Gift guide for the foodies in your life

While it may be easy to find gifts for the trend-setters, the adventurers, and the tech-savvy individuals, what can you get that the chefs and hosts don’t already have stored away in their kitchens? With a quick stroll down Court Street, it is easy to find the perfect gift for the beloved foodies in your life.

  1. Bobcat Cookie Cutters from College Bookstore

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These cookie cutters will please any Bobcat Baker. Holidays cookies will have more spirit than ever.

2. Coasters from College Bookstore

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For the obsessive host, these coasters are an ideal gift.

3. Dips, Jams, and more from Mountain Laurel Gifts

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Local dips and jams will impress any foodie.

4. Coffee from a local shop, such as Donkey

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Surprise your loved ones with their favorite Athens coffee, perfect for those that live too far to stop in to get a cup.

5. Cutting Board (Cheese Block) from Kiser’s BBQ

cutting board

A fancier gift for a fancier food-lover, this cheese block is great for cutting up fresh organic vegetables or for displaying cheeses during a party.

 

Featured image from Flickr.

Homecoming, other holiday weekends have significant impact on local businesses

At 3:00 on a weekday afternoon, local bookstores and merchandise shops are a fairly quiet place to be. There are a small number of customers leisurely scanning the place, perhaps passing time between classes and meetings, or attempting to discover something new that hadn’t existed in the store before. Another few are more focused, spending about a minute in the store when all is said and done, walking in to retrieve whatever it is they specifically came to the store for, making their purchase and darting back out into the flood of faces on Court Street.

The places are hardly recognizable, then, on weekends like last week’s Homecoming, when the flood of faces from Court Street suddenly somehow multiplies itself two or three times, and those faces pour into local businesses.

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College Bookstore’s prominence just off campus makes it one of the most accessible options for OU merchandise

“Homecoming’s one of our busiest weekends of the semester,” Gene Armes, manager at College Bookstore, said. “There’s a large crowd, and since we cater to Ohio University, we see a large number of alumni coming in here. Those types of weekends are very important to us, and we do a large amount of business on those days.”

The fall is a time when these types of holiday weekends seem to continuously pop up on the calendar, with welcome weekend, parents weekend, and homecoming already passing by in the short month and a half students have returned to school. It isn’t over yet, either, as Halloween approaches at the end of the month, while Dads Weekend comes in November.

Even with all of the traffic overflow, each business needs to have its own way to set itself apart. For a store like College Bookstore, its location directly across from college green is enough to give it a distinguished brand in the face of students and their guests. For others, it takes a little bit more creativity.

“Each new event is new for us,” Mary Cheadle, operator of Uptown Dog T-Shirts, said. “We don’t know whether anybody is going to come, or if more people are going to come than ever.”

Cheadle says that around 50% of her sales come from “about seven or eight” weekends throughout the year.

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Uptown Dog sells shirts like this during Halloween weekend

Uptown Dog T-Shirts has always made a name for itself by making edgier merchandise than its competitors, and selling it for lower prices. Because of 2014’s Union Street fire, however, its original building was destroyed, and even though the business simply moved directly across the street, the owners still have a problem with people simply thinking the shop is no longer in business.

“Some people look at (the construction sites and damaged buildings) and think, ‘Oh, they just went out of business,'” Cheadle said. “Some people come in here and ask us, ‘Whatever happened to Uptown Dog?’, not knowing they’re already at the new place. That has hurt us, but we still have retained good sales on the big weekends.”

Cheadle, like many other businesses around Court Street and its surrounding shops, jacks up her staff for the big weekends. For Uptown Dog, it means expanding the staff from one or two part-time weekend workers to a group of six people running the shop. For the recently-opened Bluetique on West State Street, it meant hiring a door man to manage traffic getting in and out on the latest Parents Weekend.

“We really kicked butt on Parents Weekend, and I’m sure a lot of other places did too,” Bluetique store manager Marissa Whaley said. “You don’t just have mom or dad with you, you have both of them. So that makes a big difference, even though we do expect a lot of traffic on Dads weekend as well.”

