3811 N Mississippi Ave., 288-4889, pistilsnursery.com.
Walking in the store is like entering a jungle—tendrils of air plants snake down from hanging baskets and the walls are covered with vases crafted from moss. Terrariums cover every available surface, and you can even try your hand at planting with a “make-your-own terrarium bar,” mixing and matching plants and containers from items sold a la carte. Out in the garden are hardier plants for sale, as well as a coop filled with hens. Chicken owners can find Christmas presents for their girls here, including cracked corn or a new, custom-built coop.
Buy this: Kokedamas, a style of bonsai in which plants are grown in suspended, moss-covered balls of soil, like tiny green planets ($14-$50).
3731 N Mississippi Ave., 288-4633, atthemeadow.com.
Wine has sommeliers; now salt has selmeliers, and the best place to find one is at the Meadow. Since it opened in 2006, the Meadow has earned a well-deserved rep as the place to explore the innumerable forms of sodium chloride. The small shop features walls of vials filled with a rainbow of black, brown, red, pink and gray salts, as well as stacks of Himalayan salt blocks for cooking or serving. You can taste anything. Beyond salt, the Meadow offers wine, chocolate, fresh-cut flowers and the widest selection of bitters anywhere in town. A great stop for your foodie significant other or any of your bartender friends.
Buy this: Barbecue salt set ($36), organic lavender spice bitters ($23.95).
3948 N Mississippi Ave., 288-1649, flutterclutter.com.
Flutter is ready for Christmas: Bowls of beautiful glass ornaments shaped like whales and other critters lie about, and the shelves are full of fabulous stocking stuffers. This is one of those shops where a speedy visit is impossible. There’s far too much to look at, including funky bottle openers, unusual scents (tamarind cocoa and pipe smoke were two worth a sniff) and gag-gift coffee-table books like Scary Nuns and Know Your Rodent. Flutter also offers several racks of colorful vintage women’s clothes scattered amid the baskets of sparkly silver letters and the brightly colored wrapping paper.
Buy this: Little red toy accordion ($32), The Moustache Grower’s Guide ($9.95).
3964 N Mississippi Ave., 916-0000, blackwagon.com.
Nearly everything in the modern world is bad for kids these days. Luckily, worried parents can visit Black Wagon, which, although its name sounds more like a death-metal band than a children’s toy store, specializes in eco-friendly kiddy clothes and nontoxic playthings. Offerings include wooden trains, PVC-free rain gear and fun, felt toys. For the vegan parent, how about giving their toddler a “healthy, gourmet pita-pocket lunch” felt playset? For a beer-brewing dad with an 8-year-old, the ginger ale brewing kit will ensure a couple of hours of father-son time.
Buy this: Soopsori wooden rattle set ($25), rain boots with butterflies ($34).
Salty’s Dog and Cat Shop
4039 N Mississippi Ave., 249-1432, saltysdogshop.com.
When dogs go to heaven, it probably looks something like the central table of Salty’s, piled high with jerky versions of every animal part imaginable. There’s plenty on the table for cats, too, and pets who have allergies will find an abundance of “human-grade” pet-dinner options here. There are treats for owners in the form of cute T-shirts, as well as alpaca sweaters for your pet, provided they’re into that whole dress-up thing. The most “Portland” find: locally made Cycle Dog collars made from recycled bike tubes. The icing on the cake? The clip for the leash attachment doubles as a bottle opener.
Buy this: Doggie hoodies by Zack & Zoey ($15.95 and up).
909 N Beech St., 473-8018, sheboptheshop.com.
Tucked just off Mississippi on Beech Street, She Bop is the Apple store of sex toy shops: Its bright and welcoming interior is filled with entertaining handheld gadgets to test, and the staff is helpful and knowledgeable. There’s nothing skeevy about this place’s extensive array of things to fulfill folks of any gender or sexual orientation. In addition to the toys, condoms and lube for sale, a bookshelf along the entry wall holds informational and erotic texts worth browsing or buying, and one glass-walled case showcases archaic vibes like the “Vitilator” and “Stimulax Massage instrument.”
Buy this: Bullet buddies vibrators ($13), Gun Oil silicone lube ($16.50).