There are only a few shopping days left before Christmas and if you still have those last-minute gifts to buy then you might be starting to get panicky at the thought of having to brave the crowds at the mall. Having young children myself I know first hand how hard it can be to even find time to shop, but these family friendly local merchants have gifts for all of the loved ones in your family.
1. This year on Black Friday, I had a few hours to fit in some shopping and the last thing I wanted to deal with was parking and crowds, so I headed out to a local toy store, . Owners Michael and Shari Zuckerman helped me pick out great gifts for each of my three children and Michael even carried all of my packages to my car. In one stop I almost finished all of my shopping for my kids and had a great time doing it.
2. If you are looking to save some money while shopping locally, then you must check out in East Setauket. The children's boutique is having a holiday blowout sale now until Dec. 24.
3. East Setauket mom of four Christine Kellerman loves shopping at for holiday gifts for the children and babies in her family. On a recent shopping trip at one of her favorite local stores Christine said, "I have gotten to know the owners, which you can't do in a large retail store. If I want them to possibly order something for me, they have done that for me in the past if the item was available." Cottontails offers children's apparel, accessories and also educational toys. According to the owner, Cathy Pagano, the best sellers this season have been the prewrapped Melissa and Doug shopping carts filled with pretend food and the prewrapped baby stroller with baby doll.
4. For the coffee lover in your life, the perfect place to shop is . I stopped into Starbucks this past weekend to enjoy my favorite drink during the holidays, a gingerbread latte, and was able to pick up gift cards for my children's teachers and a beautifully decorated gift basket. Starbucks has many gift tables set up in the store that you can browse while you wait on line to place your order; talk about convenient.
5. For the cyclist in your family stop by the across from the Stony Brook train station. Neil from Campus Bike said, "That they have lots of items on sale for the holidays including cyclist clothing, bikes and accessories."
6. If your loved one has a sweet tooth than look no further than Candy Land Creations on Main Street in East Setauket. Candy Land Creations has the cutest gingerbread houses, all ready to be decorated, with a large variety of candy sold seperately in the store. "We have been very busy this holiday season with corporate orders, we offer pre-made platters and pre-made candy baskets," owner Debbie said.
7. isn't just a place to pick up your holiday greeting cards – you can find great gifts there, too. Their Riverton wrap, selling for under $30, has been a popular gift item. They also carry a full line of jewelry from DaVinci beads that is very similar to the beaded bracelets that are very popular right now.
8. in East Setauket is another great location to find funky and fresh children's clothing and accessories to please even the pickiest of young kids on your list.
9. on Main Street in East Setauket brings Christmas to Three Village year round. Stop in for your last minute gifts, secret Santa gifts, or stocking stuffers.
10. Finally, we can't forget the four-legged family members this time of year. in Setauket has all you need for your furry friends. Last week, I met Kim Teri of East Setauket as she was taking her German Shepard, Trey, for her annual picture with Santa at Hamlet Pets. She shops there all of the time for Trey. "[Hamlet] has just what you need for your pet for the holidays," Teri said.
Bonus: If avoiding holiday crowds and parking isn't enough of an incentive to shop locally, then here's one more incentive to share. American Express had such success with its "Small Business Saturday" campaign that it has been extended until Dec. 31. To learn more about it, visit its Facebook page at Facebook.com/SmallBusinessSaturday.