With Halloween coming up in two weekends, it will once again be up to each store to figure out how to maximize revenue as Athens’ population doubles for the Block Party. Uptown Dog will be carrying official shirts for the Block Party, while Bluetique will be selling special Halloween products in the weeks leading up to the holiday.

In search of the College Bookstore’s hidden gem

I remember when I stepped on Court Street for the first time last June and the first building I saw was Ohio University’s College Bookstore. I wanted to buy everything in there and I wondered why. I believe it is because of the beautiful way the bookstore is broken down. The bookstore is organized into six sections, but if they placed the sections in different spots in the store, the store would not be as elegant. However, what surprised me the most was not the design, but that there was a downstairs to the bookstore. I learned of this five weeks into my sophomore year, I wonder how many other students knew of this.

What most students did know is that they could buy any Ohio University clothing item they wanted. As soon as you walk in, you see all the t-shirts, sweatshirts, sweaters, sweatpants, etc. right there in the front of the store. This is smart business move because a majority of students are looking for those items to represent OU. For those who appreciate athletic apparel, such as myself, in the very next section you’ll find your drand shorts in an array of different colors.

This variety was shown throughout the entire store creating a beautiful site. After digging a little deeper, I figured out why my excitement kept rising. The further I walked into the store, the further my love grew for what was inside. I found the staples to my personal style. On the first section to the left of the mini ramp are a plethora of hats and socks, which happen to be my favorite clothing items.

Stairwell to DownstairsThey do a masterful job at displaying their store, but every store has their hidden sections. The college bookstore’s back three sections are the jersey section, the book buying section and the school supply section. Normally, these areas are not touched after the first few weeks of school. By putting these sections in the back, they make it easy for students to see what they want in the front of the store.

What amazed me was what was in the front of the store the whole time, but I never saw it. A staircase to a lower level! At the bottom of the staircase, there are two rooms. The first room is for arts and supplies, which is where you would get your paint, your exact-o knives, your rulers, those type of things. In the next room, you’ll see straight Greek life. Anything and everything Greek is hidden in the basement of the store.

All in all, the College Bookstore is the place to be.

The Cotton Hunt: My search for men’s clothing in Athens

Since the beginning of time, men have hunted, and no good hunt would be complete without an elusive target. My prize, however, doesn’t walk on four legs or even two. It’s much trickier to find. My goal was to track down a store that actually sold men’s clothes in Athens.

“You’ve got to be willing to look for a while if you want to find anything good,” said Ethan Grant, a freshman sympathetic to my cause. I was inclined to agree.

After a day of searching, I came to one conclusion — if you’re trying to find a good selection of men’s clothing, good luck.

I started off close to campus. A short walk down Court Street revealed a few prospects. Stores of all sorts fill in the gaps between local eateries and bars guaranteeing the best drinks in town. If you need new guitar strings, they have a store for you. If you’re looking for a new dress, Athens can provide one.

However, if you’re looking for a new sweater or maybe a pair of khakis, your patience will be tested.

My first choice was the University Bookstore. I thought of this as a store filled with clothes for prideful Bobcats, with an OU emblem on every piece of clothing. My memory was correct. I appreciate school spirit as much as the next guy, but I’m not a billboard.

This seemed to be a running theme throughout Court Street. If they sold men’s clothes, a Bobcat or an OU logo was on it somewhere. Both bookstores, The House and Universitees, marched to the same drum. Also, it seemed their selection began and ended with athletic and casual wear.

Onward I trudged, determined to find something. As I closed in on the end of the street, I saw a faint glimmer of hope. Signs advertising several men’s brands drew my attention towards the Import House.

Once inside, I was not entirely disappointed. They too had the apparently mandatory selection of Ohio University clothes but also offered other things. Band t-shirts hung here and there, and it was also the only store I found on Court Street where you could buy men’s shoes.

