The hottest items flying off the shelves this holiday season have one thing in common — none can be found in a big box store.
At Phoenix Rising, 696 Water St. in downtown Port Townsend, owner Jill Spier said crystals and stones are in high demand because they make excellent gifts and range in price from less than $1 to more than $90, making them accessible to shoppers with different budgets.
Spier picked up one small stone and noted it cost only 85 cents.
“But it is a gift and it is beautiful,” she said. “You put it into a little pouch and have a gift to give someone, especially in a stocking.”
Crystals “are the beauty of the earth and crystals — every single stone — has different healing properties,” Spier added. “So, whether you want to spend $1 or you want to spend $10,000, the $1 crystal doesn’t know it is not as good as the $10,000 crystal. (The more expensive one) is more pleasing to our eyes, (but) that doesn’t mean the energy is better.”
It is not how much a gift costs that matters, she said, but that it comes from the heart.
Spier also said rose quartz is very popular as a holiday gift.
“Rose quartz is the heart stone, (representing) love, warmth and happiness,” she said.
Spier also offers jewelry, incense, tarot cards, singing bowls and statues of deities.
Also offered are one-of-a-kind books and shawls from India.
“We have books you can’t get on Amazon, books that I buy in India,” she said.
Unique gifts also are available across the street at Pacific Traditions, located in the lobby of the Waterstreet Hotel, 637 Water St. Owner Mary Hewitt said cards and stationary are very popular this season.
“They are really unique and done by a (Native American) artist, and people want to support the native artists,” she said. “I also am selling scarves with the native designs. People, because it is so cold and windy, that is what they see, that’s what they get.”
Hewitt said she also has sold a few handmade carvings crafted by Native American artists.
“People are just now starting to open up their purses for giving the big pricey items and carvings,” she said. “That is an investment because you won’t find it anywhere else.”
She drew attention to carvings by artist Skip Storm, an Alaskan Haida who contributes to the gallery.
“He is a local artist, and I have a lot of his pieces in here that are just magnificent to have on the walls,” Hewitt said. “I love that I have the local artists. He always carves on hardwood, so if he ends up carving a piece that needs a special tool, he will stop his carving and make the tool. He is incredibly talented here in Port Townsend.”
Other popular items that cost a bit less are cross-stitch designs, Hewitt said.
“They are unique because it is the North Coast art form. I just had a lady in here looking for the killer whale, which is a real popular one. I think it is because of the momma whale that lost her calf this past summer.”
Also available are jewelry, masks and baskets, and hand-painted Christmas ornaments.
Up the street at Conservatory Coastal Home, 639 Water St., owner Heather Pollock Sehulster said scented candles made in the back of the shop continue to be all the rage.
“That is one of our top items this time of year, partly because it is something local,” she said. “People can send it home. They are chic and nice, and we do beautiful gift wrapping, so people send those home.”
The candles are clean-burning and have lead-free paper wicks, Pollock Sehulster said.
“For $12, you can decorate your own candles,” she said. “We are bringing in textiles — plaid, wool, leather and adhesive labels — (on which) people can use their own rubber stamp to make their own personalized labels for the candles. You can emboss it with initials or a nice little holiday message.”
She said there also are items for women such as hats and scarves. There is “manly stuff” for men, too, she added.
“For men, we have all these multi-tools and flasks and a whole lot of new survival books.”
Even the candles come in the male variety, boasting scents such as tobacco and rye or bourbon.
“Those are really popular man scents,” Pollock Sehulster said.
Over at Earthenworks, 702 Water St., popular items continue to include jewelry, stick furniture and bird figurines in the steampunk style.
“These little guys are real collectibles,” owner Don Hoskins said of the figurines, which sell quickly in the store and online, he said.
“We do online sales, too, so even though it has slowed down in numbers of people coming in (after Black Friday), our online sales have gone up, so I am busy in the back room, packing,” Hoskins said. “Online, people usually shop earlier. They want to get it because a lot of the stuff, I run out of. There is a real limit to the amount you can get a hold of from an artist. Sometimes it is one-of-a-kind.”
Over at What’s Cooking?, 844 Water St., hot items include whimsical holiday mugs, furry Christmas ornaments, holiday-themed towels and gnomes.
Also hot is the bakeware, said Teri Nole, retail sales clerk.
“We sell a lot of bakeware,” Nole said. “People love to cook and eat lots of cookies and goodies. People need that.”