We’ll keep this simple.
It’s nearly Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and whatever else people celebrate these days, and you have no idea what to get your friends and family. Look, none of us really like how nakedly commercial the holidays have become, but there are ways to show your love that help locals here on Maui.
To help you out, we’ve compiled the following guide to a sleigh-load of local shops (many of which sell locally made products) that are just itching for your gift-buying business.
Satisfy wanderlust on the rock with the gift of action. Watch Mother Nature’s largest mammals frolic in the sea on a Pacific Whale Foundation boat cruise (800-942-5311 ext.1; pacificwhale.org), or a snorkel trip on one of Paragon Sailing Charters’ eco-friendly twin catamarans (800-441-2087; sailmaui.com). Do some rock hopping day tripping with ferry trips on Expeditions to Lanai (800-695-2624; go-lanai.com) and on the Molokai Princess to the Friendly Isle (866-307-6524; molokaiferry.com).
Hunting big game fish on sport fishing vessels from Lahaina and Ma‘alaea harbor is another way to see ocean fish. Prefer to take a hike? Hike Maui (866-324-6284; hikemaui.com) has an incredible reputation for leading the way to the island’s best tours. If traveling is your thing, then Chelsea Hill’s School of Languages will have you speaking in a wide variety of foreign tongues (357-9591; chelsea-hill.com). History lessons are vibrant on Maui Country Farm Tours, where you can go on a guided trek to Maui’s farms and step back in time (283-9131; mauicountryfarmtours.com). Take flight with an aerial tour of the island where you will see sites you can’t get to by foot, wheel or boat. Helicopter tours from Air Maui (Kahului Airport Rd., Kahului; 877-7005; airmaui.com) offer excellent deals for Kama‘aina and packages that cover everything from East Maui to Molokai’s breathtaking North Shore.
No matter how sustainably made a product might be, the greenest gift-giving route (save fixing something that’s broken) is to buy used items. However thrift, pawn and consignment aren’t without stigma. Simple answer: get over it. Not-so simple answer: be such a bad-ass secondhand shopper that you change the tune of anyone who’d otherwise turn up their nose. Besides, buying used is cool because the possibilities are as endless as our excess. Who knows what you might find?
For your OCD friend: an antique, glass Clorox bottle. For your DIY Dad: power tools from pawn shops. For your foodie friend: a vintage rolling pin with Bakelite handles. For your tragically hip hubby: old school aloha shirts and silk ties. For your kid: a pile of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles on VHS and a few stuffed animals you can rip the guts out of and turn into puppets. You get the idea.
Experienced shoppers know that the best vintage stuff (at prices that won’t make your cringe) is oft found at church-based thrift stores like St. Anthony’s (1627 Mill St., Wailuku; 242-7785), St. Joseph’s (1294 Makawao Ave.; 572-9150) and Holy Rosary (954 Baldwin Ave., Paia; 579-8714). Further, great finds can be had at Haiku’s Keiki Kokua Thrift (810 Haiku Rd.; 573-5393; keikikokua.org), which benefits Maui’s foster care community, and at the expansive Green Garage (400 Hana Hwy., Kahului; 344-2269; greengaragemaui.com).
And for all your hard work during the holidays, treat yourself to a swanky new outfit from consignment-esque shops like Elise (310 Alamaha St., Kahului; 89-ELISE; eleiseclothingcompany.com), Bohemia Boutique (105 N. Market St., Wailuku; 244-9995) and Rainbow Attic (1881 S. Kihei Rd.; 874-0884; rainbowatticmaui.com).
Beautiful sustainable gardens and fields of lavender grow at Alii Kula Lavender Farm (1100 Waipoli Rd., Kula; 878-3004; aklmaui.com). Embellish your body with this beneficial herb with their made in Maui products, which can also be found at Lilikoi Passionate Beauty (18 Baldwin Ave., Paia; 579-6055; lilikoibeauty.com). Lilikoi is a local cosmetics shop specializing in organic, natural and Hawaiian beauty products. They consciously choose to work with products that aren’t tested on animals and with manufacturers that nurture the earth.
Spa gifts like neck rolls you can freeze or microwave heat, scented eye pillows and locally made therapeutic body oils from Green Ti (40 N. Market St., Wailuku; 242-8788; greentimaui.com) are perfect moments of gift zen. Go to your local salons for unique and hard to find beauty brands and accesories for hair, visage and body. Health food stores like Hawaiian Moons (2411 S. Kihei Rd.; 875-4356; hawaiianmoons.com), Down to Earth (305 Dairy Rd., Kahului; 877-2661; downtoearth.org), Mana Foods (49 Baldwin Ave., Paia; 579-8078; manafoodsmaui.com) and Alive and Well (340 Hana Hwy, Kahului; 877-4950; aliveandwellmaui.com) offer great selections of locally made body products, many containing local herbs and tinctures.
