Win tickets to see the smash hit musical Mamma Mia at the Roanoke Civic Center. Two winners will each receive four tickets!
A couple of weeks ago, I glanced at the calendar and nearly suffered a panic attack. Only two months left in the year and I hadn't bought the first holiday gift (well, unless you count that magazine subscription I was asked to renew six months ago).
If you also need to finish your holiday shopping, we're here to make life a little easier. The second annual Best of Holiday Shopping guide includes recommendations from Roanoke Times readers on where to find thoughtful presents for the special folks on your list — from the child who wants everything to the grandparent who wants nothing. The businesses mentioned in this guide were all endorsed through reader votes in our shopping ballot.
Those who plan to skip the shopping this year may still enjoy finding new ways to spruce up their holiday decorations or to pamper themselves with a manicure or massage.
For last year's guide, we included shopping destinations such as Richmond and Charlottesville in the "Hit the Road" series. This year, we decided to keep the focus closer to home, arming you with the information you'll need to discover charming retail districts in towns and cities scattered through Southwest Virginia — because when we shop local, we build a stronger community.
Speaking of community, this year's publication also includes favorite recipes contributed by members of the Roanoke Times family. Perhaps they will become part of your family's future traditions.
Wishing you a safe and happy holiday season,
Features editor, The Roanoke Times
How the voting was done:
The Roanoke Times solicited votes from Sept. 3 – Oct. 11, 2013, at roanoke.com/bestof. Winners were determined by total number of votes, with gold (first-place), silver (second-place), and bronze (third-place) winners named. Honorable mentions were given to the next three finishers, with ties in some categories. To be considered, businesses needed to have a physical presence within Southwest Virginia. The "Day Trip Shopping Destination" subcategory was the one exception, as it focused on out-of-town shopping trips.
Who doesn't want to spend a little less this year during the holiday shopping season? Snap up good deals on clothing, home decor, antiques and Black Friday specials at the winning businesses in these categories.
You'll be ready to cross folks off your holiday shopping list with the reader advice contained in these voting categories, which include the best places to buy jewelry, party dresses, men's and women's clothing, kitchen supplies and outdoor gear.
See these results for best day-trip shopping destination and best shopping mall, as well.
It's time to spruce up the home for the winter holidays with Christmas trees, wreaths, flowers, centerpieces and other festive decorations. To learn where our readers have found the best decor - for inside and outside the home - check out these results.
Sometimes the best gift for the friend or relative who has everything is a gift certificate for a soothing massage or a relaxing manicure and pedicure. Better yet, when your holiday shopping is finished, reward yourself with a spa treatment!
Readers weighed in on the best places for spa treatments and holiday up-dos in these categories.
Want to know where to have a holiday party for a dedicated staff? Which area restaurant is the best place for take-out food if you don't feel like cooking? Find reader recommendations on those topics and several others, including best venue for a holiday party, in these results.
Every family has its holiday food traditions, but it’s also fun to branch out and try something new every year. With that in mind, Roanoke Times staffers submitted some of their families’ favorite recipes, including German stollen, Maryland crab cakes, sausage gravy and caramel-apple pie.
We hope you’ll find something tantalizing in these recipes – perhaps one will become a new tradition in your home.
The malls are great places to shop for holiday gifts, but Southwest Virginia is dotted with many towns and cities with charming shopping districts.
To help you discover new stores and restaurants this season, we profiled nine different locations throughout our coverage area where you can have fun exploring new surroundings while crossing items off your shopping list.
Roanoke Times Style Street blogger David Verde visited with business owners in the Roanoke and New River valleys, including an interior designer, chocolatier, candy shop owner and clothing store owner, and asked them how they approach the holidays. They offered these tips, paired with portraits by Verde.
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