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Holiday Shopping Around Campus
December 16, 2008, Volume 55, No. 16

In keeping with a Penn tradition that began in the early 1970s when Almanac presented a front page story, “Poor Richard on a Campus Shopping Spree” it is still true today that holiday shopping can be done on foot during a lunchtime stroll around the block. “All fall the news on campus and off has been of cuts, deficits and harder times to come...” That was 24 years ago (Almanac December 10, 1974), but sounds all to familiar. For a sustainable way to find unique gifts without wandering to a far-off mall, check out the dozens of stores nearby and save time and gas. In fact, a recent annual study conducted by the Jay H. Baker Retailing Initiatiave at the Wharton School found that many shoppers are dissatisfied with malls. So, if you are you looking for some last minutes gifts, don’t worry. Almanac’s elves searched for gifts that everyone on your list would enjoy.

Books and News

Shop at the Penn Bookstore now until Christmas and be prepared to find some great gift options! Receive 30% off Campus Bestsellers and all New Arrival books are 20% off. Right now, audio books are discounted 20%. Check out the table on the second floor to find movie-oriented books such as Twilight. For affordable gift ideas, browse the Bargain Books section. If you’re shopping for a youngster, visit the Penn & Me section, where you will find Penn published and/or authored books for kids. Purchase any three children’s holiday books and get a Wonder Pets snow globe ($3.95). Teach the kids the basics of sustainability by purchasing titles such as When Santa Claus Turned Green or Mrs. Claus Explains It All. Adults can practice green living too and the special table display on the second floor carries items like recycled index cards and paper, and books with tips on eco-living, like Go Green and A Greener Christmas. Info.: www.upenn.edu/bookstore.

During the holidays, the Last Word Book Shop becomes home to lots of used books in perfect gift quality. Expect to find something for almost any area of interest. They not only sell but also buy and trade, giving you even more options. Exchange a book you no longer need for an exciting gift for someone on your shopping list. Look through the post cards as well—just 25 cents each. Books are priced individually on a sliding scale—about 95% are under $10, many under $5. Also available are vintage records, paintings and gift certificates.

The Penn Book Center is currently running a number of sales. Books published by Everyman’s Library or New York Review Children’s Collection are 2 for the price of 1. Receive 30% off select titles from Library of America published books as well. Select coffee table books are now 20% off. Don’t forget Penn Book Center’s international selection for a unique twist. Expect to find the latest bestsellers, along with classic novels. Info.: www.pennbookcenter.com.

At House of Our Own don’t miss the sale books, which make great presents at a stress-free price. Among these you can find a broad selection of books that are new, almost new, gently used, or out of print. A large portion of the sale books are in fact new, but available at used book prices! Because House of Our Own is, true to its name, a house, the books tend to be separated by room. The children’s section is especially cute. Aside from the books, you will find the sun shining in on little chairs, a rug and some toys. Info.: www.biblio.com/bookstores/hooo.html.

Avril 50 is an eclectic and extremely European-feeling shop nestled into a row of quaint restaurants and stores on Sansom St. Drifting from the counter as you enter, the scent of gourmet coffee and baked goods meets your nose. Avril 50 has a great selection of teas, ranging from black to green, chamomile to oolong.

Penn Insignia

Represent Penn from head to toe. This holiday season, you can buy one Legacy brand hat and get the second (of equal or lesser value) for $5 when you use cash from sold books. The Penn Bookstore is always selling their affordable $15 Penn tees, but you may want to layer up with the plethora of colorful sweatshirts and jackets with the Penn logo. Keep baby’s head warm with toddler knit caps. Keep your toes toasty with TopSox eco-friendly socks and top your outfit off with scarves, hats and gloves with the Penn insignia. You can also find all of these items in the clearance section at marked down prices that ease the strain of holiday shopping. Stocking stuffers include Penn logo-emblazoned pens and pencils, keychains and ID holders, window decals, water bottles and mugs. You can decorate your tree with holiday ornaments that feature the Penn logo. And make Fido happy, too, with a Penn doggie bowl or outfit. Check out the 2008 Penn Bookstore Catalog featuring this years gift collection at www.upenn.edu/bookstore.

Along with items sold directly from the Penn Bookstore website, the Shop@Penn site offers merchandise with logos specific to all of the Penn schools and graduate schools. Hurry to the current closeout deal section for the elegant Penn-engraved roller-ball pen. The ever-stylish Tommy Hilfiger Penn polos will look great at casual holiday parties and alumni reunion events. Info.: www.shopatpenn.com and www.pennmerchandise.com.

