Do you hate going shopping at the mall during the holiday season? If so, don't go! Here are some really good alternatives:
Stay home, use the internet, and visit my CafePress store to buy framed archival prints of my Waterbury paintings (and other merchandise as well). Or buy one of my original paintings: Meadow Street is available directly through me, Shakespeare in Library Park will be available soon, and Rainy Day, Pine Street is available at the John Bale Book Company on Grand Street (where the painting can currently be viewed in their holiday window display).
While you're at John Bale, do some more gift shopping! They have a ton of books and prints that would make great presents. And you can grab a coffee or tea from their Café while you shop.
Downtown Waterbury has many good stores for gift buying. Think of the chaos of any mall parking lot this time of year, then imagine parking downtown. The Buckingham parking garage is well-lit, with security monitors and a low hourly rate for a downtown garage (one dollar per hour, even less if you have your parking validated by the merchants). There's always plenty of parking, and no stressed-out shoppers willing to run you down for a parking space.
On Bank Street, the Connecticut Store has a wonderful selection of gift items, all made in Connecticut. Clothing, accessories, maple syrup, jams, toys and games, fine artwork.
Also on Bank Street, there are clothing stores ranging from those that appeal to teenagers, to Tony's Men's Shop, where you can buy a really nice suit or tie.
Ideal Jewelers is just as the name implies: the perfect place to purchase jewelry and watches. If you're looking for a Timex watch, don't forget to stop by the Timexpo Museum in the Barnes & Noble/Office Max plaza next to the mall.
Shakesperience Productions offers private acting lessons as well as acting workshops (a perfect gift for the aspiring thespian, or for anyone looking for something fun to do in the winter!), and they have upcoming public performances, with tickets available now. Similarly, the Palace Theater has a lot of great upcoming shows--tickets are a good stocking-stuffer, and a season pass is even better!
Goldsmith's sells artwork, but they also have a framing studio and can put a quality frame on your family photos, documents and artwork for less than you would pay at the mall, even though the quality is much more professional than what you would get at the mall.
If you're shopping on a budget, try Maslar's on Bank Street. Yes, it's a pawn shop, but it's not too scary and you'll find some good bargains.
Another good gift option are gift certificates. Waterbury, especially downtown, is full of great locally-owned restaurants (see the links on the right) which offer gift certificates.
You might even find some good items at the UConn-Waterbury co-op store.
Go downtown, and go shopping!