Because the Jewish calendar is based on the lunar cycle, Hanukkah hops around year to year, sometimes falling closer to Thanksgiving than to Christmas. This year, however, the Festival of Lights takes place concurrently with the birthday of historyâs most famous Chosen Person, allowing Jews and gentiles to shop for each other in the same holiday-sales season. Everything Jewish, located in a strip mall in the little-known Jewish enclave between Hillsdale and Multnomah Village, is a completely self-explanatory destination for Hanukkah gifts, from the reverent (mezuzahs, shofars, kiddush cups) to the hottest in bat mitzvah fashion (dainty Star of David necklaces) to the almost unbearably kitschy (a decorative plate reading, âWhen life gives you potatoesâmake latkes!â).
Buy this: The Jewish editions of Apples to Apples ($28.95), Taboo ($34.95) or Candyland (Kosherland) ($15.95).
You thought Powellâs was indie? Compared with this neighborhood institution, open since 1978, Powellâs might as well be Barnes & Noble. Bookworms out in Southwestâor those simply looking to spread the bibliophiliaâwill find at Ms. Bloomâs, as at any great local bookshop, unconcealed favoritism for Northwest authors and volumes on our blessed region, plus cards handmade by local artists and free coffee.
Buy this: "What the Village Is Reading"—i.e., anything from the bestsellers shelf.
Leigh Rosenwald, the owner of this eensy-weensy shop off Multnomah Village's main drag, has a talent—a knack, if you will (won't you? please?)—for catering to her target market. Rosenwald's "gallery boutique," opened just last November, is "put a bird on it" embodied, its scanty square footage chockablock with Portland-chic wares. The locally crafted offerings include art, jewelry, cards and enough aesthetically pleasing knickknacks to fill the pages of Readymade and Real Simple, plus Dwell. As Knack splits the difference between art gallery and retail store, so does its price range; for those spending to impress this season of giving, Michael Arras' geometric wooden tables ($199-$575) are standout beauts.
Buy this: Kris Kreiter's block-printed kitchen towels ($14). Designs include a sardine tin, bacon and eggs, and a fish (but not a bird).
Wine lovers are called oenophiles, liquor lovers are called alcoholicsâbut what do you call a beer aficionado? On this issue, for once, the Internet is silent. Whatever you call âem, get âem their holiday gift at Johnâs. With more than 800 kinds of suds (not to mention 400 wine varieties) in stock, the longtime neighborhood marketplaceâfounded by namesake John Feus, a Swiss immigrant, in 1923âis the only place in Southwest you stand a chance at stumping your beer-buff buddy. For the combined price of the individual bottles, Johnâs will let you mix ânâ match specialty brews to create a pretentiously obscure six-pack. While youâre there, think ahead for New Yearâs: Johnâs probably has the best keg selection in town.
Buy this: Rogue's Santa's Private Reserve ($6.49)
Few things allow you to tap into the innocent pleasure of childhoodâa time before dental coverage was something your HR director said was âunfeasible at this moment in timeââas much as gleefully chowing down on candy classics like Airheads, Hubba Bubba or Nerds. High-fructose corn syrup be damned! When you gift somebody stocking-stuffers from this independent sweets emporium, you stuff their stocking with that feeling. On top of the aforementioned schoolyard standards, Sweets Etc. boasts an Anglophile-appeasing selection of British candy (Yorkie, Lion, Aero) as well as a selection of housemade chocolates.
Buy this: You will perhaps think it ridiculous to call a chocolate bar a cult favorite, but the German-made Ritter Sport is one (Its square shape has inspired a Ritter museum). Try the Dunkle Voll-Nuss (dark chocolate with whole hazelnuts) ($4.30) and the Marzipan ($4.30).