Gifts for Everyone: A Practical Guide


When it comes to crossing names off your holiday shopping list, inspiration for just the right gift may be lacking. Here are some great gift ideas from local stores and companies.

Upgraded Tech Gear

Native Union technological accessories are thoughtfully designed and uber-chic. With timelessly styled leather and wood phone cases, marble charging docks that look more objet d’art than bedside utility and unique cords and cables made from luxurious materials, these elevated daily necessities are wonderful gifts for students, co-workers and spouses. Shop Native Union at The Trove. 270 N. Main Street, Roanoke, 260.672.0878,

Merry Melodies

Give the gift of great sound by way of a new or vintage audio system. Go for the whole shebang, or simply upgrade one component of a loved one’s current system. The audio experts at Neat Neat Neat Records and Music sell new and used gear and can help build excellent stereo systems, no matter the budget. The shop also sells new release CDs and LPs from both indie and mainstream labels that feature local, regional and national acts and has curated a massive selection of used vinyl and CDs. If you can’t decide what exactly to buy, Fort Wayne music lovers know and appreciate Neat Neat Neat and would appreciate a gift card towards their next music purchase. 1836 S. Calhoun Street, 260.755.5559,

Gourmet Gifting

Give a gourmet taste of Fort Wayne this year with the award-winning dessert sauces, spice blends and condiments by local company, Best Boy & Co. From chocolate sauces to mustards and hot sauce, this Indiana Artisan (an official designation awarded by the state) offers great taste for a greater good, with all profits going to charity. The Hot Fudge Spiced with Chili is wonderful when paired with cinnamon ice cream or fresh bananas while the Heirloom Apple Mustard kicks up any sandwich. With more than a dozen different products, ranging from classic to innovative, there’s a taste for every palate. Best Boy & Co is sold at Kroger stores as well as many specialty shops.

Athleisure MVP (Most Valuable Pants)

The popular athleisure trend (effortlessly stylish activewear that can be worn in the studio and on the street) isn’t going anywhere, so investing in high quality pieces is well worth it. The best-selling piece of athleisure-wear at Idlehour boutique, one of the city’s premiere athleisure shops, is the figure-flattering moto leggings by Alō Yoga. The luxe material is moisture-wicking, and the four-way stretch helps to sculpt and smooth. The chic leggings are accented with a mix of textures and quilted stitching, and can be styled for a night out on the town. Even the most fashion-forward on your gift list will love to have these in-demand, celeb-favorite, versatile leggings. 526 W. Jefferson Boulevard, 260.420.1000,

Go Green

Giving plants as a holiday gift is growing in popularity, perhaps because the vessels in which they reside are becoming more stylish by the moment. The Rio Ceramic Hanging Planter, available at Choice Designs, perfectly holds botanicals with panache. The flat base makes it easy to place on a table top, when desired, and at an affordable price point, it’s great to give in multiples (odd numbers make for great home decor groupings). Pick out air plants or small succulents to go inside for unique gifts that can be enjoyed for years. 3223 Carroll Road, 260.490.6393,

Winner Takes It All

For those with a sense of humor, go for a custom and amusing trophy. The Hedge creates custom trophies from vintage tops from the 1930s and 40s; some are even created by the same company that makes the Oscars and dipped in 24 carat gold. Choose from a variety of styles and tops and come up with a custom saying or ask The Hedge for some creative assistance. Commemorate a special milestone or celebrate the recipient’s unique personality or achievements. A one of a kind trophy will be a truly memorable gift. 1016 Broadway, 260.387.5237,

Elegant Ambiance

Candles are a perennial favorite for hostess and teacher gifts, gift exchanges and stocking stuffers. The ultra-elegant candles by Trapp Fragrances fill the room with luscious aromas in classic scents such as Wild Currant and Bob’s Flower Shop as well as new favorites like Guava Mango and Burmese Wood. And they are so gorgeously packaged, they don’t even need to be wrapped. Stock up on these ever popular candles at S’wonderful. 4110 W. Jefferson Boulevard, 260.426.1986

