1. Taschen Library
So you have a friend who has a passion for pretty coffee table books. You must peruse the shelves at Taschen Library. The new space stands on the first floor of the recently renovated The Joule Dallas hotel and is devoted to the German luxury publisher. They’re dubbing it a library, but you don’t need a special card to check out the slick tomes. Sit on the stylish, midcentury modern sofa and flip through titles such as the racy Helmut Newton or architectural-minded Julius Schulman: Modernism Rediscovered. Shop for friends who aren’t even what you could consider “readers”: Movie buffs will enjoy The Stanley Kubrick Archives, fashionistas will be inspired by Yohji Yamamoto, and sports fans can relive history with Greatest of All Time: A Tribute to Muhammad Ali. For the jet-setters, consider the New York Times’ 36 Hours travel series.
When searching for a friend who has a nose that knows, employ your olfactory system at Society, the small-as-a-thimble and stuffed-to-the-gills Bishop Arts shop owned by husband-and-wife design team Pamela Jackson and Jeremi V. Headrick. The wafting scents of the shop’s signature candles will draw you in, leaving you powerless to patchouli, cocoa beans, and floral notes. (That’d be the make-up of the No. 2 candle, which, due to its popularity, they can’t even keep in stock.) Does your pal prefer something with a citrus slant? Or are you shopping for more of a lavender lover? Whichever way the nose goes, there’s a wax-and-wick creation to suit your needs from brands like Kobo, Lafco, and Tatine. Society also stocks glassware, jewelry, and home accessories, but your nostrils might be too buried in a tobacco-and-sandalwood Sydney Hale Co. candle to notice.
3. Pebble + Pine
Your special someone and Lee Greenwood have a lot in common: They’re both best-selling country-music artists, and they're both proud to be American. Okay, so maybe they have just one thing in common. Regardless, if you and yours prefer to buy products made right here in the U.S. of A., look no further than Pebble + Pine, a men’s golf and lifestyle shop located in the Bishop Arts District. Owners Nick and Jennifer Griffin fill their airy, industrial space with a curated selection of Mizzen+Main apparel, Hill-side ties and scarves, Prospector Co. grooming products, and more, all made—you guessed it—somewhere within the 50 states. Rory McElroy wannabes will also appreciate the selection of golf club headcovers and leather grips (all produced domestically, natch) and the putting green at the front of the store. After all, what’s more American than mixing sports and shopping?
4. Local Yocal
On the lookout for a gift for the foodie who also cares about the environment and shopping local? Direct your hybrid toward downtown McKinney. Local Yocal is a farmer-owned, full-service butcher shop, but it offers so much more than fresh cuts of locally raised meat. Beyond local food items (Texas Olive Ranch’s olive oils, Canyon Foods’ tortilla soup, and Aduro Bean Coffee, to name a few), the store also offers products such as lavender soap, candles, and tea from Purple Ranch and hand-crafted goat’s milk and honey soap from Willow Creek Bee Company. The good folks here define “yocal” as a knowledgeable, progressive farmer/rancher who defies mainstream agriculture production, using sustainable practices to restore health in our food supply. Who can’t get behind that?
5. Culinary Connection
You drew the hardest name in Secret Santa: the hostess with the mostest. This lady always throws the most fabulous fetes, and you suspect that she has the arsenal of a party-rental company. Culinary Connection can help you. Choose from an array of lovely serving bowls, trays, or flatware sets that will make even the most discerning hostess happy. With lines like Vietri, Michael Aram, and Juliska, there is something for every kind of theme party this lady throws. Large vases from Arte Italica, custom cutting boards, and gadgets for the bar also make for great gifts at varying prices. If all else fails, just get her a classic piece from Kendra Scott’s jewelry line. She can wear it while throwing her next soiree.
6. Stella Dallas
Your buddy camped out at Target and takes a yearly trip to Varece, Italy. She uses the words “ciao” and “bella” (too) frequently. She’s a Missoni super fan. Amber Frazee is on it. Her shop, Stella Dallas in the Design District, has just about every product—pillows, throws, hand towels, and candles—in the iconic zigzag print. If you’re thinking of staging an intervention of sorts in the hopes of preventing your pal from decorating with but the one brand, shop other collections such as the Asian-inspired Bungalow 5 furniture, colorful and girly pillows from Lilly Pulitzer, and Emporium Home’s vintage-style lighting.
Miniature trees Shopping for a malcontent can be hard. By definition, you can never satisfy this person, but we’re willing to bet even the grouchiest person has a soft spot for The Karate Kid. It is virtually a proven fact that everyone looks back fondly on the 1984 classic. It was the movie that taught us that simple tasks like washing cars and painting fences could lead to glory. While we do not suggest giving a troublemaker karate lessons, we do suggest buying him a bonsai tree. Sunshine Miniature Trees, an old house with space that seems to go on and on, has an amazing selection of these Japanese plants, ranging from $40 to $1,000+. You can even sign up your frowny friend for a class to help him tend it.
8. Stoney’s Wine Lounge
We all have the friend who fancies himself a sommelier. When shopping for him, it might be best to avoid the hundreds of options at a large grocer. Try Stoney’s Wine Lounge, a neighborhood mom-and-pop shop that carries a smaller, edited collection of hard-to-find, affordable, and quality wines. Stone Savage and his wife, Diane, opened the namesake wine shop in 1998 in a 300-square-foot vintage oil station. They are now located in a larger space (formerly Grailey’s) on Oram and act as wine shop and tasting room while also offering climate-controlled storage lockers. Treat yourself to a stop in the lounge, which serves up cheese plates and charcuterie while you taste. If you still don’t feel comfortable pulling the trigger on a bottle, arrange a private tasting session and class with the owners. If you’re lucky, the dynamic duo may even perform a jazz tune or two while you sip and shop.
9. The Rock Barrell
You call her “healthy”; your husband refers to her as “weird.” She’s the lady who wants to talk chakras, vibrations, and energy. Let’s face it, the holiday spirit is the only kind that she’s not really into. But you can still buy her a gift that will make her happy at The Rock Barrell. Upon entering, you will see trays and tray of beads. Keep walking. You’re on the hunt for good vibrations via the agates and minerals. Select a few, attach them to Lucite, and you have created art. Go with some larger agate and geode pieces and you have bookends. Or check out agate slices—you can get six for under $30—and you’ve got a nice set of coasters. You might as well grab some stuff for yourself—we could all use a little good energy.
Decorating the second home can be so trying. The good people at Anteks will help you help those poor dears who are attempting to fill their second (or third) abodes. Located in the Design District, the store offers everything your real-estate-blessed friends could ever want in their charming mountain chalets. Antler mirrors and rustic art will ably fill the spaces above the mantels. Pendleton blankets and Navajo rug pillows will add flair to the seating area. And one can never have too many antler-handled bottle openers and corkscrews.