Christmas is right around the corner . . . have you gotten your shopping done?
Visit the small, locally owned shops of Greater Wilmington and the Brandywine Valley to pick up those last-minute items or . . . if you are like us and wait until the last minute . . . take care of it all in one quick (and fun) shopping adventure. We’ve got a great variety of boutiques and specialty shops here that carry distinctive items sure to surprise and delight on Christmas morning. And it’s all tax free!
Just a short detour off the I-95 corridor, our shopping districts are festively decorated for the holidays, and each offers its own unique personality and style. A visit to any or all of these retail locales is sure to put you in the Christmas spirit! Here are our picks for the best local spots to do your shopping this season:
Downtown Wilmington, Delaware
A.R. Morris Jewelers has been Wilmington’s go-to place for fine jewelry since it was founded in 1960. And it is still family owned. If you’re looking for something sparkly for the person at the very top of your gift list, look no further. With a second location in Greenville, it boasts one of the East Coast's largest selections of diamonds, designer jewelry, pearls, and watches.
Govatos Chocolates has been perfecting the art of making chocolates since 1894. The Govatos family uses recipes that have been handed down over three generations, giving their chocolates a consistent, old-fashioned quality.
Morgan’s of Delaware has all the styles to get your Mrs. Claus red carpet ready, from cocktail attire to everyday wear. Not sure what to get her? Morgan’s personal styling service is second-to-none.
The Sold Firm, recently written up in the New York Times, features a curated selection of modern and contemporary emerging visual artists. Many of the works hanging on its walls are think pieces, addressing important cultural matters.
Wright & Simon has been outfitting Wilmington’s corporate crowd – and others with discerning taste – since 1935. Stop into this venerable men’s store and treat your guy to fine made-to-measure clothing . . . a rarity and a special treat in today’s fast fashion world.
The Shops of Centreville, located in the heart of one of our most picturesque and historic villages, is a fabulous place to spend an afternoon gift shopping. Have lunch at either Centreville Café or Buckley’s Tavern to recharge your batteries. This cluster of independently owned shops and those along the town’s Main Street are surprising in number. The best way to discover them is to park your car and take a stroll. Our favorites include:
Town & Shore Handcrafted is online only but we wanted to be sure to include it here. Designer Liv McClintock crafts expertly made and stylish handbags, apparel, jewelry, shoes, and home goods. She is a Delaware native and self-taught leather craftswoman. We love the Cherry Blossom Pouch and Bow Pouch. These clutches are exquisite!
Adorn Goods exudes good taste and refinement. In addition to fashion and home goods, they’ve also got you covered when it comes to your kids and fur babies. Have someone on your list that practices the lost art of letter writing? They also have a divine selection of stationery.
The Beehive is another Centreville treasure. Duck in here, and check out their collection of refurbished antique furniture and whimsical painted pieces. Take home a special item to make your loved one’s home environment complete.
Crystal’s Vintage and Costume Jewelry is the ideal place to pick up the perfect gift for the hippie chick in your life or that friend with refined yet eclectic taste. Visit Crystal’s for statement pieces of costume jewelry and fun leather goods that are truly out of the ordinary.
Found offers an ever-changing collection of antiques, vintage finds, contemporary accents, and fine art. We could spend hours browsing through its expertly curated rooms. Don’t be surprised if you end up taking home a small luxury for yourself! Don’t worry . . . you deserve it.
A Marblehead Fly Fisher offers a treasure trove of gifts for the angler on your list. Not sure what to get? Pick up a gift certificate for a class or guided flyfishing excursion.
This tony neighborhood is home to an impressive array of luxury shops that rival anything you’d find in Manhattan or Philadelphia. And who knows? You might spot President-Elect Joe Biden or his wife Jill while you are doing your Christmas shopping, though we are sure they are plenty busy these days. They live right around the corner and patronize a number of the restaurants and retail establishments here. If you are in the neighborhood this holiday season, check these out (after a leisurely lunch at Pizza by Elizabeths or BBC Tavern & Grill):
Janssen’s Fine Foods is a gourmet grocery store, but it does some amazing gift baskets, perfect for the foodie in your life, during the holidays. Janssen’s was into gourmet cheeses long before charcuterie boards were a thing, so be sure to inquire at the cheese counter and include some of their favorites in your basket.
The Wilmington Country Store is a Greenville institution. This is your stop for fashion-forward clothing that reflects the refined, understated style of Brandywine Valley country living. Pick him up a Barbour waxed jacket, and he’ll be ready for a weekend of upland game hunting in the rolling fields of Chateau Country.
