7200 Montgomery NE 293-6133 Store hours: Mon.-Sat. 10am-5pm Extra holiday hours: Sun. 12pm-5pm weemsgallery.com
Kaleidoscope from Weems Galleries and Framing
photo by Val Hollingsworth
I'm making a list. I'm checking it twice. I'm buying somebody a $35 handcrafted wooden kaleidoscope from Weems Galleries. And maybe an elegant petroglyph-emblazoned money clip for $18. If you've never been to Weems, you’ll be impressed by how their spacious showrooms dizzily teeter with unique local and regional art. There’s lots of nice ceramic dishware, hand-carved Christmas ornaments, jewelry, lawn trolls and original paintings. Much of it is surprisingly affordable; all of it fairly drips with thoughtful giftiness. If money is no concern, they've got an app for that, too. I bought an armload of impulsiveness without even trying, and I might still go back for that skeleton-on-the-toilet shadow box. If browsing their inventory creates a dangerous time vortex for you, be forewarned: Their purchasing process can actually make time go sideways. It’s not a paperless office by any stretch, and unless your doctor advised you to watch ladies write out receipts in ballpoint pen, don't even think about shopping there before your doctor’s appointment. They check your blood pressure, you know.
Now We're Cooking
5901 Wyoming NE, Suite S 857-9625 Store hours: Mon.-Sat. 9:30am-6pm
Perhaps you've heard their jingle? Ah, it's of no consequence. Now We're Cooking is one of those stores that will assuredly help you cross a couple more dingbats off your list. Whether you're shopping for the passionate chef, the dabbler in egg sandwiches or even just that special someone who enjoys sitting on the couch eating egg sandwiches, NWC exists in its own dazzling universe of food-related gizmos, gadgets and I’ll-be-damneds. I bought a $22 turquoise-enameled colander. It was so pretty I hung it on the wall. (Yes, honey. It was a dumb idea. I'll take it down.) Stocking stuffers abound, alongside a whirling menagerie of freakishly specific food units that demonstrate both the whimsy and pragmatic challenges of cooking me up something-I-can-eat-on-the-couch. (I said thank you; you just didn’t hear me.) Honestly, it’s a fun place, and there's lots of stuff that would seem more likely in a toy store than a culinary shop. However, the Industrial-Sized Egg Sandwich-Making Machine is currently out of stock. Lamentably.
6400 San Mateo NE 349-0970 Store hours: Mon.-Sat. 9am-5pm, Sun. 10am-5pm jackalope.com
Let’s be honest. The reason you’re still frantically shopping is you couldn't think of anything to buy. Well, that’s too bad, because the holidays are done waiting for you to think of things. You can’t even remember the name of that movie you were talking about. Just go to a great big store full of weird stuff and buy something. Go to Jackalope. For a mere $15, I bought a garishly painted ceramic chihuahua from Mexico—the perfect gift for anyone who still has a few inches of open space on his bookshelf. It wasn’t an easy choice, either. Jackalope has so much strange, imported cool-looking junk you'll find yourself wishing you had more friends to shop for. (Far be it from me to say why you don't have more friends.) There's rustic furniture, decorations, lamps, decorations, rugs, decorations and lots of pots. Why not throw away everything you own and replace it with stuff from Jackalope? Seriously. You can come play your video game at my house.
Apple Mountain Music
10301 Comanche NE 237-2048 Store hours: Tues.-Fri. 11am-5pm, Sat. 9am-4pm applemtnmusic.com
Tucked away in an isolated strip mall, Apple Mountain Music carries a modest selection of quality instruments for the musically afflicted. From banjos to bouzoukis, dulcimers to djembes, just make up a word and it's probably a folk instrument. If a nice ukulele or autoharp sounds too rich for your budget, they have plenty of smaller instruments with smaller learning curves: kazoos, ocarinas, melodicas, penny whistles and more—each with a distinctive sound that's perfect for anyone's genre-defying home recordings. Get your kid a nice stainless steel slide whistle ($20) so he can jam along with the radio on the way to school. See how long that lasts.