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SHOPS ON MARKET TO SAVE ABSENTMINDED SECRET SANTAS


This is going to happen: It’s Secret Santa day at work. Or maybe your office likes its holiday parties to end in tears and recriminations, so you play Dirty Santa. Or maybe you call it a Pollyanna, which is a real thing that some people call Secret Santas, because … well, no one can really explain that very well.

Point is, at some point, you are going to find yourself at work on a group gift-giving occasion and you will be the person who doesn’t have a gift for the group.

Here is how you deal: Four shops, all likely within a couple blocks of your office, all reachable during a “coffee break,” all very accustomed to Shamed Santas running in to buy $10-$20 gifts that don’t look like they were purchased at the last minute.

• Govatos Chocolates (800 N. Market St.): As long as you’re reasonably sure your Secret Santa likes chocolate, it’s hard to go wrong with anything you’ll find here. A half pound of truffles will run you $15, but Nick Govatos suggests the crowd-pleasing, salty-sweet, chocolate-covered pretzels. “They seem to satisfy a lot of needs,” Nick says. A half pound of dark chocolate whole pretzels will run you $9.95, which means you’ll get out of there for les than $20 when you also buy one for yourself, because, let’s be real, that’s what you’re going to do.

• Ninth Street Book Shop (730 N. Market St.): Books are a good gift even for someone who already has a book, but “generally, people don’t want to get to personal with office gifts,” says owner Jack Buckley. He directs most people to the Humor section. “You’re not going to want to go into Psychology. Of course, Humor can be dangerous too.” The gift-giving shelf has some of this year’s most-likely-to-be-universally-beloved gifts (like Hamilton: The Revolution and Color Your Own Masterpiece adult coloring books). Jack says journals are also popular, including one little black book designed to write down all your Internet passwords. How incredibly handy. (Note: Do not give this gift if your Secret Santa is the IT guy.)

• Delaware History Museum (504 N. Market St.): The museum is newly remodeled and reopened – and the gift shop up front is full of Delaware pride, from The Home T Delaware t-shirts (as seen on “Shark Tank!”) to many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten Delaware lore. “The Delaware tobacco jars and crocks are very popular,” says Maggie Meyers, from the museum. “We actually give them out to employees as gifts.” Pause. “And you don’t need to call them tobacco jars.” Oh, but we will, even though they’re more likely to be used for loose change than loose leaves these days. Well, unless Delaware law changes next year.

• The Hotel du Pont Hospitality Gift Shop (across from Rodney Square): Carrying “gifts for him, her, baby, hostess, coworker, or overnight traveler” – the hotel knows if you’re there, you’re probably in a pinch – and they’re here to help. On a blustery winter’s day, who wouldn’t want nice looking (and reasonably affordable) hat, scarf or gloves to add to their routine? All purchasable at the hotel, along with more traditional “gifty” items.

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North Market Street | Wilmington, DE

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