Shop local this holiday season at a dozen of Houston’s most beloved shops doling out unique, uncommon gifts.
There’s so much to love about Houston, and its specialty shops rank at the top of that list.
All over the city, these storefronts provide a curated selection of goods that show off the unique preferences and creations of their owners.
So when it comes to holiday shopping, whether for your special someone or the perfect white elephant gift for that office party, these small spots have got you covered.
12 Local Stores for Gift Shopping in Houston
All the Feels in Midtown
Unique jewelry, home decor and accessories are on offer here, all lovingly curated and presented in the bright, naturally lit 1928 art deco storefront.
You’ll find a collection that spans eras from art nouveau to art deco, mid-century modern to postmodern with many goods being sourced from local artists and designers. Check out their online store or the brick-and-mortar to find unique, handmade goods like vessels, vases and candles, an assortment of vintage items, smokeware, incense supplies, blankets, bags and more.
Open Wednesday to Saturday noon to 7pm; Sunday noon to 4pm; closed Monday and Tuesday.
Anvil Cards near Rice Village
Quirky cards and gift wrap abound in this cozy space on Bissonnet where everything is crafted here in Houston—including handmade items by shopowner JC Woods and his wife.
Currently, there’s an array of Houston-themed Christmas and Hanukkah cards, as well as greetings for all occasions. But you’ll also find funky gifts like succulents in Topo Chico bottles, graphic Ts made by Houston artists, notebooks and prints.
Open Monday to Saturday noon to 6pm.
Big Blue Whale in Heights & Kingwood
Whether you visit the original location in the Heights or head up to its Kingwood sister shop, the experience is still one of wonder and surprise.
The carefully curated toy shop features games, dolls, books, arts and crafts, and science kits, plus a host of other engaging options for every age.
And if you’ve got folks on your list in far-flung spots, the shop is happy to ship.
Open Monday to Saturday 10am to 6pm (Heights: Monday noon to 5pm); Sunday noon to 5pm.
British Isles in Rice Village
You’ll find everything from cards to teacups in this wonderfully eclectic spot on Bissonnet Street.
Nearly everything is imported from the United Kingdom, including foodstuffs, beautiful woven goods and upscale soaps and scents. There are also items such as wallets and purses with British-themed designs, banners and flags, books and more.
Those looking for an “across the pond” shopping experience won’t be disappointed.
Open Monday to Saturday 10am to 6pm; Sunday noon to 5pm.
Cacao & Cardamom near the Galleria
Chocolatier Annie Rupani opened this wonderland in 2014 and ever since, it’s been Houston’s address for exquisitely crafted, uniquely flavored, handmade chocolates. Selections includes flavors that blend Rupani’s Pakistani roots and her world travels, and she sources chocolate from around the globe.
Look for truffles, bites and other confections in combinations like black sesame ginger—where sesame seeds are ground and blended with dark chocolate and paired with fresh ginger—and cardamom rose, made with creamy white chocolate, cardamom and rosewater.
There are plenty of pre-made gift sets, but guests can also create their own boxes for an individualized experience.
Open Monday to Thursday 10:30am to 6pm; Friday and Saturday 11am to 7pm.
Cactus Music in Upper Kirby
For more than 45 years, Houston’s oldest independent music shop has been known as the best place in the city to find vintage vinyl, cassettes, new releases and more.
There’s an extensive collection of music memorabilia and concert posters, and the staff are die-hard fans of multiple genres and trends.
What’s more, especially during the holiday season, you can swing by to check out their unique, kitschy gift section that features all things from rock star coloring books and collectible figures to Houston-centric books, posters and much more.
Open Monday to Saturday 10am to 7pm; Sunday noon to 7pm.
French Country Wines in Upper Kirby
Every bottle in this cozy shop and tasting room is hand-selected by owner Jean-Philippe Guy and every bottle is from one of France’s smaller grower-producers.
Shopping here offers not only an international experience, but one where supporting small business is part of the experience.
Look for a killer selection of Champagnes, reds, whites and rosés with something for every budget and palate. Want to try before you buy? The shop offers tastings from noon to 5pm every Saturday.
Open Wednesday to Friday noon to 6pm; Saturday noon to 5pm.
Kindred Stories in Third Ward
This bookstore on Stuart Street, between Emancipation Park and Project Row Houses, specializes in books by African American authors and works that promote awareness of issues in Black life.
A terrific selection of fiction and nonfiction await, and the shop hosts a series of events, talks and bookclubs.
Look for titles for everyone on your list, along with candles, journals, coffee and teas, totebags and other book swag. And if you’re looking for page-turners that feature superheroes and more, Gulf Coast Cosmos Comics is right next door.
Open Wednesday to Saturday 11am to 6pm; Sunday noon to 5pm.
Murder by the Book near Rice Village
This independent bookstore specializes in true crime, mystery and thrillers, but also has a solid selection of literary fiction, and its staff makes it a point to read virtually everything on its carefully curated shelves.
All that translates into a deep shopping experience and exquisite customer service, pairing the right book with the right people.
In addition to books, there’s a fun selection of mystery-themed tote bags, socks and mugs, along with paper goods and puzzles. If there’s a reader on your list, this is your new go-to.
Open Monday to Saturday 10am to 6pm (Tuesday until 2pm); Sunday noon to 5pm.
Oak + Sparrow in the Heights
This sophisticated boutique specializes in sustainable fashion, with brands that use organic materials and operate in ethical ways.
In addition to an array of dresses, blouses and scarves, look for jewelry, accessories, baby items and thrifted finds.
Open Monday to Saturday 10am to 6pm; Sunday 1pm to 4pm.
Space in Montrose
Here you’ll find a focus on local artists and unique finds.
Open since 2010, the Houston-centric Space has been a must-visit for handcrafted items such as clothing and jewelry, soaps and candles, and pins, all with a fun, pop-culture bent.
There’s also an excellent selection of gifts under $15 for those seeking something special on a budget.
Open daily 11am to 7pm.
Tres Chic in Upper Kirby
This tiny shop is a treasure trove of fashion finds.
Look for scarves, shawls, bags, shoes, jewelry and more, all perfect for every style and taste.
Not sure what those on your list will like? Grab a gift certificate, or ask the welcoming staff for their recommendations.
Open Tuesday to Friday 10am to 6pm; Saturday 10am to 4pm.
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