Only Six More Weeks?!
November 14, 2006 1:08 PM   Subscribe

Weird-in-a-good-way-filter: I need suggestions for online stores/catalogs for Christmas Shopping!

Most of my family is in Seattle, but they always come here (to San Jose) for Christmas, because this is where Grandma is, and no one doles out the I-can't-believe-you're-not-coming guilt trips like Grandma. However, they've all banded together and aren't coming. Now I have to ship everything, and I have less time to shop than I thought. I need suggestions for online stores and/or catalogs that sell stuff like Uncommon Goods sells (I would link to their site so you can see what I mean, but I don't know how to link). Any suggestions for artsy, funky, silly, weird, and/or childish stuff for an artsy, funky, silly, weird, childish family? Also, it can't be from Archie McPhee or Fireworks gallery, because those places are in Seattle, and my family has cleaned those places out.
posted by deedeep to Shopping (46 answers total) 290 users marked this as a favorite
posted by Faint of Butt at 1:13 PM on November 14, 2006
posted by amro at 1:17 PM on November 14, 2006

Plum Party has a lot of fun stuff outside of their awesome party decorations. A great way to make sure that your family has fun without you is sending them an entire theme party. Maybe buy a themed party from Plum Party, contact some caterers in the Seattle area and have them go to town in your honor!
posted by banannafish at 1:41 PM on November 14, 2006 or might fit the bill.

(I admit, my first thought before I clicked the "more inside" was Archie McPhee.)
posted by amarynth at 1:44 PM on November 14, 2006

Hammacher Schlemmer is a bit more mainstream, but they've been at it longer than anyone else.
posted by iurodivii at 1:46 PM on November 14, 2006

If you want to go for the more artsy end of the spectrum, there are a whole lot of awesome things available from many different Etsy shops. Many one-of-a-kind, funky, and handmade items. For example, I just bought my fiance a pair of earrings made with vintage enamel Superman charms. She loves them!
posted by ScottUltra at 1:48 PM on November 14, 2006

Uncommon Goods has some interesting items.
posted by killy willy at 1:53 PM on November 14, 2006

doh! guess I should read the whole post. my apologies.
posted by killy willy at 1:56 PM on November 14, 2006

The Sundance Catalog
posted by Maishe at 2:02 PM on November 14, 2006

MightyGoods - blog compiling items that might fit the bill.

My family sounds like yours, I'm excited about the answers to this question.
posted by tatiana wishbone at 2:05 PM on November 14, 2006

More groovy than weird: Greener Grass Design and Artafax and Mxplyzyk

McPhee-ish: Baron Bob

A good way to come up with such places is to select one cool gift sold at Uncommon Goods and google it. You'll find other merchants that sell similar stuff.

Also, google 'gifts for geeks' -- you'll get some sources which, like Think Geek, sell goofy and cool items other than t-shirts that say "No, I will not fix your computer."
posted by wryly at 2:15 PM on November 14, 2006

There's always museum stores, of course. Especially their stuff for kids.

The Met

And a second on MightyGoods.
posted by dw at 2:40 PM on November 14, 2006
Edmund Scientific --Sounds boring, it's not.
Dick Blick Art Supplies
Have fun.
posted by BoscosMom at 2:41 PM on November 14, 2006

killy willy, I do that all the time here, it's so comforting to see someone else do it too.
posted by BoscosMom at 2:43 PM on November 14, 2006

Some of my faves that haven't been mentioned yet:

monster factory
Mahar Drygoods
Pixelgirl Shop
Fishs Eddy
Giant Robot Store
Fly Bird
posted by logic vs love at 2:52 PM on November 14, 2006

a quick look through google catalogs brought me to betty's attic.

also. i love google catalogs.
posted by nadawi at 3:36 PM on November 14, 2006

My personal favorite is the What on Earth Catalog.
posted by bristolcat at 4:17 PM on November 14, 2006

What a great thread! I've been madly adding links to The following are from my list of links tagged with "gifts"; can't vouch for their reliability, but they looked cool.

- Fred Flare - mostly clothing
- individual icons - unusual jewelry
- Perpetual Kid - random funky housewares, including the Already Been Chewed Cookie Cutters
- Curiosity Shoppe - housewares, books, crafty stuff
- Rare Device - housewares, wearables
- cribcandy - another aggregator like Mighty Goods, only housewares focused
- The Museum of Useful Things - quirky housewares and home office stuff
- Second the museum shops recommendation; I'm fond of Museum of Modern Art and Museum of Fine Arts (Boston). Also, many design schools have shops associated with them; I really like the Rhode Island School of Design's shops
- I haven't seen the print versions in a few years, but I always loved the Signals and Wireless catalogs.
- Glarkware, from the Television Without Pity folks - mostly t-shirts, but also some buttons
- If they're progressive/liberal/Democrats (or all of the above, even better), Northern Sun - many, many bumper stickers, buttons, magnets, t-shirts
- Finally, grab an issue of ReadyMade magazine which is chock full of ads for cool little companies, or take a peek at theirGift Shopping list.

