Buying gifts often strikes fear in one’s heart.
You’re trying to show love and affection. What does it mean if you screw it up? You’re unworthy and/or clueless?
In either case, never fear. Bar Harbor entrepreneur Nicole Ouellette has several gift ideas for the clueless.
Ouellette owns Breaking Even Communications, which has been helping businesses and nonprofits get talked about online since 2008.
The northern Maine native is also the founder of Anchor Space, a co-working space in downtown Bar Harbor where you can rent a desk on a monthly or daily basis or rent a conference room for meetings or events.
So, girlfriend has her finger on the pulse of good gift ideas.
First up are pajamas. Chances are your recipient may not spend money on cute nightwear for herself. She may just wear long underwear or an ancient night gown. In either case, cute PJ’s would be a treat.
Ouellette, who recently started a podcast, My Desert Island podcast, with Nina St. Germain of Bar Harbor, picked out several pairs of PJs, at Eden Rising (39 Cottage St.). Eden Rising had a camel-print pair for $72.
Print dresses by Maine designer FX Dressed also caught the media maven’s eye at Eden Rising. Those were $60.
One of Ouellette’s favorite shops in Bar Harbor is Spruce & Gussy (12 Mount Desert St). The store, which describes itself as offering “adornments for self and space,” belongs to island artists Michelle Souza and Patricia Savoie.
“It’s well curated,” Ouellette said of Spruce & Gussy. “It’s local without it being uber-touristy.”
That means, if you want blueberry prints and lobster buoys, go elsewhere.
Ouellette fell in love with a platter, which was a collaborative effort between Bar Harbor potter Rocky Mann and artist Jennifer Judd-McGee who created the dish’s paper-cut pattern. The platter is $80.
Spruce & Gussy also has cloth napkins designed by Judd-McGee.
Ouellette also found lots of handmade jewelry, including necklaces with pendants created like miniature glass boxes with tiny figurines inside.
Is your gal always taking photos with her smartphone? She might love one of her favorite photos emblazoned on a cuff for her wrist. You can have that done at Spruce & Gussy.
Ouellette likes locally made jewelry for gifts because as she says, not everyone is a “big diamond earrings person.”
Moving onto more practical items, Ouellette once gave a set of brightly-hued geographical-themed glassware to a friend. She found them at Window Panes (166 Main St.) The glassware feature maps of various states and countries.
The glassware is good “if you know there’s one place special to someone,” Ouellette said.
“I also like this place for stocking stuffer stuff,” Ouellette said of Window Panes. There are bins of kitchen gadgets, candles and soaps.
“I like consumable stuff,” she said. Items such as bottles of wine, candles and food, which eventually will be used up. “It’s not stuff you have to continually have around.”
“I also think you can’t go wrong with a little blank book,” she said, pointing towards Sherman’s Maine Books & Stationery at 56 Main Street.
“My family always bought me a blank book every Christmas,” Ouellette said.
Ouellette urges shoppers to consider giving an experience as well.
She would love a “Big Ticket” pass for Reel Pizza. “It makes you feel important,” she said.
A big ticket equals ten admissions and includes five free pizza toppings for $55.
You can’t go wrong with restaurant gift certificates either, especially one for FishMaine Inc., which is a group of restaurants in Bar Harbor owned by the Bond family.
Your recipient can spend her gift certificate at any of the Bond restaurants, including Jalapenos Cantina, Fish House Grill, Bar Harbor Beerworks, Carmen Verandah or Cherrystones.