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Holiday Shopping Around Campus

Almanac's professional personal shoppers traversed the campus from the University of Pennsylvania Museum on the eastern end of campus to University Square and west to Hamilton Village and points beyond, to uncover the special gifts and sales of the season for our readers. For your convenience the stores are grouped by categories: Books, Gifts, Accessories, Apparel, Electronics, and Recreation. Now that it's time to begin or finish holiday shopping why not take some time at lunch or stay for a while after work, have a cup of coffee or a bite to eat at one of the many specialty food shops and restaurants and enjoy the delightful experience of the holidays in University City.


The Penn Bookstore is a grand bookstore that offers a diverse selection of books for all ages. Various subjects include philosophy, Africana, home and garden, history, entertainment, women's studies and much more. For kids, there's a "Penn and Me" section that contains activity, reference and story books. To assist with holiday shopping, the Penn Bookstore offers several displays such as "holiday books" and "gift ideas", where you can find books such as Life magazine's The Power and the Glory ($19.95), an illustrated history of the U.S. military.

For those bargain shoppers, the Penn Bookstore will have its Sale-A-Bration on December 19 where you get 10% off holiday items, trade books, insignia clothing/gifts and free gift-wrap.

If you want to give a gift with the Penn logo consider a gold ornament with Penn emblem ($29.99) or a Penn Christmas stocking ($9.99) or the last word in fashion the Penn Christmas sweatshirt ($19.98). The Bookstore also sells a variety of board games ($20-$30), an assortment of Godiva chocolate gift packs as well as music, calendars, stationery, picture frames and stuffed animals. Shop on line at and click on Penn Shop.

The Penn Book Center is a smaller bookstore that specializes in architectural, environmental and landscaping books. It also contains fiction and non-fiction books, and carries a large selection of books by Penn authors and local authors. Ongoing sale items range from $5.95 to $15.95. There's also a "current events" section that contains books written on many of the hot topics of today such as War on Iraq ($8.95). They carry an assortment of picturesque calendars like the Mural Arts Program ($13.95) which contains amazing murals that have been painted throughout Philadelphia.

House of Our Own is an intimate bookstore that sells new, used and out-of-print books. It has over 300 categories that include cultural studies, poetry, European fiction, women's fiction and literary theory. There's even a section called "some uncommon books" where you'll find a book like The Best Plays: 1934-1935 ($12.50). Used books, which range in subject from anthropology to zoology, are located on the 2nd floor. Children's books can also be found on the 2nd floor next to the bay window where you can sit and enjoy a good find. New books sell for approximately $15-$20 and used books for $5-$10.

For those on a budget, the Last Word Bookshop sells used books that range in price 40%-60% off the shelf price. Subjects include film, photography, religion and science. The bookstore also sells reference books including dictionaries and foreign language books for about $5.95. Classic children's books like Dr. Seuss start at $1. For older kids, R.L. Stine's Goosebumps series and Nancy Drew books sell for $1.50-$1.95.

Dolbey's Medical Bookstore offers great gifts for medical professionals and students. Browse the sale book section for great deals. Hardbacks are $25 and paperbacks are $10, and you get the 4th book free when you buy 3 with cash. Improve any library with the gift of Dorland's Illustrated Medical Dictionary for $49.95. For those intrigued with anatomy, Dolbey's has a variety of detailed medical charts including muscle, nerve and skeletal systems of the body. They even carry medical software for PDAs such as Moby's Drug Consult ($59.95).



This holiday season at Roses Florist (3401 Walnut) means not only a wide selection of floral arrangements but seasonal poinsettias, mini Christmas trees, box wood trees and custom made wreaths and fruit baskets. Friendly and adaptable service will help you create the perfect gift for your budget or you can choose from the large selection. Delivery available. Roses second store is now located on the corner of 36th and Chestnut Streets, or shop on-line at

Paper Garden is the perfect place to find smaller gifts and offers creative and stylish notebooks and journals, fun toys as stocking stuffers like The Simpsons stick on the wall glow-in-the dark figures ($5), or SpongeBob Squarepants® stickers, candies, and a selection of collectibles and novelties. Most gifts are under $10 while the journals are $10-$15. The selection of greeting cards is enormous with a card for every occasion.