Babes in Toyland

The babes get plenty of mass-produced, brightly colored plastic, so opt for something a bit more unique for the little ones on your list. The Modern Bunny stacking toy by Petit Collage will hold the attention of any small child. The adorable rabbit with soft felt ears can be stacked in any order with the smooth wooden pieces atop the rounded base, which adds a bit of movement during playtime. The toy earns bonus points for the its simple and modern aesthetic; it attractively blends with today’s home decor trends. Snap one up at Fancy & Staple and talk to owner Taber Olinger, whose one-year-old daughter Eleanor is obsessed with the toy. Visit the store for the full selection of children’s goodies as well as other gift ideas. 1111 Broadway, 260.422.2710,

Boutique Fragrances

When shopping for something a bit personal, don’t overlook fragrance, especially when crafted by a locally-owned company. Fort Wayne’s own Hyde + Alchemy blends pure and natural fragrance oils into more than a dozen varieties, each made to be unisex and appealing to a wide variety of fragrance sensibilities. From sweet to spicy to floral, Hyde + Alchemy roll-on fragrances are attractively packaged and are growing in popularity in Indiana and beyond. The company’s top selling fragrance is #005, with top notes of green apple and bergamot; middle notes of rose, patchouli and birch; and base notes of angelica, vanilla and oakmoss. Sniff the wide selection of available fragrances at Fancy & Staple, The Hair Dept. and Just Be, to name a few. Or, order the Discovery Kit through the website for a sampling of the company’s most popular fragrances, which also comes with a credit code for the value of the kit towards a full size purchase.

Bejeweled Blitz

Jewelry is usually a fail-safe gift idea. Lizzy James Jewelry is like giving two gifts in one, as each statement piece can be worn as a wrap bracelet or as a necklace. The genuine leather strands are handcrafted in California and offer many options and looks. The versatile jewelry comes in both gold- or silver-plated options and can only be found locally at Opal & Ruby Gift Emporium. 5215 Illinois Road, 260.444.2019,

Delightful Christmas Charm

Add to a loved one’s treasured Christmas tree ornament collection with a beautiful and unique piece. Each year, when ornaments are pulled from their protective wrappings to be lovingly placed on the tree, their origin stories are shared among the family. “This one was given to us by dear [Your Name Here]. S/he has such great taste,” they’ll say each December. Emiley’s Haute Cottage stocks the shop with exquisite ornaments, from dazzling, glittered birds to delightful, rustic galvanized steel snowflakes. Shop Emiley’s Haute Cottage on Saturdays only, located in a charming West Central carriage house. 515 W. Wayne Street

For the Fashionista

Considered one of the most valuable style staples, a good clutch handbag is a key piece for both day and night looks. And when it comes to prints and patterns, a classic leopard print will always be in style. Sugar Love Boutique stocks a simply styled fold-over clutch handbag with an optional gold chain for wearing over the shoulder. The clutch will punch up a simple little black dress and can also be worn with jeans and a tee. Plus, it can easily fit inside a larger shoulder bag for more organization and style options on-the-go. This is one gift fashionistas of any age will appreciate. 918 Woodland Plaza Run, 260.267.9601,

Bring Life to Walls

A one-of-a-kind piece of art, especially one created by a local artist, is a tasteful gift that will be cherished and even passed down through the generations. Stroll through House of Furniture to view the wall of framed contemporary pieces by popular Fort Wayne artists like Susan Voigt, Mindy Pennycoff, Alexandra Hall and Ron Ostlund. With lots of in-vogue home accents to choose from, the decor experts at House of Furniture can help shoppers find the perfect pieces for most design sensibilities. 537 W. Jefferson Boulevard, 260.466.7447,

Beauty Booty

Beauty product junkies of all ages would love to open a box of luxurious yet healthy skincare and cosmetics. Beautycounter, one of the leading clean beauty brands, is now available at Lace & Arrow. The brand is known for effective, toxin-free personal care products that are elegantly packaged and deliver beautiful results. Beautycounter’s Sheer Lipstick is silky-smooth and long-lasting and imparts sheer color with a hint of natural vanilla aroma. This best-selling lip color is a perfect stocking stuffer for make-up lovers. There’s so much more to the line, so swing into Lace & Arrow to build a customized beauty gift. 301 W. Jefferson Boulevard, 260.449.9090,

The Vintage Vault

For a truly unique approach to holiday shopping, go back in time to find the perfect piece. From vintage jewelry, accessories and old-school vanity table accoutrement for glamorous ladies to throwback glassware and bar accessories that would make Don Draper feel at home, Mercantile on Main curates the best from the past. Other home decor accents include lighting, pottery, vases and furniture. 1753 W. Main Street, 260.420.5656

Cute Care Packages

Take a look through the gift selection from locally headquartered Confetti Post for thoughtful, themed care packages carefully curated with fun and interesting goodies. Choose from quirky and tasty add-ons to customize any box. The bonus is that these adorable boxes are ready to be shipped, easily and affordably, by Confetti Post, making it a simple yet thoughtful way to send gifts to out-of-town loved ones year-round.

