. Stay green, buy smart at this boutique resale store for newborns and children. Located: 7579 Monterey St.
Gilroy wineries: Memberships, memberships, memberships. It’s a wonderful, affordable way to support local grape growers, and give a unique gift that keeps on giving year-round. Visit www.gilroyvisitor.org and click on the “Wineries” button for a complete list of local vintners.
Littlejohn’s Fine Jewelry, Museum & Antique trading Post: Seriously, before you go to Zales or Ultra Diamonds, visit this funky niche for an eclectic (and affordable) trove of one-of-a-kind and antique jewelry. Locally owned for 35 years, Littlejohn’s has a glittering selection of vintage and consignment bling for all tastes and budgets.