We can hardly believe it, but Christmastime is here again! Jingle bells and Christmas carols, tree trimming and stocking stuffing, and of course, making our list and checking it twice. Most of us here at SCO still have a few presents to pick out, and not a lot of time left to find the perfect gifts for family and friends. Whether you missed out on all the Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales, have been too busy to shop, or are just a pro-level procrastinator, we’ve got you covered with our 2017 Memphis Gift Guide.
This year, we’ve focused on businesses that are full of Memphis history, flavor, and style, for an extra touch of home under the tree. From specialty soaps to curious candies, you’ll find something special here for everyone who made it onto your Nice column. We can’t help you with locally sourced lumps of coal, though! 😉
Need a gift for someone who is young at heart? Officially the oldest store in the Mid-South, A. Schwab Dry Goods is a Beale Street institution. What started as a men’s haberdashery in the late 1800’s has turned into one of the most unique shopping experiences in Memphis. Besides penny candy and interesting knick-knacks, you can find bongo drums, crystal balls, and enough novelty items to keep you browsing for hours. Christmas shopping here doesn’t have to be stressful, either. If you find yourself needing to rest your feet for a minute, have a seat with a delicious drink from their old-fashioned soda machine, or take some time out to enjoy one of their sinfully sweet milkshakes.
Maggie’s is a Midtown gem, a Bohemian haven that’s weathered Overton Square through its lean years and now in its resurgence. The store is packed full of weird and wonderful things, including homemade skin, hair, and bath products, candles, incense, and herbs. For the caffeine connoisseur in your life, they carry a range of local coffees that can be freshly ground while you wait. With new stock arriving weekly, and many certified organic and fair trade products, the gifting possibilities are practically endless.
Burke’s Book Store
You’ve got to have something special to survive the Great Depression and two World Wars, and Burke’s has done just that! As one of the oldest independent book stores in the country, it’s a bibliophile’s dream, with new, used, and rare books to browse and buy. Operating in the heart of Cooper Young, Burke’s is a true Memphis cornerstone, carrying traditional titles, as well as a wide selection of books on local history and southern literature. It’s well worth a visit, especially if you have an avid reader or two on your list.
Bluff City Soap
Know someone who loves to kick back and relax with a bath? Bluff City Soap started as a local endeavor to make bath products that are completely natural, and has grown to a company with locations in four states in just a few short years! That tells you a lot about the quality of, and demand for, their wonderful soaps, lotions, and bombs. With stores in Bartlett, downtown Memphis, and Olive Branch, you’ll have to smell this stuff to believe it. Not only do they offer off-the-shelf products, you can also customize your own. They even have subscription boxes!
GIFT is essentially a Christmas pop-up shop, featuring giftable goods from a variety of Midsouth makers, artists, and designers. Five years ago, a group of artists known as Modern Made Memphis partnered with the Mayor’s Innovation Delivery Team to produce their very first handmade pop-up shop in Overton Square. They’ve since had shops on Broad Avenue, in Harbor Town, and now in Saddle Creek. Some of the local offerings include accessories, art, bath and body products, home decor, jewelry, pottery, and even food! There really is something for everyone here, and it’s a great way to support local artists.
Now in its 40th year, the Orpheum is truly a modern Memphis tradition. From Broadway productions and ballet performances to concerts and community events, this theater is the heart and soul of our local performing arts scene. Their 2018 season includes award-winning Wicked, the powerful story of The Color Purple, and rumor has it that we’ll even get a tour of Hamilton at some point. Whether it’s an individual show or a season ticket, the Orpheum provides you with the opportunity to give a gift that will make memories to last a lifetime.
The Metal Museum
The Metal Museum is the only institution in the country devoted exclusively to the art and craft of metalwork. It’s also just a really cool place to visit! In spite of their fascinating exhibits, it might not be the first place you think of when Christmas rolls around, but their store actually features an amazing collection of gifts outside of their Metal Museum branded items. You can find beautiful, handcrafted jewelry, one of a kind items, and truly unique home decor here, so give it a shot if you’re looking for a gift for someone who appreciates artistry and skill.
A distinctly Memphis shop, Sachë is a screen printing business that also features a salon. Their brilliance lies in the range of shirts they offer that revolve around Memphis, the Memphis Grizzlies, or both. With one of a kind quirky designs and catchy slogans available on a variety of items, Sachë is an amazing gift resource for the Grizz fan in your life, or anyone on your list who is down with all things 901. Fun fact, Sachë also helped us design our original Embrace Memphis t-shirts!
Known as “the clothier to the king,” Lansky Bros. made its name by outfitting Elvis Presley and other notable Memphis musicians. Now a high-end clothing store serving both men and women, you can find everything from tees to scarves to Kendra Scott jewelry here. They also have a range of Peabody-inspired gifts and accessories that you won’t find anywhere else in the city.
City & State
They call themselves a “curator of awesome” and we can’t really disagree. City & State is an artisan-centric store, bringing Memphians quality clothing and home goods from all around the country. They celebrate heritage and look for pieces that tell a story, so you know every product that ends up in their store has a strong history behind it. As timeless style and substance go, this shop is well on its way to becoming iconic. They also have a coffee bar, so you can hit them up for the jolt of extra energy you need to cross off those last few names on your list!
Merry Christmas from SCO!
Wherever you end up shopping, remember that while finding and giving the perfect gift can be a great feeling, Christmas is about more than presents under the tree – it’s the time we spend and the memories we make with those we love that are truly important. It’s also a wonderful time of year to give back to our community, and we’ve outlined several ways to do so here.
As always, we are thankful for you and wish you the happiest of holidays this season. We’re looking forward to seeing you in the new year!