Good Friend and Guest Blogger, Shanelle Ebanks

It is the season of giving! When I go shopping, aside from a specific need, I like to make memories.  Isn’t that what quality gift giving is all about anyway?!?!  I like to gifts that:

  • Reinforce that I see you and speak to who you are
  • Remind us of moments we’ve shared
  • Hopefully make us laugh and/or cry
  • Support dreams and goals we’ve discussed or I may hold for you
  • Are an experience

I love the off beaten, eccentric, quirky, hole-in-the wall, hidden gems for gifts. In general, I want you to have something unique and truly special.  Here are just a few of my favs.

Grab a great book…ok who are we kidding, books from Quail Ridge Book Store, Letters Bookshop, or  Reader’s Cornerand then head over to Tin Roof Teasto get some amazing loose leaf tea and infused honey. Heading into winter you need just the right tea(s) and a great read to cozy up on the couch with. If you are really living on the edge, pick up a CD or record from Reader’s Corner or Carolina Soul Recordsand add some great tunes to the mix.  (I know it’s old school but I promise it’s a different listening experience and records DO sound different).  Don’t forget the whole body! Treat yourself (and others) to the healing soaps, moisturizers, and essential oils of Aly Willowand top it off with a massage, there are SO many spas to choose from in the Triangle.

When I have no idea what to get, there are a few stores I love to get inspired by and wander through.  Give yourself a little time and just get lost in these gems, Deco, Dolly’s Vintage, Exotique, Parker and Otis, Morgan Imports, NOFO @ the Pig and Relish Craft Kitchen and Bourbon Barhas a cute little section of NC centric gifts (eat something when you pop in to shop).

There are of course a few old faithfuls. I LOVE LOVE LOVE the NC State Farmers Market. There’s an entire building of cute handmade goods and food, but I always get in trouble with plants (what’s better than giving someone life and better air quality) and the fresh food. Pick up a cook book in one of those great book stores, find a recipe and pick up the ingredients to cook together!  Grab some awesome spices and sauces from Savory Spiceand olive oil from The Olive Wagon.  Food is love! The Raleigh Flea Market at the NC State Fairgroundsis amazing. The vendors and merchandise change and you never know what you’ll find. Go peruse, shop, get your step count in! It’ll be great!

**Shameless plug** don’t forget the precious little ones in your life. Check out my Simply Unforgettable Etsy shopfor some warm and creative handmade baby and toddler blankets and more.

I also love to gift an experience. Don’t be afraid to get a specific gift card or make a coupon (hello Canva) for an experience.  Things like wine and design classes, cooking classes, golf, bowling, escape room, barcade, wine tasting and/or vineyard tour, etc. But, I SO want to go axe throwing; I’ve heard good things about Urban Axesand Epic Axe Throwing & Social House.  Feel free to invite me!!  😉Don’t forget, Groupon is your friend!

Whatever you get, don’t forget the perfect wrapping, the present is theentireexperience. While I’m a huge fan of wrapping a present in the comics section of the paper, sometimes you just have to step your game up with a perfectly paired card and awesome wrapping. For this, check out If It’s Paperor Paper Source.  Paper Source also has some great cute gifts too!


Happy shopping and remember “He who giveth good gifts, receiveth good gifts.” I really want to say that came from the Bible or Confucius, but we both know I just made that up.  I hope you find great gifts, but also really enjoy experience of the hunt for the perfect gifts.

Happy Holidays!

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