Savvy shopper Christine Mitchell is here to save your procrastinating ass
We're the kind of
people you see sprinting frantically around the mall on Christmas Eve,
mainlining food-court coffee with sweat streaming down our red faces as we
elbow other hapless procrastinators out of our way because WE SAW THAT SCARF
FIRST AIGHT? But we're not proud of it. So we tapped shopping expert
Christine Mitchell, former Rue La La copywriter and the scribe behind
hyper-local style blog NEastStyle.com, for tips on getting our down-to-the-wire
shopping done this year (especially for those difficult giftees we leave for
dead last) without stepping foot inside a mall. Call her the Blogger Who Saved
On shopping for in-laws (or potential in-laws) you really
like: "Get them something that shows them how
happy you are that they aren't psychos - something that's thoughtful and
reminds them that you're awesome too. Commission a portrait of the family pet,
painted by Somerville
artist Natalya Zahn. Every time they gaze at it, they'll think how adorable
Butch is, and how wonderful you are."
On shopping for in-laws you really don't like at all but you
want them to like you: "You're not the
biggest fans of each other, but starting a family feud isn't really your style.
So give them something that they'll respect and is functional. A handmade cheese
board by Structure, a husband and wife team based in Roslindale, is just the
On shopping for in-laws you really don't like at all and
don't really give a shit if they like you either: "Bring a six-pack of Pretty Things beer from Somerville . . . and then
drink four of them yourself."
On shopping for the boss man: "Shopping for the boss is kind of the worst. What's your budget? What's
appropriate? What's inappropriate? Best bet is a gift card to a local
restaurant like Area Four in Cambridge.
Definitely worth the investment when your boss raves to your colleagues about
your gift and how fantastic the meal was."
On shopping for that special someone you've been casually
dating (or sleeping with - we don't judge): "This can be a really awkward gift, and people tend to overanalyze it. Give
the gift of a fun experience you can share, like a class with City Chicks in Somerville.
There is a course for everyone, from sausage making and beer tasting to canning
techniques. Love will certainly blossom while you're learning how to cleave a
pig from head to tail."
On shopping for that special someone you've been dating
forever (and you really want this gift to be perfect): "You've been together forever, but that shouldn't give you the excuse for a
lazy gift. Bring back the romance with a weekend getaway at a memorable locale
out of the cit. An idyllic winter destination like The Round Barn Inn in
Waitsfield is a great choice."
On shopping for those weird relatives that are, like,
thrice-removed and you see once a decade but are joining you for the holidays
this year: "I would use this as another excuse to
give the gift of food or drink. Welcome them with a box of Taza chocolates from
Then proceed to encourage they taste each flavor . . . with your help."
On shopping for the person who has everything: "So they have everything. But I bet you they don't have a Cuppow lid for their mason jar! This clever gadget designed by a couple of
design/engineer guys in Somerville
enables you to convert your mason jar into a travel friendly, spill-proof
On shopping for the person who hates almost everything: "Giving them the wrong gift will likely make them hate you too. So play it
safe with a gift card to a shop that offers a bit of everything. South End shop
Sault offers a variety for them to choose from including bags, candles,
stationary, apparel, and interesting odds and ends."
On shopping for the nerd in your life: "Nerds always have the newest technology, so why not give them an assist
with the protection of said technology. A leather iPhone case handmade by Eric
Heins of Corter in his Boston
apartment should get them sufficiently geeked out."
On shopping for the fashion plate in your life: "Instead of getting them clothes (because in all likelihood they don't need
your help with their impeccable wardrobe), gift them a book that speaks to
their fashion forward thinking. Like Grace
the memoir by Grace Coddington."
On shopping when you've bought literally nothing for anyone and you don't
know WTF to because the big holiday party is tomorrow: "Before you throw in the towel and scribble an "I owe you" note or slip a
cold $20 into that holiday card, there are definitely some options for last
minute gifts. Head to Fort Point Channel and peruse all the goodies at shop
Twelve Chairs. A gift like this chalk piggy bank is sure to be a hit."