Looking for the perfect stocking stuffers? How about unique items for a gift basket? Look no further than the Japanese budget shopper's paradise, Daiso, which has locations in Carrollton, Fort Worth, Irving, Arlington, Frisco and Plano. It's basically a dollar store on steroids, boasting thousands upon thousands of quality goods, ranging from beauty supplies, kitchenware, gift wrap and stationery items to tech gadgets, toys, snacks and holiday decor. Hello Kitty chopsticks? Solar powered lucky cat figurines? Sushi shaped erasers? It's all here and then some. The best part? Most everything in the store is priced at $1.50. Just be warned, it's virtually impossible to walk out of there empty-handed.
Recommended for Christmas Shopping because: Daiso is the go-to spot for gift-givers on a budget.
Ilene's expert tip: Be advised that Daiso does not offer refunds.
For the home cook on your list, it's hard to go wrong with any of the gift boxes from Penzeys. This well-known spice purveyor boasts a mammoth range of hard-to-find spices, spice blends and extracts, which are sold both individually as well as in prepackaged gift boxes curated to suit every occasion and budget. Think options like a 4-jar cocoa lovers' kit for $17.95 and an 8-jar taste of Mexico gift pack for $49.95. There's also the option to assemble your own spice boxes with add-in trinkets such as salt and pepper mills, kitchen towels, magnets, bumper stickers, pins, and mugs. You can order everything online, but nothing beats the experience of going into the shop where you can give everything a sniff test before you commit to purchasing.
Recommended for Christmas Shopping because: Penzeys is the perfect place to find host and hostess gifts.
Ilene's expert tip: Penzeys offers free shipping on orders of $40 or more. Sign up for emails from Penzeys to receive free spices and seasonings, along with recipes and useful tips.
This emporium of all things weird and wonderful is jam-packed with almost anything you could think of for gifting and decorating. From candles, ceramics and paintings to kids' toys, gadgets and barware, it's all here. And so are plenty of random trinkets you desperately want but probably don't need. How about a nifty barbecue grill inside of a briefcase? Or maybe a flask tie for those who want to indulge on the go? When it comes to holidays, Fete-ish goes all out, stocking the shop with everything imaginable to create a celebratory vibe. Speaking of celebrating, time your visit for a Friday night and you'll be treated to a tantalizing adult concoction.
Recommended for Christmas Shopping because: Fete-ish is a great place to find gag gifts and risque greeting cards.
Ilene's expert tip: Score discounted items during Fete-ish's clearance sales in January.
If the idea of scouring aisles of bric-a-brac, rummaging through bargain bins and haggling over prices excites you, then you'll enjoy the thrill of the hunt inside this veritable department store of vintage wonders. Here, you'll find over eighty vendors peddling everything from mid-century modern and retro furniture to vintage clothing, western souvenirs, kitschy collectibles, Christmas ornaments and baubles galore. There's plenty to buy if you have an unlimited budget (like a mid-century stereo console priced at $1695), but there are also some terrific bargains to be had here, too. Just make sure to set aside plenty of time if you want to get the most out of this scavenger hunt.
Recommended for Christmas Shopping because: Lula B's is the go-to shop for everything vintage and retro.
Ilene's expert tip: There's a second location in Oak Cliff. Vendors are known to lower prices with a little persuasion.
Whether you're a kid or an adult, it's hard to walk into this whimsical little toy shop and not be dazzled by its seemingly limitless array of playthings. From robots, dinosaurs and puppets to kites, games, trucks and even toy drones, every inch of its 3,700 sq. ft. space is packed with eye-catching goodies at every turn. As well, Froggie's is a veritable treasure trove of playthings from the past. There are tin toys, action figures, old-fashioned lunchboxes, Slinkys, yo-yos and even retro candy. You'll also find a stockpile of gag gifts: farting calendars anyone? And it's the best stocking stuffer destination in the city.
Recommended for Christmas Shopping because: Froggie's boasts a vast array of unique toys for kids and grown-ups alike.
Ilene's expert tip: Check out the Facebook page to find out about new arrivals and special sales. Froggies usually offers all its Christmas products at 50% off after Christmas Day.