Slough off the holiday stress with gifts of therapeutic massage from our local spas. Local salons offer color and cuts, blowouts and updos, and a great way to invest in me-time. Many offer Hawaii’s signature lomi lomi style of long rhythmic flow and natural and locally made oils.
Green Ti (40 N. Market St, Wailuku; 242-8788 and 95 Lipoa St, Kihei; 874-5333; greentimaui.com) offers a massage and facial package that’s affordable at $120. Maui Zen Spa (181 Lahainaluna Rd.; 661-7200; mauizen.com) offers 10 percent-off gift certificates through the end of this month.
For a more high tech beauty approach, you can opt for gift certificates to anti-aging lasers, microderm abrasions, laser hair removal and botox. There’s Dr. Bennet’s Med Spa (62 Baldwin Ave., Paia; 579-8979; drbennettsmedspa.com), MediSpa Maui (140 Ho‘ohana St., Kahului; 877-4909 and 41 E. Lipoa St., Kihei; 879-4909; medispamaui.com) and Aloha Dermatology (89 Ho‘okele St., Kahului; 877-6526; aloha-dermatology.com).
For the ultimate spa getaway, may we suggest Maui Spa Retreat (Olinda; 573-8002; mauisparetreat.com). They will have you in therapeutic bliss with a five hour treatment line up at the Olinda spa retreat. Working one-on-one with their team you can really customize anything, from the products they put on your body, to the flow of the treatments, and your exclusive catered lunch. Services include botanical body scrub for exfoliation, time in the sauna to open your pores, body wrap, scalp massage, body massage and facial or foot love. In between treatments you will soak up outstanding views while swimming in the salt pool or enjoying the hot tub hydrating with fresh fruited water. This is your private party, and no one else is allowed at the sanctuary during your beloved time here, except those in your reservation.
Nothing takes the edge off of Christmas shopping like a little nip in your eggnog. Even better, do all your shopping at one of Maui’s many local liquor stores, for great customer service and one-on-one spirits advice. Wailea Wine (161 Wailea Ike Pl.; 879-0555; waileawine.com), Rodeo General Store (3661 Baldwin Ave., Makawao; 572-1868) and the Wine Corner (149 Hana Hwy, Paia; 579-8904; mauiwinecorner.com) can help you locate great gifts from the vines. Aloha Discount Liquor (2439 S. Kihei Rd.; 874-8882), Valley Isle Liquor (95 E. Lipoa St., Kihei; 875-8753) and Hawaii Liquor Store (270 Dairy Rd., Kahului; 877-8778; hawaiiliquorstore.com) have great liquor gift sets and unique bottles. The Liquor Shack (1143 Makawao Ave.; 572-7775) has the best selection of mini bottles on the island.
With plenty of local liquor to give, the spirits of Maui are gifts by the glass. Ocean Vodka, Maui Rum, Okolehao, Sammy’s Beach Bar Rum, Pau Vodka and Old Lahaina Rum are all made on Maui products. Maui Brewing Company’s six pack beer flights of bikini blonde, coconut porter, and Big Swell IPA are all craft beers brewed on the Westside. Tedeschi Winery (Ulupalakua; 878-6058; mauiwine.com) has a sparkling rose made in the méthode traditionnelle.
Look around at your walls. What do you see? If your answer’s fine art from local artists, give yourself a pat on the back. If your answer’s cliche, mass produced prints from Walmart or Ross—devoid of any texture or life (and likely without royalty to the artist)—well, we won’t hold it against you that much. But we do recommend you at least attempt to decorate with more character. See, surrounding yourself with art you love—and art that was made with love—is enriching. However, enjoying art is such a personal experience it’s not exactly the sort of thing frivolously given to just whomever during the holidays. But, it is great for a spouse or house partner with whom you have a shared, sympathetic understanding of aesthetic. Heck, make it date and select the art together!
Look, we’re not saying you’ve gotta be the Vogels or anything. But more than a rug that ties the room together, a real piece of art by a real artist can transform a space. Nervous? Start small. There are price points for every budget. You can’t turn a corner on Maui without finding a studio, gallery or boutique that features a local artists’ work and we encourage you to scour them all. (For something truly unique and historically steeped—including nonpareil T-shirts and poster prints—visit Sandell Artworks on the corner of Wailuku Main and Market Streets.) But for a broad range of medium and style, we suggest you check out any one of Maui Hands’s four island-wide locations (Paia, Makawao, Lahaina and Kaanapali; mauihands.com), and the Hui No’eau’s stunning Hui Holidays (Nov. 21-Dec. 24), an chic annual tradition which “features works by Hui artists in jewelry, ceramics, prints, fiber, photography, glass and paintings, plus handmade ornaments.”
