Photographed by James Arbaje
While you are out trying to check items off of your list, why not peruse some of Madison’s own nifty local shops? The friendly environment and unique merchandise are sure to spark some holiday gift inspiration. Find the perfect purchases for your loved ones and support the local community all at the same time!
There are many benefits to buying local, but the most advantageous to gift-buyers is the variety of unique and handcrafted gifts that cannot be found anywhere else. The one-of-a-kind treasures waiting to be discovered at these independent shops are sure to satisfy everyone on your list this holiday season.
Madison is lucky to be the home of many local, small businesses and independent shops/ restaurants. While you are out, stop in to some favorites, such as the Madison Modern Market, located on State Street. This one-stop-shop has gifts and trinkets for the whole family. From trendy home décor and innovative kitchenware to children’s toys and clothing, you can find a little something for everyone.
For the sweet tooth on your list, consider wandering into Dough Baby Bakery. New to Madison, this pleasant little bakery has all of the right ingredients to please anyone who could use a little indulging. This business is run by an all-female staff who proudly focus their energies on “[bringing] local, seasonal and organically sourced pastry to feed the community.” Stop in to grab one of their delicious donuts, pies, cakes and more!
If you are looking to bring home some stylish, wearable gifts for your loved ones, downtown Madison has plenty to offer. Perhaps you need a trendy new pieces for him. Consider stopping in at Jazzman, a local clothing store that caters to the polished gentleman.
Otherwise, if you are searching for statement apparel for her, head to Serrv located on the 200 block of State Street. This store offers fair trade gifts and clothing items, including beautiful, handmade accessories and one-of-a-kind dresses and sweaters. You cannot go wrong with a thoughtful, handmade gift from this adorable shop.
If you want to gift something inevitably chic, make your way to Karen & Co. and Sassafras. This store sells designer shoes, bags and everything in between. You will have no issue finding the perfect gifts for all of the ladies on your list with the help of its wonderful stylists.
Another local favorite is Little Luxuries, whose name says it all. Here you can find beautiful, handmade bags, winter accessories, stylish barware and so much more. For those who appreciate a little guidance, they even have sections designated to ideas for him or her. This feature certainly makes it easy to knock mom and dad off the list.
Maybe clothes are too personal for your gift-recipient. Consider stopping in at Soap Opera, a quirky store with lots of good smells. On their shelves, you will find soaps, body washes and face masks amongst other products. They even have their own scent station, where you can customize a personal, totally unique smell with the help of their friendly and knowledgeable staff! Buying from Soap Opera will give you the perfect gift for someone who deserves a little pampering this holiday season.
Also, whether you are a true Wisconsinite born and raised or home means hopping on a plane for the holidays, celebrate by adding some local goodies to your gift pile. For the dairy-lover on your list, make sure to shop at Fromagination. Their exhaustive amount of artisan cheeses and other local gourmet treats gives you the perfect Wisconsin selection.
We also recommend adding Clary’s to your list. Here, you can indulge in old-fashioned, gourmet popcorn of almost every flavor and color imaginable! They even have red and white badger themed popcorn, the perfect gift for Wisconsin fans.
While you are out hunting down the perfect presents at some of Madison’s favorites, why not take a break at a local coffee shop, like Fair Trade Coffee House, and enjoy a delicious house-made pastry and a warm cup of joe, certified fair trade! Otherwise, consider winding down your day by sitting down for dinner at The Old Fashioned on the Capitol Square. Here, you and fellow shoppers can enjoy a selection of local beer, brats and cheese curds, true Madison classics.
The local talent and potential of Madison is truly a feature of the city that deserves more appreciation. Although this list is not exhaustive, this local selection should surely inspire some holiday gift-giving that puts supporting the community on your mind! Give the gift of Madison and create a holiday your family and friends will never forget.