Cinnamon, cookies, candles and much more


There are so many “C’s” related to Christmas. Yes, shopping for the holidays can be exhausting and stressful. But not if you know where to go and what to look for.

Let me take you on a shopping tour, browsing unique Uptown stores featuring extraordinary gifts and creative presents, and trying my best to make your holiday shopping trip more fun.

Love people? Cook tasty food for them

At Penzey’s Spices, you can find all of the season’s spices such as nutmeg, cloves and cinnamon to bring the best to everything you cook or bake. Or how about a yummy hot chocolate mix for colder weather? Gift boxes are another great ideas: Grill and Broil, Baker’s Assortment and a newly launched four-jar box called “Kind Heart Gift Box.”

Penzeys Spices, 3028 Hennepin Av, 612.824.9777

A passion for cooking

The store features over 10,000 kitchen products – sure thing that Kitchen Window will have something for you. First of all, you can find everything you need for preparing a turkey: stuffing bags, roasting thermometers or pop up timers that take the guesswork out of cooking the perfect turkey. Being creative and exciting with your gift giving is made easy with cooking classes. There is “Holiday Wine Dinner” on December 9 or “Cookies with Santa” on December 18. You are asking for my personal favorite gift idea? A fondue set (I have to admit, I am Swiss). Kitchen Window, Calhoun Square, 612.824.4417

Happy Owlidays

It is obvious that Paper Source is the place to go for gift-wrapping paper, greeting cards or calendars. In addition, you can find all kinds of do-it-yourself-kits. In this way, you can be crafty but you don’t have to do all the work. Make place cards, goodie pouches, garlands and wreaths by yourself. It’s easy! Besides the common motifs such as reindeers, owls, Santa and snowflakes, it’s all about the cute gnomes for this year’s holiday. Stocking stuffers under $10 include finger painting sets, glow stars or a “sip-sational” silly straw. Lots of ideas, just waiting there for you. Paper Source, 3048 Hennepin Av, 612.377.0700

Find a page-turner

Children’s Books, Poems, Literature, Fiction or Religious Studies name only a few of all available genres at Magers and Quinn Booksellers. Looking for a personalized gift? The Twin Cities largest independent bookstore presents “Saturday Signings.” Every Saturday in December, great local authors will be available to make your book a unique present. Stop by their “Sharing with Santa” event on December 3. Magers and Quinn Booksellers, 3038 Hennepin Av, 612.822.4611

Custom-built furniture

You’d better have a big table to seat all your family for the holiday dinner. Go home’s stylish extendable Italian dining table makes it possible, even if you are dealing with little space. The top surface slides smoothly, and magically the table becomes 10 feet long. What further distinguishes Go home are the hand-blown pendant lights, a great variety of greeting cards and some of the most extraordinary watches. Go home, 1408 W Lake St, 612.824.8732

Think India when it comes to holiday shopping? Yes, you can actually find a lot of beautiful items in the Geetanjoli fashion and home décor shop. Embroidered pillow covers, colorful tablecloth or exotic bedding would just look great in your own or your best friend’s house. Geetanjoli, Calhoun Square, 612.825.1992

No Christmas without a wreath

Being inside this beautifully decorated tiny little store feels like diving into another world. Amelia Flower and Garden Shoppe is where flower aficionados go. Besides flower arrangements for holiday tables, custom-made wreaths, free-range organic Christmas trees and locally grown roses, you can also find fragrance for your body, such as a whole body bar enhanced with cinnamon, almond and vitamin E or a sweet orange ginger bath soap. This season’s bestseller? Glowing honey pots, made out of bee’s wax, lighted up by a candle. Amelia Flower and Garden Shoppe, 910 W 36th St , 612.208.1205

Budget-friendly presents for everyone

Looking for an awesome independently owned shop serving all of your gifting needs? Found it! It’s called belle weather and you could spend an entire afternoon browsing this store. Picture frames, wine bottle boxes, hand made pillows, jewelry, a funny children’s book from a local author and Jellycat, the softest stuffed animal ever. You can find thousands of little items under $10 that make great stocking stuffers. belle weather, 3404 Lyndale Av, 612.825.2909

Dresses, purses, and even socks

Dress-up for the holidays? All you need is a visit at the Corner Store where you can find dresses from the 40s and 50s, rentable tuxedos, all kind of jewelry, leather items and real boots: It’s all about vintage. They also stock great stuff for collectors such as records and sell some special items such as cufflinks. Corner Store, 900 West Lake Street, 612.823.1270

A clothing shop that features as many local designers as possible is Local Motion. Their secret tip for the upcoming shopping season: cashmere mitten and gloves. Local Motion, 2813 Hennepin Av, 612.871.8436

Keep your toes warm! Not a problem at all, with Sox Appeal, a store selling only cozy stockings with themes such as snowmen, snowflakes, reindeers, stars or even printed with turkeys. Get three for $15. Sox Appeal, Calhoun Square, 612.822.6960

Spoil yourself with Jimmy Choo

Wanna feel like shopping in a celebrity closet? At June, you can buy outright upscale. Previously owned, but still new, you can find a great deal for clutches and dresses, everything from Marc Jacobs to Miu Miu. June stocks well-known and much sought-after brands like Burberry, Louis Vuitton and Chanel. Yes, go for it and buy yourself a Christmas present, you are worth it. June, 3406 Lyndale Av, 612.354.3970

I told you, it’s a lot of fun this year going holiday shopping!

Aline Anliker recently moved from St.Gallen, Switzerland to Uptown with one year in a Minneapolis suburb in between.