The Penn Athletics Shop, located on the Penn Athletics website, is the place to shop for your favorite athlete or sports fan. This season, celebrate the men’s soccer team conference victory with an Ivy League Champion t-shirt ($20). The sports lover will truly enjoy a PSN Complete Annual Package Gift Subscription, a year’s subscription to all Penn Sports Network video and content for $59.95. Or purchase an authentic replica of Franklin Field that comes with a football stand ($10.99). Info.: www.pennathletics.com.

Accessories and Apparel

Natural Shoe Store carries well-known brands including Clarks, Ugg, Timberland, Birkenstock, New Balance, etc. Check out some of the best deals right outside the store—there is always a table on the sidewalk with many styles at affordable prices.

This holiday season, shop at Gap for basics you can mix and match. Puffy vests for women in navy, snow white, or bright yellow will remind you of the summer sun and keep you feeling warm. Gap has selected the crewneck cable knit sweater as one of its favorite gifts under $35. You can also shop men’s gear, which features newsboy hats ($24.50) and winter crewneck sweaters for $10 off the original price of $44.50. Shop men’s holiday fragrances, reminiscent of the natural beauty of Mother Earth, to get you in the spirit. Men’s colognes ($16 each) in scents like snow pine and white mint are affordable finds this season. Also support a worthy cause by shopping Gap’s Product (Red) line. Funds aim to help eliminate AIDS in Africa. Info.: www.gap.com.

Need a dress for your upcoming holiday party? Ann Taylor LOFT has a selection of sophisticated dresses for evening and work. Top off the outfit with one of the store’s selection of jackets and coats, like the sleek and sophisticated ivory double-breasted coat for $169. Accesorize with gloves adorned with gold buttons ($29.50) reminiscent of menswear cufflinks. You can also find affordable shoes like cranberry-colored patent leather pumps for $29.99, or tall brown leather boots at $69. Other great finds include tights, jewelry, chunky sweaters and blazers. The shop regularly features a sale section with great deals on clothing with silk, ruffles and adornments like rhinestones and sequins. Info.: www.anntaylorloft.com

You can find gifts for the whole family at Urban Outfitters, from the funky and fashionable young adult to a playful, grade school child and more. This shop features accessories like a tapestry shoulder bag in pink, brown and green floral print for $48 and dangly peacock feather earrings in bright green and blue hues for $18. You can find classic kids’ books—the retelling of Cinderella and Alice in Wonderland ($16.95 each). Also shop for books on fashion, humor and more. Urban Outfitters also features a sale section, where clothing begins at $9.99. And let us not forget the men’s section, featuring trendy cardigans ($49.99) and Brazilian Havana-style flip-flop sandals ($18). More finds this holiday season include unisex gloves ($10 to $12) and framed abstract photography and artwork, such as a vintage French wine poster ($58). Info.: www.urbanoutfitters.com.

American Apparel, a clothing store founded on the ideals of sustainability and vertically integrated manufacturing, sells clothing that is strictly made in the United States. Shop for basic staples and funkier items for both men and women in a rainbow assortment of colors, reminiscent of the ‘80s. Guys can keep warm in classic, thick, wool coats ($180) and fashionable, straight-leg corduroy pants ($75) in red, navy, charcoal, or khaki. Also layer it up with a cardigan for men  ($44) or a unisex poplin vest ($40). Ladies can try a trendy pair of printed leggings in an assortment of bright colors ($30). This holiday season, travel with a vinyl duffel bag ($34). Stop by American Apparel to pick up a 10% off card for use online. Info.: http://americanapparel.net/

Bath and Beauty

If the jolly Santa in the store entrance does not summon you into Douglas Cosmetics, the enticing scents and holiday steals will. Watching your budget? Douglas offers a number of items under $10—stocking stuffers under $5 (and as low as 75 cents!) and the bath kit Vanilla Dreams gift set ($6.95). Ahava, an Israeli cosmetic company, is selling two of their products in a free cosmetic bag. Bare Escentuals displays their holiday spirit with their special Bare Crystals collection—a 9-piece crystal-infused makeup kit that contains the sparkle and shine representative of the holiday season. If you’re shopping for kids, there are several inexpensive starter make-up kits with prices starting at $2.95. Boasting a very international selection, Douglas denotes their products’ countries of origin by displaying flags throughout the store. One of the best deals is the 20% discount off all skin-care products during the month of December. Create a custom gift basket with any five items (any price) in the store and receive a free teddy bear sporting your choice of a Ralph Lauren or Lacoste sweater. Every purchase is also specially gift-wrapped. In your excitement over these sales, don’t forget your sustainable options. Douglas offers a $12.50 reusable shopper bag that is utterly chic. Try re-using your compacts and “re-filling” them with makeup powder from brands like Stila, Estée Lauder and Clinique. Other “earth friendly” products by Origins and Rem (Norwegian) are available. Info.: www.douglascosmetics.com.

