Shop Locally. Santa Does.

Jenny Scarborough
Shop Locally.  Santa Does.

It's the weekend.  Go shopping!

With Highway 12 compromised and travel to and from the island challenging, local shops have taken a big economic hit this fall.  Be nice, not naughty, and support island businesses as you check off your Christmas list.

Books to Be Red encouraged shopping locally this holiday season with an open house on Thursday.  Cold weather and time off make winter the perfect time to curl up with a hefty tome.  Owner Leslie Lanier recommends Canada by Richard Ford.  Although neither the title nor the cover made her want to jump in, Leslie took it home after reading a number of positive reviews, and said she totally fell in love with the book.

Life of Pi is popular again, thanks to the Ang Lee movie now in theaters, and Gone Girl and other books by Gillian Flynn are satisfying reads.

Shop Locally.  Santa Does.

Books to Be Red has adorable Peruvian gourd ornaments for sale, and gifts for kids of all ages.  It is the best shop on the island to inspire crafty people, well stocked with art supplies, yarn and knitting accessories. 

Books to Be Red is open most days from 12 - 4, although Leslie said she's not making any promises.

Shop Locally.  Santa Does.

Across the street at Natural Selections you can pick up super soft bamboo T-shirts, sturdy hemp fiber bags for men and women, and fragrant candles, soaps and incense.  Smell delicious this season.   Women's clothing is 30 - 70% off.  The store is open Thursday - Saturday from 12 - 4.

While you're in the neighborhood, give the gift of fashionable, protective eye wear from the Sunglass Shop in Spencer's Market.  Owners Dee and Rufus Keel were recently featured in a trade magazine, and are full of good information about their products.

Shop Locally.  Santa Does.

Just around the corner is The Village Craftsmen, teeming with tasteful American made craft.  This is the place to purchase the perfect gift for cooks, with elegant pewter and wooden utensils, and a terrific variety of pottery.  You know what goes well with food?  Wine.  Don't forget to visit the back room where the forged iron wine racks are sold. 

Shop at the Village Craftsmen from 12 - 4 Tuesday through Saturday, or anytime on line.

Take a spin over to the art district this Saturday, December 15 for an open house at Bella Fiore.  In addition to throwing graceful, functional bowls and mugs, owner Sarah Fiore is a heck of a cook and a bit of a wine snob, so expect good eats and drinks while shopping.  I'm smitten with the hand painted silk mobiles, the pretty floral cloth clutches, and Dana Kellan jewelry, which is worth splurging on for the woman you love.  Inspire someone to get rolling!  Sarah's sushi sets are pretty cute, too.

Shop Locally.  Santa Does.

Saturday is the only day Sarah plans to be open, from 11:30 - 5, and everything in the store will be on sale. 

Double Bonus!  Secret Garden Gallery is right next door, and they're advertising an open house as well.  I cherish every piece of owner Barbara Hardy's hand crafted jewelry that I own.  Her designs are edgy yet timeless.  The shop sells a carefully curated selection of pottery, prints and turned wood that will have those of refined taste saying, "Thank you, Santa!"

Secret Garden opens on Friday and Saturdays from 11 - 5, offers free gift wrapping, and everything is 25 - 50% off.

The Pirate's Chest is the place for stocking stuffers, with loads of affordable gifts to make you smile, like temporary tattoos and a menagerie of wind-up toys. 

Shop Locally.  Santa Does.

There are clothes, towels, and board shorts that kids can afford to buy for Mom and Dad, and funny Ocracoke onesies for the newest member of the family.  Big brother or sister might want a terrarium, and the decorative glass floats could be used for holiday decorating, and are nautically attractive any time of year.

The Pirate's Chest is open every day except Christmas, from 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.

The Island Ragpicker is another treasure trove.  You could find something for everyone on your list in its warren of rooms.  The Esque candles smell amazing, and the colorful glass globe houses a votive after the original candle burns out.  The iron tavern puzzles are perfect nostalgia gifts that will delight both grandparents and grandchildren, and the classic toys like wooden yo-yo's and Tiddly Winks can't go wrong. 

Owner Teresa O'Neal stocks ornaments and decorative Christmas figurines. 

Shop Locally.  Santa Does.

The inspiring and funny magnets belong in every stocking, and I added an American made lazy susan to my wish list.  Much of the store is 25% off, and the Ragpicker is open 11 a.m. - 5 -ish every day but Sunday.  If you're in a pinch and need to shop on a Sunday, "just give me a holler," said Teresa.

Walk across the street to Ride the Wind, which is open daily from 10 a.m. - 5 ish, and often until 6 p.m. on weekends.  Encourage your loved ones to stay active year round with the gift of a wet suit, used kayak, surf or paddle board.  Need a gift for someone traveling to a warmer climate this winter?  Wrap up a pair of Olukai flip flops, and their feet will thank you.

