The holidays are upon us and you have to find gifts for at least some one. Last year you stood in line, spent too much, bought what you didn’t need, and bought what they didn’t need. This year you don’t have to worry because we’ve pulled together a list of the things you need to buy and the stores you need to visit. Even if something on our list isn’t what you need something else in the store will be. We’ve chosen our stores carefully to maximize your time. Each one has other stores around it to meet the needs we don’t address.
This list will be organized by store and grouped by location. This way you can get a good idea for what’s where.
COSTUMES GALORE, Biltmore Square Mall
Monday – Saturday 10-8 Sunday 12:30 – 6
A costume shop may not be the first place you’d look for Christmas presents. But Costumes Galore is no ordinary costume shop. Remember, little ones enjoying playing dress-up. And if someone on your list has everything this could be the place to find them a present.
- Coffee Mugs. These have dogs and cats, with the breeds including German Shepherd, Rottweiler, and Dalmatian. There are other mugs with patriotic and regional themes. $14.50
- Star Trek phasers. They have models from The Original Series, Enterprise, and the Next Generation. $12.00
GREENTREE BOOKS, Biltmore Square Mall
Greentree Books is my favorite store in the Biltmore Square Mall. It has an incredible selection of books and merchandise, including the best Christian fiction selection I have ever seen. In fact, it was hard to find things to include in my list since most items in the store are well under ten dollars. I managed to find a good selection, so here you are.
- Bible Covers. They’ve got a great selection priced around ten dollars. Two caught my eye in particular. One had ‘Jesus Inside’ on it in a pattern like the ‘Intel Inside‘ logo. The second had a illustration of a little white church on it.
- Audiobooks. Here’s a list of some audio books between ten and fifteen dollars. Karen Kingsbury‘s Ever After, Dee Henderson’s The Truth Seeker, Jonathan Cahn’s Harbinger, Terri Blackstock‘s True Light and Last Light, an audiobook by Dr. Phil’s wife Robin, Heaven Is For Real (the book where the little boy saw heaven), and Ted Dekker‘s White, Immanuel’s Veins, and BoneMan’s Daughter.
- Devotions For DieHard Fans. $12.50. These are incredible gifts. Each is a devotional book tailored to fans of certain teams. The selection I saw included LSU Tigers, Wolfpack, Razorbacks, Cavaliers, Buckeyes,Ole Miss Rebels, Mississippi State Bulldogs, Florida Gators, the Blue Devils, Auburn Tigers, Gamecocks, Tar Heels, Georgia Bulldogs, Georgia Tech Yellowjackets, Seminoles, Crimson Tide, Texas A&M Aggies, and —last but not least—NASCAR.
- DVDs. Greentree has a great selection of family friendly DVDs, but since most are well under ten dollars I’m limiting my list to those over ten dollars. I saw The Bill Collector with Danny Trejo, Road To Independence, The Nativity Story(filmed in Italy), Daniel’s Lot, and the acclaimed Fireproof. All these are $9.99. If you want to spend $14.99 you can pick up October Baby or Courageous.
- Music CDs. Greentree has a great selection of music, most of which is under ten dollars. But if you want to spend $13.50 you can get either Bill and Gloria Gaither‘s Best of Homecoming or the Two For One CD. This second CD has both the Atlanta Homecoming on it and the All Day Singing At the Dome.
- Puzzles. Ah, what would Christmas be without puzzles? They’re inexpensive and everybody enjoys them. For $15 you can get a 1000 piece jigsaw For $11.50 you can get a Melissa and Doug Floor Puzzle with 48 to 100 pieces. Themes include maps, animals, the Presidents, the alphabet, horses, and firetrucks.
- Toys. Greentree is a great place to pick up quality toys. These are just a few of their selection. they have many more that are under ten dollars. For $37.50 you an grab a Fold & Go Castle or Doll House.
- $16.99. Melissa and Doug Wooden Stirfry set(20 wooden pc.s), a Slicing playset, a Wooden Sandwich Making set(16pc.s), a Wooden Cupcake set, a Fridge Food set, a Pantry Product set, a Triple Layer Wooden Cake set, an Ice Cream Cone playset, and a wooden Cookie making set. They also have a variety of felt food playsets, including a Taco & Burrito(33 pc.s), Pizza (40 pc.s), and Sandwich set (33 pc.s)
- Melissa and Doug Stamp a Scene rainforest set with coloring pencils and stamp set $16.99
- The Action Bible. $17.99 This is a Bible that looks like a graphic novel (a.k.a. comic book). It would be great for teenagers.
