Sick of corporate Christmas? Try shopping local. Hair Balls presents a 12-part series highlighting ideas for holiday gifts made and sold in Texas.
If you Google "fair trade Houston" one of the first results you get is the Rice Village mainstay Ten Thousand Villages. The store has nice gifts, from fair trade foodstuffs like coffee and tea to stationary and holiday decor. They even have a handy gift guide on their website organized by price, occasion or giftee. And shopping at Ten Thousand Villages may make you feel better about your place in the world, but it's not exactly as Houston-friendly as you can get. (Fun fact: Ten Thousand Villages is a national chain originally opened in 1946 and run by Mennonites.)
Corazon, on the other hand, is a one-off Houston-based store selling everything from lucha libre masks to jewelry. Most of the goods in the Waugh Street shop have a South or Central American bent -- you can shop by region. The store is chock-a-block full of knick-knacks and is a lot of fun to wander through, but it's only open on Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. You can order online and have the items shipped by Christmas.
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Los Manos Magicas, in the Heights, focuses on folk art, especially works from local and regional artists. They also have a nice selection of somewhat expensive silver jewelry. If you're looking for something really different (and you're feeling lucky) you can check Houston On The Cheap, a blog that offers daily deals on things like tickets, meals and more in Houston. Blog owner Vicki powers is doing a 9 Days of Christmas Giveaway, but she also tells you cool cheap ways to enjoy the city, which could be handy if you have family in town for the holidays.