SoIN | A Holiday Gift Guide for the Difficult-to-Please

Story & Photos By Erica Rucker 

Holiday shopping can mean anxiety. Especially if you have hard-to-please family or friends on your list. How do you please everyone? First step, start early. Shops in Jeffersonville and New Albany have unique finds for even some of the most hard-to-please people in your life. To give you a headstart and to introduce you to some of Southern Indiana’s unique offerings, I visited five area shops to find gifts to please even the most difficult people on your list.


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At first glance, Dress and Dwell is a women’s clothing store. While that may be the primary draw, you’ll find many gift ideas inside, including jewelry, skin care, items for the home and items for children. The store is bright and filled with warm peach tones and turquoise. From the ultra-feminine to edgy, you’re sure to find something for your hard to please girlfriend. Adult sizes range from S-3X. Most shoe sizes go up to size 10.

“We have a curve collection,” said Assistant Store Manager Nikki Robey, “and with most other styles, the sizes depend on the brand.”

SOME FAVORITES: Beauty Bar Bath Bombs ($6-10), Body and Skin Care by French Girl and Herbivore ($15-40), initial necklaces ($28), “Another Please” Call Bell ($12), Swell Water Bottles ($35) and, for the cooking bourbon drinker, a $75 Eat Your Bourbon Kit by Bourbon Barrel Foods. The kids’ selection of clothing, soft toys and books was a nice treat.


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Horner Novelty is the shop to visit when all other gift ideas fall through. It is a classic novelty store with everything from magic tricks, jokes, to costumes and party ideas. Horner is the perfect store to bring out the kid in anyone. Perhaps the difficult person you’re shopping for just needs a good laugh. Horner delivers.

Visit Horner for unique ideas for filling a kid’s holiday stocking or goodie bags. It is an easy place to spend a couple of hours.

SOME FAVORITES: witch fingers ($2.49), engineer’s cap ($8.99), various themed party items, and magic sets ($14.99).


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Madhouse is a store for people who are at home in their homes. From kitchen items, to fragrant candles and even sports-related items for she-sheds and man-caves, MadHouse is a pleasant surprise.

Every corner of this store is filled with something wonderful. A beautiful selection of chandeliers, lanterns and lamps hangs from the ceiling, and well-curated items add personality to the home.

A FEW FAVORITES: weiner dog paper towel holder ($24), zip code glasses ($10-12) and, for the wine drinking bird watcher, ChirpyTop wine pourer ($24).


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Maxwell’s House of Music is a one-stop shop for the musician in your life. From beginner classes to space rental and instrument sales, Maxwell’s has a great gift collection for audiophiles. Mike McAfee, “Tone Guru,” said the store’s hottest selling item is the ukulele.

“We sell probably five a week,” he said. “It’s been the most popular instrument for the last five years. It’s something anyone can do.”

SOME FAVORITES: ukuleles ($50-220), assorted headphones ($20-63), bags of guitar picks ($40), and music brand t-shirts (some are free with an instrument purchase).


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“A lot of people don’t need stuff,” said Regalo store associate Aaron Guldenschuh. He suggests gifts that make them laugh or feel good.

Got an angsty teen or a cranky friend on your list? Regalo has two floors of goods to please.

SOME FAVORITES: adult coloring books ($10), desk signs and mugs ($6-12), Kozy Kandles in amazing fall scents ($16-22), SoIN magnets and socks ($2-12).

These are just a few of the ideas for gifts. Shop these and other SoIN retailers to provide you plenty of gift-giving ideas. So, don’t get bogged down with shopping anxiety. Enjoy a pleasant stroll along Jeffersonville and New Albany’s quaint retail avenues.

And don’t forget to allow some “me time” to take in local art and a meal at an attraction or a local restaurant.


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