According to some employees of the stores on Court Street, the reason they offer only OU clothing is obvious— it’s what people want.  

“We get [the clothes] people ask for, and they keep asking for the same thing,” said Linda Hancock, who works at Import House

I decided to expand my search. I headed to East State Street, far enough away that students without a car would have a hard time making it to any of the stores. Biking there is possible but not for the faint of heart. My heart, being faint, chose to catch a ride from a friend.

The selection in Elder-Beerman and Sears was more diverse. Finally, I had found somewhere that offered formal wear. The prices at Sears were fair, but Elder-Beerman hovered close to being too expensive for a college budget.

These stores, however, were not at the top of some student’s list of desirable places to shop.

“I don’t know anyone my age who shops there,” said Dylan Sterling, a sophomore who thought Athens could do better.

Wal-Mart faced a similar problem. While it has a wide variety of clothing, it’s notorious lack of quality had both Sterling and Grant, who said they did not like to shop at Wal-Mart, wishing for more options.  

The only store left was rue 21. This store did sell men’s clothes geared towards people our age. In all of Athens, I had found one store that sold clothing specifically for my demographic. If you aren’t a fan of rue 21, you’re short on options.

As my hunt came to end along with the day, I come to the conclusion that there indeed places for men to shop. The problem, however, was what few choices we have are out of reach for anyone without a vehicle.

In short, you might be better off waiting until Thanksgiving break to buy that new coat for the coming winter. Happy Hunting.

For love of our bricks …

We have raced down them on our way to class. We have tripped on them in the four-inch heals we never should have worn out on a Saturday night. We have stood in line on them waiting for GoodFella’s pizza, and we have gone hunting on them for the best Halloween costume each year. They have seen our reunions, our goodbyes, 21st birthdays, impromptu fests, and lots of ugly Christmas sweaters.

The bricks of Court Street are our home for our four years at Ohio University. We build the foundation of our adult lives on the bricks of our favorite college street.

But what happens after graduation day?

Why do Bobcat alumni spread their Court Street tales like old family stories, near and dear, to their new friends?

People can tell you hundreds of stories and give you thousands of reasons, but the feeling is almost unexplainable. The reason we love Court Street almost goes beyond words.

First memories

“My sister decided to give me a tour of the campus the summer before I started school that year. She showed me every brick and every corner that Athens had to offer.” —Alex Blanchard, education, Class of 2015

Blanchard and his sister stepped into Pigskin, where she told him all about her 21st birthday on Court Street. “The one thing that struck me about her story was the pure excitement about that evening,” he says. “Not the excitement over finally being able to drink (legally), but the details of how complete strangers celebrated with her. This idea of a community within the school is what inspired me to come here.”

Our first memories, while they might not stand out, stick with us.

 The businesses

“If we didn’t meet in someone’s room, it was at one of the businesses. All were close by, all catered to the students and the students respected them for it.” —Jeff Brediger, mechanical engineering, Class of 1981

Brediger was amazed at all the bars and eating places and realized soon after arriving in Athens that Court Street was the central gathering place in town. It was the perfect spot to get together, filled with a variety of establishments that were centered around the students.

“You could go up and down Court Street easily and see so much without really going far,” said Michelle Igelhart, community nutrition and dietetics, Class of 1994

Today, 19 bars sit within a mile radius of Court Street, not to mention a variety of restaurants, thrift shops buried with hidden treasures, local boutiques, and our favorite bookstores for essential Bobcat apparel.

“(Court Street) impacted how I lived, what I bought, and who I saw. It made college a fun place to be,” said Edie Dale, civil engineering, Class of 1995

The Bagel Buggy evolved into Burrito Buggy and now students shop for school supplies at the College Bookstore instead of Woolworth’s. O’Hooleys turned into Jackie O’s and big name franchises like Cold Stone Creamery turned into small-town favorite Fluff Bakery. Even though it has changed over time, the businesses on Court Street have been an essential part of the Uptown experience for every Bobcat and are often the most memorable part.

