Holidaze 2021: It’s Better to Give: Where to shop local this holiday season

It’s that time of the year again: The holidays are here! And the staff of Tucson Weekly is ready to help you find one-of-a-kind local gifts for everyone on your list. Take a look and support local stores while you buy!

Ajo Bikes, 1301 E. Ajo Way. Whether you’re looking for a new bike, a tune-up for your wheels or just nifty accessories as stocking stuffers, Ajo Bikes is the place to look. With friendly service and skilled technicians, they’ll have you spinning your wheels on Christmas day. This shop specializes in those recumbent three-wheelers you see on the road, too, so if you’re looking for something different, you’ll want to shop here. 

Classy Closets, 2010 N. Forbes Blvd. If you can’t seem to get yourself organized, Classy Closets is the place to turn. You’ll get a free in-home consultation with a specialist who can design a new closet space just for your needs, with your own custom materials. Before you know it, all that clutter will be a Ghost of Christmas Past and you’ll finally be able to find that Diane Von Furstenberg dress when it’s time to go out on New Year’s Eve.

Rescue Me Marana. Tucson Premium Outlets, 6401 W. Marana Center Blvd. If you’re looking for a new pet for the family, you should check out Rescue Me Marana, a new shop dedicated to finding new homes for stray and unwanted pets. You’ll find all you need to bring a new family member into your home, including the necessary accessories to make sure their lives are happy ones.

Blue Willow, 2626 N. Campbell Ave. The tiny gift shop at Blue Willow features one-of-a-kind gifts for all ages alongside a fantastic selection of cards. Best of all, while you’re shopping there, you can take a break and enjoy breakfast or lunch on the gorgeous patio. 

Philabaum Glass Gallery, 711 S. Sixth Ave. Glassmaker extraordinaire Tom Philabaum may have retired, but the gallery that bears his name is still going strong. You’ll find fabulous works of glass art here that will dazzle any friend or family member.

Tubac Center of the Arts. 9 Plaza Road, Tubac. If you’re into a road trip for your holiday shopping—or want to get away for a day trip if you’re lucky enough to have some time off—Tubac offers a wonderful getaway. With a huge collection of artist studios and shops, you’ll find all manner of unique gifts, as well as a terrific state park and more.

Babylon Market, 3954 E. Speedway Blvd. If you have someone on your list who likes cooking, or just likes food, then it’s worth taking a trip to Babylon Market to see what you can find. For a last-minute treat to bring to a party, you can’t go wrong with their fresh baklava. Their tea selection is enough to make the loose leaf enthusiast in your life sing. And, for the chef in your life, you honestly can’t go wrong by getting them a selection of spices or sauces to try out in new recipes. A Weekly staff member who is a hobbyist cook calls their spice section “frankly thrilling.”

Harlow Gardens, 5620 E. Pima St. Do you know any plant lovers? Or maybe just someone who you think needs to learn a little bit about responsibility and caring for a low-stakes living thing? Give the gift of plants! A living pot of flowers lasts so much longer than a bouquet, herbs make a perfect companion for the blossoming chef in your life, and a cactus is the perfect choice for a low-maintenance friend looking for a low-maintenance companion. Honestly, just taking someone to Harlow Gardens—a colorful wonderland of plants, pottery and garden art—would be a great gift in and of itself. Throw in a succulent and you’ll be hailed as the best gift giver in town.

The Ninth House, 2563 E. Fort Lowell Road. Got someone in your family into all things tarot, crystal, and nature related? We recommend checking out The Ninth House to find the perfect gift for your metaphysical friend. This witchy shop updates their inventory every week to include local artists, vendors, and international authors. If you are new to the metaphysical world, the shop’s retail associates are highly knowledgeable and may even give you an astrological reading if you dare to ask. We recommend checking out their eccentric book collection and their Feel Good Flower Tea.

Fox Tucson Theatre, 17 W. Congress St. There are all sorts of great holiday shows coming to the crown jewel of downtown theaters, including An Irish Christmas (Dec. 10), Mariachi Sol De Mexico’s “Mariachi Christmas” (Dec. 9) and In the Holiday Mood: A Holiday Music Spectacular (Dec. 18). They’ll also be showing movies such as “A Christmas Story” (Nov. 28) and “Jingle All the Way” (Dec. 12). Plus, there’s plenty of other great shows coming up featuring Lindsey Buckingham (Dec. 5), Robert Cray (Dec. 11) and comedian Tom Papa (Jan. 8). So whether you want to get into the Christmas spirit or just have a fun night out, the Fox is the place to be. 

The Loft Cinema, 3233 E. Speedway Blvd. Unfortunately, you probably can’t actually buy your beloved (or your mom or your uncle or your best friend) the entire Loft Cinema this year—and we wouldn’t want you to, anyway! It’s a place that’s meant to be shared by the community. But a Loft Membership is really the gift that keeps on giving. Did you know members get to see a free movie every month? And that they get free popcorn every time they go? (Every time!) And it comes with bragging rights that include unlimited use of the word “cinephile” as a self-descriptor. If you’re looking for something even more flashy, you can look into paying to post a message on the Loft’s marquee for $100 a day. And if you’re looking for something more affordable, try a neat Loft T-shirt.

How Sweet it Was Vintage, 424 E. Sixth St. There is a blessedly wide selection of thrift and vintage stores here in the Old Pueblo, and you can’t go wrong at most of them. But we love this one, located just off Fourth Avenue and brimming with unique antiques and vintage clothing. They’ve got an outstanding selection of clothing, jewelry and accessories that are well-organized and fun to sort through, making it easy to find gifts for your loved ones and ideas for what to say when people ask what you want for Christmas this year.

Pet Photoshoot with Candice Eaton Photography. Speaking as pet experts (meaning, some of us have pets), this is one of the best gifts you can get the animal lover in your life. Candice Eaton is a photographer who has developed a
specialty in pet photography, and she’s damn good at it. Just check out her website to see some of the sweet photos she’s captured. She even has a photo in her portfolio in which she captured EIGHT dogs, almost all wearing birthday hats, sitting still in front of birthday cupcakes with lit candles. Is she a wizard? Probably! She also doesn’t put a time limit on her sessions — she’ll shoot as long as it takes to get a ton of great photos of even the most squirrelly pets. She does studio shoots, outdoor shoots and lifestyle shoots, of both pets alone and pets with their owners. Get her booked!

Native Seeds/SEARCH, 3061 N. Campbell Ave. This nonprofit organization has been dedicated to protecting agro-biodiversity through seed conservation for more than 30 years. After all, these seeds represent the cultural and farming knowledge from generations of both Indigenous and immigrant communities. So, right off the bat, you’re supporting a good cause. You can buy vegetable, grass, bean or flower seeds for the gardener on your list from the shop’s abundant selection. While you’re there, you can pick up a piece of artwork, jewelry or basketry created by an Indigenous community member.

The Scented Leaf, multiple locations. Next time you’re stopping into The Scented Leaf for one of their teas on tap, you might as well pick up a few gifts for friends and family. If you know your friend’s taste in tea, you’ll be able to get them something they’re sure to love, but which is still completely unique. If you’re not sure, you can opt for one of their best sellers, like the prickly pear rooibos, honey vanilla nectar or earl grey creme (that last one is our favorite!) And one of Scented Leaf’s sampler packs makes a great gift even for people who aren’t into tea. After a few cups of Scented Leaf, they will be!

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