The Museum Shop (UPM) offers a beautiful selection of jewelry ($16-$200). Who could resist the Egyptian Nefer Necklace made of 24k gold-plated pewter with lapis beads ($158). The Precolumbian Bat Pin ($30) made of 24k gold- plated pewter would look amazing on any winter coat. For a silk accent piece try the Roman Laurel Leaf tie ($42) or the Etruscan Roof Tile scarf ($64). For the beer aficionado on your list try a paperweight reproduction of the Mesopotamian Beer Tablet ($49). The Museum Shop also has everything from African art to Chinese sculptures and a vast selection of books on ancient cultures ($12-$50). The Museum's web site has a great feature that lets you browse their publications by title, or check out the list of new books available. Shop on-line at

For fun educational gifts about cultures around the world The Pyramid Shop (UPM) is home to collectible scarabs, life-size inflatable mummies and many other enjoyable trinkets that any kid young or old can enjoy. They also have a delightful collection of Christmas ornaments from around the world as well as unusual Christmas cards. Brazilian rainforest finger puppets, available in a variety of animals including pandas, owls, and monkeys, are an inexpensive and cute gift at a mere $5. A book from the shop's large collection of literature on countries around the world and different crafts is sure to keep any child learning through the holidays.

The Black Cat, famous for its originality, has something for everyone. Many practical items transformed into creative works are available, such as dog ice cube trays, Canadian goose dinner ware and sushi candles. You must look in every nook in the store to discover all the possibilities. Handmade items from all around the globe range from knitted Cambodian scarves to one-of-a-kind purses ($48) and elegant jewelry. Cat lovers will also love the "Very Clean Cat," ($90) an adorable original cat. All proceeds from this product and many others go to charity.

With the coming holidays, send a message of love and friendship to all those who are far or near--you will find all you need in Messages. Thousands of postcards for every occasion, be they huge or tiny, funny or serious are waiting to spread the word. You can choose a unique postcard for everybody (.99-$1.99), or get a whole set of cards, ranging from exclusive and elegant ($14.99) to environmentally friendly ($8).

If you want to create the right Christmas atmosphere at home, Messages offers scented candles, this month's special is the mistletoe scent (20% off). Candles start at $1.79 and go to $19.99 for a 15 hour burning one.

Or present somebody with a Santa Claus that will grace their home for many holidays to come. Santa figures range from the traditional, with red furry coats and a bag of toys, to Iris Santa ($44.99) dressed in green (who says Santa has to be a man), to the athletic Santa--volleyball player ($45.99) in T-shirt with stripes and shorts with stars.


Shoe maniacs can now find the same Steve Madden chunky platforms and pointy pumps at the Steve Madden Warehouse at about half the regular prices. Women's shoes range from $24.99 to $29.99, featuring feminine stilettos, sneakers, flats, clogs, and boots of all styles: cowboy, 80s fringes, pointy, knee-high, ankle, and everyone's favorite sophisticated black. Leather totes in solids and prints, and suede, braided belts are available for $14.99. Steve Madden now also carries men's casual leather lace-ups for $39.99. Shop on-line at

Douglas Parfumerie is a specialty boutique that carries hard-to-find brands, such as Stila and Bliss, as well as well-known names like Origins and Clinique. This season, Stila offers a $40 palette of 4 eyeshadows and 2 blushes, and a $25 gift box of lipstick, lipliner, and blush. Origins greets the season with its new white tea skin treatment line. The soothing body cream ($30) and body cleanser ($25) make great gifts for the ladies. For men, the choices of skin care products can be bewildering. Try Zirh's travel kit at $39, which includes cleanser, lotion, shaving cream, after-shave, shampoo, and conditioner. For the budget-conscious, Douglas offers bath foams in shimmering gold and green in glass bottles ($2.95 to $17.50), scented jelly candles ($7.95), and embroidered cosmetic bags ($9.95). Shop on-line at

Surprise your loved ones with a bracelet, a new watch, or a personalized trinket box this holiday. University Jewelers carries 14-karat gold and sterling silver jewelry in a variety of styles, brand-name watches like Seiko ($59 and up), Cross pens ($20 and up), and other items such as photo frames, desk clocks, and business card holders. The shop offers personalized engraving on many items, and gift wrapping is free. Gift certificates are available in any amount.