 The people

“The biggest part of being an alumna is I can come back whenever, but it’s not the same without the people and places you made the memories with. Court Street in general is a place where we have an emotional connection because it’s so special.” —Stephanie Caesar, public relations, Class of 2013

 It was a cold winter’s night and fresh powdery snow blanketed Court Street, Blanchard recalls. Students dressed in holiday apparel and shuffled between the bars on Court Street, celebrating their last night of freedom before finals and the students’ newest fest, Santa Fest. Everyone was in great spirits and the bars were alive with Christmas music.

“A large portion of my friends would go on to graduate that winter so this was the last time we were all together, and it truly was a memory I will never forget” Blanchard says.

The people make Court Street. It’s the feel good, no worry attitude that filled the street on the weekends, and the work hard and dream big ambitions we held ourselves to throughout the week. We worked hard to play hard, and it was the people around us who made all of the hard work worth it.

Weekend rituals

“There was always the Thursday night Lucky’s gang. It was my group of friends that I hung out with all of the time. It was understood that we would get that same booth, in the same bar, with the same people, every Thursday. It was the only thing we ever really needed.” –Danny Sudetic, business, Class of 2014

Liquor pitchers on Wednesday, all night study sessions at Donkey, Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline” at closing time, a favorite booth in the Pub, or a slice of pizza on Slice Night at Courtside —our week-to-week routines were the same.

Our nights on Court Street were often spent with the same people in the places. Some might argue we found ourselves caught up in the midst of normality, but we’d argue back that these were some of the best times of our lives.

“All we ever needed were good friends, good food, and good times,” Sudetic said.

 Living life on our own terms

“We were somewhere that is not only beautiful but also somewhere we were comfortable and happy to be because you know people who truly mean something to you are there and you are doing things on your own terms and going after your dreams in college. Its the epicenter of campus that holds true the character of Ohio University.” – Stephanie Caesar

 When we came to Athens as a freshman, it was the first time in our lives that we were free from the confines of our parents. No more curfews, rules, or disappointed looks when we came home an hour late. Court Street was freedom. We were free to stay out, go out, and hang out with whomever. We decided whom our families away from our families would be made up of.

 It was the breath of fresh air that we had never had before and following graduation would never truly have again. Our only worries were class and, for some, work. We lived life the way we wanted to live it, not worried about anything else besides having a good time.

What we tell others

“People who wouldn’t have a connection to Court Street haven’t experienced it. It’s always upbeat. Epicenter of amazing.” –Stephanie Caesar

 As many students and alumni already know, trying to explain Court Street to others without breaking out in pure joy is close to impossible. It is also something that can be hard to understand to those we tell about it.

“You don’t hear stories like ours at other colleges and universities,” said Ron Smith,  organizational communication, Class of 1997. “Other schools talk about how proud OU alumni are … as we should be!”

 Our pride in our school goes beyond campus. We not only take pride in being Bobcats, but we are also proud of supporting the community on Court Street and sharing the stories about them wherever we go.

It’s timeless

“This answer (to why Court Street is so special) lies in what we call the ‘Magic of Athens.’ Court Street adds to the small, college-town feel. The bricks, the old history of the buildings and all the locally owned business make Court Street an OU experience.” – Ron Smith

 The buildings look like a replica of Bedford Falls from It’s a Wonderful Life. The majestic Athena time warps you back to the 1950s as buildings line streets that were built back to the late 1800s. But not only does Court Street seem physically timeless, the spirit has never changed.

Court Street is our common ground. I know when I come back that is where I’ll find everyone and it feels like it hasn’t changed,” said Sudetic.

We valued traditions and worked to uphold them. Things we might not have understood as freshmen became a part of us by the time we graduated. We might have thought back then that the seniors were strange for being so sad about leaving but now we know the feeling.

“I enjoy every chance I can to walk down the street again and remember a lot of good times,” Brediger said.

