Where to Shop for the Holidays

Aimee K. Miller

CHRISTMAS TREE AT LOWELL DINING HALL

Looking for a Christmas/Hanukkah/holiday present for your family or friends? We've found gifts for under $25 from a variety of stores around the Square.

Harvard Square's Holiday Craft Fair

Located at the First Parish Unitarian Church right across the street from Johnston Gate, the annual Craft Fair sells everything from thick hand-knit sweaters to handcrafted wooden kitchen utensils to t-shirts emblazoned with puns. Don't be fooled by the three stands set up outside—if you go downstairs, the whole basement is devoted to different booths of crafts. While many are on the more expensive side, there are definitely good deals to be found. A few of note are from a booth set up outside: earrings made from recycled aluminum from computer parts ($10) and others from recycled glass from windows ($8). Downstairs, you'll find a booth devoted to hand crafted and painted mugs ($20) and another filled with homemade bath fizzies, lip balms, and body oils (all 5 for $25).

The fair will be open December 8-9, 14-16, and 18-23.

Black Ink

The slogan for Black Ink, located in the center of Harvard Square, is "unexpected necessities," and the huge range of potential gifts in this store live up to that. Banagrams ($16.95), a board game without a board that consists of Scrabble tiles in a banana shaped bag, is the perfect gift for children and adults alike. One shelf over, you'll find a Half Pint Garden ($15.50), a cute little carton with basil, mint, and thyme seeds and soil pellets—the perfect gift for someone who likes cooking and wants to grow herbs. In the tubs in the middle of the store, there are tiny books ("The Constellation Finder," "The Animal Track Finder," and the "Flower Finder") all $4.95 for the hiker and nature aficionado in your life. One added bonus about Black Ink is the range of wrapping papers that are available to wrap your gift. Some have maps, others intricate floral prints or diagrams of the Eiffel Tower—the perfectly unique wrapping for the quirky gift that's inside.

Cardullo's Gourmet Shoppe

Right next to Black Ink is Cardullo's, a deli that also doubles as a store for delicious and unique foods, perfect gifts for any the foodie. Cute and old-fashioned looking tins of Chai, Mighty Hot Chocolate, and Mint Hot Chocolate ($10.95) are the perfect gift to enjoy on a cold winter day. On the next shelf over are Tea Brewing Systems ($13.99), intricate and beautifully decorated tea pots into which you can put tea leaves to steep in boiling water. Cardullo's collection of unique and adventurous chocolate bars ($4.49) with flavors such as Coffee Crunch, Chilies and Cherries, and Almonds and Sea Salt make the perfect gift for anyone who enjoys sweets.

Raven Used Books

Awarded the "Best of the New Award" from the Boston Globe when it first opened in 2010, this used book store a little bit out of the center of the Square down JFK St. sells its wares at 50 to 80 percent of their original cover prices. Because, according to its website, the store purchases over 1100 books a week from professors, students, and families, there's a constant stream of new books that provides steady variety. The books you'll find here are more academic than the ones from your regular book store (many of them are published from University presses).

And then there are the standard go-to's: Newbury Comics for your teenage brother, the Urban Outfitters Bargain Basement for your sister, Lush for your mom or aunt, or a gift card to Teavana or the Crema Café for your roommate.

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