Throughout the pandemic, many of us have learned to do things a little (or a lot) differently than we usually do. But there’s one thing, especially in Madison, that’s remained the same: shopping local. Madison continues to be a treasure trove of area boutiques and culinary destinations brimming with gift ideas for anyone on your list, from the tiniest tykes to grandparents and everyone in between.
We know shopping will require a bit more planning and creativity this year, so let us point you in the right direction. These Madison spots are made for gift-giving, and it’s a wonderful way to support local small businesses in these challenging times.
Many of these ideas will allow you to shop online (yay for shopping and wearing flannel pajama pants!), do curbside pick-up or shop safely according to statewide guidelines.
Get ready to finish all your holiday shopping in one place — Madison!
For the Foodie
Photo by Focal Flame Photography
Madison has always been an impressive locale for all-things-gourmet, and this holiday season is no exception. If you have a friend or family member who adores visiting Madison restaurants or is a regular Tory Miller in the kitchen, they’ll love these gifts.
A Restaurant Gift Card
A restaurant gift card: Here’s a sure way to present a gift a foodie will like: a restaurant gift card! You can always choose to give a gift card from a specific Madison restaurant (take your pick from any of the eateries on our comprehensive Restaurant Guide). Or, you can go with a Madison Originals gift card (Ian’s Pizza or Quivey’s Grove, perhaps?) or a Food Fight gift card (because who doesn’t savor eats from Monty’s Blue Plate Diner or Everly).
Cheese, Cheese and Cheese
Cheese, cheese and cheese: Is there a better Wisconsin-centric gift than cheese? We say no, and we also say head to Fromagination for really gouda gifts (yes, we went there). They have a holiday gift guide that’ll make anyone’s mouth water.
In Madison, we’re lucky because we have stellar chocolatiers that include Gail Ambrosius and Madison Chocolate Company. Both offer online shopping, so you can peruse truffles, hot chocolate and sea salt caramels from home. Not a chocolate fan? Gift something sweet (or salty) from Nutkrack.
Shop Table Wine for vino and spirits. Bubbly? Dessert? Natural wines, too. Wines from around the globe and closer to home. They’ve got you covered.
If the person you have in mind enjoys restaurants and cooking at home, look no further than Orange Tree Imports. They’re chock full of cookware, specialty foods and toys for little ones, too.
For the Self-Care Connoisseur
Photo by Little Luxuries
We all could use a little extra self-care these days, right? To pamper anyone on your list, turn to these Madison shops.
A Book Subscription Box
What a brilliant idea from A Room of One’s Own! If your recipient thinks of self-care as curling up with a good book, you can gift them with a six or twelve-month subscription box of books with a theme of your choice, ranging from poetry to picture books.
Handmade and local finds
Good Day Shop offers a bevy of self-care goodies (nail polish, bath soaks, clay masks, oh my!), and if you’re having trouble narrowing things down gift-wise, the store has a handy holiday wish list that you can text or email, and they’ll help you find a great gift. How’s that for convenience?
If someone in your life needs some bonus TLC this season, we recommend Little Luxuries, where treating someone (or yourself) comes with the territory. Shop online or in-person. To make things really easy, consider one of their gift boxes themed around Black Business, Wisconsin Love, Holiday Cheer and more.
Spa at home
Want to bring the spa to someone in the comfort of their home? Then pick up Ayurveda-approved bath items or customized lotions and oils from KOSA Spa.
For the History Buff
Photo by Mid-Continental Railway Museum
Photo by Taliesin
We have no shortage of history here in Madison, and these gift ideas fit the bill if you have a history enthusiast in your life.
Acclaim for trains
Frank Lloyd Wright gems
The famous architect called Madison his home, and many of his designs can be viewed around town. If you’re searching for just the wright thing for the architecture aficionado on your list, take a look at Taliesin's online gift shop.
For the Decor Enthusiast
Photos by JNJ Gifts and More
If your recipient loves to feather their nest more than anything else, look to these home décor destinations for the perfect gift.
Home accents and holiday decor
Let’s say that someone on your list prefers bygone and antique to things that are brand-new. In that case, head to Odana Antiques where you can safely browse over 125 booths.
Easy being green
Maybe the person getting your gift favors houseplants as home décor. To help turn their home into a summery wonderland in the middle of winter, Wildewood has a wide variety of houseplants to choose from, along with books, planters and gift cards.
For Anyone on Your List
Photo by Focal Flame Photograhy
Still on the hunt for the ideal gift? You can shop to your heart’s content, or let your recipient shop wherever they like, with these ideas.
Local gift certificates
Mall in one place
If you visit one of Madison’s area shopping centers, like East Towne Mall, West Towne Mall, Greenway Station and Hilldale, you’ll be able to pick out gifts, order curbside or purchase gift cards amid plenty of safety precautions.
Looking for more? Browse our shopping pages for more local boutiques and shops.