I have decided that this year I am going to do as much of my holiday shopping right here in Park Slope as I can.
I made this decision for virtuous reasons. The Park Slope Civic Council says that when you buy from local merchants, more of every dollar stays in the community than if you use that same dollar at the neighborhood Starbucks or Barnes & Noble.
Plus, if more people would buy locally and shop online less, there will be more choices and lower prices in the smaller stores.
But I discovered an even better reason to shop locally. It’s funny! Funny as in humorous, amusing, and good for a whole bunch of laughs.
I set out with a long list of people to shop for. My first stop, Cog and Pearl on Fifth Avenue, seemed like a good place to get something for my boyfriend. I was immediately drawn to a bunch of old sepia-toned portraits on the back wall. He likes old photos.
Then I took a closer look. Something was odd about these. There was a portrait of a husband and wife, him seated with her standing primly next to him, one hand on his shoulder. Their sober faces stood out in stark contrast to the virulent green snake, which was wrapped lovingly around her neck.
Below her hung the christening portrait of a small baby looking none too happy (portraits took a long time back in those days). The bottom edge of her long white dress was on fire, the orange flames slowly creeping up. Next to that one was a portrait of three sisters. Nice looking gals in tight-bodiced Victorian dress — only one of them had no head!
Still shaking my head, I stopped by NYC Pets, which is right next door. I needed to pick up some food for the dog — but not a Christmas gift, I swear. Right next to the cans of gourmet dog food, I encountered a Hillary Clinton chew toy for dogs.
“It takes a village to do my hair,” the little rubber senator says.
Over at the other end of the Slope, I decided to go into Meshimar for a change of pace. This is a nice consignment shop with some pretty vintage jewelry and funky knick-knacks, which would be perfect for my sister-in-law. Then I looked up.
“Is that real?” I gasped, staring at the mounted deer head on the wall covered with Looney Tune characters. “I mean, is there really a deer’s head in there?”
“Oh, yes,” said the shopkeeper. I asked about the price, just out of curiosity. Let’s just say it stops short of four digits. Barely.
I went across the street to see about getting my mother a pair of gloves at Bird. They have some really nice ones. On the way out, I glanced at the underwear. For me (I mean I should get a little something after all this footwork). These were rather unique. Picture a pair of old-fashioned pouffy bloomers — only bikini style, and in plaid.
Back in the North Slope, I went to Loom to buy scented candles for a friend. Over in the back corner, there are also some really cute baby gifts. I do have one friend with a young baby right now. Still, I was not even tempted to buy the Chow Baby Food Organizer that is 15 inches high — even though it is “easy to assemble.” Jeez, by the time she puts it together, the baby food phase will be over already. Of course, you could use it to hold eggs after that…
That was so much fun, I can’t wait to go shopping again.
Meanwhile, there’s relief for the usual shopping trauma I go through each year. On Thursday, Dec. 13, is the Snowflake Celebration where local stores are going to stay open until 10 pm to promote the Buy in Brooklyn Campaign.
I’m so there.
Wendy Ponte is a writer who lives in Park Slope.
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