It’s home

“When I come back and I am driving across route 50, I always come in the back way so I see the river (which was re-routed) and South Green. It is like someone is waving a magic wand. I am transported!” –Denise Gibbons, fashion merchandising, Class of 1978

Our connection with Court Street is classic and timeless. We can leave for years but the second we step foot on the corner of Union and Court Street it almost feels as if we never left.

 “I love hearing my name called out and turning to see an old friend that just pulled in. It means I’m home,” said Dale.

 While we may have left Athens for years and businesses and establishments have changed, there are moments on Court Street that can take you back 10 years like nothing has changed. That’s Dale’s favorite part of returning as an alumna. Today, she enjoys returning for homecoming and the excitement of returning to the bricks she still considers home for her.

 The Future

“Now that I have a child, (what it means to be an alumnus is) introducing her to the magic of Athens in hopes that it will catch on.” –Ron Smith

 We joke with our friends that our children will have no choice but to attend OU someday, when really we pray that they do. We don’t except them to have the same experiences as we had necessarily. But truly, we wish them all of the joy and happiness in their college lives as we had because we know that there is no better place than the bricks of Court Street.

Trying to grasp our love for Court Street is like trying to catch air in your hands. It’s impossible. The outside world might not understand it, but we do, and we know that there is nothing like it. We valued our college years because we always knew how time would fly and that our days on the bricks would be limited. We were sentimental, knowing that each drink during that last semester as seniors was strong yet bittersweet. It’s a love that is pure and filled with all-intensive good. It’s the best kind of love that is unexplainable, and maybe that’s the way it should just be explained.

Tell us your story

Bobcats love to talk about OU. If you have a story or recollection, post it below in the comments …

***

Sarah Kenney is a senior at Ohio University pursuing two undergraduate degrees in journalism and video production. She is a  coffee loving travel enthusiast and adventure seeker who enjoys classic films, skiing, good laughs, football games on Sunday afternoons, and time at home with her two dogs, Marley and Mia. She aspires to someday write for a comedy or drama television series or work in travel media or visual branding.

The Christmas shopper’s guide to Court Street

Christmas is right around the corner, and there isn’t much time left to find perfect gifts for each special person in your life. Luckily for Athenians, we live in an area that’s rich with one-of-a-kind shopping destinations. Court Street is dotted with small stores that offer great holiday shopping experiences.

Each store on Court Street has a different personality, which means there’s a good chance you can find a gift for everyone on your list. The lack of a formal shopping mall near Athens provides the perfect opportunity to check out locally-owned stores and find that gift that your mother, brother or uncle never even knew they wanted.

But where do you begin?

“I really like shopping on Court Street because it’s easy to find something everybody will like. The House has a lot of good gifts for my brothers. I can shop at The Other Place for my sister. College Bookstore has great T-shirts for my parents, and then there’s Mountain Laurel for my grandparents. I can do all of my Christmas shopping uptown,” said Sara Bechtel, a senior.

This Christmas Shopping Guide offers a quick rundown of the atmosphere and items found in many Court Street shops. Use the descriptions to decide which stores will have the best fit for the people on your gift list this year.

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For the eccentric friend: Mountain Laurel Gifts

Of all the shopping destinations on Court Street, Mountain Laurel Gifts is the store that least conforms to mass-manufactured product lines. Instead, the store has paved its own way with merchandise.  Upon entering the store, shoppers are immediately presented with a large Christmas tree that’s decorated with many ornaments. Picking a new ornament from the tree each year is a part of many people’s family traditions. Mountain Laurel Gifts is home to a plethora of other gift items as well. The lavender table is full of wonderfully-scented neck pillows, lotions, and socks that would make any lady swoon. Pair that with some of the delicious USA-made truffles on the checkout counter for an extra special gift. If shoppers are searching for that perfect children’s gift, it may also be found there. Directly across from the checkout counter is a large toy shelf that’s full of great gifts for kids, which is a rare find in Uptown Athens. Within the store, there is also a back room stocked with fine leather goods and jewelry. Celia Summers, a long-time employee of Mountain Laurel Gifts, boasts about the store’s wide variety of inventory. “I think there’s a little bit of something for everyone in here,” she said.

