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Dayna Del Val, The Arts Partnership, Published December 02 2013

’Tis the season for local gift giving

FARGO - Looking for a way to give gifts that encourage creativity and support our local economy? You’re not alone, and plenty of area businesses and organizations are gearing up to help you cross some names off your list while having a great time doing so.

“Gift giving can become almost like an exchange of currency by using gift cards or mass produced items, so giving something that is individually made is simply more unique and special,” said Ashley Morken, co-owner of Unglued at 408 Broadway. The store specializes in local, handmade goods. On Friday, Unglued opened a pop-up shop at 102 Broadway that expands their normal offerings for the holiday season.

“Handmade gifts usually come with a story that makes it special, whether it’s because it’s from a local shop or about the individual who made it,” Morken added.

If finding gifts like this appeals to you, and if you’d like to make a fun experience out of your holiday shopping, consider this your blueprint:

Start your day at Nichole’s Fine Pastry at 13 8th St. S. A croissant from a big-box discount store will never suffice after you have had a freshly baked one. Really feeling adventurous? Get the chocolate filled one and pretend you are in Paris. Enjoy the art on the walls while you are sipping your latte and savoring your breakfast treat.

There are many little artists’ shops right across the alley from Nichole’s, so stop at those and see what’s available. Make your way across the tracks and hit the gift shop at Plains Art Museum at 704 1st Ave. N. before heading toward Broadway.

Looking for art? Start on the South end of Broadway and work your way North. Uptown Gallery (72 Broadway), ecce gallery (216 Broadway), Gallery 4 (114 Broadway), the Spirit Room (111 Broadway) and others have amazing art from local, regional and national artists. Don’t forget about c.lizzy’s (410 Broadway) and Boerth’s (212 Broadway). Stop at Art Materials (300 Broadway) and find great gifts for the artist in your life.

If you’d like to browse art outside of the shops, a couple upcoming events might make good additions to your day. 3P’s in a Pod puts painter Emily Williams Wheeler, print maker Eric Johnson and potter Sam Norman together for an all-day event Saturday at the Marcil Center at Trollwood Performing Arts School.

That same day, the Red River Watercolor Society is hosting a Holly Jolly Art Sale at the Moorhead Center Mall. Both will showcase a variety of art from a variety of artists.

“Individually made art is unique and becomes the favorite among all the gifts received. You want to really surprise your loved one? Give them a piece of original art. They’ll be talking about it for a long time past the holidays,” said artist Liz Schwankl.

Clothes shopping? SHANNALEE (313 Broadway), Fowlers Heritage Company (210 Broadway), Halberstadt’s (102 Broadway), Proper & Prim (315 Broadway) and others give you the opportunity to buy clothes that are sold in limited numbers, so you can be pretty sure you won’t see that dress on three other women after the new year. TAG (300 Broadway) has plenty of Fargo-themed attire for you to show your local pride.

By now, you are probably hungry. Head to the HoDo (101 Broadway) for great pub food, the Radisson (201 5th St. N.) and their newly renovated restaurant, Juano’s (402 Broadway) for Mexican or Drunken Noodle/Wasabi (623 NP Ave.) for Asian and sushi.

Feeling refreshed from lunch, it’s time to hit the places that have the “can’t be categorized” gift possibilities. Pinch & Pour at 210 Broadway is the perfect gift for the chefs in your life. Prairie Petals at 623 NP Ave. will make you a gorgeous bouquet. Scan Design (110 Broadway) has amazing furniture. O’Day Cache (317 Broadway) provides gifts from Asia.

Maybe you want to purchase knitting classes or tools from Boucle Yarn Studio (616 Main Ave.) or enhance someone’s string instrument from Christian Eggert Violins (618 Main Ave.). Maybe you have an antiquer in your life? Make your way to Reed & Taylor Antiques (518 Broadway).

Feeling thirsty? Stop off at Mezzaluna at 309 Roberts St. for casual-but-classy drinks and pub food or venture a little farther South to Fargo Brewing Company’s taproom at 610 N. University Drive.

Voila! You just capped off a day of shopping that supports small business owners, artists and entrepreneurs while crossing a few names (maybe even your own) off your list.

Dayna Del Val, executive director of The Arts Partnership, writes a monthly column for Variety. For more information on the arts, go to http://theartspartnership.net.