Finding your loved ones gifts is both the best and worst part of the holiday season. Each year we try to give you ideas about the best places on Maui to find really great presents, and each year we exhaust ourselves. So this year we decided to let friends, community leaders, readers and strangers we met on the street do the deciding for us, leaving us time to get our own shopping done. Enjoy!
Contributors: Liliana Begley, Keith Benedict, Samantha Campos, Heidi King, Anthony Pignataro, Jen Russo
Marketing Director, Maui Arts & Cultural Center
The best local gift I ever received was from my friend Ryn, who—when I had to move back to San Francisco for a year to take care of my son—put an ad out for a new best friend because her Best Friend was moving and she just didn’t know how to cope without. Then she put the ad in a frame and gave it to me. My favorite local gift to give is fun Japanese/island package food and “crack seed” stuff: dried and pickled mango, li hing mui, arare, wasabi peanuts, dried squid, etc.—a whole box of whatever, because I think it’s a good thing for the recipient to experience. It’s a ”whether you like it or not” kinda thing. And you know, most people end up finding their next New Favorite Thing if they taste something they’ve never had before. The gift I would like to receive (or buy, but he won’t sell it to me): Chef Matteo’s light green Vespa… because it’s the perfect color Vespa.
VIP Cash ‘N Carry, 90 Amala Pl., Kahului, 871-2535; Longs Drugs, island-wide; Tamakawaya, 275 Kaahumanu Ave., 877-5551; Snacks Galore, Wailuku, Working Mommies, Kahului, Maui Harley-Davidson Kawasaki Vespa Audi, 150 Dairy Rd., Kahului, 877-7433. (SC)
Maui County Drug Court Administrator
For my daughter I go out and buy a little purse at Goodies ‘N Things in the Maui Mall, which is the Number One place on Maui to find Hello Kitty stuff and then I stuff it with dollar bills. Then when we go out we can go to Guri Guri, which is also in the Maui Mall, and she can get two scoops, which cost a dollar. What, you’ve never heard of Guri Guri? How long have you been on Maui? It’s this little, hole-in-the-wall place that sells this kind of sherbet/ice-cream. They have strawberry, but it doesn’t really taste like strawberry—more like a strawberry-fruit punch–and other fruit flavors. The kids love it.
Goodies ‘N Things, located at the Maui Mall, 871-4455; Tasaka Guri Guri, located at the Maui Mall, 871-4513. (AP)
Fitness Director and Personal Trainer, Powerhouse Gym
One of the best presents I’ve received is a crocheted hammock with a pillow connected. I’m very physically active so at the end of the day, it feels so good to grab a beer, put my feet up and swing. It also has to do with where I live; it just wouldn’t be the same if you put that thing up in Kansas, y’know? Now I just need a mini fridge out there.
Costco, 540 Haleakala Hwy, Kahului, 877-5248. (HK)
As I get older I find that I am buying more useful gifts. And also with my girlfriends getting together for a girl party and enjoying each other’s company is more important than the gifts. But for my immediate family I’m not getting stupid stuff. My dad likes to ride bikes so I head straight for the bike shop and get him stuff there. My granddaughter wants a guitar. Not any guitar, but a $600 guitar—fancy—to take lessons with. Well, I won’t be buying that but I will probably give her some money towards it. I try to match the gift with the person. It’s more meaningful.
West Maui Cycles, 661-9005; South Maui Bicycles, 1993 S Kihei Rd., 874-0068; Bounty Music, 111 Hana Hwy., 871-1141; Lahaina Music, 910 Honoapiilani Hwy., 661-7625. (JR)
Well, the holidays are about giving, not receiving, right? I always enjoy our company party and going to my friends’ house. We all get together and have a big party at the same person’s place every year. We all bring food and drink. So instead of everyone getting something for everyone we have this thing at the office where we all bring one gift and then do an exchange. The best thing I got was a gift certificate for a dinner-for-two at Sansei, but now the amount of spending is limited so everyone gets semi-equal gifts. So that doesn’t happen anymore. I always get a nice bottle of wine as the gift. I mean everyone can enjoy that. I hope I don’t give away the surprise.
