Don’t even think of going to a mall this holiday season. Why? Here are a few things you could look forward to if you do. Crowds, terrible parking, frustrated and tired store employees. Yuck. Shop Local, New Jersey! We’ve been doing all our holiday shopping at locally-owned businesses for three years now and I’ve never enjoyed shopping like I have these last three years. I guarantee that you’ll enjoy buying gifts again if you head out to some of the areas we’ve covered before and towns we’re visiting this year, too.
Check out that New Jersey License Plate wine caddy! You know we’re giving that to someone this year. And, those Scrabble tile coasters caught my eye, too. Boom, two gifts down and we barely scraped the surface of Downtown Cranford. These two gifts and many others are available at Artemisia right at the big intersection by the train station.
This beautiful store is simply loaded with gifts for loved ones and for yourself, too. I think I found just an many items to add to my list as things I am planning on getting for family and friends. They even try to have as many products from local producers as possible. We LOVE that sentiment! Their store’s tagline is “Gifting with a Conscience.” It doesn’t get any better than that.
Near Artemisia is Hilltop Bicycles (formerly Cranford Bike Shop) where I found the cutest collection of bike baskets. If you need a shore bike with a big basket for purchases or beach gear, this is your place. They also have a large collection of kid’s bikes, one of the most popular gifts this time of year.
Cheese, Please is also right across the street. Not only do they have an amazing selection of cheeses but lots and lots of cool imported food items that skew mostly Irish and English. There are a few other countries represented, too.
Closer to the middle of downtown is an adorable store filled with bath and beauty products made right here in New Jersey!
The Atlantic Beach Soap Company makes a line of olive oil and shea butter based soaps manufactured using “only the finest natural ingredients.” Each bar is handcrafted and identified by their deep, soothing scents, color and numbering scheme. They also carry milk baths, mineral salts and bath fizzies that complement the individual blends of the soap line. The store offers gift baskets for any occasion and will customize the products for wedding and party favors.
Along with their own products, they also have many gift ideas. We bought a beautiful flameless candle.
Near Atlantic Beach Soap Company in the middle of downtown were more great places for gifts. The Rocking Horse toy store was around the corner. We were very impressed with their collection of educational gifts like puzzles, games and books. They also had lots of dolls and puppets which we thought were really cool.
Just 4 Pooches has gifts for dogs and dog lovers. You don’t want to forget your 4-legged loved ones this time of year.
We were especially excited about these magnets we found!
Periwinkle’s Fine Gifts & Home had lots of gift ideas, too. They even have a very helpful website with most of their cool products for sale if you decide to get something after you leave the store.
With all these great stores, why spend your money at a giant department store and send your money out of New Jersey? Cranford is just a few minutes west of the Parkway and has a NJ Transit train station right downtown so there’s no excuse not to be able to get there. Shop Local and Shop New Jersey!
Cranford is just the first town that we’re covering this year for our Shop Local, NJ! series. Stay tuned for more great downtowns!
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