Hometown Holiday

Bright twinkling lights. Fresh pine and spicy cinnamon. Catchy carols. Candy canes, gingerbread, hot chocolate, sweet treats galore. Warm mittens and cozy scarves. These are just a few of the sights, smells, sounds, tastes, and feelings that are distinctly Christmas. The holidays really are a full sensory experience, bringing joy and wonder to kids and adults alike this time of year. Everyone has their own different traditions and ways to celebrate, but if you are looking for some new ideas this year, check out these hometown highlights.

Shop Local, Gift Unique

Carrboro has several boutique stores that offer plenty of gift options for almost everyone on your list. At the very least you will have a blast browsing and may even score yourself something. (Who says you don’t deserve to buy yourself a present too?)

This and That has been a mainstay on Weaver Street in Carrboro for years. They sell homemade goods from near and far, with signs posted sharing where they hail from. There is a very eclectic mix of jewelry, pottery, cards, and nightlights- the list goes on. The store is small, yet you can still spend plenty of time perusing all the unique goodies.

Artful nightlights and handmade pottery are just some of the many gift options at This & That in downtown Carrboro.

Across the street is a new stationery and card shop called My Muses. They have elegant stationery that will set your letters apart, along with ornaments, snow globes, jewelry, and other gift ideas.

Be sure to hit Carr Mill Mall as well. There you will find The Fragrance Shop, perfect for that person who has everything except their own signature scent. From there mosey down to Firefly, which provides an extensive jewelry collection. If you are feeling creative, you can handpick beads from a vast assortment of colors and either have them string them up or even do it yourself. Who doesn’t love a good handmade present? Just next door is Hidden Forest Naturals, for any lady in your life who loves to be pampered. Their bath bombs and bath salts along with several other items are made on-site and are all-natural. They also feature products from Durham company Lo & Behold.

A store display of snow globes and greeting cards.
Snow globes at My Muses in Carrboro.

Firefly’s beads-a plenty and homemade geode bath bombs at Hidden Forest Naturals.

Next up is Sophia’s, which was voted best women’s boutique in Orange and Chatham counties this year. Besides the boutique clothing and shoes, they have many creative and fun gift ideas, along with a huge display of socks sure to spice up the footwear collection of anyone on your list.

For the kids in your life, you simply must check out Ali Cat Toys. From infants to preteens, you can find something to delight any little one here. They have a vast selection of games, Legos, books, and enough stuffed animals to fill a zoo. And with free gift wrapping, the presents can go straight from the store to under the tree. No worries about the kids snooping!

Let’s not forget about the men in our lives! They can be a little harder to shop for, but nevertheless, there are local options for them too. If they happen to be a Tar Heel fan, Johnny T-Shirt is always a safe bet to find something to showcase their team pride. For the fashionable men, Julian’s on Franklin Street has everything you need to keep them looking dapper. Or if they simply like to enjoy a good beer, stop by Steel String and pick them up a 4 or 6-pack (or two!)

Socks for everyone on your list at Sophia’s and the stuffed animal zoo at Ali Cat Toys.


Like everything else this year, Christmas celebrations are going to be very different than in years past due to the ongoing Covid pandemic. Unfortunately, many events have been canceled, but there are still a few local favorites that adapted to these times in order to carry on traditions. Enjoy these fun activities, just make sure to take the proper precautions- don your masks and keep your distance.

Carolina Inn’s 12 Days of Christmas
Santa is coming to Maple View Farm!
Smore’s and Bonfire
Spend a night enjoying local light displays
An overly decorated with Christmad lights and figures suburban home.

However you choose to holiday this year, just know that despite Covid, our resilient town can keep your Christmas cheerful. From the unique festivities still being offered to the local stores that will make shopping fun, there are plenty of ways to support the local community while having a jolly good (and safe) time. And if you choose to shop from home this year, most of the stores mentioned have an online presence and will ship their unique goods directly to your door, just click on the embedded links. Here is wishing you and yours a very joyful season and a happy new year! Let’s hope 2021 has better things in store for us all. 

Two women wearing glasses and pandemic face masks holding brightly wrapped holiday gifts.
A successful shopping day!

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