Hawaii Liquor Superstore, 270 Dairy Road, 877-8778; Kihei Wine & Spirits, 300 Ohukai Rd., 879-0555; Mr. Wine, 808 Waihee St., 661-5551, The Wine Corner, Hana Hwy., 579-8904. (JR)
I really like Maui Tropix and Honolua Surf Co. It’s the best place to get board shorts and T-shirts because they have clothes that represent Maui, but not in a touristy way. But my favorite-ist store, in Kihei anyway, is Beach Road Records. I just received a gift certificate and can’t wait to spend it. They may not have the largest selection in the actual store, but they can order anything for you and it’s there in a week.
Maui Tropix, 261 Dairy Rd., Kahului, 871-8726, 90 Hana Hwy, Paia, 579-9816 and 786 Front St., Lahaina, 661-9296; Honolua Surf Co., Shops of Wailea, 891-8229, 2411 S Kihei Rd., Kihei, 874-0999, 845 Front St., Lahaina, 661-8848, Lahaina Cannery Mall, 661-5777 and Whalers Village, Ka`anapali, 661-5455; Beach Road Records, The Rainbow Mall, Kihei, 874-8863. (HK)
Intern, Maui Time Weekly
I love motorcycles, especially those with a V-twin motor. A couple years ago my then girlfriend, now wife, gave me my favorite local Christmas present, a gift certificate at the local Harley Davidson dealer. I knew it wasn’t a cheap gift. People in the Harley community also affectionately refer to the letters H-D as another abbreviation for a Hundred Dollars. This is because anything you want to do with a Harley will cost you a hundred dollars on up. I prefer sneaky giving. The best form of giving is the anonymous variety. Giving to children should be the point of this season, especially the little ones in need. My favorite way of doing this is in years past has been to utilize the Angel Tree program.
Maui Harley-Davidson Kawasaki Vespa, 150 Dairy Rd., Kahului, 877-7433; Salvation Army, 871-6270 ext. 225. (KB)
I like to make gifts. Every year it’s something different. Sometimes I do cookies, or ornaments. It’s Christmas related. So with regards to shopping, I go to Ben Franklin or Long’s to get the stuff I need. Sometimes it’s the market, like Star Market or Safeway. I spend a lot of time crafting things together. I made some ornaments out of dried pasta and painted it. I also did a big cookie platter for my class. It’s therapeutic making all the gifts. Lot of work, too. The best year or thing that I made was little photo ornaments that I printed on my computer. But that was so much work to decorate them all. I had to make it easier this year.
Ben Franklin Crafts, Queen Kaahumanu Center, 877-3337; Long’s, island-wide; Star Market, island-wide; Safeway, island-wide. (JR)
Bartendress, Stella Blues
My friend Christian kept telling me about this movie called The Secret, saying it was “amazing” and “life changing.” I found it at Maui Body and Soul, which is a meta-physical store/spa. She was right. It’s such a great film about the laws of attraction and living positively. I really wanted to share the message and so I bought another as a present for a friend. My favorite place to buy presents for my girlfriends is Mahina, the perfect unique, affordable boutique. It’s fairly new. It’s all women’s clothing, fashionable and comfortable. They don’t have a lot of accessories because they own the jewelry store right next to it (Lotus Moon).
Maui Body and Soul, Azeka Mauka, Kihei, 875-9004; Mahina, Baldwin Ave., Paia, 579-9131; Lotus Moon, Baldwin Ave., Paia, 579-8634. (HK)
Title Corp. Executive
Well, the best gift I got was the one I bought for myself. I like to go to the Shops at Wailea. They have the designer label stuff. I know you want the local businesses included and that is why I also mention that the Enchantress is in there. I love that shop. It’s where to go for your holiday party wardrobe. Silk dresses—they actually have gowns, like ball gowns for the red carpet. I am not dressing up that much for the holidays here but someone is, I guess. I also go to the Honolua Surf in there for the swimwear. It’s not too risque but it’s still modern. Plus there are a lot of galleries in there. You can find pricey gifts, but also wander like you are in a museum, which we don’t have here.
