Best Christmas Shopping in Memphis, 2015: From Handmade to Soul-Filled

Photo courtesy of Kees Wielemaker (pedaal)
Photo courtesy of Sally Walker Davies
By Sally Walker Davies, Memphis Local Expert

Memphis is a great city in which to find that perfect something for everyone on your Christmas list - whether they've been naughty or nice.

No matter which neighborhood you're exploring, finding a locally-owned business with unique gifts - from silly stocking stuffers to hand-made crafts to a beautiful baubles - is an enjoyable and easy task.

Our list of the city's best spots for Christmas shopping will take you to our favorite spots in the city, including the annual local crafting Pop Up Shop and  funky dry goods store A. Schawb. Located right in the middle of bustling Beale Street, Schwab's is that kind of place where you can load up on stocking stuffers, as well as find all kinds of knick-knacks you never even knew you needed. We particularly love the gift shop at the National Ornamental Metal Museum for handcrafted ornaments and small gifts, and the Cooper-Young neighborhood for its great selection of shops, from high-end antique stores to used bookstores and boutiques.

Last-minute shoppers - or those who simply hate shopping - can find everything for everyone on the list at The Booksellers, a locally-owned, independent bookstore that carries children's toys, DVDs and CDs, stationary and calendars, and all manner of gifts. The best part, is that when you're done shopping, you can relax in the Bookseller's bistro with a glass of wine.

10. A. Schwab Dry Goods Store
Photo courtesy of Kees Wielemaker (pedaal)

Located on historic Beale Street since 1876, this general store is a Memphis institution. Be sure to visit as you'll feel as if you have stepped back in time and are visiting the only store in a small town – and boys particularly love this place, as it is full of essentials like whoopee cushions and other staples of boy-toys. The dusty and vast inventory includes everything from kitchen flatware to overalls and knick-knacks; there are loads of Elvis-themed items, Army surplus stuff, and everything you really don't need but think you might need. You need to pay the old-fashioned way, too – no credit cards accepted!

9. Burke's Book Store
Photo courtesy of Burke's Book Store

Burke's is one of the country's oldest bookstores - and likely one of Memphis's oldest, continuously operating businesses, having opened in 1875. Most of its history was spent in one location in Midtown; the store moved in recent years to Cooper Young. Burke's provides book lovers with what has become a rarity these days - an independent bookstore experience. With fusty and musty old tomes, contemporary bestsellers, and just about everything in betwee, the store is a local favorite. Burke's also scores local, regional, and national authors for signings, so you never know who might show up - including John Grisham.

8. Flashback
Photo courtesy of Flashback

You never know what you'll find at the super-fun and super-funky Flashback,a vintage store that focuses on clothing, accessories and home decor - and that's what makes it so much fun. There's always a great selection of mid-century furniture and home decor, a great selection of women's dresses and finery, and plenty of wide lapels and skinny ties for men to peruse. But what we love the most - next to the amazing seasonal window displays (and during Elvis weeks) - is the retro holiday decor. From grinning 1960's pumpkins to cheery light-up Frostys and Santas, Flashback always amazes during the holidays.

7. Me & Mrs. Jones
Photo courtesy of me & mrs jones

The totally talented Stephanie Jones set up shop in Cooper-Young, and talented DIY-ers across the region are celebrating. Jones, who shudders at the use of the word 'faux', notes that fine finishes are what her artistry is all about. She teaches hands-on workshops in her studio, sells painted furniture, Annie Sloan chalk paint and Miss Mustardseed Milk Paint; she also sells brushes, books, custom stencils, interesting knobs, local travel guides, flea market finds and whatever else strikes her fancy. If you, like yours truly, doesn't have the ability or patience to paint, fear not - Jones and company always have the shop stocked with a number of finely painted furniture pieces.

6. Babcock Gifts
Photo courtesy of Scout by Bungalow

For fine gifts, Babcock is a Memphis go-to. With fine lines of china, silver and crystal, every bride in town registers here, but the offerings go way beyond bridal. Local and regional pottery from Agnes Stark and T. Puterbaugh Gill are affordable and excellent gift options, and there is plenty of casual party ware - including already wrapped and ready to go themed styrofoam cups. During the holidays, the store fills with decor - everything from festive serving pieces to ornaments to metal yard art. For the bride - or those looking to round out their china and crystal, the lines carried are the best, including Haviland, Waterford, Wedgewood, Juliska, Limoges,and more.

5. Sheffield's Antiques
Photo courtesy of Sheffield's Anitques Mall

A former mega-store has turned into a mega-must for fans of vintage, antique and collectible items; row upon row of dealer booths promise hours of browsing. Sheffield's is one of those stores where every budget can be satisfied, whether looking for inexpensive accessories, re-purposed furniture given new life with a few coats of paint and glaze, or luxuriously re-upholstered period pieces. A smattering of gifts - from embroidered guest towels to candles, quirky yard decor and college spirit items - are scattered throughout many booths. On weekends, items move out quickly - so be sure to pull a tag if you see something you must have, as it may be gone by the time you make a circuit of the store.

4. National Ornamental Metal Museum
Photo courtesy of Ornamental Metal Museum

Located within the excellent National Ornamental Metal Museum – or just the Metal Museum – the museum store brings together the works of metal artists from across the country. There are one of a kind and limited edition pieces that are truly works of art to hang or display; there are also a load of decorative and functional items - candle holders and kitchen utensils, jewelry, tree ornaments and garden decor. The museum store also carries made-in-Memphis (or at the museum itself) items that were crafted just for the store, including a gorgeous magnolia leaf votive holder ($70). The museum store is open during regular museum hours.

3. Stax Museum of American Soul Music
Photo courtesy of MemphisTravel.com

Stax is one of our favorite museums and must-hits in Memphis - and the gift store at this museum of American soul music is one of our favorite stores in town, too. In addition to all the greatest music from the label, Stax offers music-themed gifts - plenty with retro flair. We've bought silk ties with a print of 45 adapators (if you have to ask, then forget it) and colorful paper coasters, as well as more traditional t-shirts with the funky Stax logo. Since Grammy-winning saxophonist Kirk Whalum came to Stax as head of the Stax Foundation, the shop has also started carrying lots of colorful logo'd baseball caps...very likely a nod to Whalum's signature style.

2. Christmas Pop Up Shop
Photo courtesy of Modern Handmade Memphis

Modern Handmade Memphis's Pop-up Shop is filled with the best products from a melange of talented Memphis crafters who usually sell via the online craft site Etsy,so for those who like to see and touch before they buy, this is a genius set-up. From barbecue rub to scented, handmade soaps, to pretty hair accessories and art. The best part about the market is that everything is unique, and there's plenty of emphasis during the holidays on Memphis-themed gifts. This creative collective takes place in Overton Square from November 28 - December 27th. It's open Monday � Saturday, from 11 am to 9 pm and Sundays 12 noon to 6 pm. The shop is located on the south side of the Square, off the Tower Courtyard.

1. Booksellers at Laurelwood
Photo courtesy of Sally Walker Davies

The local bookstore lives on - and lives on in splendorous existence at the Booksellers. Locals still call it Davis-Kidd, as the store was formerly known before it was bought out by the staff in order to ensure its survival. This is the kind of store where you can pick up a gift as well as a book - and we guarantee you can't stump the staff - they know everything. The delightful Bistro in one corner of the store serves up a fantastic breakfast, lunch, or dinner with signature items including a bleu cheese-topped tomato soup, and scrumptious offerings from local and regional cookbooks.