Shop local for holiday gifts

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Had it up to Saint Nick’s bearded chin with crowded shopping malls, jam-packed parking lots and impossibly long check-out lines? Then go local. Buying your holiday gifts from small, hometown shopkeepers invites a more personal experience, without the commercial chaos.

christmas shopping

Yarmouth has scores of stores offering terrific gifts for the holidays. And when you buy from a local merchant, you’re also giving back to the community, says Jon Hurst, president of the Retailers Association of Massachusetts. The trade group is urging holiday shoppers across the state to visit local businesses this season.

 “We need to remember that where we invest our dollars makes a difference in the local economy,” Hurst said. “Let’s be sure to commit to investing a good portion of our spending budgets right here in our communities, and to always remember that we should shop like jobs depend on it, because they do.”

Yarmouth shopkeepers are offering plenty of incentives for those who want to buy local. There are Black Friday promotions and Small Business Saturday deals stretching through November and into December.

Cape Cod Toy Chest

At Cape Cod Toy Chest in West Yarmouth, owner Matt Barbo says he’s running discounts on dozens of toys throughout November, including Star Wars action figures (25 percent), select Pokemon Card Packs (25 percent), Power Ranger figures (20 percent), and more. The store’s November and Black Friday deals will continue into Small Business Saturday (Nov. 30). In addition, there will be giveaway items for customers who spend $75 or more.

The store is hosting a winter party on Small Business Saturday, where kids can help decorate the shop with arts and craft snowflakes. Meanwhile, parents can save 25 percent on Melissa & Doug toys, including those ultra-realistic pretend food items and captivating magnetic tile building kits. Barbo has another round of promotions through mid-December, and more discounts will be announced beyond that. Check the store’s website at for more information.

Just Picked Gifts

At Just Picked Gifts in Yarmouth Port, manager Kim Kelley has you covered – or at least she has your feet covered. On Small Business Saturday, the store is giving away a $3.99 pair of socks with every purchase of more than $25. And the store’s Willow Street location is participating in the Dec. 15 Yarmouth Port Christmas Stroll. On that day, Just Picked Gifts will be serving cider and snacks, while offering a free gift with every purchase (while supplies last).

just picked logo

Stumped for ideas? Kelley suggests a Cape and Islands throw blanket, for the chilly winter nights ahead. Other gift suggestions include Cloverdilly soy candles and Nautical Charts jewelry. The store is always expanding its selection of locally made products (an important consideration if you’re buying local). And the Christmas Barn is filled with festive items for every age, Kelley says. Find more at

Design Works

Design Works in Yarmouth Port is celebrating Small Business Saturday by offering a 15 percent discount on everything in the store, including sale merchandise. It’s also hosting a Holiday Open House on Dec. 5, from 4-6 p.m., with cookies, cider and 20 percent off any single item over $20. In addition, Design Works will offer sweet treats and festive music during the Dec. 15 Yarmouth Port Stroll. Finally, for last-minute gift buyers, there’s a second Holiday Open House on Friday, Dec. 20. Customers who visit from 4-6 p.m., can savor wine and cheese, while saving 20 percent on any single item.

Owner Margaret Hill says she has the perfect gift idea for raw-bar lovers. The Ultimate Oyster Experience includes an oyster shucking class at the Pheasant Restaurant in Dennis, along with assorted products. Some other ideas? Cashmere hats, gloves, sweaters and wraps are always a great choice for the chilly weather ahead, Hill says. And handcrafted clam, oyster and mussel ornaments are a uniquely Cape Cod gift.

Each week between now and Christmas, Design Work’s website will release a new gift guide. Find more at

Robin’s Toffee by the Sea

If you’re looking for something on the sweet side, toffee may do the trick. Robin Costa, owner of Robin’s Toffee by the Sea in South Yarmouth, calls her toffee “deliciously addictive,” adding that it makes a great employee and hostess gift for the holidays.

The store’s sampler box can be customized with four of your favorite flavors, including peppermint, which is back for the holiday season. Costa also recommends a sleeve of toffee in a fun, stemless wine glass, coffee mug or beer mug, all wrapped up for an ideal yet affordable gift. Robin’s Toffee by the Sea also has a full gift shop with something for everyone on your list. Find more at

Other shopping ideas

There are hundreds of other gift choices available at Yarmouth businesses – from jewelry to clothing to food items to arts and crafts. In other words, don’t limit yourself to these suggestions alone. Most Yarmouth stores post up-to-date information on their websites, where you can browse the merchandise, search for ideas, and contact the store to ensure that the items are in stock. Visit the YCC’s online directory of retail stores for more ideas:

Andy Tomolonis is a nonfiction author, travel writer and multimedia journalist.