Enchantress Boutique, 891-6360; Honolua Surf Co., 891-8229; Various Galleries; The Shops at Wailea, www.shopsatwailea.com; 891-6770. (JR)
Registered Nurse, Maui Memorial Medical Center
The most kick-ass Maui-made gift that I ever got for Christmas was an Ivy Hannah Handbag. It’s so cute! It looks like a little hula skirt. It goes good with everything and people are always stopping me on the street to ask where I got it. There are some other “hula skirt”-looking bags out there but don’t be fooled by knockoffs. Ivy Hannah’s been doing it the longest and the other ones out there are borderline tacky while hers are totally chic. She also does these cool flapper-ish fringe bags in all these different colors. I know you used to be able to get them around Makawao and a couple places in Wailea but maybe you should just call the designer herself.
Ivy Hannah handbags, 280-0141. (LB)
I took a helicopter ride last year. That was amazing. It’s a perk being in the travel industry business though. Not everyone can do that. Boat trips, tours—those are all great gifts here. But if you can’t afford that, the next best thing is plan your own hike or tour. Go to Haleakala! Get outside and drive the countryside. Take a surf lesson. I don’t know why people are here on Maui if they don’t want to enjoy what the outdoors have to offer. Maybe that is why we are getting paved over so much.
Air Maui, 877-7008; Blue Hawaiian, 871-8844; Sunshine Helicopters 871-0722; all at Kahului Airport. (JR)
Manhattan Mama, Coconut Cabaret
Well, I hate shopping for clothes, and my husband has much better taste than I do anyway, so I love when he gets me clothes or jewelry from Nuage Bleu because you can’t go wrong. The gift we always bring people on the mainland is the red clay salt, which they sell at Mana or Pukalani Superette for $4 and sells at Dean & Deluca in New York City for $15. Oh, and I always love getting a gift certificate for a massage because I’m too cheap to get them for myself and there are so many great masseuses here—as I always say, on Maui you can’t swing a cat without hitting a massage therapist.
Nuage Bleu, 76 Hana Hwy., Paia, 579-9792; Mana Foods, 49 Baldwin Ave., Paia, 579-8078; Pukalani Superette, 15 Makawao Ave., 572-7616. (SC)
Well, I sit around with books all the time so I want to get people books. I get all the kids I have to shop for books, too. I want them to read. The only local bookstore I know of is the little used bookstore in Lahaina. It’s fantastic. I get lots of reading material there. It’s small and cozy, the way a bookstore should be. But the huge bookstore like Border’s in Kahului is helpful too. Oh, I like Amazon, too, I have to admit. My husband doesn’t get me books for Christmas. He doesn’t know what to get because I read so much. That’s fine, and I don’t get him books either.
Old Lahaina Book Emporium, 834 Front St., 661-1399; Border’s Books, 270 Dairy Rd., 877-6160; Amazon, www.amazon.com. (JR)
Airline Security, TSA
This year I’m hoping to get some candles and maybe some wine for Christmas. My wife’s due with our first baby on December 20th, so the wine and candles may come in handy, you know? I like the candles from the Island Candle Company—they have this new scent called Hawaiian White Ginger that’s supposed to be nice, and they also make candles from Hawaiian beeswax, which is a good idea for sending to relatives on the mainland. As for the wine, I really enjoy the Ulupalakua Red. It’s perfect for cold weather and sitting by the fireplace.
Maui’s Winery (Tedeschi Vineyard), Kula, 878-6058; The Island Candle Company, Maalaea, 873-6161. (LB)
Oh, last year I must have been good cuz we got a flat screen TV from Discount Plus in Lahaina. Dat was da best gift. They have good deals for da kine electronics, plus any kine stuff like foods and tools. But I dunno about dis year. I think we going just get DVDs.
