Wondering where to do your holiday shopping this year? Madison has something for everyone on your list. From foodies and craft beverage connoisseurs to dinner party hosts and lifelong learners, Madison businesses are overflowing with that perfect gift just waiting to be discovered. Go ahead. Make your list, check it twice and then head out to these spots.
The Long Distance-r
Distance makes the heart grow fonder, and Madison has ready-to-ship gifts that reflect that sentiment. WiscoBoxes are the perfect way to send love from Wisconsin. These beautifully curated gift boxes feature all-Wisconsin products. And while there are curated boxes (like the Bloody Merry, Supper Club and Baby Badger), there is also an option to create a custom box.
JNJ Gifts and More is also the perfect spot to score a local gift for a long-distance friend or family member. This (currently) online-only experience makes it easy to order gift boxes, wellness products, home décor and more from artisans and small makers from the comfort of your couch.
If you have a foodie on your list, gifting them a taste of Madison’s local flavors is sure to impress. It’s no surprise that there’s no shortage of cheese in the capital city. Fromagination on the Capitol Square offers endless cheese and charcuterie board gifts that taste as good as they look. Ehlenbach’s Cheese Chalet in DeForest is your one-stop-shop for all things cheese, including unique finds like chocolate cheese fudge and extreme aged Swiss.
For non-dairy savory options, vomFASS on University Avenue has a wide array of olive oils and vinegars. The unique flavors (like tangerine, white truffle and lemon) are sure to inspire new dishes for your kitchen-savvy friend. The National Mustard Museum in Middleton carries an impressive mustard selection from all over the world, along with gift boxes, in their expansive gift shop. Source sustainable seafood for a truly unexpected, but much appreciated, gift with Sitka Salmon Shares. This local company offers salmon subscription boxes (they even have a gift option on their site) that promises “premium, wild-caught Alaska seafood from small-boat fishermen to your doorstep.”
A box of chocolates is always a good idea. A box of local chocolates? An even better idea. Check out Madison Chocolate Company, Driftless Chocolates and Gail Ambrosius Chocolatier for melt-in-your-mouth chocolate goodness that is beautifully packaged. For a non-chocolate option, Nutkrack (which also has savory options, like the Everything Seasoned and Firecracker Chili) makes candied pecans that are the perfect stocking stuffer, hostess gift or addition to any gift basket. These small snacks pack seriously big flavor.
If you’re looking to DIY a local food gift basket, the Dane County Farmers’ Market and Willy Street Co-op are the perfect spots to find lots of unique snacks. Full meal gifts are possible with Pasture & Plenty’s locally-sourced freezer meals (the perfect gift for someone to enjoy after a few days of leftovers) and gift cards from Madison Originals, Food Fight and Downtown Madison. Finally, if you’re hoping to treat someone to a dining experience, consider making a dinner reservation to a local restaurant like The Harvey House for a dinner date they won’t forget.
The Furry Family Members
We can’t forget our smallest, furriest family members when we’re planning for the holidays. Get your feline friend the best treats and toys at MadCat. Bad dog frida is the perfect spot to fill your pup’s stocking. If you have more than one kind of pet, knock out the whole list at Mounds, where you can find gifts for cats, dogs, hamsters and more. Petphoria, in downtown Middleton, sells the cutest, locally-made dog bandanas (with matching hair scrunchies for the humans) and high-end treats that make for a pet gift that is gorgeous and will be a big hit (local dogs especially rave about the Chicken Nugs treats). The Crazy Dog Mom in Stoughton has cute gifts for dogs and their humans and tasty treats.
The Little One
For the little ones in your life, we love Little Luxuries on State Street. While this store sells gifts for people of all ages, the children’s section, located in the back, has some of the most thoughtful gifts for all the littles on your list. Noble Knight Games in Fitchburg is the perfect spot for any board game lover in your life, not just kids. The large selection of board games makes this the ideal place to find a brand new, age-appropriate game for strategy (and fun)-minded kids. Huge bonus points if you promise to play the new game with them. (We love Kingdomino, Ticket to Ride and Splendor for older kids.) Itty Bitty Bookstore in Stoughton is the sweetest spot to score a kid-approved book.
We know kids sometimes get an overwhelming amount of stuff around the holidays, so sometimes an experience gift is the way to go. Treat them to a day at the Madison Children’s Museum or an evening enjoying a Children’s Theater of Madison show (like their ever-popular rendition of A Christmas Carol).
The Person Who Deserves to Relax
We all know somebody who deserves to be pampered a little this year. Make your own spa kit for them with finds from The Soap Opera on State Street or The Regal Find in Middleton. The Soap Opera is home to all things bath and relaxation. The Regal Find has an array of gifts, but there is a whole section devoted to lavender scented eye pillows, scented shower bombs and more.