Gift Idea: Although the store carries a wide variety of gift-worthy items, I think the line of Athens Block art pieces would be a really great gift for any Bobcat. Made by local artist James Robinson, the pieces are intended to look like the actual bricks that pave many streets of Athens, so that students may want to treasure them instead of stealing an actual Athens Block brick. Many pieces of his artwork are featured in a large glass case in Mountain Laurel Gifts and include mugs, trivets, coasters, coin banks, trinket boxes and corked bottles. This is a great unique gift to deter your Bobcats from stealing the coveted Athens Block brick on their own.


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For the homemaker: So…Livi’s/Interior Concepts

Shoppers who enter So…Livi’s/Interior Concepts will experience home décor that is much more sophisticated than the popular college trend of Marilyn Monroe posters and empty alcohol bottles. Gifts found there are perfect for someone who takes pride in her living space and strives for an attractive home. Many different types of figurines and decorative knick-knacks can be found within the store. Other merchandise found at So…Livi’s/Interior Concepts includes seasonal items such as ornaments and festive spreader sets for holiday parties, keepsakes for babies and Pandora beads, just to name a few.

Gift Idea: A very popular item sold there is the black and white chalkboard-esque signs that are proudly displayed all over the store. The look is always the same, but the size and saying varies with each one. The quote featured on the signs may range from sweet to snarky or somewhere in-between, but they’re always worth reading. The locations of the signs aren’t narrowed to one spot in the store, however. The owners have strategically arranged the merchandise to be reminiscent of a home, which means you may do a little searching to track down the perfect one for the person on your list.


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For the funky friend: Artifacts Gallery

Located one block from the end of Court Street, Artifacts Gallery is the perfect place to find great small gifts for stocking stuffers or classic games of White Elephant, among many other things. The gag gifts there are sure to delight any jokester on your gift list. One of the most creative gag gifts found there are “handerpants,” which are a type of glove that looks like underpants for hands. As the name suggests, however, Artifacts Gallery does not subscribe to just one merchandise category. The store also sells clothing, jewelry and locally made pottery. “Artifacts is a unique and funky boutique. We really carry things for everyone,” said Cassi Spires, an Artifacts employee of four years.

Gift Idea: One of the greatest things about Artifacts’ inventory is the large selection of jewelry. Recently, a new shipment of colorful, locally made jewelry was stocked at Artifacts Gallery. The jewelry features many large, colorful stones that have been incorporated into necklaces and earrings. This would be the perfect gift for that special lady that likes unique things and avoids run-of-the-mill items.


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For the OU student, alumnus, or parent: College Bookstore

The ultimate shopping destination for the enthusiastic Bobcat is College Bookstore. Shoppers are sure to find men’s and women’s OHIO gear for students and family members alike. Gear ranges from T-shirts and sweatpants to hats, backpacks, baby clothes and more. College bookstore also has gifts specifically for alumni. The store specializes in diploma frames, car decals, key chains and stickers for alumni to proudly display their Alma Mater. College Bookstore also has a dedicated department for Greek attire. The bottom floor of the bookstore is home to the biggest selection of Greek memorabilia in Athens. One of the most popular Greek items from College Bookstore is custom made Greek letter t-shirts, which make the perfect gift for any sorority girl on your list.

Gift Idea: Could there be a more appropriate Christmas gift than Christmas decorations? College bookstore has a selection of ornaments that would satisfy any Bobcat’s inner elf. The ornaments range from the classic bulb shape to gnomes and even snowflakes. Some ornaments are available in light-up versions as well. An ornament would be a great gift for the OU student that would like a small Christmas tree in his/her dorm, the Bobcat that just got his/her first full-size christmas tree for their apartment, and even the alumnus who is spending his/her first Christmas away from Athens and needs a little bit of OU spirit on the tree.


