Summer is a very busy time, and as you get older, you probably notice that your social engagements are less “drinking all day at the CC Club” and more “hitting up a baby shower brunch, then getting ready for a wedding.”
It’s still fun, just different. These occasions often require showing up with a gift in hand, and a six-pack doesn’t (always) count. If your pals aren’t big fans of the whole “registry” thing, here’s where to shop in the Twin Cities for any activity in which you need to play a young, sexy Santa Claus of sorts.
Now, most engaged couples usually make a registry at Target, Amazon, or wherever. If they don’t have one, or if you prefer to shop off-registry (note that sometimes this isn’t encouraged!), start by thinking about their style.
Are they really into mid-century furniture? Then you should check out Find Furnish in Northeast for some fun glassware that will fit in with their vibe.
Did they take a trip to Tokyo and love it? UMEI in the North Loop will have the exact housewares you’re looking for.
Are they living an Old Hollywood life in the middle of St. Paul? Victory Vintage in Linden Hills has glam coasters and décor for interior designers-in-training.
Do they love to cook? Why not give them some cute dish towels from Patina and a gift certificate for a cooking class?
Yes, it’s easy to shop at Crate + Barrel or CB2 when it comes to wedding gifts, but thinking out of the box and tailoring your gift to the couple is way more fun!
Procreation: It happens. Way, way more often once you hit your mid-20s and early thirties. Clothes and books are practically foolproof baby gifts; just make sure the parents don’t have any specific color palettes in mind for their kiddo before you go wild buying pink, pink, pink.
Pacifier and Teeny Bee boutiques are great for clothes that feel more special than Baby Gap, and Wild Rumpus is a go-to children’s bookstore for a reason.
The little wooden animals at Foundry Home Goods are also completely adorable, and will be cherished as keepsakes AND playthings when the baby is a bit older.
And if all else fails? Buy diapers. Always diapers. If you’re shopping for an older child’s birthday party, however, consider taking them somewhere (the water park! The zoo!) or hit up Creative Kidstuff.
Bridal shower & bachelorette gifts
Your girl is getting married! Yay! Weddings come with a LOT of parties and showers for the bride, and you’ve probably got a pretty defined idea of what she likes if you’re friends.
Skip the tacky penis-themed stuff for the bachelorette party and get her something she’ll actually use. If you want to keep it sexy, go to Smitten Kitten for honeymoon-adjacent toys and gifts, or get her some fancy lingerie from Flirt boutique in St. Paul or the soon-to-reopen Parc, which carries more minimalist sets.
Shower gifts should be a bit more traditional: think cute mugs with fancy coffee from your favorite local coffee shop or a few bottles of bubbly with champagne glasses -- you get the picture.
Bachelor party gifts
The staff at Martinpatrick3 will know exactly what you should buy. (Trust me on this one: My very own fiancé is on staff.)
For a more outdoorsy bachelor, try Wilson & Willy’s or Midwest Mountaineering.
Gifts for yourself
Hey, you need to support local retailers and treat yourself sometimes, too! For that, head to the Galleria in Edina for their summer clearance experience from July 27 to 29. Many of the mall’s upscale tenants -- such as Free People, Oh Baby!, Melly, and Roe Wolfe -- are slashing prices up to 80% off for the final weekend in July. Who knows, you may just find stuff for every person on your list.