If you’re hoping to get them out of the house this season, an Ayurvedic spa treatment from KOSA, located in Garver Feed Mill, is sure to be a hit. Relax with them during a Wine & Design paint and sip night, or go all out and get them a staycation at a local hotel like The Edgewater, where they can enjoy stellar views, a great spa and amazing food all in one spot.
The College Student
Nothing brightens up a winter dorm room like a plant. Pair it with a beautiful pot (both found at Wildewood at Hilldale), and it will brighten up even the coldest winter day. Another great apartment accessory? Wall art. Anthology on State Street has no shortage of unique and clever prints perfect for adding a pop of color to any wall. The music lover in your life will appreciate a thoughtfully selected record from B-Side Records.
@destinationmadison Nothing beats a Madison trinket ❤️ #madison #wisconsin #anthology #art #gifts #shoplocal #local #travel ♬ The sound of love - Mandy & Boots- Viral 🔈Creator
Know the ultimate Badger fan? University Book Store is the perfect spot to grab all your Badger gear. From shirts and sweatshirts to rain jackets for dogs, books and home décor, University Book Store has you covered. And, for the student who is in need of a new wardrobe, A New Day Boutique on East Johnson Street keeps the cutest cardigans, jackets, dresses and more in stock.
The Lifelong Learner
If there’s a book worm on your list, A Room of One’s Own on Atwood Avenue is the perfect spot to pick up a classic or a new release. Their wide range of titles and friendly atmosphere makes this bookshop a local gem. If you’re looking for the perfect book and wine pairing (who isn’t), Leopold’s Books Bar Caffe organizes books by location and then pairs those books with wine from the same region. A membership to Arts + Literature Laboratory is the perfect way to give a gift that lasts for the whole year.
Museum-lovers have no shortage of options in Madison. Consider a gift from the gift shops of Wisconsin Historical Museum or Wisconsin Veterans Museum or plan a day of museum hopping with them. A day at Taliesin Preservation makes not only a great experience gift, but the gift shop offers unique Frank Lloyd Wright inspired items. Tickets to a show at Overture Center for the Arts is a great option for an avid theater-goer.
The Craft Beverage Connoisseur
Wine lovers appreciate the curated selection of vino offered at Table Wine on Atwood Avenue. For a Christmas wine that’s sure to shine, Bailey’s Run Vineyard in New Glarus offers a seasonal glittery white wine aptly named Wonderland.
For beer, spirits and cider lovers, signing up for Madison On Tap Craft Beverage Trail with them (and promising them a year’s worth of craft beverage hang outs in Madison) is a fun, immersive gift. (Remember to enjoy Madison On Tap responsibly.) Madison has a wide array of breweries, cideries and distilleries that offer bottles to-go for the perfect local libations gift.
The Outdoor Adventurer
There’s no shortage of outdoor activities in Madison, no matter the season. Give a gift that reflects that from Duluth Trading Company or Fjällräven. Both offer high-quality outdoor pieces that will be cherished for years to come. Hive of Madison on Monroe Street carries brands like Patagonia and Birkenstock in a laid-back, local experience.
For the adventurer who is looking to try something new, a pass to Boulders Climbing Gym might be the perfect fit. Boulders has two locations in the Madison area and is packed with rock climbing fun. And, for the person who loves to (or wants to get into) fishing, Madison Fly Fishing Company offers gift certificates for casting lessons and guided trips.
The Best Friend
The holiday season is a wonderful time to gather with friends and family, and special people deserve extra thoughtful gifts. Orange Tree Imports on Monroe Street offers fun and functional kitchen inspired gifts for the friend who loves innovative cooking. Good Day Shop’s creatively selected gifts range from unique candlesticks and abstract vases to terracotta hoop earrings and seaweed lavender body scrubs, making it easy to find a gift that feels special for anyone on your list.
The Purple Goose carries jewelry, cute handbags and totes and boutique clothing items for the stylish friend. Ruby Rose Gallery in Cambridge is the perfect place to snag unique and unforgettable jewelry.
The One-Stop Shops
If your list is as long as Santa’s, consider starting at West Towne Mall or East Towne Mall. Both are home to a wide range of stores making it easy to find gifts for multiple people on your list at once. West Towne Mall recently celebrated the opening of Von Maur, a high-end department store. And, just a short drive away sits the Outlets at The Dells, the perfect spot to snag some deals ahead of the holiday season.
No matter who you’re shopping for or what you’re looking for, Madison’s stores have something for everyone on your list.