Room Fu Decorologist Claire Patrick has put together a shopping guide that ROCKS for the gift-giving season (and beyond). Reading this has made me want to hit the stores immediately–a huge feat for someone who normally loathes getting within 100 yards of any retail establishment between Thanksgiving and Christmas. If you haven’t crossed everything off your holiday shopping list, here are her recommendations for local hot-spots. Out-of-towners, don’t fret–there are plenty of links for viewing/buying online!


A-town, a gift store in Austin, TX featuring art, jewelry, clothing and crafts made by local artisans.

A-town, a cute, local boutique open since 2011, has fast become my go-to for year-round gift shopping. It’s plopped in the midst of all of my favorite Burnet Road thrift stores, so when I have a couple of hours to kill, I love to wander in. They’re open seven days a week, 10:00 am-8:00 pm, with shorter Sunday hours, so they’re a great place to stop for last minute birthday gifts after work. Be prepared to be overwhelmed by cuteness – it’s sometimes hard to make a decision with so many wonderful options. Their friendly staff will gladly guide you in the right direction as you munch on their freshly baked cookies and sip some lemonade. They have everything under the sun and at so many various price points that you’re guaranteed to find something for everyone. It’s a showcase for a hundred or so local artisans’ goods, ranging from jewelry, fragrances, and fashion-forward dresses to men’s tees, stationery, coasters, and decorative home goods. Plenty of Fred Flare type funnies and flasks with clever quips for your wilder set — even special items for baby.

The interior of Austin's A-town, a popular gift store featuring jewelry, crafts, clothing, etc. from local artisans.

Some of my favorite lines include:

Holli Brown’s Dish it Out – cute one-of-a-kind jewelry made from vintage dishware

MAKEatx – laser cut jewelry (check out a previous post about them)

Laser cut wood jewelry by Austin's MAKEatx, sold at A-town.


Rachel Pruett’s Poppy and Fern – special embroidered pieces

Embroidered pieces by Austin's Poppy and Fern, available at A-town.

Poppy and Fern

Embroidered pieces by Austin's Poppy & Fern, available at A-town.

Poppy and Fern

If you’re anything like me and tend to get tangled in Scotch tape around December 24th, you’re in luck – they’ll wrap items for you free of charge!

Blue Genie Art Bazaar

Blue Genie Art Bazaar 2012 in Austin, TX.

Now in its twelfth year, the Blue Genie Art Bazaar is a month-long pop-up shop held at the Marchesa Hall in Lincoln Village (6226 Middle Fiskville Road), open now through December 24th, 10:00 am – 10:00 pm every day. It houses over 130 artisans’ goods – selected by jury, so customers have the best-of-the-best to choose from. I get giddy just thinking about lining up on day one of this one, but don’t worry, items won’t sell out the first day. The crafters/artists restock their goods throughout the month. This isn’t your average craft show–it’s more like a retail experience. The artists curate and fine-tune their displays for the most pleasurable shopping excursion. They’re also not parked behind a booth all month, but you might see them wandering the floor with name tags – feel free to say hi! The website includes links for most of the sellers, making it easy to shop online.

Gifts that Give

A brand new shopping experience will grace our fair city this year – a holiday market called Gifts that Give at Pine Street Station (1101 East 5th, at Waller). This week-long market, put on by HOPE (the folks who bring you a farmers market every Sunday) and a new group called The Good Collaborative, isn’t just about shopping, but giving back globally. All of the wares at this little pop-up are socially-conscious and fair trade, so you’re supporting artisans all over the world who are now able to make fair wages because of their creations. One of my favorite local shops, Purse and Clutch, will be selling super cute limited-run clutches, handbags, and scarves – like the one below, which I happen to own in turquoise. But it’s not just for the ladies–the market will have shoes, hammocks, backpacks and more, from all around the globe. Did I mention free coffee from Texas Coffee Traders and popcorn while you browse? Count me in! Gifts that Give runs from 11:00 am – 7:00 pm, December 1st – 8th.