Don’t let cardboard cartons pile up on your doorstep this holiday season. Our neighborhood is full of locally owned shops where Christmas elves and New Year’s angels can find everything they’re looking for. This list just scratches the surface of Lake Highlands’ robust retail scene. Before you click to buy, try cruising through an IRL shopping site for a gift that’s meaningful in more ways than one.

Photography by Jessica Turner

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Mix it up!

Courtney Halpin makes ranch water baskets and sells margarita salt. It started from pandemic boredom, so she started making kits from her house. The kits range from standard to premium depending on the size of tequila ordered alongside. Each kit includes a recipe card, a lime, jalapeno, a jar of margarita salt, a bottle of Topo Chico and tequila. Bigger baskets like this one come with cups and paper straws. Eight-ounce jars of margarita salt alone sell for $10.

Cost: $30 – $65 for baskets, $10 for margarita salt | unomassalt

Shine brighter

Leigh Breunig began her craft at the age of nine. What started out as rope bracelets with simple beads is now a variety ranging from earrings to necklaces. Some of the items Breunig uses in her jewelry include wood, ethically sourced water buffalo horn and metals. Her Aspen bracelet is made of Aspen bark from the trees in the Colorado mountains. The Aspen bangle is gold with eyelet openings and etching along the exterior. Breunig also offers limited-edition bandanas with added hand-sewn embellishments.

Cost: $75 |

Make some roam-ance

Kam Neal was a physician assistant in family medicine when the pandemic hit last year. That was the catalyst to what became Lake Love Clay. Seeing the earrings her friend was making out of clay in Oklahoma inspired Neal to pursue jewelry making. Her Roam earrings are lightweight and have five color options: rose gold and tan, orange, yellow, lavender and teal. Each pair of earrings available in Neal’s shop comes in multiple bright color options and sometimes patterns.

Eat cake

Ashley Boynton is a baker, former pastry chef and mother of three. Her pastries range from custom made cakes to cakesicles, a twist on cake pops. Her cakesicles are decorated with frosting stripes and whimsical toppings matched to the occasion. There are six cake flavors to choose from: devil’s food chocolate, vanilla, funfetti, vanilla Oreo, chocolate chip and strawberry. The cakesicles can be bought individually, wrapped or boxed in sets of three and six.

Cost: individual $5 -$6, boxed $6 -$36 |

Say ‘howdy’

These Texas-shaped cowhide coasters will bring out the inner cowboy or cowgirl in that special someone. The coasters come in a variety of colors and patterns of cowhide attached to a layer of wood. Each one is sure to steer the table’s finish clear of cup stains. Another Texas item from the store is the Topo Chico candle, which sits in a recycled Topo Chico glass bottle. Though based in Lakewood, the shop also has items from Lake Highlands and other small businesses across Texas. The site isn’t reflective of current stock; current items can be found on its Instagram.

Cost: $7.50 for coaster, $16.50 for candle |

Wine down

Lake Highlands High School alumnus Carson Woods owns Woods by Woods. All products are hand carved in Woods’
own wood shop. This wine glass display is crafted from smoothed walnut wood and polished with a natural Danish oil. The display is the most popular item on his site. There are three openings sized for a bottle of wine and two glasses. Just the gift for a cozy night in.

Cost: $28 |

Toss like a boss

It’s not cornhole — it’s TowerBall! Lake Highlands couple Kelsey and Alex Carroll, who are both passionate about outdoor games, created the game. They created Toss Up Events in 2016, which hosted life-sized toss games at major sporting events. Now, they’ve launched TowerBall, a competitive game that’s like a combination of darts and cornhole. It can be played from 360 degrees and is equipped with eight soft balls for gameplay.

Cost: $5.99 for extra balls, $149.99 for TowerBall set |