Skip the mall, head downtown
Little Shop of Shamrocks

Photo provided

Skip the mall, head downtown


ISLIP TOWN—The trend to shop locally has solidly become the norm as Main Street, USA, has stepped up its game to compete with the big-box stores, malls and the online craze.  Through offering unique items at affordable prices that you just won’t find anywhere else, plus beautiful gift wrapping, holiday shoppers can breeze through most names on their list without even leaving their hometown, or driving just a few minutes instead of fighting the crowds for a few hours.

Shopping locally helps support the sustained growth of your town by promoting community awareness and instilling pride in what your town might have to offer through not only great gift ideas, but attractive window displays and street decorations.  Along with your purchases comes customized expertise by a small business owner to give advise on holiday decor or simply how to properly string your lights without blowing a fuse.  You know the old adage: “You’re a big fish in a small pond” when you shop in a local neighborhood shop.

Feel the family atmosphere you experience when going into a shop where the clerks behind the counter know you and your tastes already.  They’re often your friends and neighbors, or their kids working their first job in a nurturing, comfortable setting just minutes from home.

When looking to find the perfect gift for him, her, them or you, small businesses put out the best of the best this time of year, so take advantage of the newest styles at great prices.

We’ve all enjoyed the warm and fuzzy community feeling at our respective town’s Christmas tree and menorah lightings; now, stop into some favorite local shops along the South Shore and meet the merchants who are working day and evening, weekdays and weekends to keep the festive holiday atmosphere going – many even staying open longer to accommodate commuters who need to shop on their way home. Here are a few suggestions:

For him:  The Catbird Seat in Sayville (18 Main Street) sells custom handmade wooden pens. Just a few steps away you can find in addition to caps and clothing, “Everything Guinness,” including mugs, shirts and Claddagh jewelry at Irish Crossroads (58 Main Street). Still shopping for him?  Little Shop of Shamrocks at 173 Islip Avenue in Islip has burly Irish fishermen sweaters, and even special order kilts, plus tasty treats from the old country.   He might also need a pair of trendy Blue Q socks and comfy slippers that can be found at Willy Nilly Trading Company (153 W. Main Street) in Bay Shore. 

For her:  It still rings are a girl’s best friend, as are pearls, gold, silver, etc. Experience personal service with the experts at Kay Cameron Fine Jewelry (48 Main Street) in Sayville as well as Anna Re Fine Jewelry (585 Main Street) in Islip, where they’ll always spend quality time with each and every customer to choose a quality gift. New this season at Willy Nilly, are 14K gold, American-made Ronaldo bracelets. Trending at Catbird Seat, dune jewelry made with the sand from your very own favorite beach. Also, the ever-popular Alex and Ani line can be found in several of the aforementioned shops, so you’ll have no trouble finding just the item she’s been wishing for.

For them:  Find gifts from the superbly sublime fashion accessories and home decor to the delightfully whimsical for your family and friends, hosts and hostesses.  Gorgeous patterns of Waterford Crystal goblets and tree ornaments, Belleek China, Celtic wall hangings and crosses can be purchased at both Little Shop of Shamrocks and Irish Crossroads. Unique one-of-a-kind or vintage home decor can be found at Hamptons West Vintage Boutique (30 Railroad Avenue, Sayville), including the locally made 90 Bourne holiday-scented candles.  Catbird Seat also sells locally sourced Long Island paintings and sculptures, prints and cards.

For you:  Well, all of the above and then some!  Dress yourself from head to toe, choosing an outfit from Kathryn’s (112 Main Street), and shoes from Debra Canavan Classics (53 Main Street), both in Sayville.  Shawls and purses from Out of the Blue (89 Main Street), Peruvian wool gloves from Catbird Seat and something soft, flowing and velvety from Willy Nilly Trading Company.  Dress your home with Hamptons West pillows and throws, Sayville General Store’s (44 N. Main Street) elegant soaps, sachets, pitchers and a plethora of gorgeous gifts.  Plan something creative during the long, cold winter evenings by treating yourself to art classes at Catbird Seat. 

Whether you’re shopping at Willy Nilly, where you feel like you’ve just stepped into the FAO Schwarz for grown-ups, or shopping at Little Shop of Shamrocks with classic Irish Christmas melodies playing in the background, you’ll feel like there’s no place like your hometown for the holidays.