December 10th, 2014

Merry Mass Ave. Shopping

by Andrew Christenberry

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As we find ourselves in the thick of the holiday season it can be a difficult and, not to mention, stress-inducing task to find the perfect gift for that special loved one. While you can’t go wrong with a trusty Christmas tie or a festive fruitcake, this year City Gallery wants to help you step up your gift giving game, and we plan to do so with a little help from our friends on Massachusetts Avenue. We went out to see what the local Indy businesses on Mass Ave. have to offer, and boy are we ever excited to share what we found!

Silver in the City

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Silver in the City is a City Gallery favorite when it comes to gag gifts, or even simply gift browsing. With everything from adorable squirrel underpants to bacon band-aids, this local gift shop is full of all your novel necessities this holiday season. As you walk in the store, you’ll see to your left a myriad of gags, and novelties some of which might cause you to snicker a little. Head over to the right side of the store and you’ll run into what some might consider a more practical conglomeration of goods such as beautiful, yet reasonably priced jewelry. You’ll also find multiple collections of lovely houseware items such as mugs featuring literary icons Jane Austen and Kurt Vonnegut, and beautiful dishtowels covered in birds.

Established in 2000 on Mass Ave., this is a locally owned shop “with a big heart and desire to make your day awesome”. For the past 9 years in a row, Silver in the City has been voted Indy’s Best Local Gift Shop, and for good reason! Filled with a friendly, and helpful staff, this shop is a must visit for anything and everything Indiana. For a taste of the holiday goodies Silver in the City has to offer, take a little trek downtown to 434 Massachusetts Avenue. 

Mass Ave. Toy Store

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When you walk up to the front of Mass Ave Toy Store, it feels a bit nostalgic for it’s what some might call the quintessential Christmas store. Walking up to their storefront you might begin to feel the little kid inside of you come to life as you see all the toys in the windows. Filled to the brim with timeless toy favorites like the Rubik’s cube, and the classic wind-up cymbal-clanging monkey, and new favorites like a 3D puzzle, and a bug eye kaleidoscope, Mass Ave. Toys is the perfect place to do your holiday shopping for all the young people in your life!

Once you step inside, a helpful and friendly staff member will almost immediately ask if they can be of assistance. The store has been divided into sections according to age and gender so without hesitation you can beeline it over to the section most befitting that special young person who is in need of a new toy.

Mass Ave Toys was founded in 2006 as the product of founder Natalie Canull’s 30 years of award winning experience in the specialty toy business, and has since taken off. So whether you’re buying for a young adventurer in need of an orienteering kit, or for a future composer in need of a tiny red piano, Mass Ave. Toys can help you out! Mass Ave. Toys is located at 409 Massachusetts Ave.

Global Gifts

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Stepping in Global Gifts is essentially like diving into a myriad of international cultures all at once. Carrying fair trade artisan goods from all over the world, this shop offers a unique ethnic twist to traditional holiday shopping in the United States. Functioning as a locally owned nonprofit organization with three other shops throughout the Midwest, Global Gifts adds to its uniqueness in the fact that the shops are run primarily by volunteers.

Global Gifts purchases their products exclusively from fair trade vendors. In other words, the people who make these goods, which reflect their respective cultures, do so under acceptable working conditions while receiving a fair wage. With product offerings from over 40 countries around the world, Global Gifts boasts a beautiful selection of jewelry, handcrafted home décor, a variety of fair trade coffees and teas, toys, and musical instruments.

If you want to add a unique cultural twist to your gifts this year, Global Gifts is the perfect place for you. Stop by their location on the Mass Ave. strip and enjoy their welcoming, volunteer-based staff, and definitely sample the single origin coffee while you’re at it. If you have any questions about the store or its interesting items, just ask for Tammy and she’ll help you out! Global Gifts is located at 446 Massachusetts Ave.

Homespun: Modern Handmade

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If you’re gift shopping for someone who is all about the beauty in handmade goods, Homespun is the perfect holiday shopping destination for you. As a self-described “boutique, gallery, and workshop devoted to contemporary handmade goods,” Homespun is located on the east end of Mass Avenue. Boasting a plethora of handmade goods from baby shoes to hand poured candles, this boutique features the products of over 300 artists, crafters, and makers from all across the U.S. and Canada.

Founded in 2010 out of the INDIEana Handicraft Exchange, Homespun takes locally made products to a whole new level. When you walk in the store you will be greeted by their friendly and helpful staff, as well as by the pleasing aroma of essential oils from their candle selection. As you browse, you’ll find festive, season appropriate goods that would make anyone’s day on the morning of the 25th. Homespun is also a place where, if the shopping gets too overwhelming, you just can’t go wrong with a gift card.

In addition to the wide range of products, Homespun also offers a wonderful range of crafting workshops that would also make a great gift. In these workshops, participants can learn everything from photography to making that perfect floral wreath for the holidays. Overall, Homespun offers some large, and fantastic variety for the avid holiday shopper, and absolutely anything in this boutique is sure to make your loved one’s day. Homespun is located at 869 Massachusetts Ave.

For whatever shopping you need to do this holiday season, Mass Ave. offers everything you need to make the end of this year special. Take some time to walk up and down the Cultural Trail by these stores and enjoy the convenience, pleasure, and satisfaction of buying local for your loved ones!