Some people have everything—or at least, need nothing. And those people usually have a few nice vases sitting empty in a cupboard somewhere. So what to get for the hostess with literally the mostest? Flowers! (Yep. Maui-grown flowers are more than a mail-order gift to make your Milwaukee friends jealous—though that’s fun, too.) If you’re looking for traditional arrangements—plus Mylar balloons and gift baskets—there’s no place quite like Kahului Florist (Maui Mall, 70 E. Kaahumanu Ave., Kahului; 877-3951; kahuluiflorist.com), a Central Maui company that has served Maui for more than 30 years.
But if your inner Martha Stewart is clawing to get out at Christmastime, try creating your own arrangements by buying grower-direct (it’s a good thing). Some of our favorites include Upcountry’s Paradise Flower Farms (331 Ihe Pl., Kula; 878-2591; paradiseflowerfarms.com), a great place to buy-by-the-bloom for lei making, and protea Anuhea Flowers (3643B Baldwin Ave., Makawao; 1-888-325-1988; anuheaflowers.com). Or why not drive the road to Hana (hey, it beats battling mall parking lots—and takes about as much time) and stock up from roadside stands and businesses like Nahiku Tropicals (nahikutropicals.com), ‘Ohana Lei and Flower (ohanaflower.com) and Hana Fantasy Flowers (hanafantasyflowers.net). For more, check out the Maui Flower Growers’ Association’s beautiful website (mauiflower.com) which has information about flower types, farm tours and a list of their members.
Maui is rich with locally made foods, but why not start with the earth’s bounty? Kula Fields (280-2099; kulafields.com) offers gift boxes for the holidays, amazing boxes of fresh fruits and veggies grown here. Maui Grown Coffee (277 Lahainaluna Rd.; 661-2728; mauigrowncoffee.com) has coffee grown on the West Maui slopes, and Maui Coffee Roasters (444 Hana Hwy, Kahului; 800-645-2877; mauicoffeeroasters.com) has several Kona estate coffees to choose among, plus free shipping through the end of this month. Wailuku Coffee Company (26 N. Market St., Wailuku; 495-0259) has coffee gift packs and mugs, shop while you pick up your morning cup of joe.
Everybody lights up with a box of baked goods, with so many famous local bakeries on Maui firing up your oven is optional. Leoda’s (820 Olowalu Village Rd.; 662-3600; leodasolowalu.com) features loaves of fluffy artisan breads and amazing little pies, like graham cracker crust banana cream pie and a chocolate fudge caramel macadamia that is nearly as addicting as cocaine. Pastries and cream puffs from Komoda Bakery (3674 Baldwin Ave., Makawao; 572-7261) are so famous for gifting that they have their own Facebook app. Maui Bake Shop (2092 W. Vineyard St., Wailuku; 242-0064) has delicious holiday cookie assortments, fresh fruit tarts and specialty French patisserie items. The Four Sisters Bakery (1968 E. Vineyard St., Wailuku; 244-9333) makes malasada and butter rolls by the dozen, while Homemaid Bakery’s (1005 L. Main St., Wailuku; 244-7015) famous flaky Manju and jelly roll cakes are coveted island-wide.
Sweet Paradise Chocolatier (34 Wailea Gateway Pl.; 344-1040; sweetparadisechocolate.com) makes chocolates that are gorgeous edible works of art and amazing boxed assortments. Maui Specialty Chocolates (180 E. Wakea, Kahului; 871-1222; mauispecialtychocolates.com) has spectacular dark chocolate peanut butter cups and nut clusters, and Wowee Candy Bars are made in Wailuku and found at food stores island wide. For a different kind of chocolate, the Surfing Goat Dairy (3651 Omaopio Rd., Kula; 878-2870; surfinggoatdairy.com) makes truffles from goat cheese, which packs their chocolates with additional health benefits. You can also pick up some of their goat cheese in over 10 different flavors and textures.
There is no better way to savor the flavors of the island than by giving gift certificates to local restaurants. Universally people love to eat, but here on Maui we take eating to the next level: destination dining is an art form.
Warning: if you gift fauxwaiiana (you know, touristy crap that boasts Hawaii’s name though it’s made anywhere but), a gang of menehune will waddle into your bedroom at night and eat your eyeballs. We trust you’d like to keep your sense of sight (and anyway, we obviously made up that menehune stuff—which is a shame, really), in which case we have good news: authentic artisans abound at craft fairs from Lahaina’s Banyan Tree to Hana Town, and lots of local boutiques and galleries pay homage to the host culture by selling some Hawaiiana wares.