Joseph Anthony Hair Salon does hair, tanning, nails and waxing. This holiday season they are offering 25% off of all aesthetic services (facials, waxing, massage packages, manicure and pedicure). Because their products, by brands including Redken and Crew, are priced lower than retail you save money when you pick up some hair care items. Gift certificates are available. Info.: www.Josephanthonyhairsalon.com

The Saturn Club is an atypical hair salon and café that offers manicures, pedicures, full waxing, massages and hair services. Their haircuts range in price from $25 to $40. First time customers get a 20% discount. Their hair care boutique features products like Aveda, Bumble & Bumble and Sebastian. Stop in the cafe before or after a hair appointment and warm up with your choice of La Colombe coffees and nibble on a tasty pastry. Info.: www.thesaturnclub.com

Electronics and Music

Visit the Computer Connection for exclusive Penn discounts during their holiday sale, while supplies last. They have this year’s most-wanted gifts, from digital photo frames and personal navigation systems, to a full line of iPods, speakers and software. Check out the Dell Inspiron mini ($399): a smaller, cuter, more portable version of your primary computer that weighs only 2.28 pounds.  Why not stuff a stocking with high-tech gifts like a one-gigabyte flash drive, digital keychain or handheld video camera? Or get a recycled laptop jacket made from recycled plastic bottles ($29). Gift cards in $10, $25 and $50 denominations; for more gift ideas, pick up a 2008 Holiday Wishbook in store, or online at: http://www.business-services.upenn.edu/computerstore/wish/index.html.

The second floor of the Penn Bookstore provides a great selection of CDs and DVDs, including a section of holiday music priced at $6.99. Support the arts at Penn by picking up one of the CDs available by a Penn group. “The Band Before Time”, featuring the Penn Band, includes such favorites as Let’s Get It Started and even the Theme from Harry Potter. The Penn Glee Club has two CDs, … In song, of course, featuring selections with the Penn Pipers, The PGC, Band and the Pennchants, as well as Echoes and Tradition. The University of Pennsylvania Wind Ensemble has a CD with special appearances made by former President Judith Rodin and the Yale Concert Band. All CDs can be purchased for $18.99. The bookstore is also the place to go for dorm-friendly electronics, such as coffeemakers, hot pots and alarm clocks and study aids for the student on your list.

The Marvelous! has a wide selection of new and used LPs and CDs with genres of music to satisfy any aficionado, from rock to jazz and everything in between. Get 20-30% off a large selection of indie rock this holiday season! The store also offers magazines, music instruments and accessories, lessons and more unique gifts, such a handmade guitars made by local artisans.

At Ritz Camera choose from a great selection of all the latest film and digital cameras and camcorders and stock up on accessories like memory cards, carrying cases and tripods. Get your images developed, or made into gifts such as mousepads, mugs and puzzles! A complete list of photo gift ideas is available at www.ritzpix.com.

Gifts: Unique, Cards, Stationary, Etc.

With a simple purchase at The Black Cat Gift Shop, you can spread holiday cheer to people all around the world. The majority of items sold in this shop are handmade and buying them supports the livelihood of local Philadelphia artists and women’s collectives in East Asia, Africa and South America. Some of these fair trade items, like the handmade Kenyan scarves, even come with cards that tell the stories of the women who make them. Receive a gift from the environment by buying stylish hand bags made from recycled tires and earrings made from old records, appropriate for any holiday party. Their notebooks, gift-wrap and cards are made from recycled materials as well. Their warm teddy bears, made from recycled sweaters, are the perfect toys for the kids. Gift cards can be purchased for up to a $100 value. Info.: www.blackcatshop.com. 

Don’t let the winter weather outside keep you from enjoying greenery and plants indoors. Special Christmas arrangements from Roses Florist start at $30. Some holiday-centric plants available for sale include poinsettias ($4-$15) and miniature Christmas trees (starting at $6.99). Fill your room with African violets ($5.99-$12.99), amaryllis and bromeliads to transport yourself to warmer climates. And send off a bouquet along with a gourmet fruit basket containing chocolates, dry fruit, cheese and crackers. The store also carries aromatherapy candles, exquisite glass vases and beautiful clay pots. The gift certificate value starts at $25. Info.: www.uofprosesflorist.com.