Treat yourself or your loved ones this winter with a pair of warm, comfortable walking shoes from The Natural Shoe Store, which offers sales year-round. There is something for everyone at this shop: Birkenstock sandals, Rockport casuals, Clarks Mary Janes, Timberland boots, Doc Martens Gibsons, Steve Madden loafers, and Nine West heels. The store also carries fuzzy slippers, children's shoes, and sneakers.

The Grand Shoe Store carries women's and men's dress shoes. Ladies will find chunky loafers, strappy high-heeled sandals to go with that little black dress, and elegant boots with leather details for $99.99. Gentlemen will find understated, black and brown dress shoes for special occasions, and casual, sporty lace-ups (by Steve Madden). In addition, this store carries Harley-Davidson motorcycle boots for under $100.

Grab a pair of new sunglasses for that ski trip or holiday vacation in the tropics. Modern Eye carries skater-slick wraparounds as well as retro, rimless shades in violet, tan and blue. Don't need new sunglasses? Then get a pair of eyeglasses in one of the latest nerdy-chic styles. These fun plastic frames come mostly in black, red and tortoise, and range from $149 to $300+. If you prefer a particular brand, be sure to find it here; the store carries designer labels such as Calvin Klein, Donna Karan, Gucci, Hugo Boss, and Ray Ban.


If the grayish tones of winter depress you, why not add some color into the gray everyday? It's all in color this season at Gap. There's no time for boredom if you are wearing the mini-striped playful crewneck sweater ($48). But you don't have to be all-in-colors to make your day joyful, Gap also has smaller accessories, ranging from mini-striped to mega-striped, from scarves ($34) to mittens ($16.50), caps ($16.50) and sweater-bags ($24.50/$32).

And Gap has another teaser for all the gift shoppers: it gives 25% off all its jackets. You definitely won't be cold in the warmest vest ($43.50 for her/$51 for him), or in the leather peacoat ($186). Looking for something unconventional? Then you might like the new sherpa items--ranging from duffel coats ($186) to ranch vest ($88.50). Add a sherpa crusher hat ($29.50), gloves ($24.50) and a bag ($34.00) and you are completely stylish.

If you are looking for basics, Gap has them all, from underwear to backpacks. And if you are not sure what the person on your list will like, Gap offers convenient gift certificates. Shop on-line at

Did you ever want to be a superhero, like the ones you see on the TV? Do you want to see the worst hair cuts ever? Interested in the trashiest movie posters from American theaters? If so, you can find answers to these questions and much more in the book section of Urban Outfitters.

As usual, their clothes are a mixture of modern style and ethnic motifs. Bags from India, tops from Pakistan, skirts from Bangladesh -- the T-shirts start at $24, and the coats cost up to $210. If you prefer something traditional, you can still get blue jeans (from $48).

Apart from clothes, Urban Outfitters offers furniture and apartment accessories. If you are looking for something unconventional, you might want to try the unique CD holder, which can be hung on the wall like a tapestry, turning your CDs into wallpaper ($20), or the kung-fu hamster ($15). However, you can also find a whole range of more traditional apartment accessories, like rugs, and curtains and lighting.

And if you want to have the folk-ethnic motif on your Christmas tree, Urban Outfitters also offers Christmas decorations. You can find various Christmas tree balls here, a classical snowball frame ($10) or a hyper-modern retro Christmas tree ($14).

Do you like comfortable clothing, either as an everyday-wear, or for your free time? Then stop by Smith Bros. You can choose from a variety of t-shirts, tops, pants or sweaters. Nearly everybody can find his or her ideal pair of jeans, because Smith Bros. has all kinds of brands, colors, materials and cuts. Prices range from $70 to $120.

If you like soft and easy activewear, then you might want to look at the velour sweatsuits. You can buy black or navy pants ($90) and jackets ($100) separately or together.

