Everyone loves the holidays, right? All that good cheer and yuletide bliss. It's a time to reflect on what's important: family, friends, our spiritual connection to the greater good. We have a chance to be a little better than we normally are, a little kinder and more generous, to show love for our fellow man. Except when that fellow is trying to snag the last parking space or box of twinkle lights, then it's war, and it becomes that holiday season — the one they made tension-headache Tylenol for — we all want to avoid. So, here are some gift ideas from shops where parking is easy and shopping is guaranteed to be fight-free.
Inside/Outside the Box
University of Memphis professor Niles Wallace has been making art in Memphis since the mid-'70s and just finished a one-man show at the Clough-Hanson Gallery at Rhodes. So you might expect that acquiring a Wallace original would be prohibitively (and justifiably) expensive. Think again. At her darling shop in Midtown, Diane's Art, Diane Laurenzi has a collection of small Wallace works — abstract ceramics mounted in wooden shadow boxes — that are unique, affordable, and appropriate for the art lover on your list. Niles Wallace originals, $45-$65. Diane's Art, 1581 Overton Park. 276-7515.
They say karma is a bitch, but you won't have to worry about any trees coming back to give you a dose of anything but love when you give the world-saving super-hero on your list one of the witty and wise totes from Dogeared. Bags are big enough for a quick grocery run, a trip to the gym or pool, or for playing Santa with some style. Leslie Lawhon, of downtown's Delphinium Boutique, loves the giant wishbone-image bag with hot-pink "wish big" message, as well as the smaller zippered canvas bags perfect for makeup, coupons, crayons, or just about anything that needs to be contained. Small bag, $27.50. Large totes, $32.50. Delphinium Boutique, 107 G.E. Patterson. (Look for the "White Christmas Gone Green" window display using recycled items.) 522-8800.
Charmed, I'm sure
Uber-eclectic and inviting, More Than Words — located south of Saddle Creek South in Germantown — is more than a stationer's shop. Need the purr-fect gift for the cat lover in your life? They've got it: a feline-themed wallet with slots for credit cards, a window for ID, and multiple pockets for cash and photos of Fluffy. Something for Mom? They've got it: a super-comfy robe and self-indulgent spa products. And we love Pick Up Sticks sterling silver and photo charms for just about everyone on your list. For the new mom, pick the "baby" charm; for the dog lover, the "loyal" dog charm; and for your favorite diva, choose the "Queen of Every Bloomin' Thing" charm. Each combines quirkiness and sentiment. Charms, $18.95-$24.95. Chains, $24.95-$37.95. More Than Words, 2123 West Street, Germantown. 755-4388.
And to All a Good Night
Bella Notte's stylish mix of artful gifts, jewelry, and accent pieces has long been a favorite stop for Midtown shoppers. But it's well worth the drive to Cooper-Young from anywhere. One perfect excuse to drop into the cozy boutique for a little retail therapy is the one-of-a-kind handmade Jaymee Luu jewelry. Her gorgeous necklaces and earrings in brass and gold feature whimsical charms with a bit of history. Each piece is inspired by a life journey and becomes instantly personal to the wearer. Necklaces, $49-$79. Earrings, $39-$59. Bella Notte, 2172 Young. 726-4131.
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