Retrovision: Go Local: Holiday Edition

[This post originally appeared on 22 December 2015, but it’s still got legs.]

Somehow the holidays always sneak up on me.

I always used to do my Christmas shopping on December 23, after the bars closed. The aisles at Walmart were clogged with pallets laden for restocking, but only a few shoppers. I could usually spot a couple of exotic dancers who were fulfilling their obligations as single mothers purposefully driving carts full of expensive toys.

One year I missed Walmart and instead had to do my Christmas shopping at Walgreen’s on Christmas Eve. Walgreen’s has a surprisingly good selection of gifts appropriate for everyone on your list, if you skip the seasonal offerings and go for the hardware and housewares. Who couldn’t use a headlamp, or another headlamp?

The smartest thing I ever did, though, was to convince my kids that we were Orthodox Christians. Orthodox Christmas is January 7. That’s an extra almost two weeks. Plenty of time to take advantage of those post-traditional Christmas sales. And if you can convince your friends and co-workers of your orthodoxy, you can strategically regift the presents you get and maybe avoid retail entirely.

But it’s too late for that this year. Mid-January is a good time to announce your conversion for next Christmas.

In this age of soul-sucking globalization, art or handcrafted furniture makes a statement.

A unique gift is a lasting bond between the giver and givee. It shows that you were thinking of them, even if you were just drunk. Thoughtful gifts are subversive acts of kindness.

Here are three local businesses that feed the soul and succor the spirit.

Desert Gypsy
The Desert Gypsy (3800 Mesa, behind the Mesa Street Grill; 915.203.4196) has arts and crafts that Dianna purchased (as much as practical) from the artists and craftsmen/women who made them, from all over Mexico and a smidge from Central America.

If your nice and a little pushy Dianna is likely to offer you a shot of tequila to take the edge off your last minute shopping experience, or a cup of coffee to give you the strength to persevere.

Dreadful Things
What, pray tell, are you going to get that goth teenager or your gift list? Or maybe you’re buying a present for a corporate CEO who’s gone over to the dark side.

They don’t call it Dreadful Things (2226 Montana; 915.799.6422) for nuthin’. How about a Ball Python preserved in a jar of formaldehyde? Or vintage baby dolls in varying states of decrepitude? If you’re looking for gifts that will elicit “eews” instead of squeals of delight, this is the place for you.

Red Door Vintage
The Red Door Vintage (820 Mesa, at Montana; 915.922.7055) sells retro clothing and handmade jewelry.

I survived the Disco Era. And a month after I got rid of my platform shoes, they were popular again. Life is cruel.

Lety claims that the store does a brisk pomade business. (If I grew out my hair and pomaded it I’d look like Bozo.) There are a lot of Mad Men era women’s clothes, and a couple of guayaberas for the dapper dans, and some stylish stencil art and jewelry. And cassette tapes, the new 8-tracks.

Check these places out. They might almost make you like shopping again.

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