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For holiday shopping, show me the way to the gift shop

Saturday, December 9, 2017

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This is not only the most wonderful time of the year, it's the most Buffalo time of the year.

Let's celebrate that in our holiday shopping. Museums, galleries, even hospitals have decked their gift shops for your shopping pleasure. Treat yourself to a stop at one of them.

The reasons are many.

First, it's fun.

You might not have two hours to devote to perusing the Buffalo History Museum, but the gift shop gives you a sense of the place's dignity and grandeur.

Likewise, your hectic day might not allow time to relax in the Albright-Knox Art Gallery. A trip to the gallery's lovely gift shop, though, will give you that break in your day. You even get to walk down one of those pristine white corridors, past paintings and sculptures.

Gift shops don't charge admission, and the settings are often spectacular.

The Darwin Martin House's shop is located in the Martin family's carriage house  worth seeing in its own right.

Want to check out the new Oishei Children's Hospital? The gift shop is your excuse.

There is also the lure of Buffalo-centric gifts to be had.

An umbrella from the Theodore Roosevelt Historic site, emblazoned with the trademark TR mustache and spectacles, would be great fun to give to an expat.

Or how about a framed portrait of Father Baker, from Our Lady of Victory Basilica's gift shop? You can't find that treasure easily in North Carolina.

Finally, a good gift shop inspires you to make your life, or someone else's life, a little more beautiful.

That perfect plant from the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens might be just the springboard to turning a neglected sun room into a conservatory.

A set of drawing pencils from the Albright-Knox would make anyone want to seek his or her inner Rembrandt. We can dream, in gift shops.

Here are some to explore.

  • In the Buffalo History Museum, the gift shop greets you when you walk in. But you get a real feel for the place -- its woodwork, high ceilings, ornate radiators, tall windows. You'll find a wide variety of Buffalo items including posters and postcards, as well as books about Buffalo, coloring books, adorable little Dover books for kids and adults -- even temporary tattoos, reportedly a hot seller. A perk of this gift shop: You can see, for free, a gem of the museum's collection -- a mind-boggling Apostles Clock as tall as you are, hand-made by a Buffalonian many years ago. 873-9644.
  • The Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens also situates its gift shop right near the lovely front entrance way. Calm and bright, it is like its own little world. Glass Christmas ornaments catch the light. Plants from the collection of the famous conservatory call out to you to take them home. Beautiful teas continue the botanical theme. A stop into this shop is like a mini vacation. 827-1584