- Christian novels. I have to mention Greentree’s selection of Christian genre fiction. Until recently I mourned the lack of Christian genre fiction that weren’t romances. (Nothing wrong with Christian romance.) Well, Greentree’s shelves are full of great Christian genre fiction and I’ve bought many great sci-fi, mystery, horror, and thriller novels there. In fact, I just picked up a sci-fi novel to read over the weekend. If you are concerned about the language and sex in some secular novels but have no safer equivalents, check out Greentree. Once again I have to mention that most of these—and their other books— are well under ten dollars.
ANTHONY’S SPORTS, Biltmore Square Mall
Wow. Anthony’s Sports is a mind blowing experience, even for someone who just dabbles in sports. I can only imagine what it would be like for a hard-core fan. The great thing about is the store is their variety. They probably have merchandise for over thirty teams there, each with their own little section. Many of these items are under ten dollars. Here are a few of the other ones you might find useful.
- Team-opoly. $26.00. These are the games based on Monopoly with a sports theme instead. Here’s a list of what I saw. Bamaopoly, LSUopoly, Carolinaopoly, Miamiopoly, Volopoly, Dukeopoly, Carolinaopoly(Gamecocks), Auburnopoly, Clemsonopoly, Irishopoly, Gatoropoly, FSUopoly, Dawgopoly, NCStateopoly, and Technopoly.
- Wallets. $27.00. These feature assorted teams.
- Folding chairs. $38.99. Assorted teams.
- Steering wheel covers. $17.99. Assorted teams.
- Team hats. $15.00
FRIENDS AND FIBERWORKS, Biltmore Square Mall
I know which end of a needle is which and can mend a (small) hole. I have used a sewing machine and tried to knit(once). But even for a non-knitter like me Friends and Fiberworks is a magical place. For starters I love the decor, with all the earthtones and the ceiling sculpture. If someone on your list knits, sews, or crafts this is the place to visit. I thought the treadle sewing machine and spinning wheels in the window were the perfect touch. (I’ve actually sewn on a Singer treadle.)
- Knitting Classes. $10 – 15. The team here offer classes for all levels of crafters. Pay for a friend to attend and you’ll see smiles. Stop by their shop near the Food Court or check them out on Facebook by clicking here.
- Yarn. $10 -15. While most of their yarn is under twenty, it does depend on size and variety. You haven’t seen yarn till you seen this place. The variety is staggering. Its full of yarn.
- Complete craft kits. $30. These are little kits with everything needed for a craft project, including the DVD. I saw ones for a hat, a scarf and a stocking.
- Beginner Craft Kit. $13. This is a great gift for a young person. It includes 7 inch needles, a crochet hook, sisscors, measuring tape and a wooden knitting dolly.
This is a good time to mention that guys need to learn to sew, too. I always have a sewing kit with me in case I lose a button. (Especially bad if its on your pants.)
VIRTUAL AMBUSH, Biltmore Square Mall
This is going to be your favorite store if you have teenage boys along. Just leave them here, go shop, then come back and pick them up when you’re done. Virtual Ambush is where your kids can play console games while you shop. They’ve got the game systems, they’ve got the games, and they’ve got big screen televisions to play them on. (Makes me wish I still played video games.) But they also have a great selection of gift ideas.
- Drop off the kids or buy them a gift certificate. Here’s V-A’s fee schedule. One hour–$5, two hours–$9, three hours–$12, four hours–$14, five hours–$16, six hours–$18.
- Nintendo DS games. $10-20.
- XBox 360 games. $10-30.
- Wii games. $15-30.
- PS 3 games. $15-30.
- PS 2 games. $10 and under.
COUNTRY CASUALS 1255 Brevard Road (next to DISCOUNT SHOES)
Monday – Saturday 9-6 Sunday 1-6
Country Casuals is the store to get work clothes at. They’ve got lots of great gift ideas and here are a few I thought you might be interested in. They also offer gift certificates.
- Schrade knives. $17-30.
- Cherokee scrubs. $15-20.
- Edge safety sunglasses. $20.
- Carhartt workgloves. $12-20.
- Stethoscopes. $17.
O.P. TAYLORS, Biltmore Park Town Square
Monday – Saturday 10-9, Sunday 12-6
O.P. Taylors is an amazing store for kids of all ages. Its hard to miss. Just go to Biltmore Park Town Square in South Asheville and look for the giant toy soldiers. Here are a few things you might like.
- Jet fighter version of War. $11. This features cards with assorted military jets and a little booklet telling about them. Great for kids or avaition buffs.
