As the holidays approach, there are numerous things to dread: long hours spent in airports, seasonal weight gain, and searching for gifts for everyone on your list.
To aid with your holiday shopping, the members and editors of travel website VirtualTourist.com came up with a list of stores with unique gifts in equally stimulating spaces.
No longer a chore, enjoy your holiday shopping at one of our "Top 5 Unusual Shops."
1. Poketo, Los Angeles
Originally started as a way to bring "art for your everyday," the husband-and-wife team behind Poketo became known for their limited-edition vinyl artist wallets.
Over the years, the brand grew, expanding into a brick-and-mortar shop/gallery space in the Arts District in downtown Los Angeles.
In addition to carrying Poketo's online goods and a growing list of store-exclusive products, it also serves as a creative showcase for both local and international artists.
The store also hosts fun workshops - coming up, a holiday print workshop with "Yellow Owl Workshop" owner Christine Schmidt and a "21st Century Calligraphy Workshop" in January. In addition to their vinyl wallets, the store carries cute home goods, handmade jewellery, and limited edition art prints - a great place to find a gift for anyone who loves Etsy.
2. Colette, Paris
Perhaps the very first "concept" store, Colette is truly a lifestyle boutique. Its location on Rue Saint-Honore honours the store's fashion roots, but it also serves as a cultural hub within the city, often hosting book signings and events that coordinate with other events happening around Paris.
For example, this month the store will host a book signing for Tokyo 2020 in conjunction with the Paris-Photo art fair. The store is also well known for its collaborations - from Top Shop to Moncler or Erdem, the store is filled with unique branded items.
If you're looking for the present for that friend who only wears "Limited Edition" items, this is the place to visit.
3. Jamonisimo, Barcelona, Spain
Located in the Eixample neighbourhood of Barcelona, this shop specializes in everything HAM, from acorn-fed Iberian hams to "recebo" and "chorizo."
The store also has a few notorious patrons, including chefs Ferran Adria, Alain Ducasse, and Anthony Bourdain. In addition to providing fantastic goods, the shop can host tastings for up to twelve people, during which guests can select the part of the ham they prefer and discover their region of choice as well.
The shop can vacuum seal selections for you to bring home, or arrange for delivery and corporate gifts.
4. Konzepp, Hong Kong
Tucked into an alley off Hollywood Road, Konzepp exemplifies the explosion of creativity and rebirth happening in Hong Kong's Sheung Wan district.
The shop was born out of the desire to "hatch" a place in Hong Kong where the artistic and creative community could come together and inspire each other.
From its bright yellow sculptural façade to the unique brand collaborations sold in the shop, it looks to be accomplishing its goal and setting a new standard for the lifestyle concept space.
For holiday shopping, the store carries unique finds like HAY Kaleido Trays for the coffee table, henrik vibskov cologne and patterned socks for the male who has everything, and Libertine clothing for the consummate design snob.
If you can't get to Hong Kong or Singapore (where they have another store), you can also order online - they ship globally.
5. Daikanyama T-Site, Tokyo
In the up-and-coming but relaxed Daikanyama district, T-site is a retail experience tailored to the over-50 age group, but able to be enjoyed by all.
Although the campus is primarily a book store, it contains a series of boutique spaces carrying carefully curated merchandise, with a vibe and service tailored for the target market.
In addition to the shopping and exquisite architecture of the campus, the complex also houses a bar, the Anjin Lounge, where visitors can enjoy a cocktail or contemplate a purchase.
The variety of books and knowledgeable sales staff make it just the spot to hit if you have a book worm or first-edition collector on your list.