Buy this: A ragged Iron Maiden leather jacket ($20), complete with hand-painted Eddie the Head. Get it while you can.
Like a little bookwormâs version of downtown toy store Finneganâs, A Childrenâs Place is stocked ceiling to floor with childlike wonder, only of the literary variety. Sure, there
are board games, stuffed animals, trinkets, baubles and the like, but the locally owned (for more than 30 years) independent bookstore is more a playground for the mind, with massive sections covering everything from science to science fiction, fantasy, fart jokes, young-adult literature and beyond. Add a rocking chair for sample reads and an exceedingly helpful staff (a request for recommendations for a locally written book for a precocious 12-year-old prompted a 15-minute bookshelf safari courtesy of owner Pam Erlandson), and youâve got the kind of bookstore experience that has fallen by the wayside: friendly, warm and full of discovery.
Buy this: Portlander's Bart King's The Big Book of Gross Stuff ($19.99) is loads of icky fun, but the place is packed with more local authors than Wordstock (and more copies of Wildwood than Colin Meloy's basement).
In Portland, dogs are treated as crotch-sniffing royalty akin in status to cats in ancient Egypt. Theyâre pampered accordingly. This being PDX, canines are just as environmentally conscious as people. Well, maybe notâthese are animals that eat garbage, given the chance. But you wouldnât know that walking into Green Dog Pet Supply, a small boutique specializing in environmentally friendly products, from leashes and harnesses to balls, dog (and cat) beds and beyond. The real draw, though, are the treats, which range from real refrigerated meats to gourmet rawhide chews, moose knuckles (not that kind), organic kibbles and bits and other culinary delights for Rover to swallow whole without appreciating that theyâre made of free-range meat. At least when the dog eats its own feces, itâll be extra organic.
Buy this: Wholesome Hide Bacon in a Blanket ($5.99), a rawhide bone wrapped in pork skin, because dogs, like all Portlanders, love their bacon. (Yes, it does have a bacony flavor. And yes, I licked one.)
Gazelle Natural Fiber Clothing
Entering former downtown goddess outfitters Gazelle is like walking into a particularly fashion-centric meditation center. New-Agey music provides the soundtrack to a store where nag champa fills the nose and workers greet you with quiet warmth. But there are treasures to be had for the earthy women on the shopping list, including a bevy of purses, dresses, hand-woven scarves, hats and blouses (all made in the Northwest) that would seem right at home at the Oregon Country Fair. The storeâs most popular section, though, is a back wall full of hand-crafted earrings and medallions from such designers as Susan Klein and Jazzola, ranging in style from simple geometric shapes to elaborate (and functional) chimes that hang from the earlobes. Namaste, apparently, doesnât mean you canât look good while finding enlightenment.
Buy this: Handcrafted earrings and medallions ($6.99-$59.99), which can be converted to pins free of charge.
Part nursery, part neighborhood garden-supply shop and part agrarian museum (dig all those nifty antique gardening tools adorning the walls), Garden Fever offers one-stop shopping for both green thumbs and those whose thumbs are slightly wilted. Aside from the ample supply of garden plants, the storeâs biggest strength is its huge collection of garden decor, with fountains, Grecian statue heads, chimes and the like, making ideal gifts for people who treat their gardens as Zen oases.
Buy this: For the ambitious gardener, Japanese rain chains ($39.99-$159.99) are a twofold gift—a series of linked, decorative funnels that turn rainfall into art while replacing downspouts. You'll have to dig a French drain, so a shovel is a must—Garden Fever has those, too.
Christmas cards are so boring. Who the hell needs another picture of a Christmas tree? Or a goddamn snowflake? How often do we even have snowflakes here? Sure, the thought is nice, but most cards are doomed to be kindling. Beaumontâs Paperjam Press has a solution for turning holiday cards into actual gifts in the form of fully customized, digitally printed photo cards. Why send your grandma back in Jersey a card with a snowman on it when you can send her a photo of you doing something uniquely Portlandianâ¦you know, baking while biking or occupying something while knitting or some other thing people back East think we do. Why not put a little more thought into sending the easiest gift ever?
Buy this: Customized photo cards come in various styles—postcards, fold-overs—and in stacks of 25 ($60 and up) and 100 ($125 and up). Envelopes are included.