For all its joy and magic (and festive parties and presents), the holidays can also be a stressful time of year. Between planning meals and menus, organizing get-togethers and a seemingly endless shopping list, the whole season can sometimes feel more like a chore to get through. Let us help you take back the fun.
Our comprehensive guide to holiday shopping offer ideas on where to locate everything from wrapping paper and tree trimmings to ingredients for your signature cookies and one-of-a-kind gifts for even the pickiest person on your list. With a little strategizing, the holidays can be a little less stressful this season.
One-Stop Outlet Shops
Make the most of a single shopping outing — and only park the car once — by stopping at the Fashion Outlets of Niagara Falls USA, offering over 200 designer outlets with up to 75 percent off in savings. Find a diverse array of shops, including Disney, Nike, Coach and Vera Bradley, plus the new H&M and Old Navy, to help you cross off a wide swathe of your gift list. The mall also offers free Wi-Fi and a text concierge that assists shoppers on where to find specific stores and more. There’s also a Fashion Outlets Savings Pass, featuring exclusive discounts and incentives at participating stores and restaurants for $5. Be sure to refuel at Starbucks before heading back out!
Charming Antique Shops
Seek out the region’s many antique stores to score some retro decor and gifts for the most puzzling people on your list. Wander through aisles and stalls of well-curated goods at places like the Lewiston Antique Mall and Shawnee Country Barns Antique Co-Op to find totally unique presents. Silver picture frames, delicate coupe glasses or jewelry and memorabilia from a favorite sports team or childhood television show are all guaranteed not be re-gifted. (Pro-tip: If you’re hosting a holiday gathering, consider stocking up on inexpensive glassware and a punch bowl at one of these vintage shops, too — which can add a little style to your party.)
Explore mom-and-pop shops in Niagara County’s quaint towns, like Spice Harbor in Lewiston — where you can find over 200 kinds of spices, herbs and blends, or soup, scone and dip mixes to delight the cook in your life. In North Tonawanda, find Pulp 716 with a robust range of comic books (and bubble teas, which can help fuel your shopping adventure), and in downtown Niagara Falls, the Book Corner is a bookworm’s haven. Find something for everyone on your list among the stacks and aisles of books of every genre, including the largest selection of children’s books in western New York. (Bonus: They do free gift wrapping.)
Big Box Stores USA
What can’t you find at Target? The iconic mega-store is popular for good reason, and home to everything from iPads and other electronics (for the ones who’ve been extra good this year) to well-priced wrapping paper, gift tags, ornaments and even faux Christmas trees. Nearby, the Walmart Supercenter has a similar selection of discount-priced gifts, wrapping paper and other goodies, and is also home to a grocery store, pharmacy and photo processing center. At either of these stores, pick up some small denomination gift cards for the group on your list you’re not quite sure what to get: teachers, dog walkers or anyone else who would appreciate a mini-shopping spree somewhere that sells virtually everything under the sun.
New York Grocery Stores
When it comes to food shopping, not all grocery stores are created equal. To optimize your food shopping trip, make a pilgrimage to Wegman’s, Latina Importing Co. and Aldi. At Wegman’s, tackle your holiday grocery shopping in one trip, picking up freshly baked pies, craft beer and wine and cut fruit and vegetables to make meal prep a breeze, plus antipasti like olives and charcuterie to throw together an easy-yet-impressive charcuterie board. The family-owned-and-operated Latina Importing Co. is set on Pine Avenue in Niagara Falls, and offers fresh fruits and vegetables, plus meats, cheeses, dressings and sauces, desserts and more. Finally, Aldi sells discount groceries, so stock up on pantry staples like holiday baking ingredients and bottles of wine.