Aunty Leona (70 E. Ka’ahumanu Ave., Kahului, 873-7955) has recently reopened Maui Creations at the Maui Mall. Hawaiian moon calendars, precious Hawaiian warrior weapons, tahitian pearls and authentic artisan goods are all back. And right now, get the book Life in the Pacific of the 1700s, free with a $10 purchase.
But for all things truly Hawaiian, there’s no shop quite like Native Intelligence (45 N. Market St., Wailuku; 249-2421). While many other places have a broad art gallery niche or pander too much to tourists, the elegant air and offerings of Native Intelligence are discernibly bona fide. Whatever you need, they’ve got it–including lau hala and Ni’ihau shell jewelry, exquisite decorative weapons, fine hula implements, apparel, fresh lei and local literature.
Priorities being what they are, there are practical gifts like socks and toiletries—and then there are very practical gifts like smoking implements. Tobacco smoking implements, of course. One nice thing about the practicality of tobaccy tools—unlike boring socks—is how perfectly unpractical they can seem. A water pipe slide cut like a crystal as big as the Hope Diamond? Ridiculous, yes—but indispensable. A handcrafted glass creation that looks like a crustacean? It’s a piece—and a piece of art! Never mind that stuff like papers, screens and incense make for great stocking-stuffers. And further: window dressings. While some might think a place like Pier 1 is the only outlet at which to get quality curtains, never underestimate the awe-inspiring aesthetic of a Bob Marley flag and thumbtacks.
Mainstays, like newly expanded Westside Vibes (1087 Limahana Pl., Lahaina; 667-1900; @Westsidevibes on Twitter), Hawaiian Holy Smokes (320 Okukai Rd., Kihei; 879-2826; hawaiiianholysmokes.com) and Maui Mana (1794 S. Kihei Rd.; 875-7881) can hook you up with the isle’s best selections; but never underestimate the offerings of more quaint locations like Psychedelic Emporium (42 Baldwin Ave., Paia; 281-5928), Hemp House (16 Baldwin Ave., Paia; 579-8880), Alice In Hulaland (19 Baldwin Ave., Paia; 579-9922; aliceinhulaland.com), Still Smoking (Above Blackies Pit Stop in Kihei; 874-1040), Haiku Smoke Shop (810 Haiku Rd.; 250-7556) and Requests (10 N. Market St., Wailuku; 244-9315; @RequestsHI on Twitter).
When settles the storm of things untied from their strings, children oft play more with the cardboard that boxed their gifts than the gifts themselves (both to the chagrin and amusement of their lightened-wallets adults). But give a kid something of substance that ignites their imagination—say, a fascinating stone or two—and you might find you’ve captured their interest. It may sound boring at first, but think of how good you’ll feel when your inspire future gem-or geologists, thanks to that fateful Christmas afternoon spent pondering the coruscating cavities of geodes glinting in the Hawaiian sun, or the Goldilocks luck of a fossil that’s millions of years old!
Great places to get Earth treasures are Green Lotus (1816 Mill St., Wailuku; 244-2300), Crystal Dreams (Maui Mall, 70 E. Ka‘aahumanu Ave., Kahului; 877-2158), and Lotus Heart Gifts (Temple of Peace, 575 Haiku Rd.; 575-5220). These hippie hubs are obviously geared for adults of the esoteric edge—so while you’re there, you can take care of the hippie homies on your list, too.
Status. Symbolism. Security. Whether a protective amulet, practical accessory or purely for adornment, jewelry serves a lot of functions—and has for a hundred millennia (the BBC reports that an international research team identified the “earliest known pieces of jewelery,” as being tiny, 100,000-year-old shell beads “from Skhul Cave on the slopes of Mount Carmel in Israel”). Though it goes without saying, jewelry is a time-tested way to say you care. After all, diamonds are a girl’s best friend (in which case, shows you really, really care).
Being that it’s such a comely commodity, jewelry can be found nearly anywhere and at any price point. Most local boutiques, galleries, farmers’ markets and community fairs (heck, even gas stations like Uptown Chevron, 2085 Main St., Wailuku) offer styles from metalwork to beaded items; and, seeing as we’re in Hawaii Nei, jewelry made with scads of shells and seeds, and (as trends have dictated of late), flocks-worth of feathers. A lot—if not most—of these items are made by local artisans; and if you’re ever unsure, simply ask sales associates.
