So I was in the locker room with the group I call the "Amazon aqua boot camp ladies," relaxing after class at the it's-still-dark-out-when-I-get-home hour of 6:15 a.m. And, one said she was going to get some chocolate and wine as a gift for a friend at the Public Market downtown because, with Thirst & Vine closed, it's the closest place to get locally-made chocolate.
Cue my big fat Shorewood mouth. "What — leave Shorewood? For chocolate and wine?" My voice cracked as it pierced the hair-dryer and suit-spinning air.
"You can do all that here!"
These power-houses who can tread water for a half hour with a brick know me really as the one in the far lane who chokes on their kick-wakes...but now they can add "village know-it-all" to my general description. As I started rattling off my answers, I realized I have a true need to share my gift-giving knowledge about Shorewood. I've got family but they're all over the country, so have already shopped and shipped, so let me help.
To narrow it down, I have a short list for $20 and $40 gifts, as well as opportunities for acts of kindness.
Chocolate and wine
- The impetus for this story, did you know Indulgence Chocolatier is here in Shorewood, and has preprinted pairings of wine with neighbor Thief Wine, which are all available for sale? Indulgence has gift packs from $20 to $40 that are ready to ship.
- Thief Wine (yep, the same as at Public Market downtown) has a large collection of wine that is ready to grab and go to that party (or take home while you contemplate your gifts).
Alterra: OK they’re owned by Mars, but they’re local, and a pound of delicious and locally roasted coffee with a nice ceramic mug will run you about $20. For $40, pick up a sampler gift box or drip system that is boxed and ready to go. Gift cards from Alterra, Starbucks, or Stone Creek are always welcome.
- All ages appreciate food Gift Cards. City Market, Falbo's and Einstein Bagels topped my short list for kids.
- Anaba Tea Room, North Star American Bistro, and Harry’s make elegant upscale gift cards.
- I know people who are skipping the pricey haircut this year. A gift card to Robert Laurence, Establishment, or one of the 20 other salons in Shorewood would be a nice gift. Establishment does a great set of eyebrows for $20.
- Nails are key, too, like Q-Ticles or North Shore Nails. Aveda swimmers conditioner would be nice. But I digress…
Jewelry and objects d’art handmade by local artists
- Waxwing: There’s a reason they’re the #1 New Retailer in Milwaukee. $20: gift card, hand printed baby burp cloths, handmade ornaments, beer soap, jewelry, tiles, and other fun artifacts. $40: Works of original art and finer jewelry. Act of kindness alert: Support ArtWorks handmade ornament for $10 and all of it goes to that charity.
- Elements East: $40 and up jewelry featuring special pearls which come with a touching story of a marketplace in China.
- Min’s: The little molded leather coin purses are the talk of the town for tweens, as well as any well-heeled ladyfriend.
- Walgreens offers customized photos (say hello to Sarah in photo – she’s great), a complete Burt’s Bees collection, books, toys (check the sales), plus gift bag and card, you can’t go wrong. I once saw Jim Gaffigan in there on Xmas eve buying a giant Dora doll.
- Garden Room has great gifts for $20 and $40 – the infallible “Klutz” line of children’s materials, as well as wooden toys from Germany are local favorites. For $40 and adults, you can find the air plant with pot, and kitchen gadgets and nicer shears and garden implements.
For the sporty person on your list, I will diverge from my Shorewood-only list for one moment. Sears at Bayshore has the Rose Bowl Tshirt for $20. Also, online, this black Rose Bowl Knit hat is a statement…especially if you give it to a relative on a competitive team that isn’t going this year.
Acts of kindness
There are many charities that you may want to do a “donation in your name” for a gift recipient on your list — ranging from Shorewood SEED to Literacy Services. Before you do that, be aware of the etiquette of such a gift, as people are quite donation savvy. The recipient should receive acknowledgement directly from that charity, should understand if they can take the deduction for the donation (or if you’re claiming it for yourself – a social pitfall), and a card from you explaining the connection to the charity.
Anonymous acts of kindness
If you’re just looking to spread a nice feeling and don’t have to shop for any holiday or birthday (we have both), here are some really nice ideas.
- Steph Davies of Waxwing keeps up a tradition started by her mother of paying for the person behind her in line at the drive through, such as Culver’s, for a really great feeling. “It’s true. If I’m having a terrible day, I pay for the person I don’t even know, and get this smile for the whole day.”
- Another Shorewood resident, Bill, just went over to Walmart last week and paid $1,000 anonymously towards layaway items for toys.
- In Shorewood, another idea might be to pay money towards fines at the Public Library.
Please share your thoughts, and ideas, as we all share in a giving season here in Shorewood. I have to go set my alarm so I can tell my goggle-wearing friends they're all famous.