- Die Cast Scale model Delorean from Back to the Future. $24.99.
- Air Hockey Table. $30.
- Candy. Oh yeah. This is where you can get M&Ms that are all one color. They also have a huge variety of Jelly Belly jelly beans, Pucker powder, and some assorted candy. Here’s the prices. M and Ms. $5.99 per half pound. Jelly Belly. $3.99 per half pound. Assorted Candy $2.99 per half pound. The Pucker Powder comes in tubes: $1.99 small, $2.99 medium, $4.99 large, and $5.99 for the extra large.
- Colorforms. $40. I had to throw this in for those who remember these from years ago. This is the Sixtieth Anniversary Edition.
- Vintage Metal Lunchboxes. $10. These are small, but they’re great for folks who remember them or fans of what’s on them. I saw Star Wars, Transformers, Coca Cola, South Park, and Avengers.
- Uncle Milton’s Fascinating Ant Farm. $20.
- Bike Brightz LED Bike Light. $20. This could save somebody’s life.
- The Elf on the Shelf. $30.
- Tonka Bulldozer or Dump Truck. $20.
- Angry Birds knock on Wood card game with building blocks and catapult. $15.
- Mayberryopoly. $25.
- LED 3D puzzles. $21. They have the Statue of Liberty, White House, Empire State Building.
- 3D Titanic puzzle. $30.
- Lacrosse set. $20.
- Where’s Waldo books. $15. Four varieties to choose from, hardback, about 12 inches by 10 inches.
- Sports themed Cornhole Beanbags. $12.50. You get a set of four. I saw the Hokies, Cowboys, Georgia Tech, Duke Blue Devils, Tennessee Volunteers, along with solid colors and the John Deere pink camouflage.
OIL AND VINEGAR, Biltmore Park Town Square
Monday-Thursday 10 – 8, Sunday 1 – 5
If you haven’t visited Oil and Vineger in the Biltmore Park Town Square, you’re missing out on a real treat. Even if you just pop inside, it will be worth it. But if you’re a devoted cook or know someone who is serious about thier cooking then this place is a must see.
This store is all about good cooking and the ingredients that go into it. They have the finest oils and best seasonings. This is the place to go if you want good cooking oils, spices, or seasonings. They have a huge variety of dressings and sauces you won’t find anywhere else. However, they also have an incredible selection of dishes, cooking accessories, picnic supplies, and gift baskets. This is the store to shop at if you’re shopping for someone who likes to cook, likes fine food, or just plain has everything. Here’s just a little bit of what you’ll find. Click here to visit their website.
- Bulk oils. When you walk in the store you’ll see an entire wall filled with racks of huge bottles and steel canisters of oils. These are available in bulk in bottles which you purchase separately. Once you buy the bottle for under ten dollars you can bring it back in for refills. Depending on which one you choose you’ll pay between 5 and 16 dollars for a hundred milliliters, about three and a half ounces.
- Mortar and pestle. $20.
- Honey dipper. $17. This isn’t just a kitchen appliance, its a piece of art. Its a lightweight clear glass jar tapered to the top with a wand in it.
- Oil bottle. $16. These are available in several different glazes with a steel dispenser and a plastic cap on top. Like most of the dishes here these border on art. It would be a welcome addition to any gourmet’s table or kitchen.
- Vinegar sprayer. $25. The oils sold in this store don’t just taste good, they’re actually good for you. This vinegar sprayer will let your friends use healthy oils on their salads and sandwiches instead of other dressings that aren’t as good for them. In many ways Oil and Vinegar isn’t just a cooking store, its actually a health food store.
- Small dishes. $10 for a pair of two. I had to mention these since they are just so nice. These are about three to four inches across and glazed in amazing patterns. In fact these dishes are the reason I first walked into Oil and Vinegar. I kept walking by and seeing them in the window and finally had to go in and take a look.
BAGGIE GOOSE, Biltmore Village
Mon-Fri: 10:00am – 6:00pm Sat: 10:00am – 5:00pm
This a magical store for anyone who loves to write. Of course, they also stock a wide variety of greeting cards and accessories for smartphones. Whatever you’re looking for the Baggie Goose is well worth stopped by. It will rekindle your love for putting pen to paper as you browse their selection of the finest cards, stationery, and so much more. Click here to visit their great website.
- Kate and Birdie lined notebook. $12. This is a hundred page lined notebook, one of several varieties offered in many different covers.
- Journals. $10 – 20. Baggie Goose has just about any type of cover, any size of journal, and any format of paper you’re looking for.
