Now that the cat is out of the bag on Black Friday shopping, with many major retailers having posted preview ads already, I’m sure many readers are like me and scratching their heads, among other body parts, over what to buy their family, friends, and loved ones this year. I’m personally not seeing those unique, must-have items in the stores.
Not to mention, to take advantage of the best Black Friday deals, families will now be required to stand in line during the traditional Thanksgiving meal times, as many retailers are opening their doors at 6pm on Thanksgiving Day.
For those who prefer to actually enjoy a good Thanksgiving meal with family, friends, and pets, you might consider, instead, browsing at your leisure over the next month a dozen unique gift stores, all clustered within Balboa Park’s historic campus.
Balboa Park gift store buyers have a nose for distinctive gifts, from fine jewelry, bags, and accessories, to home décor, educational toys, and specialty books.
At the Air & Space Museum Store, for instance, budding astronauts will gravitate towards Angry Birds Space by National Geographic (pictured), which offers the perfect mix of Angry Birds amusement and insights on space exploration for children.
Young animal lovers will also appreciate a number of plush toys and unique books at the San Diego History Center, including the heartwarming story of “The Dog that Belonged to No One” and “Cat’s Christmas.”
Animal lovers of any age will enjoy transforming any garden into a Zen garden with a unique line of Zen Creatures figurines at the Balboa Park Visitors Center (pictured).
For those, like me, who prefer digging in a garden to meditating in one, the Natural History Museum gift store is selling a variety of Dino Excavation Kits, alongside its usual wide selection of nature-themed books, home décor, and fine jewelry by MarahLago (picutred).
Fashion hounds will be glad to know that several other museum stores in Balboa Park are also known for offering the latest styles, including the San Diego Museum of Art, which is currently featuring local designer Leslie Fastlicht Russo. Her LFR Design collection has been described as combining “a hint of elegant bohemian chic with a trace of rock star glam.” Ooh la la!
Across the Plaza de Panama, the Collector’s Gallery at the Mingei International Museum is responding to enthusiasm for the Struck by Modernism exhibition with elegant gold and silver jewelry from Steel Toe Studios and accessories by Erica Gordon, made of recycled and repurposed steel.
Lastly, I’m sure I’m not the only photo hound who would appreciate a photography-themed gift from the Museum of Photographic Arts, which specializes in a wide array vintage camera kits, books on photography, and one-of-a-kind frames, suitable for your favorite images of FiFi and Fido (pictured).