sustainable holiday shopping guide—boston edition

So you waited until the very last minute to buy gifts. And I can’t say I blame you—between the impeachment trials and mercury finally getting the fuck out of retrograde, there’s been a lot going on. Unfortunately, that excuse won’t fly when your dear mother, who birthed you, realizes you’ve brought her nothing home for the holidays. 

In this kind of situation, solutions can come one of a few ways. The first is online shopping, with all the thrills of very expensive expedited shipping that still may or may not get to you on time. The second is a commercial shopping rampage…oh, except holiday shopping started weeks ago and sizes/style are few and far between.

But wait, hold on, there’s still one more way out. Buying local.

With far more curated inventory and closer proximity to their customers, small businesses are the perfect place to begin your holiday gifting. To start, quality at these stores tends to be higher than what you’d find at any commercial retailer. That means you may end up paying more per item but you’re more likely to find a gift that will be loved and lasting. As for available inventory, independent shops tend to have close relationships with their merchants/manufacturers and may be able to hook you up with out-of-stock merch or have good ideas for substitutions.

To get you shopping in the right direction, here are a few of my favorite Boston-area shops that will help you score before time runs out. 

For the Best Dressers: 

Covet Consignment Store 

391 W Broadway, Boston, MA 02127 | 109 Charles St, Boston, MA 02114 | @covetboston

Great for: Luxury (Louis Vuitton, Prada, Chanel) and mid-scale (Zara, Free People, Madewell) labels and products including handbags, shoes, sportswear & sunglasses

Reformation Sustainable fashion 

353 Newbury St, Boston, MA 02115 | @reformation

Great for: Last-a-lifetime pieces in a wide range of styles & inclusive sizes

For the Aspiring Minimalists

Boston General Store Sustainable & Low Waste Products 

305 Harvard Street Brookline, MA 02446 | 626 High Street Dedham, MA 02026 | @bostongeneralstore

Great for: Sustainable supplies for home & on-the-go (dishware, natural beauty, refillable soaps, personal grooming) & quality leather goods, like hats & bags 

For the Health Kickers  

Cambridge Naturals Natural Products & Food  

23 White Street Cambridge MA 02140 | 92 Guest Street Boston MA 02135 | @cambridgenaturals 

Great for: Natural beauty, grooming, vitamins & supplements, bulk teas, and spa tools 

For the Athletic Types 

Heartbreak Runners Running Gear

652 Tremont St Boston, MA 02118 | 638 Commonwealth Ave Newton, MA 02459 | 294 Massachusets Ave Cambridge, MA 02139 | @heartbreakrunco

Great for: Fit gear, sneakers, specialized fitness classes & marathon preparation 

Tracksmith Luxury Sportswear

285 Newbury Street Boston, MA 02115 | @tracksmithrunning

Great for: High-end sportswear & athletic accessories

For the Plant Mamas & Papas  

Niche Plant Boutique 

286 Broadway, Cambridge, MA 02139 | 619 Tremont St, Boston, MA 02118 | @nicheplantshop

Great for: Fun variety of house plants & in-house plant experts 

For Big & Little Readers 

Brookline Booksmith New/Used Bookstore

279 Harvard St, Brookline, MA 02446 | @brooklinebooksmith

Great for: Books, coffee table books, notebooks & quirky gifts 

For the Person Who Has Everything 

Abroad Modern Authentic Indian Gifts

260 Concord Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138 | @abroadmodern

Great for: Internationally sourced gifts & kitchenware

Black Ink Card & Stationery Store

5 Brattle St, Cambridge, MA 02138 | 101 Charles St, Boston, MA 02114

Great for: Games, puzzles, hand-made greeting cards, feminist swag & cute totes

Something for everybody

Bow Market Mixed Vendors

1 Bow Market Way, Somerville, MA 02143 | @bow.market 

Great for: Vintage, Boston maps, jewelry, plants & accessories & locally made art

SOWA “Farmers” Market

460 Harrison Ave, Boston, MA 02118 | @sowaboston

Great for: Vintage & antique finds, handmade cosmetics, jewelry, and local grub

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