A Round-Up of Inspirational Holiday Shops


If you need a little holiday mood boost, here are some never-fail shops that go all-out for the season!

The Silver Skate Pop-Up

If you’ve never been to the Silver Skate in Niantic, you have a holiday extravaganza in store for you! Bring the kids for this outing, as it’s a magical wonderland of every imaginable ornament (even Ziggy Stardust), a working train, spectacularly decorated trees, old-fashioned candies, and classic pine incense. Outside you’ll find stacks of antique sleds and toboggans and, yup, skates. Find them on facebook here.

488 Main Street, Niantic



I hadn’t been to Azalea in a few years, and I was delighted to find that owner, Lexi Persi, has upped the sophistication quotient here. A wonderfully merchandised mix of gifts with clean and minimal packaging is so tempting! You’ll enjoy examining the shelves filled with cashmere beanies, muted plaid scarves, linen pillows, all manner of candles, vintage rugs, French fire starters, Palermo’s natural skincare products, exciting design and cookbooks, and much more. You won’t come away empty-handed. Online shop with ready-to-ship gift boxes, too. https://azaleahomect.com

301 Main Street, Niantic



Grace, Niantic

Grace always pulls out the stops for the holidays, and this year it’s all about cozy. You can’t resist caressing the fluffy sweaters, brushed flannel shirts, soft PJ sets, shearling bucket hats and cardigans, and just about everything else. Handy, too, are prepacked themed gift sets for self-care, cocktails, or a cozy night in. A well-stocked selection of chic and cheerful jewelry rounds out the mix. Online shopping is available, but it’s much more fun IRL. https://www.shopatgrace.com

46 Pennsylvania Avenue, Niantic

holiday shops


Saybrook Home

Folks from all over flock to Saybrook Home during the season, and it’s fun to eavesdrop on their conversations. On the day I stopped in, groups of gals were there for their annual rite of ornament shopping, hostess gifting, trimming inspo, and lunch at Aspen. The store is stocked for a one-stop holiday shopping bonanza, plus towering themed trees and buckets of dried and faux sprigs to DIY wreaths, garlands, and centerpieces. https://saybrookhome.com

2 Main Street, Old Saybrook


Taken for Granite

Wherever you are, it’s well worth the jaunt to Taken for Granite in the hamlet of Stony Creek this time of year. Without fail, the team at TFG doll up this already perfectly-merchandised shop with classic, beachy-chic and festive decor. Lots of shimmering trees, ornaments (Oyster shells! Owls!) and Linnea’s Lights collection of sleek candles in scents like Forest Fir and Cashmere abound. We spied a rack of perfect cotton Mersea long-sleeve tees and as always an entire room full of well-priced jewelry and scarves. They take exquisite care in their seaside-inspired wrapping, too! https://www.facebook.com/TFG06405/

409 Leetes Island Road, Branford


Homeward Collective

We knew these two merchandising masterminds would pull out all the stops for holiday this year. From an array of Swig drinkware, sipping chocolates, and cozy cookbooks (Half Baked Harvest!) to cashmere wraps, scarves, and sweaters, you’ll find a little something for everyone in this beachy boutique right now. The backroom decked with a stunning tree plus PJs, candles, soaps, and ornaments. https://www.instagram.com/homewardcollective/

685 Boston Post Road, Madison


Rustic Barn

There are always lots of happy shoppers and browsers in this super festive bustling space. A slew of (as the name suggests) rustic gifts including block printed throws and table linens, handmade acacia wood cutting boards, and lots of ornaments and stocking stuffers fill the space. They have a vast collection of textured trees, beaded votives, and creative wreaths. Don’t miss Rustic Barn’s line of hand-poured soy candles, made right on site! https://therusticbarnct.com/

157 Route 81, Killingworth


This sophisticated, french-flared gift and home decor boutique elevates into an elegant holiday shop this time of year that will put anyone in the spirit. Nest’s well-known vignettes are transformed into holiday ones full of stylish decor, ornaments, and accents, and there’s something for every kind of interior style you deck the halls with. Going all-white? Check. More traditional? Coastal? Rustic? Check, check, check. It’s also a one-stop-shop for thoughtful and personal gifts including unique ones like kitschy cat books and coasters, wellness-centric ones like daily meditation and mantra cards, fragrant ones like luxurious soaps, bath supplies, and candles (we picked up a few quintessential pine-scented candles for the season), plus cookbooks and a plethora of house-and-entertaining wares. We especially loved a square marble bowl with a mini brass spoon (how chic for a countertop), and their delicate pet ornaments- there’s one to match them all! Need assistance making decisions while in-store? That’s their specialty and the ladies at Nest will help you pull it all together. https://nestmystic.com

80 Stonington Road, Mystic