But there’s something to be said for the panache of a dedicated jewelry store—and certainly for a true blue jeweler (who can do custom work and repair or resize heirlooms). If that’s what you’re after, look no further than Maui Topaz Goldsmith & Gallery (Dolphin Plaza, 2395 S. Kihei Rd.; 879-5877; mauitopaz.com), a mom and pop biz helmed for more than two decades by David Fairclough (a silver-and goldsmith) and his wife Nancy. Too, there’s Treasure Imports (22 N. Market St., Wailuku; 244-7202) and JS Kuge & Sons Jewelers (737 L. Main St., Wailuku; 244-4961).
Furthermore, a couple of local companies have risen to the upper echelons of jewelry manufacturing. Maui Divers Jewelry (six island-wide locations; mauidivers.com) had humble beginnings when founded in Lahaina in the late 1950s, but today the company boasts being “the largest manufacturer of precious coral jewelry in the world, as well as the largest jewelry manufacturer in the state of Hawaii,” and every piece is “handcrafted, from design sketch to final stone setting” in Honolulu. Meanwhile, Na Hoku (nine island-wide locations; nahoku.com) began in 1924 and now has 69 locations across the country. National Jeweler, a prominent industry magazine, ranks Na Hoku #11 of the “Top 50 North American Retail Chains” (by units)—a list which otherwise includes Zale Corp. (#1), Helzberg Diamonds (#4), Tiffany & Co. (#7) and Ben Bridge Jeweler (#10).
Ri Lala garments for girls are “fits for a modern princess,” according to the company (rilala.com or etsy.com/shop/Rilala). They offer bright designer fabrics in dresses, princess crowns, pillows, totes, pettiskirts and wands.
Maui Thing (7 N. Market St., Wailuku; 249-0215; mauithing.com) onesies tuned my offspring’s fashion sense, and by age four the tiny fashionista was asking for Maui Thing by name. Fun designs that play on words, nature and images entertain and delight child and adult, boys and girls alike.
Bikini and grass skirts sets are adorable at Oh Baby (706 Front St., Lahaina; 667-0707) where you will also find one-of-a-kind hand painted onesies, and small sized jewelry. The Maui Swap Meet at UH Maui College on Saturday mornings also offers plenty of crafty artists creating unique children’s clothing and accessories.
LOCALS ONLY ONLINE
Even if you don’t have time to step foot in a store you can leave the Christmas work up to the elfin workshops at Etsy and still support Maui biz. The “shop local” button on Etsy.com is genius: you can dial it down to artisans of your own zip code. There was a mind-blowing 3,361 items from a Maui zip code check. Coveted items from the 96761 included a tiki notebook from Themoaagent store and koa and mango wood paddles. Dollzfordays makes ornate decorated and studded bras in Kahului, and Kihei surprised me with handmade aloha print doll clothes and beautiful handmade cards. Haiku was on fire with hand blown glass sculpture, herbal smoking blend, and clever leather cuffs by Robinsapparel. The opihi earrings by NalaniZ and twilight inspired bookmarks of Babyblowblingnthings made Santa’s list among the 915 items in Makawao.
Etsy isn’t the only place to find online local businesses. The nature inspired florals, popular “lei” shirt, and polynesian honu designs on high quality cotton are some of the Maui inspired screen print and airbrush clothing at ajja.com and kapua.com, but you can drop in on them at Maui’s Swap Meet on Saturdays, too.
Eddie Tanaka shares his 30 years on Molokai with his album release Mystical Molokai. Hoping that this musical manao of his memories will create memorable moments in time for you, Tanaka’s first album is diverse, with songs both in Hawaiian and English. Try listen before you buy at mysticalmolokai.com, and talk story with Tanaka on facebook.com/mysticalmolokai.
No one need shop for men’s apparel very long before running into the inescapable conclusion that there are approximately 10 women’s boutiques on the planet for every men’s wear shop. It’s daunting arithmetic for someone wanting to get that special guy a special shirt or pair of trousers or whatever guys wear today besides shorts and t-shirts (living on Maui will do that to a guy), but even on this rock you can find some great local shops that offer great duds.
Like HIM (4310 L. Honoapi‘ilani Rd., #112, Kahana; 669-2529; himmaui.com), which for the last four years has been both inconveniently located way out in Kahana and a fantastic source for really sharp men’s shirts, both aloha and plain. They’ve got Tommy Bahama shirts (some of it Santa Claus-related) and a sizable supply of colorful, yet stylish aloha shirts from the Hawaiian brand Kahala. These are the real deal–not those inside-out banker’s shirts but classy, comfortable Hawaiian shirts. Of course, true fans can also check out the Kahala store in Ka‘anapali (Whaler’s Village, 2435 Ka‘anapali Parkway; 661-0963).
