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Shopping is a pleasant pastime year-round, but in Wisconsin, the holiday season can bring added coziness and warmth to your shopping excursions. These small towns are famous for their Christmas spirit, and you can peruse their charming shops with a hot cocoa in hand as you search for those perfect gifts.


With its renowned resort The American Club festooned in glittering white lights and carriages pulled by horses outfitted in jingling bells, Christmas is at its prettiest in Kohler. Walk from boutique to boutique at The Shops at Woodlake, where you’ll discover fine art, garden-inspired gifts, sumptuous sleepwear and handcrafted chocolates.

Lake Geneva

Lake Geneva always has lots of holiday events, from craft fairs to sleigh rides—and you’ll find something for everyone on your list! Head downtown to gaze in wonder at the seasonal decorations at Cornerstone Shop & Gallery. Allison Wonderland is a beautiful, old-fashioned toy store. And your four-legged friends will love anything you pick up at Paws for Treats.


It doesn’t get much cozier than a Northern Wisconsin Christmas, which makes Minocqua ideal for holiday shopping. Warm up at Gaslight Square Shoppes, an indoor collection of boutiques that includes Gaslight Antiques and Campsite 51, known for its Northwoods-inspired gifts.


Cream City brick and sparkling Christmas lights create an idyllic holiday-shopping atmosphere in Cedarburg. Many of the shops line Washington Avenue, like The Shops of Cedar Creek Settlement, comprised of 15 boutiques in a 154-year-old building. Also, don’t miss Bohemia, The Gem Shop and Cedarburg Toy Company, also located on the historic street.


Oconomowoc has its share of holiday fairs and festivals, and its shopping is just as festive. (And be sure to stop by their German Christmas Market, held this year from Nov. 29 through Dec. 1!). You’ll be charmed by its boutiques, including Books & Company and The Weather Vane, which purveys handmade German holiday gifts. There’s No Place Like Home purveys a wealth of maker goods, all in a historic space. Pop over to nearby Delafield for foodie finds at Oliva di Vita; outdoor clothing and gear at Clear Water Outdoor; and Element Style for killer women’s wear and accessories.

Photo courtesy of Kohler Co.


Shelby Deering is a lifestyle writer from Madison, Wisconsin, contributing to national and regional outlets like Midwest Living, Rodale’s Organic Life, and BRAVA. You can learn more about her at shelbydeering.com.