Vacation – Time for Early Christmas Shopping, Personal Gifts

Recreational activities throughout the year provide opportunities to buy just the right Christmas gift. Many of the items at visitor centers, historical sites, festivals and fairs are not available at stores or on the Internet.<br />
Your Christmas gifts will be thoughtful, unusual and best of all, purchased well before the Holiday rush. Avoid the stress and madness while you leisurely pick out the perfect gift.<br />
Christmas Shopping for Personal Gifts Throughout the Year<br />
Throughout the year, you may travel and see unique items that remind you of loved ones. Seize the moment and buy their Christmas present. A gift for a Civil War history buff, a child who collects shells, another who loves rocks and minerals – it’s relaxed, vacation Holiday shopping.<br />
Travel or attending special events may be the perfect opportunity to purchase a uniquely personal Holiday gift. If you have loved ones who collect things or like to read, it is especially easy to find the right thing while on vacation or at a fair or festival. Here are some examples:<br />
You are in the Ozark Mountains and your mother loves old recipes<br />
You are on a wine tasting tour in Napa Valley and have a friend who loves wine<br />
You are visiting Graceland and have a great aunt who adores Elvis<br />
You are driving in the Black Hills of South Dakota and your father collects Indian art<br />
You are visiting the Cloisters in New York City and your only niece collects unicorns<br />
Visitor Centers at Historic, Cultural and Geographic Sites<br />
Historical sites, zoos, museums, battlefields and geographic attractions – such as caves, often have excellent gift shops that sell items not available in libraries or retail stores. Special local treats, miniature animals, diaries of original settlers, event specific history books, historic maps and local recipe books are some examples.<br />
Fossils, shells, arrowheads and minerals local to the site make interesting gifts for the scholarly or the curious. Jewelry made from minerals in the area that you are visiting can be a unique adornment for someone you love. If you are at the beach, you must know someone who collects shells.<br />
Visitor centers frequently feature local art and sculpture that make lovely gifts for the home that you won’t find at Hobby Lobby or department stores. Although visitor center gift shops are often high-priced, items are usually tax-free and a purchase helps preserve the site.<br />
Tourist Attractions<br />
Purely recreational tourist attractions also feature gift shops. Sometimes they are stocked with exclusive merchandise that is not available to other retailers. Theme parks may have toys you cannot find at home. Small locally owned tourist shops sometimes sell gag gifts suitable for buddies, and unusual and sometimes wacky toys for children. Be careful of toys that may be dangerous for young children. If you have a child with a taste for the unusual and not the “toy of the year,” you might be able to find a surprise for the Holidays.<br />
Country Destinations and Antique Shops<br />
Antique stores are ubiquitous in tourist locations. Be wary of over-priced “junk.” However, if you know exactly what to look for, you may be able to make an addition to the collection of a loved one, especially if the objects they are seeking are not native to their location.<br />
For example, if a Midwesterner is collecting models of clipper ships and you are visiting Mystic Seaport in New England, this would be the time to search.<br />
Conversely, if an eastern friend is collecting Sioux Indian artifacts and you are vacationing in the west, you have lots of opportunities to add to his or her collection.<br />
Fall Festivals and County Fairs<br />
If you miss out on summer vacation, fall festivals are becoming increasingly popular. In some areas, every town has its own special theme for a fall festival. Festivals usually feature booths with gifts, arts and crafts.<br />
Some booths feature commercial items easily purchased at the mall. However, if you go to the craft booths selling homemade items, you may find a treasure, such as a hand made quilt, selling for a low price with no tax.<br />
Craft booths at festivals and county fairs also feature homemade foods, such as jellies and other preserves. These are great for collecting items for Holiday gift baskets.<br />
Craft Fairs<br />
Craft fairs have similar opportunities, if you can find hand made or unique items at a fair price. Always beware of homemade toys, but do not rule out simple and safe ones. Again, you will find many items that can be bought in a store. But you may also find an item that you have never seen before and will never see again.<br />
Vacation is a Great Time for Early Christmas Shopping and One of a Kind Gifts<br />
Avoid the stress of last minute shopping by purchasing gifts while you are visiting curious shops during your vacation. You will not be under pressure, and a chance item may remind you of someone who would love it. By Holiday season, your shopping may be finished and you will be wrapping unusual surprises.<br />
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