Or surprise everyone and get a white, furry velour hat ($50). A gentle, cloud-like lace blouse ($86) is perfect for special occasions. If you are a man and like a little extravagance, check out the black and white shirt, with one half black with white stripes and the other white with black stripes ($79). Shop on-line at


With walls and walls of electronics, a trip to Radioshack located in Hamilton Village, is perfect for the tech lover in your life. Beyond the normal stereo components and computer accessories exists a variety of goodies for children including the Rockin' PT Cruiser RC Car specially priced for the holidays at $69.99. A variety of other standard remote controlled cars are stocked as well such as the Vortex RC Car for $129.99. Kids will also love the portable cassette kareoke, a great buy at $29.99. The store's metal detector, also $29.99, is perfect for your eccentric family member.

The Computer Connection at the Penn Bookstore is full of great deals on both computers and software at educational prices. The Computer Connection offers special holiday computer bundles, including the Dell OptiPlex, which include a $25 Computer Connection gift certificate, applicable towards your next purchase. The store also features a selection of discounted and rebate items including Epson scanners and Iomega CD-R drives for those on a budget.

For the music lover on your list, why not a set of Altec Lansing 221 speakers (50 watts) for $39.95. They plug in to the computer, mp3 player, Ipod or any stereo system. For more power try the Altec Lansing 251 speakers for $79.95 (90 watts). They also have the Logitech Personal Digital Penn, which lets you download your meeting notes directly into your computer (compatible with PC or Mac, $179). For the young artist on your list, the Crayola Kids PC Drawing Tablet is just the thing. They can draw on the pad, the image appears on their screen and they can print out their original artwork.

Exactly as their holiday catalogue claims, the shopping buys at The Camera Shop, Inc., are full of big discounts and selection. With purchases from their vast array of standard and digital cameras they offer many special deals including a free Fujifilm camera and binocular outfit. For those already with a camera, buy them a deluxe camera bag, many marked off up to 25%, with prices ranging from $40-$70. Already have a special picture you want to give as a gift? Frame it in style or get photo albums available at the store, always 10% off for store members. Shop on-line at


As the only place left on campus entirely devoted to music, Spruce Street Records is a great place for shoppers who would rather buy their music in person than on-line or Center City. They carry a large selection of new CDs at regular prices ($12-$16) and box sets. Spruce Street Records boasts a large and diverse collection of used CDs for much less ($7-$9) which are well worth persuing. Shoppers even have the option to sell their old tracks should their holiday budgets need some extra padding. Gift certificates are available if you aren't sure what to get, but the shop owner, Jim, will be more than happy to help. Special orders for those hard-to-find CDs, like imports, are no obstacle either, and can be ready for pickup in 24 hours.

The newly opened cinema, The Bridge: Cinema de Lux offers avid movie goers more than just movie tickets. This holiday season, you can purchase 100% cotton T-shirts ($10) and stylish black mugs ($8) bearing The Bridge's logo. For those who are unsure of what to get, the $25 gift certificates are definitely a safe bet. They can be used for all purchases including all food items and in the ‘12 Lounge' as well as movie tickets. For more information, visit their web site at

For nature enthusiasts, Eastern Mountain Sports is almost like a toy store. It boasts a variety of equipment for those who fancy rock climbing, kayaking, camping, skiing and other outdoor activities. Some of the items include backpacks, tents, blankets, carabenas, torchlights, cookware, and even freeze-dried foods. Also, check out the shoe selection on the 2nd floor; most are on sale with a 30% discount.

For the rest of us who are more content indoors, EMS also offers a variety of apparel from brand names such as Columbia, North Face and EMS's own line. The more attractive items are the fleece pullover ($39.95) and fleece jacket ($45). The store also offers gifts such as National Park Monopoly, and the National Park Pictionary set. Cuter items like the plush polar bear, black bear, moose and otter in a can ($10) are also popular gifts. Shopping at EMS is a great experience with their knowledgeable and friendly staff. Check out their web site at for more details.

No you can't eat there, but it does have a menu outside. It's Bike Line--the only store on campus specializing in bicycles. Its bikes are mostly from Trek and are priced from $300-$1200. For an additional $49.99, a 5-year service policy can be purchased to cover unlimited tune-ups, derailleur, break and bearing adjustments, flat repairs and personal fitting. Accessories including gloves, thermal jerseys, helmets and saddles range from $30-$50. There is also a special discount that changes daily for selected items in the store. This can be viewed on the menu outside. Visit their web site at


  Almanac, Vol. 49, No. 15, December 10, 2002