Sweaters are abound in the recently-opened Brass Monkey boutique. Photo by Katie Compton

As November comes to its sleepy end, there are few absolutes that Alabamians can rely on. Will the weather actually get any colder? Perhaps. Will the traffic on I-65 delay your timely arrival home? It depends on the day. Will college football enthusiasts still be discussing the results of this year’s Iron Bowl well into the winter months? Seems likely, but who can know for sure? 

The one inescapable certainty we can all anticipate this time of the year, though, is the act of buying gifts for our friends and family. No matter your background or faith, December is synonymous with the ritualistic exchange of goods that one can only hope will communicate to those close to us that we care for them. But it can still be difficult selecting the perfect treat or trinket, especially if you’re a chronic procrastinator. This conundrum often means turning to online shopping with its promise of overnight shipping to ensure the timely receipt of the perfect gift.   

However, for those living in or around the tiny town of Montevallo, one needs to look no further than their own backyard to find a unique and thoughtful gift for their closest friends. On Main Street alone there are plenty of establishments that offer numerous options to choose from. The list that follows captures just a few possibilities.  

For the sweet treat lovers: 

For those people in your life who are always in the mood for something sweet, it would be hard to go wrong with home-made fudge from Smitherman’s. Available in vanilla, chocolate, peanut butter or chocolate-pecan flavor, store patrons can buy individually wrapped pieces of fudge (great for stocking stuffers!), or purchase it by the pound. The acquisition of this treat has to be well-timed, though, as there is a shelf-life to be considered. Generally speaking, the fresher the better, so saving this buy until a couple days before the holiday is likely the best course of action. 

Another solid route to take would be a Frio’s gift card. There are dozens of staple popsicle flavors to choose from (both fruity and creamy), as well as the occasional seasonal addition, so it’s safe to say there’s something to satisfy even the pickiest sweet tooth.   

For the artistically-inclined:  

While one-of-a-kind gifts are always treasured, there’s something to be said about receiving practical presents as well. And what could be more practical for an aspiring or expert artist than a re-up on some basic necessities like markers, colored pencils and paints? Falcon Art Supply offers all of that, and much, much more. Additionally, the store’s stock includes quality sketchbooks and intricate coloring books to help a stressed college kid unwind.  

Even if your gift recipient isn’t artistically inclined, there’s no shame in sitting back and admiring the craftsmanship of others. This holds especially true for the artistry that comes wrapped in festive paper and laid out under a tree. If this scenario sounds familiar, then a present from Blue Phrog Gallery would be a sound choice. Their selection of handmade jewelry is particularly impressive, as are the earthy ceramic plates and bowls available for purchase. 

For the fashion-forward: 

Trends are ever-changing, and boutiques like Brass Monkey and Emma Gray’s are working hard to help plebs like us keep up. These shops are also host to great potential gifts for our more stylish friends. Although it opened quite recently, Brass Monkey is the definite destination for seasonal streetwear. Also good for gifting is its selection of novelty socks and soaps. However, Emma Gray Boutique is a one-stop-shop for fab personalized presents. Whether it’s in the form of Greek letters or one’s initials, no Southerner can resist the hypnotizing call of a monogram.   

For the old souls: 

We may be inching closer and closer to 2019 by the day, but no one can resist the inherent nostalgia evoked by antiques and other vintage items. At Vintage & More on Main Street, shoppers are invited to celebrate (and purchase) relics of a simpler time, which may also just make a sweet and unique gift for the old souls in our lives. It’s hard to list exactly what you might find, because their wares are pretty eclectic, but if you enjoy a good treasure hunt, it comes highly recommended. 

Another failsafe route one can take is a salve, oil or tea from Deep Roots Apotheké and Clinic. The vendibles at this spot are truly unique, and a perfect fit for those who value a holistic and natural approach to healing the ills and maladies one is bound to catch in the cold winter months.