Those wanting well-made, local-feel shirts but who aren’t really into the flash of traditional aloha wear should check out Aloha Cowboy (3643 Baldwin Ave., Makawao; 573-8190; alohacowboy.net), one of the few purveyors on the island for paniolo-style palaka shirts. These checkered blue and white denim shirts were standard kit for the island’s plantation and ranch workers from the late 19th century to present day.
Those who want something a bit more intellectual would do well to check out some of the island’s museum gift shops. It’s not the Bishop Museum, but the quaint Bailey House Museum (2375-A Main St., Wailuku; 244-3326; mauimuseum.org) in Wailuku offers a solid helping of art and artifact for the culturally aware on Maui. And their gift shop is the island’s best source for old photos of Hawaii and King David Kalakaua, posters showing royal Hawaiian lineage, unframed prints of art by Edward Bailey himself and copies of Maui writer Linda Decker McCullough’s new biography Edward Bailey of Maui.
Perhaps you’re in the mood for something a bit more nautical. Maui may not have a lot of book stores, but the Pacific Whale Foundation store (300 Ma‘alaea Rd., Suite 211; 249-8977; pacificwhale.org) offers tons of whale and sea books. There’s Moby Dick by Herman Melville, of course, but also K. L. Evan’s Whale!, which interprets Melville’s classic as an example of Ludwig Wittgenstein’s political philosophy, which I’m assuming we’re all thoroughly briefed on.
Speaking of whales, who can forget the Whalers Village Museum gift shop (2435 Ka‘anapali Pkwy; 661-4567; whalersvillage.com/museum.htm)? They have smart-set stuff like the beyond-authoritative Mapping the Lands and Waters of Hawaii by Riley Moffat and Gary L. Fitzpatrick, but also cool stuff like reasonably priced Hawaii-themed stamps, beach glass bracelets and sea life prints. Plus they validate your parking at the museum regardless of whether you make a purchase! Sweet!
“[F]or virtually all of us, music has great power, whether or not we seek it out or think of ourselves as particularly musical,” writes Oliver Sacks, M.D., author of Musicophilia (named by The Washington Post as one of the best books of 2007). “This propensity to music—this “musicophilia”—shows itself in infancy, is manifest and central in every culture, and probably goes back to the very beginnings of our species.”
The point we’re trying to make, via dear Dr. Sacks, is that you can’t go wrong with the gift of music. However, if humans have been making music since proverbial Adam and Eve, the ensuing selection’s array will leave any shopper spoilt for choice. Never mind that the spectrum of added challenges spans from knowing loved ones who already own every one of their favorite band’s albums, singles, limited editions and imports (and each on vinyl, cassette, eight track, CD and MP3, no less)—or, not knowing loved ones well enough to know what the hell they’d like in the first place (shame on you).
Enter Requests (10 N. Market St., Wailuku; 244-9315; @RequestsHI on Twitter)—Maui’s last legit record store. The handful of guys who man the shop have worked there for years (never mind that most of them moonlight as DJs and musicians)—so they know their shit. Whatever the sound you’re in search of, if Requests can’t help you, no one can.
But then there are those on our lists for whom listening to music only fuels the fire to create it. To these tortured, talented souls we say, “you suck.” Kidding. We only say that around the holidays because instruments, their accoutrements, and lessons can be damned expensive. Then again, the worth of their art is priceless—as is shopping locally—so make like a Mastercard commercial at Bounty Music (111 Hana Hwy., Kahului; 871-1141; ukes.com), Mele Ukulele (1750 Ka‘ahumanu Ave., Wailuku; 244-3938; meleukulele.com), and Maui Music Conservatory (Queen Ka‘ahumanu Center, 275 W. Ka‘ahumanu Ave., Kahului; 893-0707).
There is no better way to show you love for your pet companions then getting them gourmet treats, sassy outfits, and their favorite toys. Keep your purchases local and some even locally sourced by shopping at your local boutique pet shop. Pouchi Couture (400 Hana Hwy, Kahului; 893-2275; pouchicouture.com) has hard to find and high quality pet harnesses and, well, canine couture. Birkin and Bailey’s Too (1279 S. Kihei Rd.; 875-9805) has an amazing selection of gourmet treats, tools and spa products, not to mention all the goodies for throwing the pet pawty ragers. Westside Pet Supply (910 Honoapi‘ilani Hwy, Lahaina; 667-2662) has established itself as one stop shopping that keeps you from going to the other side. If it’s pampering your pooch needs, then bring them to the Salty Dog grooming salon (313 N. Market St., Wailuku; 249-2525). Doggie toothbrushing, a blow out, neck scarf, manicures and pedicures will have Fido smelling so sweet you might forget he’s a dog.