The Delaware Running Company has a great line of performance running gear. Here you will find the perfect gift for the seasoned runner or someone on your list who is just getting started in the sport. For shoes, consider getting your loved one a gift certificate so they can take advantage of its FIT process. It ensures every customer gets the best footwear for their individual running style.
Houpette is a great spot to shop for the fashionista turned lounge lizard in the wake of COVID-19. It carries a fab selection of cozy and sexy loungewear, sleepwear and lingerie. Be sure to pick up some of their bath and beauty products to go along with your selection. They also offer great facials and makeup lessons so consider tucking a gift card in the pocket of those PJs.
We’ve all been slowing down these days and spending more time in bed thanks to the pandemic. Isn’t it a little nice? To take full advantage of having more time to lounge and slumber, why don’t you splurge on some luxury bedding from Yves Delorme for your significant other? Don’t worry. We won’t tell him or her those sheets are really for you . . .
Historic New Castle, Delaware
After having a colonial-inspired meal at Jessop’s Tavern (and one if its 200-plus varieties of Belgian Beer) and checking out the gaily decorated historic homes, stop into this antique lover’s paradise:
2nd ACT Antiques Collectibles & Treasures, LLC is 5,000 square feet of the antique, the beautiful, the rare, and the quirky. Here you will find period pieces, primitives, mid-century, and vintage items from small to large as well as regional modern wall art. It’s the ideal spot to pick up a distinctive gift for the whimsical, eclectic, and ethereal personalities on your list.
Historic Odessa, Delaware
After a cozy meal by the fireside at historic Cantwell’s Tavern, stroll down Main Street and check out this lovely antique shop that opened in 2020:
Paul Douglas Fine Antiques concentrates on 18th- and 19th-century furniture, paintings, and associated accessories, with an emphasis on Delaware material. A purchase here will be a dream come true for the serious furniture collector on your list.
The Shoppes at Louviers is home to unique stores including Deerfield Fine Wines (pick up a bottle of bubbly to celebrate your honey) and Pamela’s Gourmet (purchase a personal catering gift certificate, and give a friend a break from the kitchen).
And along Newark’s Main Street, shopping central for this college town, you will find:
Aunt Margaret’s Antique Mall offers two floors of collectibles and antiques. Even if you’ve covered everyone on your list, this is always a fun place to browse through. You might even find that special piece missing from your own vintage collection.
Bloom Newark has some really extraordinary finds, especially for the Millenials and Generation Zers on your list. Owner Mimi Sullivan has traveled the world and has extensive design experience. It shows in her self-curated collection of clothing, jewelry, bath and body products, and other gift items. She has a second location in Greenville.
Grassroots Handcrafts has a tag line of “Extraordinary Items for Unique People,” and it certainly lives up to it. In addition to unique and inexpensive jewelry items, Grassroots specializes in Boho Chic-style apparel and accessories as well as an eclectic mix of home and garden items. We are especially in love with their Avocado Trinket Bowl and line of Marmalade candles with creative scents like Pink Pepper and Plum.
Wonderland Records has been a Main Street mainstay since 1972. Know someone who likes to kick it old school with vinyl records or CDs? (Boy, that makes us feel old!) This is the place to get their holiday gift. Wonderland is also a full-service recording studio so if you’ve got an aspiring songster in your life, why not buy them some studio time for Christmas?
After you’ve explored all the primo shopping Newark has to offer, wrap up your day with a delish meal at one of its great restaurants. The Stone Balloon Ale House, Caffé Gelato and Grain Craft Bar & Kitchen are three of our many favorites.
And don’t forget the Christiana Mall, Delaware’s largest shopping mall. With more than 190 stores, you can’t go wrong here. And it’s easy to find … right off Interstate I-95 smack in the middle of the Northeast megalopolis. Concord Mall on Route 202 near I-95 the Pennsylvania state line, is another good spot for one-stop shopping.
So, are you ready to holiday shop ‘til you drop? Don’t overstress yourself! Treat yourself too. Why not stay the weekend, shop and dine? To build out your holiday shopping itinerary, go to www.visitwilmington.com. Be sure to use our live chat as well. We are happy to give you bespoke tips and advice!
Not comfortable traveling due to COVID? Our boutiques and shops are following strict COVID safety protocols and limit the number of customers that can be in their spaces at one time. If you would rather do your shopping remotely, nearly every retailer noted in this blog offers online shopping and/or curbside pickup. Just check their individual websites for more information.
Happy Holidays and a Joyous New Year from all of us here in Greater Wilmington and the Brandywine Valley!! We hope to see you soon.