Boston, Cambridge and Somerville Shopping for the Budget-Minded (i.e. Everyone)

It’s gift-giving season, and you’re on a budget. More than usual, even. So aren’t we all. But you also want to do the right thing – not just buy a lead-and-BPA baby rattle made by starving children in China or whatever. So, where do you shop? Here are my obviously perfect suggestions:

Local shopping that’s also a party: Davis Square Midnight Madness: Quite a few of the businesses in Davis Square will be extending hours and cutting prices on December 3rd. My suggestions: Dave’s Fresh Pasta (unusual and delicious wine and beer) Artifaktori (indie and/or vintage fashion, antiques, oddities), and Boston Shaker (bar supplies).

Deep discounts on good reads: Harvard Book Store Warehouse Sale: Saturday and Sunday, December 5-6, at the Harvard Book Store Warehouse (14 Park St., Somerville, near Porter Square on the Red Line or the 87 bus). They’ll have 15% off already-discounted remainders as well as some signed first editions. Pick up a glossy coffee-table book and look like you spent the bank! This is their second warehouse sale, and I’m assured it’ll be bigger and better than the last one. Also check out their card selection for letterpress cards you won’t find anywhere else. (Helpful hint: A fancy card with a heartfelt message they’ll love is still way cheaper than a chintzy gift they won’t appreciate).

Craft and fashion: Design Hive in Cambridge. It’s a bit like an indoor version of the (summer-only) SoWa Open Market, a bit like a craft-show flea-market, and quite a bit Cambridge. Last event of the season (“Handmade Holidaze”) is on Sunday 12/6 starting at 10 AM.

Stuff you never knew you needed: Bazaar Bizarre: December 6 at the Cyclorama on Tremont St. You’ll find art, craft, chintz, kitsch, punk, disco, glam, jewelry, makeup, and sixteen kinds of what-have-you. Also affiliated with Boston Handmade. Speaking of which…

From the first minute to the last minute: Boston Handmade has a storefront open at 505 Washington St. in Downtown Crossing from November 27th through December 24th. They’re carrying goods from 30 or so different Boston artisans, and have a big opening party the 28th of November.

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