Not to rush the seasons, but Christmas is roughly 58 days away. If this sends a wave of panic through you, don’t worry. We’re here with tips and tricks to get your list checked off…with a Western New York focus.
Boutiques or bust
At the (mostly) locally owned shops on the Elmwood strip and on Hertel Avenue, you can shop for–and find—one-of-kind items.
“When you shop local, you’re keeping money in the community where you live,” says Therese Deutschlander, owner of Thin Ice.
Because of the local angle, many pieces at Thin Ice can be customized. Pet portraits and clocks made from old books are some of the most popular. Don’t wait until the last minute though; custom orders should be placed two weeks ahead of time.
The shop also offers great gifts honoring our hometown—perfect for expatriates who long for the Queen City. There are Buffalo coloring books, hand towels, glassware, cuff links, coasters and more.
Experience more boutiques
The Elmwood Village Association hosts several special shopping events throughout the holidays like a Black Friday Boutique Crawl and Sip and Shop. On Hertel, it’s Hertel Holidays, usually the first weekend in December. Stay up-to-date at @ElmwoodStrip and @HertelHolidays on Facebook and Instagram.
This little shopper went to market
Pop-up markets are officially a thing in Buffalo, like the annual Queen City Market at Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum (Dec. 1), or Makers + Shakers: Boozy Artisan Market on Small Business Saturday (Nov. 24) at Hotel Lafayette. Expect trendy and atypical vendors who may not have physical storefronts.
“We want shoppers to stop at every single booth, so we limit each category. This way there aren’t 50 jewelry stands, but instead a wide variety with something for everyone,” says Lauren Spoth of Makers + Shakers.
The more, the merrier
Makers + Shakers includes a Build Your Own Bloody Mary Bar and specialty unicorn mimosas, which definitely mitigate crowd pain.
Get your tickets
Makers + Shakers tickets are $5 day of, but if you buy presale you can take the express line, meaning more time for shopping…and Bloody Marys! Queen City Market admission is free.
Super size it
We love shopping local, but sometimes the mall is in order. With over 200 designer brands, The Fashion Outlets of Niagara Falls offers deep discounts at stores nowhere else in the WNY market, like Saks Off 5th, Nike Factory, Kate Spade and Timberland.
“We get ready for the busy holiday season by offering extended hours, which helps serve more customers and combat long lines. Plus, we’re excited for shoppers to take advantage of newly added stores like Old Navy, H&M and Build-A-Bear this season,” said Meghan Ayers, Fashion Outlets marketing manager.
Use your time and money well
It’s a big mall. Once you’ve strategized which stores you want to hit, parking close by can save you time and energy. The mall also offers special discounts for AAA members (like 15 percent off $100 at certain stores) if you show your card at guest services.
Phone a friend
If you have questions on specific store sales, text the Concierge Desk at (716) 222-3350.