Want someone to take walks with on the beach, cuddle up with on the couch and who will adore you unconditionally? It sounds too good to be true, but it’s not. That someone awaits adoption at the Maui Humane Society (1350 Mehameha Loop, Pu‘unene; 877-3680; mauihumane.org), be it furry, feline, canine, feathered or reptilian. Not ready for commitment? The Hawaii Wildlife Fund (wildhawaii.org/adopt.html) lets you adopt without actually keeping up with regular feedings. Your only arrangement is contributing to the protection of sea turtles, monk seals, dolphins, whales or coral reefs.
UH Hilo’s Beekeeping program has an altogether sweeter adoption program, though it comes with a queen and stinger. Their Adopt a Hive program starts at $300 and you receive reports from the lab and a quart of honey from the Hilo farm (uhfoundation.org).
Donations of a more human kind are being taken at the Ke Hale a Ke Ola homeless shelter in Wailuku through Tuesday Dec. 20 (670 Waiale Rd., Wailuku; 242-7600; khako.org). They are looking to fulfill the Christmas wishes of teens, ages 12 to 17: mainly, gift certificates to all the cool, locally owned stores and restaurants.
As most people who’ve driven more than 15 seconds in any direction around here, Maui has a lot of surf shops. Lots and LOTS of shops that specialize in surf wear and surf gear. Listing all of them would be tantamount to cataloguing every star in space, or every grain of sand at Big Beach. But there are a few local shops that deserve mention.
Like HI Tech Surf Sports (425 Koloa St., Kahului; 888-717-0683; surfmaui.com). When you walk into a surf shop, and the first thing you see in the cavernous space is an old Volkswagen Beetle (with two surf boards stuck on its roof) mounted upside-down on the ceiling 20 or so feet above acres of shorts, t-shirts and surf boards, you know you’re in a special place.
A couple blocks away from HI Tech is Hawaiian Island Surf and Sport (415 Dairy Rd., Kahului; 871-4981; hawaiianisland.com), which is a favorite of MauiTime’s Best of Maui voters. While lacking in the ceiling-mounted motor vehicle department, Hawaiian Island is certainly not lacking in surf boards of all shapes and sizes. They’ve also got tons of shorts and bikinis and even a selection of those neat little video cameras people like to mount on the nose of their boards for their YouTube fans.
Anyone wanting to shop in something less than a superstore should check out The Foam Company (Maui Mall, 70 E. Ka‘ahumanu Ave., Kahului; 873-7833; thefoamco.com), which is something of an authority on body boards. They have lots, in addition to a solid stock of board shorts and shirts.
The best Christmas shopping is, of course, for the keiki. Toy shopping for children, especially little innocent toddlers who (Spoiler Alert!) haven’t yet discovered that Santa Claus is a big fat lie, can be a truly magical experience. For these kids, there’s no better source of joy than the Cute and Cuddly Baby Boutique (Maui Mall, 70 E. Ka‘ahumanu Ave., Kahului; 893-0025). They have a legendary selection of beautiful, classic wooden toys (and some organic rubber ones as well).
For those kids just starting to read, it’s best that you head upcountry to (of all places) the Ulupalakua Ranch Store (Located in downtown Ulupalakua; 878-2561; ulupalakuaranch.com/store.htm). It’s one of the best local spots around that carry the wonderful children’s book Ka‘imi’s First Round-Up, the story of a local Maui boy learning about horses and ranches from his paniolo dad that was written by Maui News reporter Ilima Loomis.
One surprising local spot to find toys for youngsters is Party Paradise (Maui Mall, 70 E. Ka‘ahumanu Ave., Kahului; 871-5131). They’ve got your foam darts, stuffed Angry Birds and even small practical joke items that never get old (when you’re 12). Older kids will find much more of interest in Island Hobbies (230 Hana Hwy #10A, Kahului; 873-0376; islandhobbies.com), a small hole in the wall that specializes in radio-controlled cars (and some planes) and paintball.
And for the truly wealthy, may we suggest a new car? See, a friend recently asked me if people really buy cars for gifts at Christmas as we were watching one of those commercials. I’m thinking it must be true for those that can pay, but where do you get those giant bows? While the one percent-ers are probably thinking of sleeker sexier cars-as-Christmas-gifts, Maui Scion (320 Hana Highway, Kahului; 877-2781; mauiscion.com) has a new Scion iQ that makes a bigger, brainier statement with its tiny stature and great gas mileage.
You can pretty much park in any tight spot with this micro subcompact, and the interior cockpit features all the electronic bells and whistles you expect from Toyota. At first glance it looks like a two-door, two-seater, but the split-fold rear seats can either hold passengers or cargo. The IQ test scores high for their sexy remote keyless entry system, too.
