The soil options are organic, the tools are quaint, and the chimes are mystical at Southwest Gardener, an adorable mom-and-pop store for those who prefer to grow their own plants. Situated next to the central Phoenix location of Changing Hands, Southwest Gardener presents an ideal stop for book-buyers who also need a last-minute gift for their green-thumbed friends. Hobbyists and die-hards alike will find plenty to love among the store's modest but high-quality selection of seeds and soil. The accessories and decorations, meanwhile, are carefully curated for the gardener who envisions for his or her backyard not only cherry tomatoes, but a sanctuary for art and mindfulness.

Next time you have to buy a present, don't take the easy way out (read: gift cards). Buy something cool and thoughtful at UrbAna, a small boutique that's got something for everyone. Buy cookbooks for your mom, or skincare products for luxury-minded friends. There's a small selection of baby gifts, and marble coasters perfect to bring to a housewarming party. If all else fails, you can't go wrong buying someone a stack of Jcoco chocolate bars. But if you're the one having the party, the store carries a great selection of stylish disposable paper goods. Just tell your guests that if they plan to bring a gift, they should pick it out at UrbAna.

Before there was swiping and clicking, there was writing. It's a form of communication that's never lost its charm. Keyboards are all well and good, but sometimes it's nice to just whip out a piece of crisp, slightly textured paper and a beautiful pen. Write-Ons takes writing seriously, without taking itself too seriously. It's filled with fine writing papers for capturing or sharing all your ideas, emotions, and dreams. There are cards galore, a wall filled with rolls of stickers, journals, invitations, thank-you cards, and more of life's little niceties. You can buy pretty files to make your work life less drab, and small gifts like picture frames on days you need a quick little something for an office or neighborhood party. Stand inside long enough, and you might even get inspired to start sending real thank-you notes again, which can only up your classy factor with friends and family.

Blick has art supplies you didn't even know existed, and friendly people who can help you figure out how to use them. Strolling the aisles is like being in a giant candy store for art nerds, and everyone feels welcome here — from the art-curious to the art pro. It's a fun place to indulge your curiosity and poke around for new ways to express yourself. The paper selection alone is enough to get your heart racing. With materials ranging from watercolors and wood to soapstone and clay, it's a creative embarrassment of riches. Shop here for stress-busters like markers in exotic colors, and gifts for friends from journals to off-the-beaten-path coloring books. Bottom line: Blick does the trick.

Phoenix Art Museum

All the galleries could close down, and you'd still have an amazing time at Phoenix Art Museum, because the gift shop is like a giant emporium of art-inspired stuff, ranging from kitchen gadgets to office decor. If you can't find a unique gift here, the person you're shopping for is way too picky. At one end, it has purses, puzzles, and classy pens. At the other, there are collapsible flower vases and bookends shaped like Jeff Koons' balloon dog. In between, shop for delicate tea sets, artist-made jewelry, and novelty T-shirts with artsy sayings. It's a fabulous place to find unique books and toys, and there's a wide price range so it's easy to find both affordable and extravagant things. From savvy to silly, the museum store has a great selection, which means you look super-smart when it comes time to be the gift fairy.

Scottsdale Fashion Square

Need to snag some new sunglasses, get your watch fixed, and find the perfect gift for your bestie? Scottsdale Fashion Square will save you from having to run around town, with shops that carry everything from basics to luxuries. One shop has henna art, another has objects laden with Swarovski crystals. Scottsdale Fashion Square is home to both Apple and Microsoft stores, and you can get a Hallmark card in the same mall where you buy your Tiffany jewelry. Arizona's only Wonderspaces arts venue sits just off the food court, as does a local theater called Desert Stages, which means there's more entertainment than just watching people go up and down the escalator. Start at Nordstrom, where the cafe is more relaxing than the food court. Then end your mall day with a movie at Harkins Theatres, where you can top it all off with a cocktail or gelato.

Vintage or modern? Buy a gift or treat yourself? These are the tough shopping decisions you never have to make at Phoenix Flea, because the answer is always "both/and" instead of "either/or." With more than 100 artisans, makers, and curators in the mix, this market has something for everyone. And that's a big deal in the run-up to winter holidays, when racing around town in search of unique goodies just won't cut it. Phoenix Flea transcends mere shopping, because it feels more like a community gathering, filled with energy and positivity. Food trucks make it easy to refuel, and the downtown setting means you can top it all off with a fun walk when you're done.

First, Amy Guerrero started teaching macrame classes around town, sharing her love for making things with others. Then, she decided to make a new home for her burgeoning maker career by opening the Sunshine Craft Co in the Melrose neighborhood of midtown Phoenix. That's where she helps others discover the joy of creating textile artworks using knotting techniques. Now, she's in full-on entrepreneur mode, offering a robust lineup of classes in her own space. People can pop in during DIY hours to buy kits and make craft items, or take traditional classes in everything from making felted cactuses to creating alcohol-ink collages. It's a cheerful, cozy space to enjoy a paint-and-sip event with your friends or trade supplies during craft swaps. She's even helping other crafters up their business savvy with workshops on how to start a handmade business.

Bead World

There's a bead for every personality at Bead World Phoenix, where sorting through trays of intriguing beads puts you in touch with parts of yourself you'd long ago forgotten even existed. It's easy for beginners to navigate, with enough choices for creatives who are experienced with making beaded jewelry or other items. The shop offers classes at every experience level, so beginners can learn how to string beads, while others can learn to realize complex designs. While you're shopping, you can get tips for making particular beads work together, and the staff is happy to help people find beads that reflect their unique interests. Best of all, Bead World Phoenix is a fun, affordable place to find beads that help you tell your story and embrace your singular identity.

Walk into Tempe Yarn & Fiber and you're likely to see a diverse cross-section of people seated around a table learning to knit or crochet together, which elevates this retail store to community gathering space. Fiber art long has been a way of documenting and connecting both individual and group histories. You get the feeling at Tempe Yarn that it's all unfolding before your eyes, and you can be a part of it, whatever your experience level. The store carries a broad selection of yarns and knitting tools, and it never makes people feel intimidated about asking for help with what to choose or which yarns are the best match for a particular project. You might walk in thinking yarn is about as glamorous as a glue stick. But you'll walk out with a sense of wonder – and your very own knitting needles.

Best Of Phoenix®

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