Oh yeah, I second ThinkGeek, Exploratorium, Flax, Dick Blick, Fishs Eddy.
posted by booksherpa at 5:02 PM on November 14, 2006 [1 favorite]

I second perpetual kid and What on Earth




greener grass design

bas bleu

But my absolute favorite as the coolest place to get stuff is Lee Valley Hardware. Their stuff is top quality, a great value and they've just got lots of different cool stuff there.
posted by lisaj32 at 6:17 PM on November 14, 2006

My favorite housewares/jewelry/whatnots store in Minneapolis

Buy Olympia
Cool artsy stuff made by real people
posted by chippie at 6:34 PM on November 14, 2006


the curiosity shoppe


generate (canada)

posted by lisaj32 at 6:56 PM on November 14, 2006

For the person that has everything
posted by deeman at 7:46 PM on November 14, 2006

Response by poster: You guys are awesome. I honestly can't choose a favorite, and pretty much blew my afternoon checking out all the wonderful links. Thank you so much!
posted by deedeep at 8:43 PM on November 14, 2006

Urban Outfitters is kinda mainstream but I still think they have great stuff. I especially like the wall art.

ps. deedeep, this is a great question! I always wanted a directory of weird but cool stores
posted by carpyful at 9:50 PM on November 14, 2006

err, i thought i had linked it..
urban outfitters
there we go
posted by carpyful at 9:54 PM on November 14, 2006

I want One Of Those
posted by Glow Bucket at 1:11 AM on November 15, 2006 [1 favorite]

Grand Illusions Toy Shop
posted by carsonb at 5:54 AM on November 15, 2006

Firebox (self link)
posted by gi_wrighty at 8:04 AM on November 15, 2006 [1 favorite]

It's just a hipper offshoot of Crate & Barrel (is that even possible?), but I've definitely found some fun stuff at CB2.
posted by shiu mai baby at 10:29 AM on November 15, 2006

Stupid Creatures. Custom sock creatures.

Here's mine, and my sister-in-law's -- an xmas gift from my wife a few years ago.
posted by eyeballkid at 1:42 PM on November 15, 2006

A few more to add to the list, starting with aggregator sites that surf the web and compile good links, like the previously linked Mighty Girl:

shiny shiny -- neat girl gadgets;
uncrate: products targeted at the modern man;
outblush: sister aggregator site for products targeted at the modern woman;
The daily olive: cool kitchen stuff; I've linked to the gadget area but look at the links on the left for other products.
Cool tools: Another aggregator site with fewer entries that are generally more "outside the box" than other sites; Okay, alot of the ideas are pretty cheesy, but depending on your audience there is some gold in here. These ideas can be particularly good for the older folks on your gift list.

Feelmax and sock dreams: Toe socks!!! fun stationary sets; home decor and gardening products; Gifts for the traveler; Similar to (identical to?)

And finally, a little note about two internet photo art companies that I've had really good success with in the past two years: and You send them a picture and they basically turn it into a work of art for your home, either by just reproducing it as a picture onto a full size canvas (as canvasondemand did for a 3x3 polaroid wedding picture of my parents) or by actually having an artist "paint" the picture, as canvasartists did with the picture of a friend's child. They email you proofs before charging you for the final, and if you don't like it, you can suggest ways to change it or can basically drop the whole project. All for under or around $100. I haven't given the first out yet, but the latter canvas of the friend's child produced tears and a command that I will have to get the same artist to do a picture for child #2!
posted by onlyconnect at 4:47 PM on November 15, 2006

anezka handmade (disclaimer: I run the site)

cut + paste

plain mabel

sublime stitching

those are my faves -- and if you're in LA, Boston or Cleveland, check out Bazaar Bizarre (disclaimer #2, I organize the Cleveland one).

Mighty Goods always has links to the latest and greatest stuff, so I second that choice, too!
posted by at 5:10 PM on November 15, 2006

Blastfishing (self-link)
posted by ZenMasterThis at 11:15 PM on November 15, 2006

bad ass art glass at soffietta
weird+interesting+practical !

(note: my artsy, funky, silly, weird sister is artist)
posted by tingting at 6:03 AM on November 16, 2006

bad ass art glass at soffietta
weird+interesting+practical !

(note: my artsy, funky, silly, weird sister is the artist)
posted by tingting at 6:03 AM on November 16, 2006

These are great. I've spent way too much money after looking at these sites. Hooray for getting shopping out of the way.

And as long as we're self linking, may I just say that nothing says I love you like a product that implies "You should be naked and wet"?
posted by dejah420 at 10:28 AM on November 16, 2006

Designer Toybox focuses on odd toys. It might be able to help you out.
posted by aburd at 2:43 PM on November 16, 2006

Fair trade world handicrafts.
Fast, reliable and (few)-of-a-kind.
posted by Methylviolet at 3:29 PM on November 16, 2006

Wow, I'm getting my Christmas shopping done early using this list...

My contribution: Wrapables. Very similar to Wishingfish and Uncommon Goods, both already mentioned.
posted by INTPLibrarian at 11:17 AM on November 19, 2006

Super Seven is as excellent as Giant Robot... Overlapping artists, toys, aesthetics--check it!
posted by ibeji at 8:57 AM on November 21, 2006

I'm considering resorting to the Unemployed Philosophers Guild for some of mine. But if your folks are artsy, funky, silly, and weird, they might be interested in tickets to IMAX films or laser shows at the Pacific Science Center. Whether that means Laser Beatles or Laser OutKast is up to you.
posted by eritain at 1:55 AM on December 1, 2006

Very late to the party and I feel bad because I've been using this list for the last week or so.

Anyway, if anyone's still paying attention, I've had some really good ideas from Imagini. Its in the UK so the shop links aren't useful for me but it is a neat way to find ideas (its image based rather than a series of questions).
posted by fenriq at 9:09 PM on December 11, 2006

thanks for posting this! (and including my site/shop) -- metafilter rules! maybe another round for this year?
giant robot
boygirlparty (that's me)

and there are tons of local craft shows to check out too -- felt club(LA), bazaar bizarre (boston, OH, SF, LA), lots more listed on craftster
posted by boygirlparty at 6:40 PM on October 25, 2007

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