It’s happened again: The holidays snuck up on us and now it’s time to start planning shopping trips and figure out what to get for friends and family. There’s always the usual trips to the mall or endless scrolling through online stores for those not-so-personal gifts. But there’s also a plethora of spots to find unique gifts for loved ones in our own backyard.
Luckily, we’ve come up with more local shopping choices than you can shake a roll of wrapping paper at. Whether your loved one is a foodie, bookworm, antiquary, or someone who loves local art, we have the gift guide for you.
Arts & Crafts Fairs
We know what you’re thinking: Arts and crafts fairs are popping up out of nowhere and there seem to be a few every weekend once Halloween is over. These fairs offer the opportunity to tackle holiday shopping in one sweep, while supporting local businesses and artists.
Here are some of the craft fairs that promise to bring holiday cheer for you and your family.
Humble Holiday Market Block Party
Trade the wassailing for coffee drinking over at Humble Coffee’s Annual Holiday Market Block Party on Dec. 16 from 10 am to 4 pm at Humble Coffee (4200 Lomas Blvd. Suite C.) There will be more than 100 vendors selling art, candles, chocolate, skincare, and much more. There will also be music all day by DJ Flo Fader and specialty cocktails by Moonwalk Bar.
Tickets for this event are $5 and can be purchased in person or online.
Rio Grande Arts and Crafts Festival
One of Albuquerque’s tried and true Thanksgiving weekend shopping events is right around the corner. The 23rd Annual Rio Grande Holiday Festival features 185 artisans, live music and food samplings. Bring your family and friends and get into the spirit of the season, while finding unique gifts for everyone. The festival will be from Nov. 24-26 at the EXPO New Mexico (300 San Pedro Dr. NE) starting at 10 am each day.
Get your tickets at the door or online at. Single-day admission to the festival is $10.
Craft Fair at UNM
Everyone’s a Lobo at this craft fair. The University of New Mexico is hosting its 59th Annual Associated Students of the UNM Arts & Crafts Fair. The fair runs for three days from Nov. 29 to Dec. 1 from 10 am to 6 pm all three days and will be held in the ballrooms of the Student Union Building. More than 70 vendors will be there to sell their unique art. There will also be live music every day starting at noon.
The ASUNM Arts & Crafts Fair is a free event and everyone in the community is welcome to stop by, including non-students.
Holiday Market at the Railyards
Continue to keep it local for the holidays at the 10th Annual Holiday Market at the Albuquerque Rail Yards (777 1st St. SW). This beloved downtown spot is bringing back its holiday special on Dec. 9 and 10 from 10 am to 4 pm. The market will host more than 250 vendors selling their unique crafts or delicious bites. There will also be a park and ride at the ABQ BioPark for both days of the event.
What’s better than a gift that involves food? Our take: Not a lot. Luckily, there are a bunch of places to snag some tasty presents with our local flavor.
Hot chocolate, bonbons, and peppermint patties, oh my! If you’re struggling to find the perfect gift for the chocolate lover in the family, Eldora Chocolate (8114 Edith Blvd. NE) has all your chocolate needs. Eldora Chocolate is open 11 am to 6 pm every day, with the exception of Saturdays when they close at 5 pm. They offer curbside pick-up and ship orders to make your holiday shopping easier.
The Candy Lady
The Candy Lady (424 San Felipe St. NW) is a long-time Albuquerque staple. The iconic Old Town shop might be best known for its Breaking Bad blue meth hard candies, but they also have more to offer than the kitschy narcotic-themed sweets..
“We always make chocolate-covered strawberries. We have fresh raspberries and everything we have is homemade made in the shop and they’re like awesome family recipes,” says owner Debbie Ball.
The Candy Lady probably has any type of confection you can think of, from homemade caramels for grandma to cocoa-free dog treats for your furry friends.
SmallCakes: A Cupcakery
What’s soft, fluffy, and cute all around? Well, that happens to be the cakes and cupcakes at SmallCakes: A Cupcakery (8101 San Pedro Dr. NE). They’ve got small personalized cakes for those special people in your life. SmallCakes offers all sorts of shapes and sizes, ranging in price from $20 to $100 based on the size of the cake. Their cupcakes in a jar are sure to be a conversation starter at your next holiday party.
