If you’ve always shopped in traditional ways – rising early the day after Thanksgiving to get the best deals, frothing at the mouth each time a sale ad crosses your path or hitting big box retailers to snag items in extremely short supply – think about trying something different this year.
Dozens of Valley museums and performing arts venues have gift shops full of unique, affordably priced items. Think toys and games, clothing and jewelry, music and artworks – and more. Shopping in museum and art venue gift shops is more relaxing by far than tackling all those stores at the local mall. You can find a list of museums through the Central Arizona Museum Association (call ahead to see which ones have gift shops and when they are open).
I’ve been gathering gifts here and there all year each time I head to performing arts venues in my neck of the woods – Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, Mesa Arts Center and Tempe Center for the Arts. In years past, I’ve also shopped at holiday boutiques presented by art groups like Ballet Arizona and the Phoenix Symphony.
In some cases, you can shop without leaving home. Arizona Theatre Company is offering a “buy four, get two free” deal on tickets this Friday – and all it takes is a call or visit to their box office. For those unsure about what to get in the gift department, places like the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix offer gift cards.
Hoodlums Music and Movies in Tempe hopes shoppers will head their way for “Indie Black Friday” (part of a nationwide “Record Store Day”) on Nov. 25, and support this year’s “Small Business Saturday” on Nov. 26. Hoodlums is part of Local First Arizona, which has designated Nov. 25-Dec. 4 “Buy Local Week 2011.”
Folks who visit the Local First Arizona website can search businesses by category – and there’s a special category for “Entertainment & Arts.” Check out the number of listings they’ve got in these art-related categories – theater (24), music (52), dance (8), art museums and galleries (40), artists and sculptors (73) and arts venues (65). They’ve got other entertainment/art categories too.
Remember places like the Arizona Museum for Youth, the Children’s Museum of Phoenix and the Arizona Science Center when looking for children’s gifts that foster creativity and spark the imagination. Each has a gift shop full of items that blend learning with fun.
If you start now, you’ll have several weeks to visit the museums and performing arts venues of your choosing. You’ll become better acquainted with the riches of your city while assuring that your gifts for friends and family members are unique rather than run of the mill.
Note: For additional gift-giving ideas, check out the December 2011 issue of Raising Arizona Kids magazine – which features a “Local First” gift guide for families. Click here for information on finding the current issue or ordering holiday gift subscriptions.
Coming up: Family fun with holiday concerts