By Angela Caraway-Carlton
From The Galleria at Fort Lauderdale mall to Las Olas Boulevard and local boutiques, there’s no shortage of places for holiday shopping in Fort Lauderdale. But here’s a secret: If you’re looking to really wrap up unique gifts this year, you can find something truly special for everyone on your list in unexpected places in The District. And I promise, they will be the most cherished gifts of the season, that no one will find at a mainstream store. Keep in mind, since these are all one-of-a-kind presents, you won’t always find these exact same offerings at the below featured places. However, I do promise that you’ll always discover something beautiful, creative and interesting. Happy shopping, and don’t forget to snap a photo of your holiday finds and post it on social media with the hashtag #DoTheDistrict!
NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale
If you have an art lover in your life, the NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale’s gift shop/cafe is the perfect place to shop for creative and inspiring gifts. This cute little shop is well-curated with high-end, hard-to-find items for men, women and children. For the fashionista in your life, go straight to the jewelry counter, where you’ll find drool-worthy jewelry that often doubles as pieces of art. I recently scooped up a pair of bright coral, 3D paper earrings (hard to envision, I know, but they are fabulous!) I always receive compliments on them and I know I won’t see them on anyone else! If you really want to splurge, snag a colorful scarf from artist Frank Stella ($1,000).
For the hostesses with the most on your list, gift them uncommon tea towels ($16.95), cheeky glass trays (with regal animals on them) for trinkets or jewelry, or my personal favorite, white and gold tea cups ($36 each) that irreverently say Queen, Poison and Vodka. Pinkies up!
For the kiddos, there’s a posh children’s tea set ($125), or you can let their imaginations soar with an assortment of adorable animal puppets ($34–$36) suited for endless puppet shows. For those kids who seem to have everything, present them with fun cardboard pop-art of unicorns or other animals to adorn their bedroom walls — or spoil them with their own artsy chairs.
Can’t choose? Gift those on your list with a year-long membership to NSU Art Museum.
Hint: From now until Nov. 27 (Cyber Monday) at 11:59 p.m., individual memberships ($80) will be on sale for $55 and a family membership ($160) will be slashed to $100. To purchase, click on this link: http://nsuartmuseum.org/event/black-friday-cyber-monday-sale/
Tip: When you’re done shopping, grab a cupcake and coffee in the café and picture how excited everyone will be when they open their treasures!
Fort Lauderdale Historical Society
At the Fort Lauderdale Historical Society, you’ll discover gifts that celebrate Fort Lauderdale’s storied past and booming future, which are perfect for your history buffs. One of the most popular items are black and white 8×10 photos of Fort Lauderdale ($20), some that date as far back as the 1800s. (You won’t even recognize bustling Las Olas in some of these photos!) You can decorate your tree with vintage hand-painted ornaments ($12) that offer scenes from Fort Lauderdale, like the New River Inn. There are cookbooks with local recipes, books about our famous founders and locals, and even delicious-smelling, locally-made salt scrubs ($5.95).
Tip: When you’re all wrapped up, take a stroll along the beautiful New River and think about all the history that’s taken place there — and now you’re sharing a piece of it with others.
Need more gift ideas? Other gift shops to visit in The District include the Historic Stranahan House, with its vintage finds and local artisan wares such as traditional Seminole dolls to hand-painted model cars.
You’ll also want to visit the Bonnet House Museum & Gardens’ well-appointed gift shop, that offers a wide variety of unique and quality collectibles including art, antiques, clothing, jewelry and other delightful gifts — then wander the beautiful grounds for extra inspiration.
If your intended recipient is all about the “experience,” then treat them to a show-stopping night at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts or Parker Playhouse, along with a pre-theater meal at Marti’s New River Bistro. You may want to consider gifting a romantic evening to the opera. The Florida Grand Opera’s brilliant 77th season sparkles with talent, drama and elegance. The memories you’ll make will be cherished for years to come!