Discount Plus, 840 Wainee St., Lahaina, 667-7555; Azeka Makai, Kihei. (JR)
Agricultural Inspector, USDA
Well, I’m planning on going up to Ali`i Kula Lavender in Kula to do a tour and make a holiday wreath, so I’ll probably give the wreath away as a present. Kill two birds with one stone. The kama`aina rates are half-price up there, so I get to do a bunch of stuff and have a gift to give away for pretty cheap. I think when I do the tour I get to look around and eat scones and stuff. They have a gift shop up there too, with a whole bunch of made-on-Maui stuff. It should be fun.
Ali`i Kula Lavender, 1100 Waipoli Rd., Kula, 878-3004. (LB)
I go to the Love Shack—anything you need for a sexy Christmas. Give the gift of love. [Dj EdV was then unavailable for further questioning. Wonder what he’s up to? Sinner.]
The Love Shack, Kihei Kalama Village, 875-0303; Paradise Spice, 1010 Lower Main St., Wailuku, 249-2449; Lahaina Lingerie, 129 Lahainaluna Rd., Lahiana, 661-3117. (HK)
I love antiques, so that is what I always want. They don’t even have to be actual antiques, just old nick-nacks. I got this cool bottle last year from my boyfriend. It has a history—dug up from an old buried trash pile. Basically buried treasure. There are some great antique stores on the island, if you don’t have time to dig. In Paia on Hana Highway there is one called Paia Trading Co. that has great stuff. I like their furniture and pictures a lot. There are a bunch on Market Street, some really expensive, some really cheap, too. You just have to have time to look around.
Paia Trading Co. 106 Hana Hwy., 579-9472; Bird of Paradise Antiques, 56 N. Market St., 242-7699; Brown-Kobayashi, 38 N. Market St., 242-0804; Sheila’s Junktique, 139 Market St., 244-9610. (JR)
Senior Account Executive, Wailea Marriott Resort
The best local gift I’ve received was Buffalo Keaulana’s surfboard by his sister. My best stand-by gifts? Subscription to Maui Time, Sam Sato’s manju, Komoda Bakery malasadas, used ball of surfboard wax, Maui-kine shot glass, Girls of Maui calendar, rubbah slippahs, Hawaiian music CD, DVD of Merrie Monarch Festival, Maui coffee table books… and I forgot about all the cheesy shit from Hilo Hatties I’ve bought—aloha-print Christmas stockings, surfing Santas, crackhead reindeer, etc. And what have I had my eye on? A night on the town with a local A&E columnista. And if that don’t work, a `ukulele.
Sam Sato’s, 1750 Wili Pa Loop, Wailuku, 244-7124; Komoda Bakery, 3674 Baldwin Ave., Makawao, 572-7261; Hilo Hattie, Lahaina Center, 667-7911; Bounty Music, 111 Hana Hwy., Kahului, 871-1141; Mele Ukulele, 1750 Ka`ahumanu Ave., Wailuku, 244-3938. (SC)
I have teenage girls so I don’t know what I will be getting from them. My girls love clothes so that is what I am shopping for this year. They like the surfer girl look so I have a list from them. I will be at Shapers, Local Motion, Honolua Surf Co.. I will also go to Paia to the other surf shops there. Simmer, Hana Highway. Those are good, too. It’s a lot of fun to see the girls open the gifts on Christmas. They are so excited. My daughters are not too spoiled. I don’t just get them everything they want. They have to work for it, too. Be on their best behavior or I will hold out. I hope they read this.
Shapers, Ka`ahumanu Center, 877-7873; Local Motion, island-wide, www.localmotionhawaii.com; Honolua Surf Co., island-wide; Simmer Hawaii, 137 Hana Hwy., 579-8484; Hana Highway Surf, 65 Hana Hwy, 579-8999. (JR) MTW