This is your guide on where to go and what to get for every friend on your list. These shops are all a short walk - or Uber – away from campus, because shopping local is a great way to show love to Ann Arbor. Also, Internet shopping does not favor procrastinators and shipping costs are absolutely no fun.
For the foodie: If you’re cringing at the term, you’re probably not one. Regardless, we all have a foodie in our lives. These recommendations are for your friend with an adventurous palate and unparalleled talent in the kitchen. Sur la Table has plenty of kitchen tools that would excite any amateur chef. For gift that they can actually eat, check out Fustini's Oils & Vinegars. If they'd rather be served, try a gift card to an up-and-coming restaurant or beloved Ann Arbor classic. I suggest Spencer, Iorios Gelateria, or Zingerman's.
For the music nerd: aka the friend whose Spotify playlist you listen to more than your own. Visit Encore Records for the vinyl lover, where they stock new and vintage records and band posters. If live music is their thing, gift your pal tickets to an Ann Arbor concert. Check out the Blind Pig, Necto, and Hill Auditorium's upcoming shows. Personally, I have my eye on tickets for The Head and the Heart with Whitney this February at Hill.
For the friend who’s studying abroad: they have likely been saving up their money all semester and could use a little love. A good travel backpack is crucial, so stop by Fjallraven and shop their colorful collection. Bivouac also has an amazing selection of gear for adventurers and a super-knowledgable staff that can help you find the perfect present for your friend, regardless of what their plans are abroad.
For the minimalist friend: this friend is all about good quality and no frills. Head over to Shinola for amazing, handcrafted built-in-Detroit products like planners, journals, keychains, wallets, and watches (for someone you love a lot). A Shinola watch was President Obama's gift of choice to the British prime minster earlier this year, so it's clear you can't really go wrong with one of Shinola's simple accessories.
For the trendy friend: You're essentially shopping for yourself because you’re always raiding their closet. You can't go wrong with Bivouac, Verbena, or Pitaya. Accessories are great because they always fit, but going-out tops and cozy sweaters are always welcomed gifts this holiday.
For the organized friend: the one who still gets excited to go school supplies shopping. I recommend Rock Paper Scissors for planners, notebooks, desk accessories, and lots of other things that help you keep your life together.
For the reader: Literati has a great selection of the newest and most popular books, along with some classics. While gift cards are always a great idea, try to research and chose a book yourself. If you're stuck, check out a site like Goodreads, where they list the most popular books right now, books you have to read once in your life, and books that will become movies.
For the out of state friend: Show off Ann Arbor to your friend who has never even heard of Zingerman's. Ann Arbor has plenty of Michigan-based brands, but my favorites for gifts are Cherry Republic and Detroit Grooming Co (found at Bivouac).
For the friend who is stressed: otherwise known as the friend who lives at the library during finals week. Give the gift of relaxation with a gift card to Vie Spa or Douglas J for a de-stressing massage, or to Orbit salon for a much-needed blowout.
For the caffeine addict: the friend who just wants the gift of liquid energy. I recommend Crazy Wisdom Tea Room or TeaHaus for an incredible selection of over 100 loose leaf teas, as well as mugs, infusers and other products to elevate your friends' brew. If they prefer beans to bags, stop in RoosRoast. I consider it to be the best coffee in Ann Arbor and their cool and quirky packaging would make the best gift.
For the friend who’s one of a kind: I suggest shopping at Heavenly Metal. They get amazing trinkets and unique accessories from all over the world in low quantities. The shop is a bit of a hidden gem, so it's perfect for anyone that has a unique, original style.
Lastly, if you just can't find anything at these stores for you friend this holiday, make it yourself. Hit up Underground Printing for a custom article of clothing with a cool phrase or photo that perfectly represents your friend.
Happy shopping, and happy holidays!