It’s the Monday before Christmas and all through the house, not a creature is stirring, not even a…hang on, haven’t you done your Christmas shopping yet?! No fear, here are eight places you can find the perfect last-minute gift for any member of the family.
Embiggen Books has the largest collection of science and philosophy books in Australia. You’ll also find a great range of art and design books, as well as the latest bestsellers. Co-owner Warren Bonett says if you’re stuck for ideas, two great reads are Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman ($22.95) or The Book of Barely Imagined Beings: a 21st Century Bestiary, by Caspar Henderson ($24.99).
For over a decade, Il Papiro has been selling paper journals, books, cards and writing utensils from Florence. In this cosy, jam-packed store off Degraves Street, you’ll find A5 bound journals from $58, wax seals (single or double initial sets) from $54, and feather quill ink pen sets from $65.
The music fan
Collectors Corner – Missing Link might be tricky to find (look for a doorway on Bourke Street leading upstairs), but once you’re there you’ll find a treasure trove of new and secondhand ’70s rock, punk, Krautrock and independent music, on CD and vinyl. Their biggest Christmas sellers are the vinyl re-releases of popular Californian band, Faith No More.
Gewurzhaus in the Block Arcade stocks an amazing array of salts and spices but you’ll also find very cute German-made Christmas decorations (from $4.95), chopping boards, cheese knives and more. We loved this tin soldier filled with chocolate-coated gingerbread biscuits ($28.95) – yum!
Located upstairs at Collins234 Boutique Place, Morris & Sons is for the serious crafter, offering a huge collection of needlework paraphernalia, including walls and walls of yarn. According to store manager Judith Mitchell, crocheting is more popular than ever, with Morris & Sons three-hour crochet classes booked out three-months in advance (they cost $60 each). Judith is proud of the store’s own wool brand, Morris & Sons Australian Merino, which starts at $6.45 per 60-grams.
While you’re at Collins 234, also check out Treats From Home, a shop dedicated to all things British – think crisps, HP Sauce and other confectionary you’ve seen on East Enders.
The Christmas tragic
Every family has one – that person who never grows up, and just can’t get enough tinsel and sparkle into their festive season. At Babushkas in Royal Arcade you’ll find an impressive array of Polish-made, hand-blown glass baubles and other beautiful decorations that will knock anyone’s Christmas socks off. Don’t forget to climb the stairs – you’ll discover a whole section dedicated to Christmas, with hanging decorations ranging in price from $4.95 to about $50.
A few doors up from Babushkas is Jasper Junior, a two-level toy store stocking great brands including Folkmanis Puppets (from $14.95 to $120), HABA German interactive games and yes, Sylvanian Families. You’ll find them at Shop 5, Royal Arcade.
Design Dispensary in Little Lonsdale is a great place to find that quirky gift for your friend who keeps banging on about form, function, modernism and casually drops the word ‘juxtaposition’ into everyday conversation. We love their mini architectural kits ($39), which will keep people well-occupied on Boxing Day. Their fold-out history timeline rulers ($35) are also cool, as are a range of module calendars ($29, not pictured) that are cute, compact and look great.
There. You should have some idea where to go now. If you discover more great specialty stores in Melbourne, be sure to let us know! Tweet your ideas with the hashtag #inbetweenxmas.
For more great Christmas news, stories and videos stay tuned to the 30 Days of Christmas blog.