You might go in for a talking Dennis Miller doll and come away with a light-up yo-yo, a plastic Mickey Mouse phone and a red leather sectional sofa. This creaky three-story store specializes in brand-new but discounted furniture (nothing says "I love you" like an antiqued gold combination safe), but also carries an assortment of knickknacks, cooking supplies and home decor. Beaded curtain? Lava lamp? Framed poster of a rocket launching? Spice up the holidays by giving people what they never knew they wanted.
Sailor-themed anchor and captain's wheel bookends ($19.90).
Anchoring the corner of Stark Street and Grand Avenue, this unpretentious outdoor store is packed with fleece jackets, climbing ropes, daypacks, snowboards and most anything else you'd need to get out and play on Oregon's rivers, rocks, beaches and mountaintops. The sales floor is a bit of a jumble, but that's part of the charm, and as adventurers themselves, the staff members know their stuff. The added bonus? The Bargain Basement downstairs, where gear is used, plentiful and cheap (if you purchase it used at a store, it's not considered re-gifting, right?).
Osprey hydration backpack ($80).
Most everything in this light and cheery boutique is in its second lifetime. There are the necklaces made from compasses, watch parts and Scrabble pieces. The purses made from seatbelt fabric and recycled Mexican candy wrappers, the lamps from creepy plastic dolls. The jewelry, arts and crafts of more than 250 artists rotate in and out of this store. If you like things small, shiny and recycled, it's hard to walk out empty-handed.
Holiday ornaments made of motherboard parts, tin cans and record centers ($6-$8).
Rock ’n Rose
You don't have to dig for the good stuff at this vintage clothing store; it's laid out neatly in plain view. Coats, blazers, dresses, shirts, handbags and leather shoes line the racks and shelves of this clean, tasteful bamboo-floored boutique. There's a selection of locally made headwear (think wool hats, tweed caps), earrings (feathers, large silver) and a small home décor section (golden sailboat, owl figurines). At this boutique, prices are low and shopping is a pleasure.
Hand-knit fleece-lined wool hat ($28).
For those who want cute bikey stuff without having to wade through the cranksets and derailleurs of traditional bike shops, there's Bikeasaurus. Becky Morton, 29, opened the store under the Hawthorne Bridge in August as a hub (if you will) for producers and consumers of bicycle accessories and bike-related gifts. The compact, green-walled store sells a variety of goodies including hand-stitched leather U-lock holsters, letterpressed bike posters, jewelry, suspenders and dog leashes made from bike parts. Morton has found from personal experience—from the lights on the spokes of her commuter bike and the stegosaurus plate on her helmet—that she's more likely to ride when she has spunky accessories. "The mission of the shop is to make people excited about riding their bikes, to make it fun for them," she said. You'll discover after browsing the store that there is such a thing as a fashionable bike pump.
Pint glass sandblasted with bike design ($15), or spoke bracelet ($10).