7 unexpected places in New Hampshire for holiday shopping

7 unexpected places in New Hampshire for holiday shopping

At the Nashua Historical Society you can buy ink made from the black walnuts collected on the property. Photo by Stacy Milbouer

By Stacy Milbouer

December 4, 2023

When is shopping not shopping? When it’s done somewhere that is primarily not a retail destination. Think outside of the big box. We did. Here are seven suggestions for offbeat shopping this holiday season where you can do good and buy where few shoppers have gone before.

Places of Worship

Cathedral Gift Shop, St. Joseph Cathedral, 145 Lowell St. Manchester 603 622-6404 offers a variety of religious items including christening gowns, fonts, and candles. There are also some whimsical items like “Mary on the Mantel” – a religious version of Elf on the Shelf, “Wrapped in Scripture” swaddle blankets for babies, and “Shining Light” religious rag dolls including a cuddly baby Jesus doll and wrap.

Whether you’re shopping for Hanukkah or just Judaica, head right to the source — synagogue gift shops. At the Temple B’Nai Israel Gift Shop, 210 Court St., Laconia, 603 524-7044, you can shop in-house or online — everything from a cat lover’s menorah to a Chrismukkah Hawaiian Shirt for households who celebrate both Christmas and Hanukkah. Temple Beth Abraham, 4 Raymond St., Nashua, 603 883-8184 offers an assortment of special Judaica and holiday gifts and is open by appointment.

Museum shops

You don’t need to pay admission to visit the Currier Museum Shop, 150 Ash St., Manchester, 603 669-6144 although a stroll through this stellar museum is always recommended. You’ll find carefully curated gifts for the hard-to-buy-for on your list. Because the Currier owns a real Frank Lloyd Wright House, there are many items inspired by the great architect including wallets, books, and puzzles. The store also has a wide selection of avant-garde jewelry, children’s items, and clothing. If you can’t make it into the store, they have an online shop,  too.

Historical Sites

New Hampshire State House Visitors Center Gift Shop, 107 N Main St Rm 119, Concord, 603 271-2154. Before or after your visit the over-200-year-old State House, housing the country’s largest state legislative body, stop into the gift shop that offers a wide selection of New Hampshire-o-bilia. Their selection includes collectible state-house ornaments to New Hampshire neck ties, Old Man of Mountain dog tags, and even a state flag. If you can’t make it to the State House, you can visit the shop online.

Many local historical societies have small gift shops, for the local-history lover on your list. At the Nashua Historical Society Gift Shop at the 150-year-old Nashua Historical Society on 5 Abbot St., Nashua, (603) 883-0015.  You can get placements made from vintage photos like one showing a team of horses moving a house from one end of the city to another, stationary, and their newest addition, sepia-colored ink made from black walnuts from their own towering tree using the same recipe that native Americans used in this area over 400 years ago. All profits go to support the historical society.

Hospital Gift Shops

Hospital gift shops are often carefully curated by dedicated volunteers and offer items you might not see anywhere else. Such is the case at The Gift Shop at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center, 1 Medical Center Drive, Center Court, 3rd floor, Lebanon. 603 650-7061, where the proceeds go to fund hospital equipment, support services for patients, and nursing scholarships. Their selection includes snow globes, puppets, greeting cards, and locally made chocolates and gifts.



  • Stacy Milbouer

    Stacy Milbouer is an award-winning journalist and has covered New Hampshire for many publications including the Boston Globe, New Hampshire Magazine, and the Nashua Telegraph.

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