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For the athletic male: The House

Connected to Cross Court and owned by College Bookstore, the House is Ohio University’s Under Armour headquarters. Mostly male-oriented, the merchandise at The House includes T-shirts, sweatshirts, jerseys, socks, backpacks and water bottles, among many other things. Few items are tailored specifically for females, but there are super stretch underwear and multicolored headbands as well as some clothes, if those things are on your shopping list. The House is perfect for the man who wants the OHIO gear with Under Armour quality.

Gift Idea: Depending on your budget, an OU/Under Armour gift pack would be an awesome gift for a special fella on your list. An Under Armour drawstring backpack filled with and a T-shirt and water bottle could be enough to keep you on the nice list until next year.


For the crafty female: Cross Court

A wide variety of unique girly gifts can be found at Cross Court. It is one store on Court Street that doesn’t specialize in clothing, but it offers myriad other options for gift ideas. One entire wall of Cross Court is dedicated to scrapbooking supplies, so if there’s a crafty girl on your list, you don’t want to miss that store. Other great gift ideas include posters, photo frames and albums, inspirational mugs, candles, and a selection of Athens t-shirts that are sure to get people talking. For gift recipients that are of age, Cross Court has a nice selection of wine goblets, shot glasses and drinking games as well.

Even if your list doesn’t include a crafty female, be sure to stop in Cross Court to peruse the huge greeting card and gift-wrapping selection.

Gift Idea: A scrapbook starter kit or refill set would be a great idea for any girl in your life who is a bit crafty. Girls are sentimental, and giving them a way to capture and record their memories from a special time period in their lives is a great way to get on their good side. Stroll through the scrapbooking wall at Cross Court, and find pieces that have a coordinating theme. Pair that with a scrapbook album, and you’re sure to put a smile on any crafty girl’s face.


 

For the trendsetter: The Other Place

The season’s hottest trends can always be found at The Other Place. Located right next to Cross Court, the store’s merchandise consists mostly of clothes, shoes and accessories. Many obscure brands are featured in The Other Place’s inventory. Clothing from there is the perfect gift for a gal who’d like to stay warm and fashionable this winter. April Almond, manager and buyer for The Other Place, describes the store as a “fun, eclectic, fashion-forward clothing store.” A lot can be said for the wide selection of Vera Bradley products that the store offers, as well. The back right-hand side of the store is dedicated to Vera Bradley purses, backpacks, lanyards, in addition to desk accessories such as pencils and stationery. The Other Place is also a major retailer of TOMS shoes, for anyone that’s looking to give gifts that give back.

Gift Idea: Most college females would love to have any Vera Bradley item she can get her hands on. Shopping for Vera Bradley gifts at The Other Place is great because you can inspect each print and pick out the one you like in the store rather than trying to do it online. If the girl you’re shopping for already has some Vera Bradley merchandise, just make sure you buy her gift in the same print or a coordinating one. Nobody wants clashing Vera.


For the hard-to-please Athens resident or frequent visitor: gift cards

If making a choice among all of the incredible shopping options on Court Street becomes too difficult, the perfect gift for someone who lives in or frequently visits Athens is a gift card. That allows the person to pick out a physical gift that they love, or opens up the options of stores to choose from. Gift cards to places like Attractions Hair Salon, Court Street Diner or Outer Glow Tanning Salon allows the recipients to treat themselves whenever they feel the need.

Athens is the perfect place to find unique Christmas gifts. The shops featured in this guide do not exhaust even all of the options on Court Street, let alone all of Athens. Sometimes the best way to find that perfect store is to wander in and let the gifts find you.

***

Kasi Reed is a senior at Ohio University studying magazine journalism. She enjoys searching Pinterest for new recipes and then trying them, reading dystopian novels, and watching chick flicks in her spare time. Her dream job would be to run her own bakery/photography studio.