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Creative Mr. Claus

December 8th, 2011

Another year of decking the halls, hanging stockings and sipping eggnog means that it’s Christmastime; the time to start making your wish list and go shopping for items on the lists of others.

Maybe it’s my lack of creativity in buying Christmas presents, but in my opinion, something has got to change this year.

The usual cliché gifts of clothes, nail polish, jewelry and techie toys can easily be averted, thanks to the fact that we go to school in Cleveland.

The city is a haven for vintage stores and other retro shops that will make Christmas shopping not only easier for you, but also enjoyable! In addition to finding a gift different from the usual retail store, you’ll be supporting local businesses during the holiday season. Below is a listing of the various unique shops I’ve found to be ideal for your Christmas shopping experience.

Flower Child: This vintage shop seems almost endless with its multiple rooms of men and women’s vintage clothing, shoes, records, furniture, jewelry and collectibles. It’s a bit overwhelming at first, but when you see pieces dating as far back as the “flapper-girl” era, pins from JFK’s presidential campaign along with Boho sofas and earrings, you’ll realize you’ve died and gone to vintage Heaven.

The Rag Refinery: I can’t say enough good things about this new vintage store in Ohio City. The owner handpicks men and women’s vintage clothing from around the U.S., and has only six clothing racks. It’s a small amount, but the picks are as good as the prices – you can spend anywhere from $20-$40 and walk out with two or three items. Vintage designer pieces are a rare find at “Refinery,” but they’re something to keep an eye out for. The ‘90s Karl Lagerfeld purse that caught my eye was certainly something any vintage lover would love to unwrap on Christmas morning.

Salty not Sweet: If the person on your wish list is a lover of all things sarcastic, this is the place for your wallet. The owner and partner – both artists themselves – sell only items from local and U.S. crafters. Baby onezies that say “freshly squeezed” or “locally grown” are top sellers, along with handmade cabernet scented candles in broken and recycled wine bottles.

Room Service: The perfect little gift shop that gives Urban Outfitters a run for its money. The “Keep Calm and Carry On” trend may be over and done with, but who could turn down the “Keep Calm” Band Aids, nonetheless the mini record coasters? If you’re playing Santa Claus for the eclectic individual, this place is key for finding a creative gift this holiday.

The Dredger’s Union: Owned by the same woman as Room Service, the new store on East Fourth Street is a little more on the expensive side, yet is a ideal for gifts. Antique bronze Eiffel Tower bottle openers, “216” pillows and one-of-a-kind apparel make up the large space in downtown Cleveland. Finish off your successful shopping day with a lunch and drinks at one of the many stylish restaurants on East Fourth!