There’s a long pause as the clerks try to decide. Most shops have so many items to choose from they don’t know what to recommend first.
At Tooie’s Country Store, across the street from the Rodd Grand Hotel, Sylvia Hoben sought out the “tarts” – bags full of chunks of scented wax for $8.95 each. These can be placed in a tart burner over a votive candle to slowly melt, filling the air with the fragrance of pumpkin pie, butter rum, coconut vanilla, hazelnut and more.
“We have people coming from Digby and the Valley, everywhere, to buy these,” said Hoben.
It was the unique salt-and-pepper-shaker shoes and boots, starting at $9.99, that giftware clerk Cathy LeBlanc pointed out at Spears and MacLeod Pharmasave.
“These ones are my favorite,” she said, holding a tiny pair of fleece-topped mukluks in her hand.
Connected to the City Drug Store, the gift section - At Every Bloomin’ Thing – has a wide variety of bright and colourful items.
Clerk Cheryl Eyre selected the Toastabags as her stocking stuffer pick. You can grill a cheese sandwich in the toaster in these reusable, non-stick sandwich bags that sell for $5.95. They’re sold two in a package and can be used up to 50 times. Reheating pizza or French fries is also easy to do in these bags, which save you from having to use your full-size oven or toaster oven.
At Sandy’s Gifts, sales associate Monica Muise says the Tail Town’s Friends are a big hit.
Selling for $14.99, the tiny polystone characters are handcrafted and painted with detail. Players can collect these mouse figurines with their virtual codes to play the Tail Town game on Facebook.
“My two daughters each have one. The characters are all connected and they can help each other,” said Muise.
A good selection of books, many of them written for children, can be found at the Yarmouth Wool Shoppe. Lobster Fishing on the Sea for $9.50, written by Maureen Hall and illustrated by Brenda Jones, is one that stood out. All prices at this store include tax.
At Runner’s Attic/Hamilton Fine Clothing, manager Mark Hubbard listed the selling points of clear shoe polish, selling for $7.99 with a sponge applicator.
“It’s neutral, clear, and will polish any colour of shoe. It puts that little sparkle in your outfit,” he said.
“You can’t have a gown or a suit on and dirty shoes. It polishes up your outfit.”
Toot’s Confectionary is known for its shelves crammed with books, magazines and old-fashioned candy. Bags of penny candy are available for stuffing stockings, in addition to Astro Pops ($3.78) and pink candy popcorn ($1.96).
Plush lobsters are as cheap as the real crustaceans at The Yum Yum Tree. Esther Strug can lead you around the store to lobster bookmarks ($2.75), lobster soap ($1.25) and lobster candles ($3.95) in addition to the stuffed lobster.
“We have to support our local icon,” said Strug with a laugh.
Silvia Madauss, owner of the Art Treasury Shop, specializes in antiques and gifts. She directed the search for stocking stuffers to nightlights in the form of butterflies, Christmas ornaments and birds, for $14.90.
Hands on Crafts is a cooperative venture that features the talents of many local craftspeople. Kristanne Chandler has colourful fabric covers here for small packages of Kleenex. They sell for $3.
“People can put them in their bookbags and the Kleenex won’t be all over the place,” she said.
The items mentioned in this article are just a few available at Main Street stores. Clerks could undoubtedly fill you in on the many other gift ideas they thought of after being interviewed.