Safe Holiday Shopping that Supports Connecticut Businesses Last Updated 12/20
As we work to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, holiday shopping will look a little different this year. But Amazon.com doesn’t need any help. Instead, find one-of-a-kind gifts that help keep local shops in business.
Across the state, retail locations are implementing new safety measures to keep customers safe, from mask wearing to limited store capacity to contactless payment.
Give outdoor shopping centers a try, enjoy the charm of walkable shopping towns, or find Connecticut-made gifts galore online. Here is our guide to the many ways to safely support Connecticut businesses this holiday season.
As always, be sure to check each location before venturing out as hours may change due to COVID-19.
It always feels festive to stroll downtown shops during the holidays. Here are some main street strips to find gifts this year.
If you're splurging on loved ones this holiday season, you'll find designer fashion boutiques and upscale shops on Greenwich Avenue in Greenwich. The strip has a neighborhood feel with a Rodeo Drive appeal, with local shops like Splurge sitting side by side with familiar names like Brooks Brothers and Vineyard Vines. Closer to the beach in Old Greenwich, you’ll find even more great shopping, like Back 40 Mercantile. You might even attend the 12th Annual Greenwich Reindeer Festival where you can support local businesses, see reindeer and get in the holiday spirit.
An ideal place to check off your shopping list, West Hartford Center is one of Connecticut’s best-known shopping districts, with everything from local boutiques to familiar names. Browse clothing, housewares and more at Hope & Stetson, find the latest fashions at Kimberly Boutique and Ooh La La Boutique, or find a variety of unique gift items at Ten Thousand Villages.
For a quintessential New England feel, explore the town of Litchfield. Like nearby towns Goshen, Bantam and New Preston, Litchfield is home to small local shops and restaurants. Shop for clothing at Serendipity Vintage & Handmade and buy baked treats at the Dutch Epicure Shop, a perfect spot to find foodie gifts.
Take your holiday shopping to the coast! Main Street in Old Saybrook is home to a lovely combination of coastal character and New England charm. From Saybrook House to Tova's Vintage and Old Saybrook Antiques Center, you’ll find an eclectic mix of shops and boutiques for holiday gifts.
Another waterfront shopping district, Historic Downtown Mystic is a picturesque spot to browse for everyone on your list. Find handmade goods at Mystic Knotwork, men’s accessories and bar items at Trove, women’s accessories and jewelry at Hang the Moon, home décor at La Cote Mystic, and much more throughout the area.
Browse Outdoor Malls
Like main street strips, outdoor malls make it easy to pop in a shop then back into the open air. You may even find some great deals at outlets or shopping centers like Shops at Yale, which is offering fun deals and promotions this year including free parking, free gourmet hot cocoa and a holiday shopping passport with 38 participating businesses.
Here are some outdoor malls to consider supporting this year.
Give Unique Gift Cards
We may be staying in more these days, but it doesn’t hurt to plan for the future – in fact, it helps businesses now and might even boost your gift recipient’s spirits. If you think gift cards can't be personal, think again. There are many great ways to give thoughtful gift cards that align with a recipient's interests.
Have a foodie on your list? Give a gift card for a Taste of New Haven Tour, these award winning restaurants, Instagrammable pizza, brunch or pho spots, or any of the fantastic restaurants throughout the state. Shopping for a dare devil? Take gift-giving to new heights with a gift card to Skydive Danielson. Give the gift of adventure with a gift card from RiverQuest, Adventure Park in Bridgeport or Storrs, or give the gift of art and culture with memberships to museums and theaters throughout the state.
From marine life encounters to arts passports and more, get more experiential gift ideas with these gifts that don’t come in a box.
Want more inspiration? Here are a few cool museums, attractions, spas, and theaters offering memberships, gift cards and more!
Find Online Gifts & Goodies
You don't have to travel far to support local businesses and find perfect presents. Even better, you don't have to leave the house! As you may choose to stay in this season, there's plenty to discover online.
Shop the High Hopes Virtual Holiday Market for a unique array of goods from local artisans and businesses. Support local Black-owned businesses with this online directory or shop these women-owned businesses. And of course, holiday shopping can support businesses of all kinds. Buy gift cards now to redeem later from all your favorite spots – many places make it easy with an online purchase!
Someone on your list miss their dinner menu go-to? Give a restaurant gift card. Buying for a beer enthusiast or wine lover? Plenty of breweries and vineyards offer gift cards and online stores. At Black Hog Brewing Company in Oxford, you’ll find gift packages of beer and charred beer whiskey, a ‘hangover helper’ gift pack complete with pancake or waffle mix and craft maple syrup, as well as various merchandise gift packages. At Sunset Meadow Vineyards in Goshen, you can even stop in and buy a chocolate covered wine bottle! In some cases you can even support museums such as the PEZ Visitor Center, which has a colorful online store that includes Christmas specials, gift sets and of course, candy.
Here are some other Connecticut small businesses with online stores. See a store you like in a shopping center listed above? Check online! Many of them have online stores as well.