If you find yourself in need of a perfect bauble for yourself or someone special, then Ely Artisan Jewelry needs to be your first stop. Opened in 2018, the shop carries a dazzling array of men's and women's jewelry, all of which have been handcrafted by artisans in Mexico. There's much to love here, but a few favorites right now are a $49 hand-beaded necklace, a $95 sterling silver twisted cable ring, and a sterling silver stalactite crystal bracelet for $250. Other goodies to look out for include sculptures, leather wallets, hand-embroidered tops from Oaxaca and coffee from Chiapas. Bonus perk: They offer complimentary gift wrapping.
Recommended for Christmas Shopping because: Ely Artisans Jewelry offers a seriously impressive stock of unique, high-quality jewelry that won't break the bank.
Ilene's expert tip: Note that Ely Jewelry is hidden inside of the 410 Market.
Is there someone on your gift list who is obsessed with all things French? Then this concept store in the Bishop Arts District has you covered. Founded by Paris natives Amelie and Gregory Monvoisin, Marcel Market carries a carefully curated selection of exclusive French merchandise, most of which you're not likely to see anywhere else except for in France. We're talking Mitsu handcrafted ceramics from the South of France and skincare products by Les Poulettes as well as mustard, chocolates, spreads, confitures, olive oils, jewelry and women's apparel. Good luck resisting the urge to buy everything for yourself.
Recommended for Christmas Shopping because: Marcel Market is a venerable treasure trove for Francophiles.
Ilene's expert tip: Come on the weekend when you can find freshly made baguettes, croissants and pain au chocolat.
Looking for a perfectly delicious gift? Then hit up Dallas chocolatier Kate Weiser's boutique where you'll find an eye-popping range of hand-painted bonbons that can be purchased individually or in build-your-own-box sets. Other goodies include candy bars in flavors like passion fruit praline, caramels, macarons, chocolate covered fruit and nuts and bacon toffee. For a truly indulgent gift, you can't beat Carl the Snowman, a marshmallow-filled chocolate snowman that dissolves into hot cocoa when heated in a pot of milk. But don't take our word for it, take Oprah's, it was featured on her list of favorite things for 2018.
Recommended for Christmas Shopping because: Kate Weiser was named one the world's best chocolatiers by Conde Nast Traveler.
Ilene's expert tip: Kate Weiser also has a store on the first level outside of Neiman Marcus. It's advised to pre-order Carl the Snowman in advance since they tend sell out early in the season.
Boasting four levels of more than 200 stores which includes a mix of trusty department stores (Macy's, Saks Fifth Avenue, Nordstrom), all the major brands you can think of (from Abercrombie & Fitch to J. Crew) and specialty stores like Gucci and American Girl, it's suffice it to say that whatever you're looking for will most likely be found here. Add in a plethora of eating options, a rainforest-themed kid's play space and an ice-skating rink set beneath a glass vaulted ceiling modeled after the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II in Milan, and you can see why this place is a major draw for locals and tourists alike.
Recommended for Christmas Shopping because: The Galleria is the best place for last minute shopping, plus it's a great place to keep kids entertained too.
Ilene's expert tip: Shoppers traveling more than 50 miles to visit the Galleria Dallas can receive a VIP Privilege Card filled with special offers and discounts. Just bring a valid photo ID to the Guest Reception Center located on Level 1, Center Court to score one.
Pick up all your holiday gifts in one fell swoop at this ultimate shopper's paradise. Ranked among the top five shopping destinations in the country, NorthPark Center brings together more than 235 retailers, ranging from legendary department stores to familiar name brands like H&M, Gap and Apple to all the high-end boutiques you could ever wish for. And as far as shopping centers go, NorthPark is among one of the most festive during the holidays. Expect to find opulent decorations along with a sleigh-full of daily events, including marionette shows, live musical performances, Santa meet and greets and more.
Recommended for Christmas Shopping because: NorthPark Center offers endless places to empty your wallet and plenty of Christmas cheer to boot.
Ilene's expert tip: Score free valet parking by dining at one of NorthPark's restaurants. Just be sure to have your ticket validated at the restaurant. Out of town visitors can visit NorthPark's Concierge for a VIP Traveler Offers brochure featuring special offers and discounts.