It’s That Time of Year Again – Ideas for Holiday Shopping in Northfield!

majoraward.jpgI wrote a post last year about shopping local for the holidays, which yielded some excellent ideas.

Northfield is such a great place for holiday shopping – our local independent retailers have such cool, innovative, retro, practical, and quirky stuff. We’ve had lots of conversation here about shopping local, and hows and whys and pros and cons, but at this time of year, it becomes especially relevant.

This post may become an annual thing; I must confess that it’s 50% local business boosting, 50% laziness (so I can benefit from other people’s ideas when my creative well runs dry).

So – who’s got cool stuff? Who has good ideas? Creative options for recessionary times? Feel free to review some of the fabulous suggestions in last year’s post, but I closed comments on that one in order to redirect everyone back here to post suggestions or information about what’s new.


  1. Ross Currier said:

    Tracy –

    As I walked up and down the street yesterday, any window featuring warm clothing caught my eye.

    – Ross

    December 16, 2008
  2. Mary Schier said:

    Monkey See, Monkey Read has hardcover, new books for $7-$10 on the tables at the front of the store. I bought two last week. Also, for stocking stuffers, check out the coloring books at the Sketchy Artist. The books feature comic book images, great works of art, modern art, etc., ready to be colored. For my niece/godchild, I bought a Marshmallow Launcher kit at Present Perfect — luckily she lives in California and I’m safely out of reach of her parents. Lots of fun craft kits for adults/teens at digs as well.

    December 16, 2008
  3. Bright Spencer said:

    How about the art work at the Northfield Arts’ Guild member show this month? (I don’t have any work up this year myself.)
    There are also some nice candles, earrings, pottery and clothing items at the NAG shop.
    Classes and theatre tickets are also available.

    December 16, 2008
  4. Jerry Bilek said:

    We’ve got a lot of games at Monkey See, Monkey Read. Set Cubed, Banagrams, Tiki Topple, Quiddler, Set.

    Lots of kids books and bestsellers are 20% off.

    and like Mary said, bargain books for under $10.

    December 16, 2008
  5. Kerri Thayer said:

    At Echo DVD’s & Games we have Bobbleheads (including the leg lamp bobble from Christmas Story!), Puzzles, Lunch Boxes and of course Gift Cards!!!

    December 16, 2008
  6. Martha Cashman said:

    My favorites:

    Fun stocking stuffers from Present Perfect.
    Almost anything and everything from OohLaLa.
    Shoes and funky clothing from Rare Pair (just wish they carried more clothing like LaRues or Fawbushes for us ample-sized ‘broads’ who like being funky and fashionable.
    Great art pieces from Swag.
    One of a kind retro jewelry and home design pieces from Digs. They also have great yarns and ribbons to ‘make’ a great Christmas gift with loving hands.
    Monarch for meditation and great Buddha’s.
    A Bag Lady for the bling-bling to ring in the New Year!

    I love shopping downtown Northfield!

    December 16, 2008
  7. Jerold Weber said:

    At Sweet Pea’s Loft we have awesome hand carved animal figures, wood burned welcome signs, magnet boards, aprons, tree skirts, hand embroiderded towels, soy candles, earrings, and wine charms all made from minnesota artisans. Plus lots of holiday decor and unique gifts for all ages.
    At Sweet Pea’s Toys & Treats we have all those nostalgic toys you remember from your childhood, Including, Etch-A-Sketch, Slinkys, Hot Wheels, Mr. & Mrs. Potatohead, Play-Dough, Slot Cars, Tracksters, Wood Train sets,and a huge selection of wood toys and puzzles and games. We have 3-D dinosaur puzzles that are made locally. Plus we have a great selection of nostalgic candy to go in those stockings!

    Ho, Ho, Ho,
    Hope to see ya soon!
    Jerry Weber

    December 16, 2008
  8. Mary Closner said:

    Swag has “life changing caramels” made in Alexandria, MN that won’t pull your fillings out. We also have a great assortment of ceramic nativity scenes for those who collect them and metal pinecone ornaments made out of flattened nails. And, the hearts of most men can be won with our “Hot Southern Nuts” from Williamsburg, VA.

    December 17, 2008
  9. Kurt Larson said:

    At Larson’s Printing we have more Northfield Raider items then you could shake a pom pom at. (we have pom poms too!)
    Also, for this nice weather we have Carhartt jackets, gloves and hats….

    December 17, 2008
  10. Dean Kjerland said:

    Oh, the Holidays!…but, after the gift wrap is recycled, the leftovers are safely in the fridge, and the house is quiet, again, you’ll want to settle down in that easy chair by the tree with a hot tea or coffee in that special mug you bought as a treat for yourself from the new works by my favorite functional potter/artists Colleen Riley or her spouse, the master kiln builder Donovan Palmquist.

    We have just refreshed the stock of cups, bowls, mugs and pots for the last week of ‘…a favorite cup’ an exhibition of unique functional ceramics from more than a dozen Minnesota-connected potters. Now thru Saturday at ArtOnWater Gallery, 217 S. Water St, Northfield. Open daily noon – 8 pm. Free gift boxes. 507 786-9700

    December 17, 2008
  11. Dean Kjerland said:

    The coolest gift in Northfield is available in a gift box for $2000 at ArcheoPaleo. Its a meteorite!

    It is 4.55 billion years old, originating in the dawn of the formation of our solar system. It fell on what is now the western United States about 35,000 years ago, creating Meteor Crater Arizona.