Rude Boy Cookies
Don’t forget to pick it up, pick it up for Santa this holiday season. Specifically, picking up cookies to leave out on Christmas Eve. Rude Boy Cookies (1916 Central Ave. SE Suite E.) has your back with a variety of cookies ranging from biscochitos to the reliable chocolate chip variety. They also offer cookie decorating kits which could make great options for holiday activities for the kiddos.
If you know, you know. The Burque Bakehouse (640 Broadway Blvd. SE) churns out pastries, breads, and small sweets. This local favorite began as a stand at Albuquerque’s Downtown Growers’ Market. Offering a variety of baked goods including croissants, cruffins, danishes, and so much more.
The Mouse Hole Cheese Shop
Looking for a gouda gift? The Mouse Hole Cheese Shop (300 Broadway Blvd NE Ste A) has your back. This shop offers patrons a variety of cheeses—from the standards to the stinky. They also offer a picnic basket starting at $80 and a selection of cheese boards starting at $26.
Tamales might make a messy stocking stuffer, but El Modelo (1715 2nd St. SW) is an amazing spot to order monster-sized tubes of pork and masa for holiday parties. Located in the historic Barelas neighborhood , El Modelo offers Mexican food that will get your tummy rumbling and your mouth watering. If you plan on ordering tamales for your holiday party, you might want to do it now, since they usually sell out fast. You can call in your orders at (505) 242-1843.
Having trouble finding the perfect book for the bibliophile in your life? Make a trip to some of these local bookstores to find boatloads of hidden treasures..
Don’t let this small shop fool you. Downtown Books (109 8th St. SW) has a great selection and a wide range of books in its inventory. A hidden gem in the heart of downtown Albuquerque, this unique bookstore probably has the perfect find for the bookworm in your family.
Treasure House Books and Gifts
It’s usually a good sign for gift hunters when the name of a store has “gifts” right in its name. Treasure House Books and Gifts (2012 S Plaza St. NW A) strives to provide locals and visitors with the best and largest book selection of books about New Mexico and the Southwest. This shop is a must-stop when visiting Old Town for locals and visitors.
Nob Hill’s home-grown and family-owned bookstore has a plethora of new and used books in stock, many by local authors.
“We have cards, journals, and that sort of thing. We have a very active sales season and all kinds of good gifts,” says Steve Brewer, Owner of Organic Books (111 Carlisle Blvd. SE). The bookstore is open every day of the week from 11 am to 6 p.m and offers both sidewalk shopping and curbside pick-up.
Albuquerque’s North Valley has been the home of Bookworks (4022 Rio Grande Blvd. NW) for more than three decades, and it is just as dedicated to connecting people to books as ever before. Even though Bookworks shelves are stuffed with all sorts of books, if you can’t find the book you want, they can fill special orders or requests to help you with your everyday bookstore needs.
Antique shops often come through during those searches for unique and quirky gifts. Albuquerque has a number of antique shops, complete with gifts you can’t find anywhere else.
Classic Century Square
Get your steps in at the tri-leveled Classic Century Square (4616 Central Ave. SE) This store has it all from clothes, to vinyl records, to furniture. This huge antique store is open from Tuesday to Saturday, 12 pm to 5 pm.
U Neek Findings
Come on, it’s practically in the name: U Neek Findings (5901 Lomas Blvd. NE) has a ton of vendors with one-of-a-kind antiques, jewelry, furniture, clothes, and toys.
“We always have a lot of different sales going on,” says manager Sarah Lopez. “We do Senior Wednesday, which is 15 percent off, and then we have military vets and personnel on Friday, which is between 10 to 15 percent,”
Old Town Antiques
Located right in the heart of Old Town, Old Town Antiques (416 Romero St. NW) offers antiques from turquoise jewelry to pottery. This high-end antique shop is open every day of the week except for Wednesday.
Antiques & Things
Neighbors with Classic Century Square, Antiques & Things (4710 Central Ave. SE), has a whole bunch of unique antiques. Along with many different booths and vendors, Antiques and Things has a huge selection of vinyl records that range from artists like Elvis Presley to Fleetwood Mac.
“Throughout Christmas, most booths have sales but it’s up to them to go ahead and decide how much. During the holidays, probably at least 70 percent of our vendors have sales,” says manager Eileen Sedillo.
Antique Specialty Mall
“Things get better with age,” as said on the sign outside of the Antique Specialty Mall (4516 Central Ave. SE), another big and unique antique store in Nob Hill. It’s one of Albuquerque’s oldest and largest antique shops and carries all sorts of items from comic books to retro furniture to dolls.