Holiday Shopping Guide
Gift-giving, with style

Compiled by Melissa Hirschl

Be prepared to be beguiled, enchanted and very, very intrigued with this year’s holiday gift guide. If you can’t find something irresistible in our selection, you probably don’t have a pulse--and you definitely shouldn’t be out shopping.

Browse the following list to your heart’s content, and let the indulgence begin!

Clare’s Heart

Owner Theresa Snider wanted to offer women a wide variety of items for one-stop shopping. Her new shop does that and more. You can spend some quality browsing time here while reveling in the cozy and artsy ambiance. This month-old store offers expressive accents, unique and chic gifts, as well as home décor.

You’ll find candles, whimsical wind chimes, decorative glass and silver canisters for kitchen or bathroom, jewelry and unusual clothing, such as the Classy Rags line of baby clothes. There’s even an assortment of funky, embellished purses. The boutique also caries a plethora of attractive ironwork pieces, clocks, plates, frames, handmade soaps, lotions and sachets, in addition to dance items for young girls. Keep checking in: Theresa plans to offer classes of interest to women soon.  The store is located at 1840 E. Warner Road, Suite C-5, Tempe. (480) 491-9499.

Abbey Gardens

This well-known tea parlor/gift shop is a must for the ladies on your list, especially if they appreciate romantic, feminine and imaginative gifts. Specialty items include full-size and miniature china tea sets, dolls, lotions, vintage style jewelry and clothes, miniature perfumed perfume bottles, wall hangings, international teas, carved wooden candle holders and much more. Check out the exquisite Lady Primrose beauty products that come packaged in silver plating and glass--Silk Dusting Powder for $47, Bath Oil for $38, moisturizer for $38. She’ll feel like royalty.

New to the shop is the Franz porcelain collection--distinctive embellished tea cups and serving pieces that really need to be seen to be appreciated. Another new addition is the colorful polymer clay flower pins by Bouquet of Blessings, just $15. The shop is located at 1837 W. Guadalupe (s/w corner, Dobson/Guadalupe), Suite 107, Mesa. Phone (480) 730-1819  

Definitely Debra

This sophisticated store caters to those seeking a wide variety of invitations and stationery, as well as distinctive home furnishings with an Old World flavor. Debra is proud to be offering a line of numbered collectible Christmas ornaments by designer Mark Roberts. These light-hearted “Santa-inspired” fairies come in themes such as Lollipop, Holly and Ivy and Five Golden Rings. One of them is an adorable little butterball holding his apple pie and cinnamon stick. For mothers, aunts and favorite relatives, Debra carries three styles of beautifully decorated linen monogrammed towels for $22.

To make your tree look oh so sophisticated, indulge yourself with some glass wine ornaments. You can pick from white- and red-wine glasses, cheese signs and glass grapes. The store offers a full line of Christmas ornaments as well. Some other goodies are jeweled business-card holders, a wide assortment of imaginative invitations and thank-you notes, kitchen magnets, coasters, decorated sugar cubes, and gift sets of Christmas tissues with matching wallet. Definitely Debra is at 1761 E. Warner Road, Suite A-15, Tempe. Phone (480) 491-0903. 

Changing Hands

Truly a shopping experience extraordinaire, this aesthetically pleasing store pays homage to the Age of Aquarius with tons of imaginative and thought-provoking gifts. In addition to books, it is a paragon of “hipness.”  New to the store is a line of whimsical children’s toys and gadgets, including—yes, we’re serious--a mechanical swirling spaghetti fork. What kid wouldn’t want one? There are also $10 unique action figures (as much for parents as kids), such as Rosie the Riveter, Shakespeare, Edgar Allen Poe, Ben Franklin and Albert Einstein.

Also new to the store are sets of colored pencils that come in handy suede folders with travel-size drawing pads--$32 for a set with 12 pencils, or a drawing set with 8 artist’s pencils. Both items have been showcased in the June edition of Oprah magazine.

The store is at 6428 S. McClintock Road. Phone (480) 730-0205.

World Designs

This palatial store contains stunning ironwork, bronze statues, artwork, tablecloths and more from around the world. Owner Guy Gabriel Coscas searches the globe for his international bazaar of home furnishings and gifts. The sprawling, 12,000-square-foot venue boasts a mix of treasures from the exotic lands of India, Thailand, China, Egypt, Morocco, Pakistan and Europe. The store is probably best known for its outstanding collection of lifelike bronze statues which dot the entrance. You can browse through cheetahs, giraffes, birds--even statues of children, all ready to make a dramatic addition to your home or backyard. You also can find unusual gift items, such as pillows, marble statues, beaded table runners, vintage style American car miniatures, mirrors, candle holders, wrought iron and dramatically crafted copper plates with intense hues by artist H.L. Kelly. The store is at 7230 W. Ray Road, Chandler (near I-10). Phone (480) 753-3391.

Wild Pear Boutique

Nestled at Ray and McClintock Roads, this sweet and charming boutique offers an abundance of plates, mugs, Victorian-replica plagues, clocks, iron furniture, stuffed figurines (including adorable snowmen) jewelry, decorative wall buckets, silk flowers, lamps and tons of other “nifty gifties.” The store specializes in custom-made wreaths and silk flower arrangements. Check out the extremely reasonable faux crystal ornaments for just $5, now 20 percent off. What a deal.

For those who like their “snow people” with a touch of glamour, take a look at the Mr. and Mrs. Duo who tout feathers, sparkles and fur-trimmed hats. You can put them next to the opulent “carolers,” who captivate the eye with dangling beads and luxurious fabrics. 3875 W. Ray Road, Chandler.  Phone (480) 917-8872.


Owners Rick and Julie Scuteri have opened quite an eclectic store here; chock full of interesting items from various parts of the globe as well as here in the U.S. Hand carved cedar jewelry boxes in rose designs come in three sizes and range from $34-$135. There are also lots of colorful Caribbean wall hangings for just $16, and they’re hot, hot hot.

The store also touts one-of-a-kind oil paintings, collectable porcelain animals, jewelry made by local artists, Mexican chalk boards and wall hangings (ideal for home bars, kitchens and bathrooms), ceramic collectables, antique dressers and armoires, plate sets, serving pieces and dishes, ceramic dragons and gargoyles--even a kitchen table set. What’s so different about this store is that it carries items that interest men as well. For instance, there are framed motorcycles crafted entirely of watch parts, as well as a Mercedes-Benz. There’s even a “watch angel” for the gals. For the kid in you, the store carries a realistic antique reproduction of a circus train, connected by chain to an elephant. There are also some whimsical decorative balloons and parachutes that can be hung from the ceiling. The store is at 5055 W. Ray Road, Suite 10, Chandler.  Phone (480) 940-1620.

Arizona Soaring

Think your sweetie would appreciate something truly different this year? How about an adrenaline-rush glider ride? Try a gift certificate for Arizona Soaring, located at the Estrella Sailport six miles west of Maricopa (Exit 164 off of I-10) . Here’s the scoop:

Basic Trainer: a 20-minute ride costs $85.95;

Higher Performance Glider (also known as the “Cadillac” of gliders) 20 minutes $114.95, 40 minutes for $149.95;

Thrill Seeker Aerobatic Ride: Lots of loops and turns; short, sweet and very active. 10-15 minutes for $139.95

Contact Arizona Soaring at (520) 568-2318 or check out the website at www.azsoaring.com.