While this writer doesn't recommend purchasing a bathing suit for anyone other than yourself, a gift certificate to the surf shop could be mighty nice, as all women's suits are 50% off, and summer stuff is deeply discounted. 

Give a gift that will stand the test of time.  No island home or cottage is complete without a hand carved and painted bird. 

Shop Locally.  Santa Does.

Down Point Decoy has David O'Neal's phone number posted on the door.  He'll be happy to meet you to let you browse or make a sale. 

Just next door is Captain's Cargo.  I have a purse organizer I picked up about ten years ago, and use constantly.  It shows no sign of wear, and I can no longer imagine my life without it.  It's the ideal gift--and priced right--for the aunt or cousin you don't know all that well, but want to impress.  You will be thanked later, and often.  Check the side door at the Captain's Landing Hotel office; people are always welcome to browse. 

Let's not forget the great stuff going on in the Community Square.  The Homegrown Handmade market is every Saturday, from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.  All the money you spend here supports new entrepreneurs.  Adorable bicycle seat covers keep your bum dry.  They're stitched from vinyl by Linda Ward, and are ridiculously cheap.  Buy one for everyone, including yourself. 

Black Schooner Gifts is a nautical shop, but you don't have to be shopping for a sailor to find a great gift.  I can't keep my hands off  the hurdy gurdy music boxes, which come in a number of tunes, and are priced right.  Black Schooner stocks classic brass navigational instruments, and sweet re-purposed glass tumblers.  Love someone who likes a nip every now and again?  A quality, signature flask is always welcomed.

Black Schooner will be open on Saturday the 15th, 12 – 4 p.m., and Thursday through Saturday next week. 

Shop Locally.  Santa Does.
Sunglass Shop hours

A stained glass window from Ocracoke Restoration Co. brings light and life.  The wee shop is also home to funky vintage jewelry, perfect for the trendy teenager.  For the new homeowner, or anyone who hates sweeping up sand, pick up one of the uber useful Right door mats, made from floating fishing line reclaimed from New England fisheries.  They're indestructable, eco-friendly, and remove grime from shoes rather than collecting sand, like those silly jute mats.

Stop by the Restoration Co. on Friday or Saturday, from 11 a.m. - 4 p.m.

Over the Moon also sells the Right mats, and a whole host of American craft to make this the best Christmas ever.  Encourage good hygiene in kids with an adorable ceramic animal toothbrush holder.   Luxuriously soft leather cuff bracelets are cool, and comfortable accessories for any age.  Finding it hard to shop for the single man?  Wrap up a stone liquor dispenser, accompanied by a cheeky ceramic pirate shot glass.

Down Creek Gallery
Down Creek Gallery

Everything is 20% off at Over the Moon, and that makes Liz Kinder's perfect ceramic bowls the perfect gift.  On the rare days I don't use my Liz bowl, I am content just to gaze at it.  Give the gift of mindfulness:  garden Buddhas--dogs, cats, turtles and more--are a proven hit.  If you want a gift that adds style without clutter, the shop also sells home accessories like fan pulls, light switch covers, hooks, and drawer pulls. 

Cathy Scarborough (my awesome sister) promises to be open Saturday, December 15, from 11 a.m. - 4 p.m.  After that her # is posted on the door.

Across the street at Island Artworks, jeweler and owner Kathleen O'Neal is open 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. most days, but you'll probably have to walk out back to her studio to get in the shop.  Because the fall season has been "pathetic," pretty much everything is on sale, said Kathleen. 

Which is a seasonal blessing for shoppers.  Island Artworks has some of my favorite stuff on the island, hand blown glass, nifty stone vases, and beautiful ceramic tiles.  But the real attraction is Kathleen's work.  She's been making and selling her organic and eclectic jewelry since she moved to Ocracoke 36 years ago.  Her work incorporates shells, gems, unusual stones, and colored golds, although she admitted that "no one can afford gold right now." 

Mermaid's Folly
Mermaid's Folly

Luckily, enameled jewelry is what she most loves making, and most of us can find that in our budget.  Stop by Island Artworks and surprise a woman you love with a one of a kind gift. 

Let's talk more about men. Resist the urge to buy a Home Depot or Best Buy gift certificate.  Remember Tradewinds.  It's like a candy store for dudes.  Fishing rods, tackle, gear, and garb.  The swarthier sex get weirdly excited about expensive fishing lures.  It may not frost your Christmas cookies, but wrap one up and watch them smile.  OK, forget men.  This girl wants a pair of waders, and I know I'm not alone in that. 

Tradewinds is open, and it's right next to the post office, where I know you're picking up packages from amazon and zappos.  Go shop there instead.

Mermaid's Folly and Down Creek Gallery are among the shops with a "call me" sign on the door.   I love Mermaid's Folly for its groovy cloth bags and layering T-shirts. 

Whether you live on or off Ocracoke, consider making your holiday purchases from an island retailer.   Everyone is happy to help, and everyone is happy to ship.







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