With the holiday season in full gear, it's time to start gathering gifts for everyone on your list. What better way to give a meaningful gift than to find something that can't be found in any other town or any large commercial shopping center?
Behold the ultimate gift guide for the various characters in your life. There's a gift out there for everyone, and better yet, a store stocked with multiple unusually spectacular options.
What: Lollipals, handcrafted lollipops in an assortment of Christmas-themed designs: penguins, Santa Claus, snowmen, Christmas trees and gingerbread men.
How much is it: $3.95
Where: Mass Street Sweet Shoppe, 727 Massachusetts St.
About this store: Michelle Miller opened local specialty candy shop Mass Street Sweet Shoppe in November 2012. It’s the perfect place to get some unique sweets that you wouldn’t find at any other store, and give them as delectable gifts, as the store gift wraps everything. Also try their homemade decorative truffles for $2.95 each.
What: Copy of the “Rules of Basketball,” 13 original rules for playing basketball written by James Naismith; the original document was purchased by KU alumnus David Booth for $4.3 million.
How much is it: $25-$40 for unframed; $125 for framed
Where: Framewoods Gallery, 819 Massachusetts St.
About this store: It has featured Kansas University memorabilia and custom framing for 33 years in Lawrence, including print reproductions and autographed collectibles. Pair the rules with “There’s No Place like Home,” a documentary on a diehard KU sports fan's effort to win this artifact and bring it to Lawrence. Available for $15.
For the KU alumnus:
What is it: “Pubs of Lawrence,” an artistic illustrative poster (called a pubster) of the local hangout spots, aka bars, that make up the heart and soul of Lawrence. Good for Kansas University graduates who like to reflect on the “good ol’ days.”
How much is it: $25
Where: Framewoods Gallery, 819 Massachusetts St.
For the KU alumnus no longer in Lawrence:
What: “I miss Lawrence” T-shirts. For those who come home every year for homecoming regardless of financial situation or the number of people they still know in town.
How much is it: $15.95, for already printed shirt; $20-25, for custom-made shirt.
Where: ACME, 847 Massachusetts St.
About this store: Custom T-shirt store where you can bring in any clever idea you have and get it printed on a shirt. Other Lawrence shirts include an outline of the state of Kansas with a heart marking Lawrence, and one defining Lawrence as the greatest place ever in the history of the entire world.
What: Knob Stoppers, unique wine bottle stoppers made from vintage door knobs.
How much is it: $40 each
Where: Made, 737 Massachusetts St.
About this store: A store carrying handmade items from more than 130 artists from all over the world, but featuring a large number of Midwestern artists. The store offers kitchenware, home decor, artisanal foods, bath and body products, men’s and women’s accessories and more. For ultimate wine enthusiasts, pair the knob stopper with a leather-bound wine log to keep track of the different wines tasted and stick the labels on each page, $28.75.
What: Free State Beer Soap, by local vendor Front Porch Culture by Sarah Wallace. Available scents include Oatmeal Stout, Wheat and Copperhead. Nothing says manly like smelling like the brewery (for brothers, dads, uncles, etc.)
How much is it: $5
Where: Cindy’s Simple Life, 16 E. Eighth St.
About this store: The first urban general store in Lawrence that carries everyday items with a fresh spin you didn’t know you needed until you got there. Take a look at the offbeat greeting cards to add some humor to holiday fun.
What: “Obsessive Consumption: What Did I Buy Today?” Detail each purchase you make in this journal to be more accountable and wiser about each buy. On each page are illustrations by artist Kate Bingaman-Burt, who has been making work about consumption since 2002.
How much is it: $12.95
Where: Wonder Fair Gallery/Shop/Studio, 803 Massachusetts St.
About this store: Wonder Fair is about enriching the community with artful experiences and handmade pieces from artists in the community and elsewhere. Looking for a calendar for the new year? Check out the calendars from Kansas City letterpress shop Hammerpress.
For science-lovers: What is it: Royal Bobbles, scientist bobbleheads for those who just can’t nerd out enough over Albert Einstein, Marie Curie, Sir Isaac Newton and Galileo Galilei.
How much is it: $20.95
Where: Wild Territory, 942 Massachusetts St.
About this store: Wild Territory is a science and nature store owned by science educator Joyce Donham since 2002. From fun science T-shirts that say “Talk nerdy to me” to educational animal cell kits, this store specializes in basic and unusual natural history and science products. Decorate this year’s tree with brain and neuron ornaments for $13.95 each.
What: Silly Gilly Gil book series by local author Abue; “Gay L-U-V” was written to engage kids in an age-appropriate conversation about character Gil having two moms. Others lesson-imparting books include "Bullying Hurts," "Best Buddies" and "Grandpa Harley's Funeral."
How much is it: $11.95 each
Where: The Toy Store, 936 Massachusetts St.
About this store: Also located in Topeka, The Toy Store stocks all of today’s latest and greatest toys, as well as the classics, as “experts in toyology since 1975.” On the top floor of the Lawrence location, don’t forget to explore the numerous shelves of children’s books. There is a special section dedicated to local and Kansas writers.
For earth-friendly folks:
What: Upcycled Handmade Slippers, toasty hand-knit fair-trade house slippers in different colors and patterns.
How much is it: $29.99
Where: The Merc, 901 Iowa St.
About this store: This Lawrence whole foods store sells fresh produce, deli, salad, meat and seafood, as well as many other all-natural goods and products. Their seasonal gift collection (located near the registers) features a series of fair-trade accessories, including scarves, gloves, slippers and jewelry.