Books are not the only holiday presents offered by the Penn Bookstore.The new seasonal collection of Godiva chocolates will undoubtedly warm a loved one’s heart, especially since it comes with a free teddy bear. The archival scrapbook collections would be the perfect gift to help record holiday memories. Nurture the talents of budding artists and writers with gifts of calligraphy sets, journals and drawing kits. Buy the unique stationary and you won’t be able to come up with excuses not to keep in contact with family and friends. The buy-2-get-1 free sale on holiday cards boxed sets has also started. Also available are Monty’s Art Note Card Series by former Penn Glee Club Director Bruce Montegomery who passed away in July. Choose from either the Philadelphia Landmark Series that includes the Philadelphia Water Works & Art Museum or the Maine Series. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Penn Glee Club. Fill up the $1.19 Eco-tote with fun mini-books offering tips on a wide array of subjects, from palm reading to iPod help and games like Monopoly: A Christmas Story special collector’s edition. You can send gifts off with eco-friendly Papyrus gift-wrap, bags and holiday cards. The bookstore also carries new interactive, recycled panoramic pop-up cards.


At the Penn Museum shops, you can find gifts for every age and every type, from educational books to replicas from historic excavations. At the Second Site near the main entrance, you can find a hand-carved palm-sized alabaster cat statue from Egypt for ($18), or a handmade glass zebra-like critter with yellow, pink and blue stripes and a sassy face ($30). Colorful, soft, silk scarves and Italian hand-blown glass rings also make great gifts. At the Pyramid Shop for Kids, check out fun Egyptian Erasers ($2.80), animal backpacks at 40% off, cowrie shell necklaces, miniature Japanese Dolls and educational books on Rome, Egypt, Africa and more. You can also purchase fair-trade clothing from Kenya, Haiti and Vietnam. Proceeds from these purchases will return to the nations to benefit their communities. And teach kids the principles of sustainability with a “Go Green Activity Book” for $12.95. At the main Museum Shop on the second floor, purchase creative “Green, Global and Affordable” gifts this holiday season, like a silver recycled plastic satchel for $50 or a recycled milk carton bowl from Holland. Check out cuneiform mugs ($8), a silk coin purse ($3.73) and hand painted beaded bracelets ($15). The shop also offers traditional-style clothing from around the world. West African singing drums are on sale for 50% off the original prices, which begin at $150. The shop also features items from its current exhibits. All PennCard holders receive at least a 10% discount with each purchase.


Green thumbs will enjoy a gift from the Morris Arboretum Gift Shop which includes “garden-inspired” home items, toys and the latest horticultural publications. Accesorize with the Arboretum’s commemorative 75th anniversary scarf which is made of hand-painted Devoré silk satin ($68). Members receive a 10% discount. Purchase at the Gift Shop or send in the mail-in order form available online www.morrisarboretum.org.

After you’ve found the perfect match at Trophy Bikes, you can also pick up any spare part for your bicycle you could imagine, from seats to tubing to new handlebars. You can also find accessories designed specifically for your riding convenience, like gloves and socks to keep you warm and bags to store your belongings. Special Smartwool socks start at $13, while gloves start at $59. Rental bikes and repair servicing are also available. Info.: www.trophybikes.com

Eastern Mountain Sports is packed with everything you could hope to find in an outdoor store. There are shoes, blankets, outerwear, hiking equipment and tons more. There is also a special 15% discount for all college students. This season, find a large selection sweaters and jackets at 20-30% off and EMS hats are $20. If you want to help protect the environment, buy a Klean Kanteen for $19.95. Info.: www.ems.com

Philadelphia Runner isn’t just for runners! From now until Christmas, the following discounts are available: running shoes are 10% off and all clothing is 20%-50% off! Prices for running shoes start at $59. Philadelphia Runner also carries SIGG water bottles which are metal bottles that contain no BPA, no lead and no phthalates. If you’re shopping for a child, SIGG makes smaller (0.3 L) bottles with whimsical designs. For stocking stuffers and less expansive gifts, try energy bars and gels, gloves and hats. Philadelphia  Runner also sells sandals, boots and specialty shoes. They have backpacks, totes and messenger bags in various styles, colors and sizes. Info.: www.philadelphiarunner.com.




Almanac - December 16, 2008, Volume 55, No. 16