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Boise Holiday Shopping—Done Differently

It’s December 24th. You know what that means: Today is the last day to dream up, shop for and wrap gifts for the ones you love.

Cue the insanity.

Cue the angry-driver-induced traffic in a mile radius around the mall. Cue the 50-person-long lines at the cash register. Cue the token rude guy who reaches into your personal space for that last SpongeBob SquarePants DVD. This, unfortunately, is sometimes what the Christmas spirit’s all about.

What’s a girl to do?

So why not buck tradition, avoid the crowds and join an ever-growing group of people who are embracing locally crafted, homemade or fairly traded goods? Big-box stores may have their place, but Boise also offers a variety of great shops bursting at the seams with some of the most quirky, interesting gifts for all those hard-to-shop-for.

First, hit up Dragonfly, the Boise Co-op and, my personal favorite, The Edge. Part gift shop, part coffeehouse, part record store (it’s adjacent to the Record Exchange), the Edge is a trifecta of gift-giving goodness: Find everything from Youth Lagoon on vinyl for a hipster nephew or a pin-up girl calendar for that quirky sister-in-law on your list.

If you want souvenirs without going anywhere, think fair. Both Eyes of the World Imports and Dunia Marketplace sell fair trade items that pays artisans worldwide a fair wage for their work. Dunia, in particular, is a not-for-profit store that makes use of volunteers to keep operating costs low. And gift items are as unique as they can get: Think a traveling backgammon set with a fabric board, or friendship bracelets, made by Masai women and tied together with grass, meant to be untied in one another’s company.

Dunia Marketplace, located in Boise's historic Hyde Park

Last but not least, buy local. Indie Made, Green Chutes and Bricolage are three of the many shops that carry goods made by area artists, crafters and overall creatives. Find everything from wearable art and handmade jewelry to one-of-a-kind art pieces—and feel good about supporting local artisans.

"Someone in Idaho Loves Me" t-shirt, found at Bricolage

 Your turn!

Where are Boise’s best local businesses to shop?! Let us know. Santa comes tonight!

Amber Daley is a fifth-generation Idahoan infatuated with skiing, mountain bike riding and photography. When not exploring the outdoors, she writes for local and national publications, peruses local antique shops and creates art in her studio. Find her online.

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