    This unique gift was once part of the iron core of a planetoid which on collision with another body, fragmented and was sent on a course toward collision with planet Earth. This huge bollide (meteoroid) (estimated to have weighed 25 million lbs), became a meteor upon entering the Earth’s atmosphere and then became a meteorite (technically the Canyon Diablo meteorite) on impact. Most of its mass probably vaporized in the impact event; however, some fragments survived; this 1.2 kg piece was collected around the Barringer crater when it was ‘discovered’ in 1891. Another fragment was used to to calculate the age of our solar system.

    Quirky, naw! But it would be the oldest gift in the world AND your purchase would help fund the ongoing research work of Northfield’s own ArcheoPaleo at 217 S. Water St.

    Contact Dean Kjerland, 507 645-1380, also ask the megalodon shark tooth…or visit

    December 17, 2008
  12. david beimers said:

    Here’s what I have picked up so far…

    Hooded sweatshirts for the boys at the sporting goods store (and hockey pucks for stocking stuffers); a pendant at NAG; bead kit for the daughter at the bead shop; cookbook for the wife at River City. Still have a few things to pick up… I think I’m going to swing into Swag and pick up some knitting goodies and probably check out those ceramic nativity items. Do any stores downtown carry St. Olaf concert CDs?

    December 17, 2008
  13. Bright Spencer said:

    David B., I got our copy at River City Books who also have nice gift cards.

    December 18, 2008
  14. Connie Halpern said:

    At the Custom Framing Studio we’re still framing up gifts for the holidays! Come on in and we’ll design up a great and lasting present.

    December 18, 2008
  15. Mary F. Nelson said:

    I signed my grandkids up for some fun winer activities and classes. Nfld. School’s Community Services, YMCA, NAG, the nature centers and others have
    lot’s of good ideas of things to do. I just copied off the activity information from their catalog or web site, bought a few little trinkets that coincide with the activity and wrapped it all up in a little snazzy little box.

    December 18, 2008
  16. Tracy Davis said:

    I’ve been out shopping twice this week, and I forgot another one of the great benefits here – having things gift-wrapped for me. Of course stores outside of Northfield offer this, too, but they often charge for it, which the stores here don’t. And they usually do a much better job of it than I would.

    December 19, 2008
  17. Martha Cashman said:

    Do not forget free, easy, convenient parking right in from of the stores you are shopping in!

    December 19, 2008
  18. Erica Zweifel said:

    In addition to Margit’s excellent book suggestion (Northfield News, letter to the editor), I am hoping to find a bag of oranges from Just Food under the tree. They are delicious, better than candy.

    December 19, 2008
  19. Rob Hardy said:

    The holiday shopping experience in Northfield is made so much more pleasant by the high quality of the people who work in our local shops. If there were a kind of Academy Award for best retail staff in Northfield, I would nominate: Jerry Bilek of Monkey See, Monkey Read; Tripp Ryder of the Carleton Bookstore; and Kayla the Just Food cashier, who is super friendly and saves me a step at check-out by having my owner number memorized. High quality human contact with friendly, interesting, genuinely helpful people is what makes shopping in Northfield the best holiday shopping experience.

    December 19, 2008
  20. Mary Rossing said:

    We wrap for free and never charge! !
    I will also help you pick out great stuff for those on your list that have you stumped. Present Perfect has tons of fun stuff, too numerous to mention, but also just darn good stuff like BT McElrath chocolates–winner of numerous national awards, but made by a Northfielder! Holiday teas, candles, lotions, soaps for those who want something the recipient will use up, MN Hotdish Cookbook, Hotdish and Marvels of MN dishtowel. Guides like: Birds of MN book and CD, Critters of MN, Trees of MN, Wildflowers of MN…
    And there’s the games, puzzles and toys, address books, calendars, and fart machines!! My best seller this season is the head massager at $4.95. Looks like many Northfielders will being feeling good this year.
    Just look for the pink windows glowing in downtown!

    December 19, 2008
  21. Jerry Bilek said:

    thanks for the compliment Rob. Is there a cash prize with that award?

    I’ve updated my blog with some of the books and games we have in stock. And we have free gift wrapping.

    December 20, 2008
  22. William Siemers said:

    Quality Bakery has great Christmas cookies…including some old favorites like Spritz, Russian Tea Cakes….And the owner has the Christmas spirit!

    I had a great experience at Rare Pair. A small but well chosen inventory…. The salesperson gave candid advice on my selections, made trips to the stockroom to check for sizes, and wrapped the packages beautifully.

    December 20, 2008
  23. Arlen Malecha said:

    Still looking for that last minute gift / stocking stuffer or treat for yourself? Massage Essentials offers gift certificates for various types of massage — Connective Tissue Release, Trigger Point Therapy and Reiki (Healing Energy work) — and Ear Candling.

    Treat someone you know to a 30, 60 or 90 minute massage!

    SPECIAL: Purchase a gift certificate between now and December 23rd and receive $10.00 off. Massage Packages are also available.

    Call Massage Essentials (Rachel Malecha) 664-9303 to purchase your gift certificates or schedule your appointment today!

    December 22, 2008
  24. Curt Benson said:

    This isn’t the right place for this comment probably, but if you are looking some inexpensive local fun this weekend, there are lots of sporting events at the high school and gymnastics club.

    On Saturday, if you purchase a ticket for the gymnastics meet or girls’ basketball game, you can get into all of Saturday’s events. Both basketball teams are off to great starts. I think the girls are undefeated. The Northfield News gives details here:

    Sunday at 10 am is the Northfield Invitational Weightlifting Tournament. I heard 110 lifters, boys and girls will be competing. Coach Sahli’s teams have won the State Championship the last four years, IIRC.

    January 8, 2009
  25. Bright Spencer said:

    This year anything that helps me organize what I already have is huge. I think a big trend is for things that the family can do together at home…books, movies, music.

    September 12, 2009

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