The holiday season is fast approaching, and for many people that brings one thing to mind — it’s gift time.

But beyond receiving gifts, this is also the time to give them, and finding the perfect item for someone special is often hard to do. Here are a few local stores that are not the standard mall fare, and well worth a visit. They can all be reached by Bus 72 to the Memorial Art Gallery, or Bus 21 to Park Avenue, so there’s no excuse if you give your dad or brother another ugly tie this year.

memorial art gallery gift shop500 university ave.

When most people think “gift shop” images of cheap plastic snow globes and “Grandma went to Barbados and all I got was this stupid shirt” shirts spring to mind. But museum gift shops can be a great place to buy unique and unusual gifts for the artistically inclined. The Memorial Art Gallery’s gift shop is a treasure trove of gold and silver jewelry, posters and prints of famous artwork, unusual clothing and stationary. Currently, the gift shop is displaying a collection of stunning art glass that, while pricey, would be a gift that’s remembered for years.

the bop shop274 north goodman ave.village gate mall

For the audiophiles on your shopping list, the Bop Shop is the place to go. With its relaxed atmosphere and huge selection of CDs, vinyl and 45s you’ll enjoy shopping for a gift as much as the recipient will enjoy receiving it. The Bop Shop’s offerings are diverse, and include bluegrass, rock, oldies, blues, jazz, zydeco, classical and spoken word. There are also used CDs available for purchase, and well as vintage record player components.

moodmakers274 north goodman ave.village gate mall

Moodmakers is a fairly extensive bookstore, specializing in African-American items. This is a great place to buy materials on Kwanzaa, as well as pick up a book or movie on African-American history. Calendars, bags and figurines are offered for sale and would make a thoughtful present. There is also a collection of rewritten fairy tales that would be great gifts for the younger brother or niece in your family.

parkleigh215 park ave.

Parkleigh is probably the best known store on this list, but with good reason. Any holiday buyer’s guide wouldn’t be complete without mentioning this store, whose eclectic mix of middle to high-end gifts is sure to include something on your gift-giving list.

Parkleigh has a wide array of seasonal ornaments and decorations, plus a pottery collection, shoes, clothes, coffee and candy, and a complete line of Crabtree and Evelyn products.

This is a great store for shopping for mothers or eccentric aunts.

craft company no. 6785 university ave.

This store is a holiday shopper’s heaven. As you walk through the “holiday walk” they have designed outside the store, you are greeted by wooden reindeer figurines and wrought iron snowmen warming themselves in front of a fake fire.

Once inside, the holiday theme is continued throughout the store with dozens of themed Christmas trees showing off the variety of ornaments that are for sale. Craft Company No. 6 sells just about everything one can imagine, from jewelry to furniture, kid’s items to wine holders.

This store should be a stop on everyone’s list, just to put you in the holiday spirit. But be warned, the place is so big that one could easily spend hours exploring all the items it has to offer.

dominican cigar company221 alexander ave.

For the older, perhaps more discriminating people on your shopping list, a stop at the Dominican Cigar Company provides an unusual alternative to traditional holiday gifts. The cigar shop offers a wide variety of handmade cigars, all reasonably priced. Vanilla flavored cigars are a mere $5 for three, and for a more complex taste a red wine and honey flavored cigar sells for $5 apiece. Other flavored cigars include coffee, chocolate and cherry, and you can order other flavors by special request.

comics, etc.274 north goodman ave.village gate mall

Despite the popular misconception, comics aren’t just for imaginative five-year-olds or nerdy middle-aged geeks. Comics are big business, and there’s something for everyone at Comics, Etc. There are the old favorites like Spiderman and Superman, but the store also carries more modern comic tales like Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Whether or not you know someone who would drool over a mint-edition copy of the Amazing Hulk, this store is a great place just to poke around the comics and get in touch with your inner child.

stever’s candy kitchen623 park ave.

As soon as you step inside the door to Stever’s your mouth begins to water and your eyes race from one type of candy to the next. A Rochester standard since 1979, Stever’s homemade candy is a great gift. They offer almost every type of candy imaginable, from peppermint patties to caramel corn to chocolate covered fortune cookies — with a real fortune inside.

It’s tempting to shop at Stever’s just for yourself, but make up a box of milk or dark covered caramels and cremes for a special someone and make sure they’ll share some with you. Sugar-free candy is also available, but then again, who would want it?

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