- His Story/Her Story journals. $12. These are incredible journals. On the front cover it either says “Grandpa: His stories, His words” or “Grandmas: Her stories, Her words.” In the rush of today so much oral history is lost. Sadly, this oral history is who we are, its why we do what we do, its the very fabric of our lives. These would be a great gift to a grandchild or a grandparent. I fondly remember literally sitting at my grandmother’s knee and her drawing me a map of a town that literally did not exist any more.
- Moleskine journals. $13 small. $21 large. Any serious writer will recognize these. This present will be appreciated for its quality and value.
- RuMeID.com Lost and Found Decals. $11.50. These are the neatest thing I’ve seen in a while. These are little decals with QR codes on them. Those are the little squares you can scan for more information. These days they’re everywhere and this gives your luggage its own. RuMeID.com is “a cloud based lost and found system for the digital age.” Basically you buy this, register it at RuMeID.com and then slap it on anything from your cat to your car. If somebody finds it they can scan the QR code and it tells them how to get it back to you.
- RuMeID.com Luggage Tag. $21. These are just like the Lost and Found Decals, but are specifically designed for luggage. (Although hypothetically you could still put it on your cat, especially if you were travelling with it.)
- Graphite curio. $18 – 30. This is an amazing object I’m having a hard time describing. Its a molded piece of graphite you can write with but won’t stain your fingers. Imagine taking the lead out of a pencil, shaping it like a skull or a leaf and then using it like a piece of chalk. That’s what this is and you really gotta see it to appreciate it. Its definitely a present for the person on your list who has everything.
COMPLEAT NATURALIST, Biltmore Village
This is nifty shop that, like Doctor Who’s pockets, is bigger on the inside than on the outside— or at least it seems that way. I’ve been in here a few times and am always impressed with quality, variety, and affordability of their merchandise. There are so many reasons to visit this shop. If you have a nature lover on your list stop in. If you have a hiker or walker on your list, stop in. If you have someone who likes the mountains, stop in. If you have a kid on your list, stop by. Okay, I think you get the idea. Oh, and they also have a huge assortment of items well under ten dollars, including some really great nature CDs I just had to mention. Here are just a few of the other things you’ll find at the Compleat Naturalist. Click here to visit their website.
- Window Nest Box. $28.
- Butterfly feeder. $17.95.
- From So Simple A Beginning: Four Great Books of Charles Darwin. $40. Darwin has been so villified, deified, and cartoonified over the years that I wonder if anyone really knows what he says. These are a great gift for someone who really wants to know the truth about Darwin.
- Thoreau’s Walden. $11. Once again, here is a classic for someone who is interested in quality reading. It would make a great addition to any library.
- Woods Lore and Wildwoods Wisdom. $12. This is one of those books that tell you which plant to use for what and how the settlers used them. The Compleat Naturalist has a well stocked bookshelf filled with too many titles for me to mention here. You gotta go see it.
- Smart by Nature: Schooling for Sustainability. $25. The books in the store are widely varied. While I had to mention Darwin and Thoreau since they’re classics, the shop offers many other books that would have a great appeal to conservation and ecologically minded individuals. In fact, if you give some of these, I dare say your recipient may spend the rest of the day in a corner reading.
- Owl Babies book and toy gift set. $14. This is a book about three cute little baby owls who anxiously wait for their mother to return. While the book is available in the store, this gift set has a little plush baby owl.
- Tumbled stones. These are a really nifty offering the store has. There are forty varieties of tumbled stones, most under a dollar. This would make a great gift for kids, rockhounds, or someone who enjoys using them in decorating.
- Space age crystal growing kit. $24. These are really cool. My high school science class grew crystals one year and I’ve never forgot the results. Definitely a way to encourage science education.
- Smaller version of space age crystal growing kit. $12.
- Gemstone night light. $15. These are made of slices of agate and look magical.
- Split agate. $40. These are agates that have been split down the middle, then split again, and then again. You end up with two pieces of gorgeous crystal that would make an awesome bookend in any decor. In a mountain cabin setting it would be right at home. In a modern glass and steel room it would look futuristic. In a Victorian decor it would look like something Professor Challenger brought back from the Land That Time Forgot. The Compleat Naturalist offers multiple colors.
- Squirrel buster bird feeder. $25. This is actually one of several squirrel proof designs the store offers. What I recommend is first hang a bird feeder squirrels can get to. Feed the little rodents for a few months, then put out these. Take videos of the squirrels trying to foil the new feeders and post them on YouTube for us all to enjoy.
- Squirrel away pole baffle. $30. This isn’t exactly a feeder, but its still a great way to have fun with the squirrels.
