Last-minute holiday shopping ideas

Camryn Gardner, Staff Writer

The holiday season is upon us. Enter the peppermint hot chocolates, twinkle lights, wholesome movies and of course, a dash of stress.
Planning for the holidays can take a lot of thought. Toward the end of the semester, college students and faculty have a lot on their minds. If you’re going to be giving gifts this year and haven’t had the time to plan out what you’re getting for your loved ones, fear not. I’ve got you.
My first suggestion to last-minute gift shoppers is to hit up the small stores in your community. It’s a great time to support these shops and find unique gifts for your loved ones. The classic spots in Madison for shopping small are the State Street and the Monroe Street stores, where you can find clothing and jewelry boutiques, record shops, bookstores and more.
If you aren’t near these locations or want to explore elsewhere, there are many additional lovely and eclectic places to shop scattered throughout the city and the suburbs. I try to find the smaller downtown areas of suburbs or smaller towns, and typically am met with a few different cute shops. Another way to support local businesses is through buying gift certificates – think restaurants, bakeries, spas or activity-based businesses (ex: pottery studio or an indoor golf range).
Beyond the realm of shopping small, Madison and the surrounding areas are home to many department stores that offer a wide variety of goods. There are the East and West Towne Malls, Targets all around and places like Kohl’s, Macy’s and Cabela’s to name a few.
Greenway Station in Middleton is a great spot to hit if you’re looking for several stores in one area. Plenty of these are budget friendly as well, such as Home Goods, Five Below and Marshall’s. The hub of stores on Madison’s East side surrounding the East Towne Mall is also a good location if you don’t want to travel far in between stores. Hilldale on the West side off University Avenue is also an option for last-minute shoppers, offering a blend of chain and local stores and restaurants.
The frugal and environmentally conscious shopper might hunt for something special at one of Madison’s many thrift stores. Here, you can find pretty much anything that floats your boat, like antique style mirrors, knickknacks, statement clothing pieces, baskets, picture frames, collectible cameras or vintage jewelry if you’re lucky.