Trying to eliminate your carbon footprint? Change your commute to a bike ride. A bike can provide endless hours of screen-free afternoon enjoyment and a source of transportation for kids, too. West Maui Cycles (1087 Limahana Pl., Lahaina; 661-9005; westmauicycles.com) has bikes to fit every size, shape and purpose, and can make your two wheeled match. South Maui Bicycles (1993 S. Kihei Rd.; 874-0068; southmauibicycles.com) is also a full service sales, service and rental shop.
The workshop at Wings Hawaii (71 Baldwin Ave., Paia; 579-3110; wingshawaii.com) is full steam ahead for the holidays. This little shop that could survived getting their front door slammed in by an errant driver, so ignore the plywood window dressing and support locally designed, locally sewn fashions and jewelry. Paia has the best square footage of great apparel and locally owned boutiques, bring your Christmas list and get busy at Maui Girl (12 Baldwin Ave., Paia; 800-579-9266; maui-girl.com) Alice in Hulaland (19 Baldwin Ave., Paia; 579-9922; aliceinhulaland.com), Hemp House (16 Baldwin Ave., Paia; 800-716-8880; hemphousemaui.com), Tamara Katz (83 Hana Hwy, Paia; 579-9184; tamaracatz.com), Biasa Rose (104 Hana Hwy, Paia; 579-8602) and Nuage Bleu (76 Hana Hwy, Paia; 579-9792; nuagebleu.com).
Up in Makawao, the Gypsy styles give way to a more upcountry and paniolo feel but plenty of locally owned aesthetic to go around. Pink by Nature (3663 Baldwin Ave., Makawao; 572-9576), Collections (3677 Baldwin Ave., Makawao; 572-0781), Holiday & Co. (3681 Baldwin Ave., Makawao; 572-1470) and Mercantile (3673 Baldwin Ave., Makawao; 572-1407) are bastions of Makawao’s boutique scene with select handbags, shoes and apparel.
On the Westside, newcomer LeRu Atelier (505 Front St., #203,Lahaina; 661-2741; loveleru.com) has her own urban island chic style going on while neighbor Hula Gypsy (505 Front St., #204, Lahaina; 280-9914; hulagypsy.com) features a more whimsical fairytale vintage fashion. Blue recently opened on Wainee and Lahainaluna with inexpensive and on trend dresses, separates, shoes and accessories. Women Who Run with Wolves (4310 L. Honoapi‘ilani Rd., Kahana; 665-07786; womenwhorunwithwolves.com) has stylish yoga and exercise wear, plus great brands of knits in classic cuts. In sunny Lahaina there are lots of local bikini boutiques to choose from too: Pakaloha (815 Front St., Lahaina; 661-6888; pakaloha.com), Aloha Swim & Golf (2580 Keka‘a Dr., #M-1, Ka‘anapali; 661-1929) and San Lorenzo (640 Front St., Lahaina; 661-8489; sanlorenzobikinis.com) to name a few.
Mahina has three locations across the island (mahinamaui.com). That’s three times the handbags, shoes and clothing to covet. Surfer girls beach-inspired apparel at Honolua Surf Co. which is also found island-wide (honoluasurf.com). In Kahului, Hi Tech (425 Koloa St., Kahului; 877-2111; surfmaui.com) and Second Wind (111 Hana Hwy, Kahului; 877-7467; secondwindmaui.com) have great brands and equipment for the ladies. Serendipity (serendipitymaui.com) supplies women’s clothing island-wide in their Indonesian import batiks prints.
Get luxe looks for the holidays at Enchantress (Shops of Wailea, 3750 Wailea Alanui Dr.; 891-6360; mauienchantress.com) where sparkles and baubles go over the top glitz. Sister’s and Co. (Shops of Wailea, 3750 Wailea Alanui Dr.; 874-0003; sistersandco.com) has the best of both worlds: great clothes and a salon.
Maui is also home to a few locally handcrafted shoes. Michael Mahnensmith’s Island Sandals (658 Front St., Lahaina; 661-5110; islandsandals.com) sells handmade leather sandals that Jesus would have worn. The design is actually 3,000 years old, requires no metal parts and is custom-fit to your feet. Cobbler Teri Edmonds is launching her new Hot Biskit line this month out of her boutique If the Shoe Fits (21 N. Market St., Wailuku; 249-9710; hotbiskitshoes.com). The shoes are custom-made for the client’s feet, and supplies are limited. The Shoe Fetish (225 Piikea Ave., Kihei; 874-8111 and 900 Front St., Lahaina; 661-3400) doesn’t cobble shoes but these locally owned stores have an eclectic selection of footwear, including ones with toes.