- Digital audio bird song dictionary. $30. Push the button and listen to the bird song. Or push the button and drive your local birds nuts. I know a guy who was sitting on his deck and doing screech owl calls. The next minute he looks up and there’s a whole line of them on the railing eyeballing him.
- Digital compass. $33.
- Swiss Army Knife. $24.
- Tree Peeple. $35. These are those things you stick in trees so it looks like they’ve got faces on the side.
- Desktop Ceramic Fountain. $30. These are about the size of a large ostrich egg with either a bird or frog theme. Really neat.
- Audubon calendars. $13. There are several themes, including wildflowers, bird, butterflies, and the Blue Ridge Mountains.
- Art of Outdoor Photography book. $25.
- Honey Beehive mugs. $40. These are pottery mugs done by local artist Suzanne Mellichamp. They are the traditional sort of domed beehive with one or two honeybees on the outside. They’d be great gifts for a rustic decor, a homey kitchen decor, a beekeeper, or a farmer. I remember my grandmother had several mugs that looked similar to these.
- 8 1/2 by 11 unframed prints. $12. Nature themes.
- 20 by 11 unframed prints. $33. Nature themes. This is a good time to mention the Compleat Naturalist is the place to find nature themed artwork, framed and unframed. Their entire upstairs is filled with high quality paintings and photographs. Whether you’re a nature lover, or a art lover, its worth checking out.
- Walking sticks. $20 – 40. These are limbs that have been trimmed down, then polished to provide a sturdy support while walking. You can choose from either four foot walking sticks or a shorter cane style.
- Unframed topographic map. $30. Whether you’re interested in geography or just want a really cool piece of art, you gotta see this. These are seriously professional grade.
- Survival kit in a sardine can. $15.
- Garden flag. $13 – 27.
- Wildlife shirts. $10 -20.
- UPF 50+ straw hats. $30.
- Art Sale corner. I’ve got to mention the corner of the store where their marked down art is. This is just another reason you’ve got to check this place out.
NEW MORNING GALLERY, Biltmore Village
This is actually the second time I’ve been in the New Morning Gallery. It is a magical, amazing place that is bigger on the inside than the outside. Its like a museum where you can buy the pieces. If you haven’t been to visit it you’ve got to stop by. Oh, and the staff assured me their mugs and dishes are not only safe to eat from but are also microwave and dishwasher safe. Click here to visit their amazing website.
- Key Hiding Stones. $22. These things are made from real rock and they look real.
- Large Basket.$40. This is a 12 inch by 10 inch basket made of sturdy pine limbs with a vine for a handle.
- Jack o Lantern. $38. These look like they’re made from a propane tank and painted orange.
- Glazed Ceramic Pail. $40.
- Ceramic Glazed Mug. $22. There are a wide variety of these throughout the store.
- Mug with dog on it. $27. There are several different breeds on this. For $5 you can special order it with your pet’s name on it.
- Grandparent mug. $22. These are mugs with various names for grandparents on them. (Gramps, Grampy, Gramma, etc.)
- Honey dipper. $12. This is a wooden dipper handcrafted by Brent Rourke from maple and cherry.
- Note set. $16.
- Crosby and Taylor pewter coffee scoop. $27.
- Stopperless salt shaker. $20.
- Toothpick holder. $26. These are glazed ceramic hollow stumps with a little bird perched on the edge. (One has a penguin on it.) Some of these have a bear, a dog, or a cat in the stump. These remind me of something my grandmother would have had in her kitchen window.
- Shoehorns. $32. To call these a shoehorn is a injustice. They are a work of art made of brass with a rich wooden handle.
- Teardrop candles. $20. Six inches tall and four inches around at base.
- Saenger vases. $34. These are curiously crafted vases by a designer whose work was seen on Star Trek: The Next Generation. That futuristic tea set is also available at New Morning Gallery.
- True Love Oil Candles. $20 – 50. These are incredible work of art. They are oil lamps made of hand blown glass and ceramics. Gorgeous.
- Bacon Cooker. $38. This is a pottery mug-like device you drape the bacon over the edge of.
- Compass. $20. This compass is nested in a gorgeous sliding wood case. Perfect for the naturalist in your life or just as an art object.
- Wooden Bags. $20 – 50. These you have to see to believe. The students at the Black Mountain College have taken bark and tied it together with strips of bark. I don’t know exactly how much these will hold, but it would look great with flowers in it. You could also use it to pull bills in or receipts, or stationery. It would look incredibly cute to hang on in a child’s nursery with a little teddy bear or stuffed squirrel in.