How to avoid the mall for holiday shopping?

tightknit market troy atriumWith holiday shopping in mind, Chrissy emails:

I'm trying to shop local and eco-friendly this year for Christmas gifts but am getting tempted by the one-stop shop appeal of the mall. Does anyone know of an area around here where there are a lot of local shops close together that sell stuff for kids and adults? I've tried Etsy but to be honest, I like to see the stuff in person especially with baby toys. All the stores I know of are pretty spread out so I thought you guys could help. Thanks!

If you're looking for a more in-person experience than Etsy, one local option is the TightKnit market in Troy on Saturdays (a little bit like Etsy in real life).

But that's just one spot -- we're sure there are a bunch of others around the Capital Region. Got a suggestion for Chrissy? Please share!

photo: TightKnit


Stuyvesant Plaza is pretty nice. There are still chains, but also some nice non-chains mixed in there. A stroll down Warren street in Hudson might also yield some nice results.

I've finished most of my xmas shopping by wandering a block of downtown Troy/River Street: my mom loves the pottery/ceramics store; Anchor No. 5 has jewelry and handknits for women and some cool prints, as well as lots of baby/kid things; the Botanic Studio has awesome (and well-priced!) terrariums, jewelry and candles; Design Together's studio has posters, stationery, and t-shirts for cool kids... and then I end at Market Block Books for everyone else!

Glen Street in Glens Falls has some really great shops (and Rock Hill Bakehouse is a must for lunch while you're in town). Sterling & Co. is a great store, Kismet is fun...Milk and Honey around the corner on Exchange Street also has some cool offerings.

In previous years, I've managed to get most of my shopping list taken care of on Lark Street plus the Honest Weight Food Coop. Elissa Halloran usually has something for most of the ladies on my list, Capital Wine and Daily Grind can satisfy some others, Dove & Hudson has great selections for my literary friends, and I can usually find some cool stuff at Romeo's and the Tibetan shop. The Good Leaf used to also be one of my go-to's but that's sadly gone now.... I'll usually round my list out with some local chocolates, fancy jams and hand-knit baby goods at the HWFC.

Kids can be a bit trickier - if they're a little older, you could probably get something fun at the video game store. On the younger side, well, I don't know about that....Too bad Hodge Podge books closed.

Aha! I've got it! The Cottage Herb Shop
( Bam. You've got your list done.

Now go reward yourself with a cappuccino from Verro.

Troy--River Street, Broadway, and Third Street are full of cute shops with hand knits, botanticals, books, ceramics, art (clements and the art center), vintage goodies, records, reasonably priced antiques...its like etsy in real life.

and there is a comic book shop (on 2nd and state streets).

check out the Victoria Stroll this Sunday when all of the shoppes will be open.

Elissa Halloran's shop on Lark Street in Albany is a great way to buy local too. She carries jewelry, cards and all sorts of gifts - most of which are made locally. Elissa has been supporting local artists and crafters for years.

Try Lark Street and the MYS Museum and Albany Institute gift shops. Most years, I spend at least one December day walking around and getting unique and fun gifts in those areas (usually fueled by really good Daily Grind coffee).

OK, I usually do all of this shopping around 4 p.m. on December 24, because I have the planning skills of a toddler. The Lark Street and museum merchants have saved me many times.

Not sure who you are buying for but my family stopped buying for each other years ago. As for my nieces, I plan "dates" with them. Ice skating, movies, sporting events depending on their interests and age. Much more fun for all of us.

If you're up for a drive in the country, do your holiday shopping in Cambridge, NY. The Village Store has a fabulous selection of gifts for adults and kids (including lots of fun toys/games that you won't find at the bigger toy stores/depts) and Battenkill Books is just a few doors down.

Artique Co-Op just off exit 8 of the northway!!
Over 100 local craft vendors under one roof.
It's like a craft fair all year long.
And a seasonal satellite store at the Aviation Mall.

I think Clifton Park Center has a few things in one place. The inside of the mall is mostly large chains, but there are a bunch of outdoor shops near the Marshall's entrance. I don't shop a ton, but I have noticed some of the smaller, local places and the store, Ta-Da, has a bunch of fun items (for kids or adults, in my opinion).

I'll plug downtown Saratoga Springs. Lots of great boutiques and interesting stores, and a short walk/drive to Beekman Street for unique art galleries (as well as a good pub lunch at The Local).

Thanks for all the suggestions! I have a 3 kids to shop for (1, 5, and 12), two 70 year olds and few 30 somethings so it's great to hear that I can possibly get it all done at once and still support the local places. I see a Sunday in Troy in my weekend forecast :-)

The village of Chatham. A nice day trip with something for everyone. I always start at American Pie and end at the pub.

@jess: excellent suggestions! Did you know that Lil' Buddha Tea is now where the Good Leaf used to be? They didn't change too much, and now offer vegan food to go with their tea (and the raw juice is one of my favorite hangover cures).

Capital District Local First has a good directory of local business;

You could also join this FaceBook page to get more ideas;

Craft fairs held by local churches and schools offer a lot of local vendors under one roof (often in one room.) This weekend, I'll be at Hamagrael Elementary School in Delmar with about 80 other vendors.

This link has even more events you can check out:

@ Dave - I second the Artique Co-op. I love stopping in to see what's new.

Make it a Saturday in Troy and you can hit up the Farmers Market in the Atrium - amazing food item gifts: homemade chai flavored Marshmallows, Raspberry Honey, Wine Jellies, Browns Beer, Saratoga Peanut Butter... and then the crafts, upstairs, which have been mentioned. Then head over the street to Market block and River street - all mentioned already too.

My family tries to give handmade or locally made gifts every year, so I make a lot of my gifts myself and get the rest there. Most of us have enough "stuff" collecting dust, so fun, local treats (that you can use up!) are perfect.

Saturday, December 10th from 11am-4pm the Arkell Museum at Canajoharie is having a fantastic holiday fair. They will feature hand selected local artisan vendors. A great day trip to check-out the museum and purchase one-of-a-kind gifts from Capital Region artisans.

The airport may be with the mall on your list of places you want to avoid during the holidays but Departures, a store under the escalators on the first floor, has a wonderfully curated selection, with a lot of jewelry and other gifts from local artists, as well as items whose sale benefits local museums. Parking is free for half an hour and while you're there you can check out the gallery upstairs.

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