Glow Fish Studios
This Wyandotte boutique is quite large and holds a trove of gifts that would fit just about everybody on your list. They've got books, candles, quirky stuffed animals, a large selection of kendama games, pocket-sized Hindu deities, colorful umbrellas, costume jewelry, and cards. They even carry a few select brands of shoes and Zox straps. On top of all that, they carry art from local artists. This is a great shop to for stocking stuffers, silly gifts, and even something for yourself.
2840 Biddle Ave, Wyandotte; 734-552-6323; glowfishstudios.com.
This place is pretty adorable, and we're especially fond of the ever-changing window displays. Inside you'll find upscale gifts that aren't stuffy. There's lots of Jonathan Adler pieces, Olliver candles, furniture, cocktail rings, scents for guys and girls, and more. On occasion they've been known to carry vintage Moroccan pillows and Andy Warhol prints — you just have to stop in to see what they've got on their shelves this week.
508 S. Washington Ave, Royal Oak; 248-548-1065.
Rail and Anchor
Rail and Anchor is a relative newcomer to the downtown Royal Oak shopping scene, but this shop has earned its place alongside respected establishments like Lost & Found and Paris. It's the perfect place to pick up something for your hipster friend who likes all things vintage-inspired and patchouli-smelling. They've got a great selection of Paddywax candles and room sprays, along with locally made jewelry and kitschy items like cardboard skulls and creamers shaped like cows.
502 S. Washington Ave, Royal Oak; railandanchor.com; 248-397-8985
Savvy Gents is a new addition to the Eastern Market shopping scene. It's attached to Savvy Chic and located inside what used to be the women's clothing section of the store. The square footage has been recently transformed to a gentleman's, shop where you can pick up crisp white shirts, fancy silk ties, and musky scents for the guy in your life.
2712 Riopelle, Detroit; 313-833-8769; savvygentshop.com.
Pets are really in right now. Cats, dogs, whatever — practically everyone has a fur baby they want to spoil this Christmas. 3Dogs 1Cat is an urban pet shop that specializes in hip, trendy items that will make both you and your four-legged friends look super fresh. We suggest checking out their stock of Detroit map dog collars and leashes or their Detroit sports team-themed jerseys and outerwear — their line of plush toys is super cute, too!
2472 Riopelle St, Detroit; 313-285-8371; 3dogs1cat.com.
Surely, this record shop came along at the right time. By most accounts, more music lovers were interested in vinyl since before cassettes came along. UHF carries something for just about anyone, and keeps a collection of unusual, rare music items that, if not to be purchased, make for great window shopping.
512 S. Washington Ave., Royal Oak; 248-545-5955.
Downtown Ann Arbor was dealt a blow when the flagship Border's went under with the company, but Literati has picked up the torch. A small, two-story shop, Literati carries mostly new books; it has enough to fill any bookworm's desires. Whether you're heading to the Michigan Theater, a U-M football game, or just in the area, it's worth dropping in to check the place out.
124 E. Washington St., Ann Arbor; 734-585-5567; literatibookstore.com
Everyone's favorite gift shop in Midtown Detroit, City Bird has enough stock to help any shopper in a bind who's struggling to find the right gift. Whether it's local books, unique coasters made of old tires, clothing, or paper goods, chances are you'll find something for a gift in this quaint little storefront.
460 W. Canfield St, Detroit; 313-831-9146; ilovecitybird.com
Dearborn Glass Academy
Owned by Ann Arbor couple Michelle Plucinsky and Chris Nordin, the Glass Academy not only hosts special events to showcase how their staff of artists go about their craft, they sell really cool products. Most notably, their house-made beer mugs sell like crazy; they're as sturdy as they are awesome to look at.
25331 Trowbridge St., Dearborn; 313-561-4527; glassacademy.com
El Dorado General Store
Located in Corktown next to the site of old Tiger Stadium (aka Navin Field), El Dorado offers a variety of items you'd expect to find in a general store: vintage clothing, household amenities, old American flags, hats, shoes, and bar essentials. Erin Gavle's charming little store is the perfect place for the local shopper to score a neat gift for someone special.
1700 Michigan Ave., Detroit; eldoradogeneralstore.com.
Occupying the entire first and third floors, this cheese and gourmet food shop in Eastern Market is also filled with every kitschy Michigan gift you can imagine: cookie cutters, ugly sweaters, baskets, oven mitts, books about Detroit neighborhoods and streets, candlestick holders, decorations ... tchotchkes galore! You're sure to find something here for even the hardest person on your shopping list.
2468 Market St, Detroit; 313-568-7777
For more than 30 years, Noir Leather has offered great holiday gift ideas for the alternative shopper. Noir offers clubwear, adult sexual health products, bondage accessories, and more. The shop's leathermaker can even whip you up a custom-made boot strap.
24 W. Fourth St., Royal Oak; 248-541-3979; noirleather.com.
Genuine Toy Co.
There's plenty of cute, quaint shops in downtown Plymouth, but Genuine Toy Co. offers a one-of-a-kind experience for toys. Any parent in need of a sweet gift for their child could start here, with Genuine's collection of puzzles, arts and crafts, board games, and more.
550 Forest Ave., Plymouth; 734-414-9500; genuinetoyco.com
There's gotta be someone in your family that loves the Detroit Lions, Tigers, or Red Wings. Avoid the big-box stores, and hit one of metro Detroit's athletic apparel staples. Fanatic U offers sweatshirts, hats, jerseys, college apparel, and more. Five locations around metro Detroit; fanaticu.com.
If someone you know wants to run, he should be equipped to deal with whatever Mother Nature throws at him. And he should have a solid pair of running shoes. Luckily, RUNDetroit, which recently opened next to the world-famous Shinola, provides the whole caboodle.
441 W. Canfield St. #5, Detroit; 313-638-2831; run-detroit.com.
Blues Airmen Guitars
Whether you're looking to buy for a rookie or an old pro, Blues Airmen has been around for years and offers a wide variety of guitars, amps, and accessories. Yes, we know Guitar Center is down the street, but the intimacy and service of a mom & pop shop like Blues Airmen will help steer you toward the right ax.
30955 Ford Rd., Garden City; 734-525-9101.
Ladies, this is the place for you to go for your sister or best friend. Lots of fun little items, including jewelry, accessories, and home goods.
15 E. Kirby, Detroit; 313-559-5500.
Rust Belt Market
The Rust Belt is packed with local vendors and unique finds. For example, you can pick up some sweet shades from Incognito Eyewear to stuff in a stocking, or buy some fresh jewelry from Lady Lazarus for your gal pal. Painted Lady Trashions carries all things weird and wonderful, and there's also vintage clothing, cool clocks, and plenty more to peruse. Normally it's only open on the weekends, but they're holding special holiday hours, so we suggest you check their website before heading in.
22801 Woodward Ave, Ferndale; 810-441-0956; rustbeltmarket.com.
Bronner's CHRISTmas Wonderland
This Frankenmuth classic is the holidays on steroids. It's open year-round, but of course November and December are when it gets the most traffic. You'll find a Christmas ornament to commemorate just about every special occasion in life, and you can even get them hand-painted with special names, dates, and messages in-store.
25 Christmas Lane, Frankenmuth; 989-652-9931; bronners.com.