The countdown to Christmas has begun and whether you relish the retail rampage or despise the buying bonanza, the following may appeal to you. Why? Well, you needn’t stand in line at a department store to snag great gifts this season. You can pick up anything and everything from flat screen TVs and electronics to luxury beauty products, on-trend accessories and hip housewares at a local party store, gas station, drug store and other places that might not be first on your holiday shopping map.
Take Royal Oak’s ZMC Pharmacy, for example, also home to Zawaideh Medical Center, a family medicine practice. In addition to all of your prescription needs and medicine cabinet musts, this drug store-meets-lifestyle boutique (or apothecary Bradshaw as I like to call it) offers a well-edited array of stylish jewelry and sunglasses, vibrant recycled tote bags by Blue Q, Japanese trinkets, scented candles from MOR and Voluspa, seasonal décor (stop in now for fun feather-in-glass and wooden owl tree ornaments) and lotions and potions from Caswell-Massey and more, all with packaging as delightful as their fragrances.
Looking to avoid the mainstream feel and constantly on the lookout for new lines and products, Dr. Nicole Bratton says she enjoys working in an uplifting and inspiring atmosphere like ZMC. “Sometimes filling a prescription may not be the best thing,” Bratton says, “so if we can bring some joy to it, why not?” But it’s not just for women, ZMC has unisex appeal — a cool cabinet stocked with men’s grooming goods from Further and Proraso and old school shaving tools from brushes and razors, as well as cute stuff for the kids like knit hats that look like animals, collectible retro toys (real metal Slinkys, anyone?), even a pet section complete with natural treats and spiked collars. Waiting to fill an RX? Peruse the stylish patterned plates, edgy-designed bookends, gold porcelain jars that look like soup cans and unique figurines from Seletti and sip a hot cup of organic tea for a buck.
Meanwhile, in Hamtramck, the Conant-Caniff Market (also known as “the rock & roll party store” thanks to its classic rock soundtrack constantly blaring) continues to stock it’s extremely high shelves (and parts of the ceiling, too) with all of your basic party store prerequisites. The mega mart stands apart from the crowd, however, with surprise gift ideas including (but most certainly not limited to) aluminum-cased poker sets, Philips and Samsung flat screen televisions, PlayStation video game consoles and hibachi grills. Come for a fifth of vodka, leave with a new weave, fresh pair of socks (they’ve got dozens to choose from) and a new handbag. Don’t forget to stock up on rolls of festive wrapping paper to properly package it all. Party on!
Looking to fill up your tank and snag a few stocking stuffers? Hit the Northwestern Shell gas station located at Middlebelt & Northwestern Highway in Farmington Hills. Here you’ll find fine cigars, accessories for your MP3 player and iPod and a vast spirits selection including top shelf liquor, beer and wine plus proper adult beverage gift ideas like whiskey and tumbler boxed sets. Headed to a holiday soiree? Don’t forget to grab a bottle of bubbly or Polish brandy and a stack of seasoned firewood out front.
If you’re filling up your other tank by enjoying a bite in southwest Detroit’s Mexicantown, do pay a visit to the hidden gem that is Xochi's Gift Shop (they share a parking lot with Xochimilco’s Restaurant on Bagley) for incredible Mexican imports, beautiful silver jewelry, Aztec art and other accents and, of course, western wear and quality leather boots. It’s like a mini vacation there.
Finally, if you are traveling this season, do take advantage of airport concessions —particularly those at Detroit Metro Airport in Romulus. Two of the most recent additions — slated to open this week — include Swarovski featuring their signature sparkly jewels, watches, home accessories and décor and luxury bath and body products by L’Occitane. “There are a lot of options here,” says Scott Wintner, Communications Department Manager at Detroit Metro Airport. “From high-end boutiques like Erwin Pearl to great artsy gifts at the Pangborn Design.” While you’re there, grab gourmet chocolates from Gayle’s, motorcycle memorabilia from Motown Harley-Davidson or mitten-made goodness from Michigania (they even offer treats from Ann Arbor’s Zingerman’s Deli) or a classic bottle of red from Vino Volo.