Holiday 2015

5 Unexpected Gift Destinations to Make Life Easier

Grab all the gifts you need while getting your errands done, your nails done, a dinner out or a enjoying a day of culture.

By Sarah Rufca Nielsen December 8, 2015

Mfah shop  courtesy of the museum of fine arts  houston ltgnd2

Houston has plenty of great stores for finding the perfect gift—in fact, we compiled 21 of our favorites right here. However, if you've tried all the usual suspects, or you'd rather attempt to fit your shopping in with errands, cultural events or other weekend activities, we get it, and we have some ideas. 

1. Museum gift shops

I know, this one should be kind of obvious—gift is right there in the name, after all—but these stores not only support great cultural institutions, they also have plenty of different options at different price points, so you can pick out a few things and have time to make it to the latest exhibit. Head to the Houston Museum of Natural Science for toys, science-themed accessories and lots of jewelry; the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston for artsy and offbeat toys, home decor and accessories and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston for books as well as home goods and accessories with a focus on design.

2. Grocery stores

Every year I end up with a box of Andes mints in my stocking, and my inner octogenarian could not be more excited about it. Gift friends with their favorite treats, or send far-flung family a Texas care package filled with Valentina (or Cholula) salsa, Topo Chico, Whataburger Fancy Ketchup, Lola Savannah coffee, et. al. If you're shopping at H-E-B, check out the local vendors set up in the endcaps, many of whom are top finishers in the grocer's annual Primo Picks Quest competition, offering specialty goods like toffee, premium mixed nuts and candy cane dip.

3. New Living

Sure, you could always give someone an organic mattress or one of the custom, made-in-Houston wood beds that surround them at New Living, but stop by the store on 19th Street for so much more, from toys and kid's furniture in the store's second-floor space to super-soft organic cotton sheets, blankets, robes and loungewear plus candles, scented sprays and essential oils.

4. Cuchara

Cuchara owner Ana Beaven is passionate about bringing the adorable, sustainable and functional tabletop products and accessories made by artisans to Houston from her native Mexico. We love Cuchara Market's clay vessels (they naturally keep drinks warm or cool) and woven straw baskets and animals.

5. Hair and Nail Salons

There are options aplenty at beauty stores like Sephora and Ulta, but the people to whom you entrust your tresses and manicures also have serious expertise in picking out great hair, skin, makeup and skin products, and they often carry exclusive brands that can't be found in retail stores. Go in for a blow out, leave with your gift list crossed off—that sounds like a win to us.

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