Natty Needlepoint

Well-dressed men know the devil is in the details, and Smathers & Branson’s accessories are on point. With a wide selection of cool needlepoint products–keychains, flasks, coasters–adorned with classic designs, these gifts will bring a smile to dapper dudes everywhere. Shop this snazzy brand for the men on your list at The Find. 133 Wayne Street, 260.203.3498,

Traditional Christmas Favorites

Karen Didion Originals is a recognizably popular line of collectible, handcrafted Santa figures. Each creation features hand-painted faces and hands, glass inset eyes and real mohair beards and comes dressed in clothing crafted from luxe materials such as imported tapestry, velvet, satin and leather. These Santas have been a staple of Christmas decor for decades, and collectors love the high quality attention to detail and traditional themes. Shop the latest collection at The Monogram Shoppe. 6410 W. Jefferson Boulevard, 260.436.3138,

Museum Memberships

Fort Wayne is blessed with many fantastic institutions that offer yearly memberships. From the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo or the Fort Wayne Museum of Art to Science Central or the Botanical Conservatory, experience gifts, especially those which can be enjoyed over and over, are some of the most treasured. There is also the new Museum Access Pass (MAP) program: Individuals or families pay one fee for a pass that gives full membership benefits for a year to the Fort Wayne Museum of Art, Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory, The History Center and Science Central. The pass costs $185/year and provides full membership benefits at all four attractions, including unlimited visits. In addition, a reciprocity agreement with other museum groups will allow a MAP pass holder to enjoy member admission at more than 940 museums around the country. Visit each website or location for membership details. There is;;

Coffee Clatch

Combine a gift card to a local coffee café with something signature from its shop. Mocha Lounge, Old Crown Coffee Roasters and Fortezza Coffee sell their own branded cups and mugs (Fortezza even has its own snapback hat), Conjure Coffee and Firefly feature locally crafted goods and all of them sell bags of their popular beans. Curate a bespoke assortment of treats and accessories from any of these indie cafés that will delight the most discerning coffee and tea lovers. Mocha Lounge, 6312 Covington Road, 260.434.1999,; Old Crown Coffee Roasters, 3417 N. Anthony Boulevard, 260.422.5282,; Fortezza, 819 S. Calhoun Street, 260.203.4103; Conjure Coffee, 701 Columbia Avenue, 260.422.7770; Firefly, 3523 N. Anthony Boulevard, 260.373.0505,

Interactive Gifts for Kids

For the most unique, hands-on gifts for kids of all ages, shop the wonderful selection at Science Central and United Art & Education. Both stores offer a wide selection of fun, educational activities and toys. Think blank bound books and an assortment of colored pencils for budding writers; paint, brushes and easels for the emerging artist; and kitchen science experiment kits, solar system accessories or a wide assortment of animal activities for science lovers. Science Central, 1950 N. Clinton Street, 260.424.2400,; United Art & Education, 4111 N. Clinton Street, 260.483.3161,

Bottoms Up

For those who appreciate the finer side of adult beverages, give locally-crafted brews and spirits. Grab a fresh growler of Fort Wayne brew from Junk Ditch, Hoppy Gnome or Birdboy to give alongside a branded tee shirt or pint glass. Mad Anthony Brewing Company crafts a wide assortment of beer, available in bottles at liquor stores in the region. Three Rivers Distilling Company makes vodka, bourbon, gin and rum, as well as a coffee liqueur and 122, an intense, un-aged corn whiskey, honoring the service men and women of our local community. Pair a bottle with a cool bar accessory for a unique gift. Junk Ditch, 1825 W. Main Street, 260.203.4045,; Hoppy Gnome, 203 E. Berry Street, 260.422.0070,; Birdboy, 210 E. Collins Road, 260.579.5508,; Mad Anthony, 2002 Broadway, 260.426.2537,; Three Rivers Distilling, 224 E. Wallace Street, 260.745.9355,


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