I have it on good authority that Santa grabs a lot of last minute gifts in airports shops, just like so many of us time-pressed travelers.
Need some ideas? Here’s a version of a column I put together for CNBC that highlights great gifts you can find at airport gift shops around the country.
To get you started, Phoenix Sky Harbor International, SanFrancisco International and Minneapolis-St.Paul International Airport have put together gift guides highlighting unique items for sale in their terminals.
As the holidays get nearer, community groups will staff complimentary gift-wrapping tables (donations encouraged) in many airport terminals. So no one will be the wiser when you show up with a lovely wrapped gift you bought on the fly.
Pendleton from Portland
(2_ Pendleton store at Portland International Airport. Courtesy Port of Portland)
Oregon-made products to pick up at Portland International Airport range from parachuting DB Cooper action figures ($4.99)and Moonstruck Chocolate’s dark chocolate bar honoring the iconic PDX airportcarpet ($12) to woolen scarves, throw pillow, shirts, Native American-inspiredblankets and co-branded Waterstone rain boots at the Pendleton shop. Bonus: PDX has street-pricing and there’s nosales tax in Oregon.
Dainty candy from Detroit
The Frivolous shop at Detroit Metropolitan Airport lives up to its promise of being filled with “wonderfully unnecessary” gift items. Consider candy ‘coal’ and dainty boxes of raspberry gummi candies ($7.99) or brightly colored, fully functional retro push-button phones ($69.99).
Craft beer six-packs
A bottle of wine from any of the more than two dozen Vino Volo airport locations would make a lovely gift. At Nashville International Airport, travelers can pick up six-packs of bottled craft beer to go at the Tennessee Brew Works kiosk and at Yazoo! Brewing or 4-packs of 16-ounce cans at Fat Bottom Beer Brewing.
The recently opened NoDa Brewing at CharlotteDouglas International Airport offers mix-n-match four packs of cans to go, with signature beers such as Coco Loco and Hop, Drop ‘N Roll.
Channel Seattle with flannel -or soap
“Sleepless in Seattle” nightshirts($32.99) are still available at airport shops in Seattle, even though the film is now 25 years old. The Sub Pop retail shop carries some of record company’s cool clothing line, including a $65 “Fremont Flannel.” And, at Made in Washington, Seattle’s own Jimi Hendrix is honored with PurpleHaze Lavender soaps ($9.99)
Crabs from Miami International Airport
Some Legal Sea Food branches at Boston’s Logan Airport will pack live lobsters to go, while at Miami’s International Airport, fresh Florida stone crabs can be packed for gift giving at Prive Gourmet Market or at My Ceviche.
Presents for pets and their people
At Phoenix Sky HarborInternational Airport (PHX), Connections (T4) sells Arizona Gourmet Doggie treats ($6.99), while Mosaic (pre-security T4) offers a wide range of fun dog-themed refrigerator magnets ($5.95).
Cute pet toys from BarkBox, which are usually available only by subscription, are for sale this season at numerous airport Hudson shops, including in Phoenix; Fresno, Los Angeles, San Jose, SanFrancisco, Orange County and Oakland, CA; Portland, OR; Seattle; andMinneapolis-St. Paul.
One great thing about doing holiday shopping at airports is that the stores open very early and close super late. Another plus: you can now find SouveNEAR’s vending machines stocked with locally-made gifts and craft items in Oakland International Airport (OAK), Kansas City International Airport (KCI) and NewarkLiberty International Airport (EWR; Terminal A).
Eko Kreations has napkins embroidered with California wildflowers (set of 4; $45) in theSouveNEAR machine at OAK, bottles of Zim’s Hot Sauce (set of 2, 3-oz bottles,$11) are available at KCI, and a tin filled with 10 scented mini soaps from OohLa La Petite Boutique is available at EWR.
Celebrity treatment at LosAngeles International Airport
A gift membership($4,500; not including per flight fees) or a one-time visit ($2700 – $4,000) to ThePrivate Suite at Los AngelesInternational Airport is a luxury splurge sure to impress.
The private terminal has its own security and customs/immigration screening as well as individual suites for guests with bathrooms, food pantries, daybeds and runway views. Suite-to-aircraft transportation (in BMW 7-Series sedans) is included.