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By Beka Compton
The Times 

Christmas shopping, Walla Walla style


December 2, 2021

Beka Compton

Butcher Butcher, a different take on gift certificates.

It's beginning to look a lot like "I can't find my husband a Christmas gift" season!

The two guys in my life, my dad and husband, are the hardest people to shop for gifts. Like most men I have ever met, they seem to have everything they need. When asked what they'd like for Christmas, they tell me they don't want anything.

Trying to get a jump, I took a trip through Downtown Walla Walla to find something other than the usual Carhartt coat and power tool combo.

My first stop, Main Street Furniture Company, led to the discovery of some delightful candles. There were the usual sweet-scented candles, but there were also pine and leather, Moroccan Fig, and eucalyptus and sea salt candles that would be wonderful in the home office or den. Yes, men do like the occasional candle.

Located at 128 East Main, this is more than just furniture store. They have housewares and gifts, including printed glasses for the man of the house, most of which were fish-themed or had little sayings like 'I like my water with barley and hops."

If the man in your life is a foodie, Main Street Furniture has some great Italian-glass wine glasses and fun cheese boards. The spice bowls with matching spoons might just end up under my parents' tree later this month. There are pricier options in stock, but most I wanted were under $50.

Allegro Cyclery is a wonderful spot to stop in. While the shop's focus is all things bicycle-related, they had one of the best selections of light Osprey-brand backpacks I've seen at any of the small businesses, perfect for long rides or day hikes. Allegro has a wide selection of shoes, shorts, and jackets if he is into cycling, and they can set you up with some fresh gear under $100.

Of course, if you're looking to go big, there is a huge selection of bikes, including electric ones, that can fit a variety of riding styles and goals. Oh! Don't forget to check out the rack of tires. Some look like they could go up a steep climb with ease, while others look like they would make city cruising a breeze. Their staff is super knowledgeable and always so fun to work with!

Arguably one of the most eclectic stores in the area is Hot Poop at 210 E Main. Does Dad want to pick up a new hobby and learn to play guitar? Go to Hot Poop. They have drums, drum sets, basses, ukuleles, and guitars suitable for those who have never picked one up and those who are never seen without.

It doesn't end with the instruments, though. Hot Poop has the finest selection of records within a hundred miles! Right now, there is a sweet selection of limited-edition color-vinyl albums, including Nirvana's classic, Nevermind.

What is a record without a record player? Hot Poop has a hefty stock of record players, so everyone can enjoy the joys of old-school vinyl anytime they want.

If you pop across the street, you'll run into Lost Boardroom. They carry skateboard decks, wheels, as well as clothing and gear. And stickers. I've found that stickers are a hit, regardless of age.

Lost has a great selection of Vans' classic skater clothing and shoes. They even had the Vans Shoe Care Travel Kits in stock, something I cannot find online to save my life! Vans' Drill Chore Jacket is a beautiful blend of rugged and trendy, is easy to dress up or down, and can be integrated into any male's closet.

This is also the stop for sunglasses. Oakley, Smith, and Maui Jim's are a few of the brands they carry. Pricier than drugstore shades, a quality pair of sunglasses can really be a treat.

They also carry Hydro Flasks, one of the original hardy water bottle brands. While living in Alaska, I dropped mine into a stream while hiking. I found it at the bottom of the mountain, thankfully, and still use it five years later. If it is Alaska-proof, it's farmer-proof.

After receiving many recommendations, I stopped into Studio Opal at 61 East Main. I've been there a few times to shop for myself but have never looked through the guys' section. Though the guys' section is relatively small, Studio Opal carries some of the most reliable brands around. They have a carefully curated selection of Patagonia sweaters, flannels, and shirts, and I was overjoyed when I found the rack of Filson wear. My favorite 'F' word, Filson, always lives up to its American-made standard. All their garments are made in Seattle and welcome punishment and mistreatment; their jackets are quite popular with commercial fishermen in Alaska. They have created a sustainable model by using only the finest materials, including rugged waxed cotton, merino wool, and bridle-quality leather, which last for years.

And there is more than just the Filson rack. They had some great conservation books by various authors and produced through Patagonia. The books are a gorgeous addition to any book collection!

Maybe, just maybe, Dad is in his element at the grill. Walking into Butcher Butcher, on Colville Street, is always a treat. The small bespoke butcher shop always smells clean and inviting, and you are never met with anything less than a smile. Gift certificates, or as a friend refers to them, meat coupons nestled in between some of their jars of spices are sure to make any guy happy. If we are being honest, this is a win-win option: He gets to choose a gorgeous cut of meat, and you will get to enjoy the meal to follow.

When I took my daughter into Book and Game and asked her to pick something for her dad, she immediately bolted to the board games. She picked out a classic game of LIFE but was a bit overwhelmed by the hundreds of options in front of her. I thought she'd go for the art supplies, but she understood the assignment was for dad, not herself.

When we started talking about Christmas gifts, my husband and I focused on experiences rather than toys. It never occurred to me that board games, cards, and dice could be as much of an experience for kids and adults as a trip to the museum. Unconventional, maybe, but at this point, I don't think there are any rules anymore.

If a new hobby is on the books, but music doesn't sound like the thing, I'd recommend checking out Grapeland Supply on West Rose. They are the area's go-to supplier for brewers and winemakers. They offer home brewing and wine-making kits that make great gifts. From buckets and bottle cappers to grains, malts, and yeasts, it can all be found at Grapeland.

The Walla Walla General Store, over on East Alder, was hard to walk out empty-handed. They have a first-rate collection of Northwest Skillet Company pans. Made from carbon steel; they are lightweight, naturally stick-resistant, and wonderfully heat-responsive. Like Filson, these pans come with a price tag, but the quality is second to none.

If you're on a budget, like me, the General Store does have Spanish-style cocktail glasses. They come in two sizes: 7.5 ounces and 12.5 ounces. Pop over and see the folks at The Thief Fine Wine & Beer shop on Main and pick up a little whiskey to pair with a couple of rocks glasses, and you are good to go!

Downtown Walla Walla is making it easy to shop local for guys, something that is not an easy feat! There are so many great businesses in the area that this isn't even the tip of the iceberg. Next week, I'll be on the lookout for the best gifts for women and children.


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