date published: December 1, 2008

Panorama’s guide to Hub holiday shopping
by Josh B. Wardrop
photography by Timothy Renzi

With Christmas and Hanukkah mere weeks away, the traditional holiday shopping season is in full swing. If you’re still making your list and checking it twice and need to know where to find all those perfect presents for your loved ones, read on—what follows is Panorama’s rundown of the best spots in the city for unleashing your inner Santa Claus.

Charles Street
Ritzy Beacon Hill’s main commercial drag is a beacon for shoppers who like the finer things in life—be it top-notch cosmetics (The Beauty Mark, 33 Charles St., 617-720-1555), fine art (Caswell Company Ltd., 31 Charles St., 617-523-9868; Tesorino Gallery, 70 Charles St., 617-742-0061) or even decadent chocolates (Beacon Hill Chocolates, 92B Pinckney St., 617-725-1900), there’s bound to be something perfect here for your most blue-blooded relatives.

Deck the Malls
Folks can moan about fighting the often ungodly crowds at the mall all they want, but there’s still no denying that having multiple shops all housed under one roof is terrifically convenient (and, in snowy weather, a godsend for numb and freezing extremities). This holiday season, take advantage of one-stop shopping at glamorous high-end Back Bay shopping malls Copley Place and the Shops at Prudential Center, visit longtime Downtown Crossing staple The Corner Mall, or enjoy three levels of well-known chain stores like Old Navy and The Gap across the river at CambridgeSide Galleria. Refer to mall listings.

Harvard Square
As you’d expect from its proximity to America’s most renowned institution of higher learning, Harvard Square offers great shopping options for the bookworms and young hipsters on your shopping list. The Square is home to the area’s finest vintage bookstores—including the Globe Corner Bookstore (90 Mt. Auburn St., 617-497-6277), The Grolier Poetry Book Shop (6 Plympton St., 617-547-4648) and Schoenhof’s Foreign Books (76A Mt. Auburn St., 617-547-8855)—as well as edgy clothing stores like Urban Outfitters (11 JFK St., 617-864-0070) and Hootenanny (36 JFK St., 617-864-6623).

Newbury Street
It’s been described as Boston’s own Rodeo Drive, and if you’ve got anyone on your list that’s into designer clothes and jewelry there’s no place you’ll find more of it than the Back Bay’s Newbury Street. From Armani to Ralph Lauren to Burberry and Marc Jacobs, all the fashion industry’s top names can be found, alongside boutiques featuring talented local designers. Shoe fiends can get their kicks at Rick Walker’s (306 Newbury St., 617-482-7426), John Fluevog (302 Newbury St., 617-266-1079) or Niketown (200 Newbury St., 617-267-3400), while fans of the bling can be dazzled by legendary Boston designer John Lewis (97 Newbury St., 617-266-6665), the venerable Shreve, Crump & Low (corner of nearby Boylston and Berkeley streets, 617-267-9100) and the first name in jewelry, Cartier (40 Newbury St., 617-262-3300).

North End
With its mouth-watering Italian bakeries, the North End is a good spot to pick up goodies to leave by the tree for Santa. It also boasts stylish boutiques for the woman in your life, from denim emporium In-jean-ius (441 Hanover St., 617-523-JEAN) to contemporary clothier Casa di Stile (371 Hanover St., 857-233-4885), to accessory hotspots like High Gear Jewelry (204 Hanover St., 617-523-5804) and Shake the Tree Gallery (67 Salem St., 617-742-0484).

South End
For the artsy urbanite on your list, Boston’s South End is the best place to find modern fashions and housewares to delight them this holiday season. Tremont Street is the prime shopping drag, boasting spots like jeweler Laura Preshong’s eponymous gallery (558 Tremont St., 617-236-7660); stylish housewares boutique Vessel (652 Tremont St., 617-425-5292); and upscale shoe emporium Leokadia (667 Tremont St., 617-247-7463).

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