If you’re doing your holiday shopping a bit outside of Baltimore, you might be looking for places to hit up in Carroll County.

Whether you’re closest to Sykesville or Hampstead, we’ve got this roundup of highly rated and suggested stores for just about anyone on your shopping list.

Everyone loves shopping local, right?

Want more gift ideas? Check out the full 2023 Baltimore Banner Gift Guide

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stickers for sale at Tidal Salt Co.
(Courtesy photo)

Tidal Salt Co.

Right on Main Street in Sykesville, Tidal Salt evolved from owner Jenn Banks’ passion project — sea glass jewelry. Tidal Salt is a shop with a little bit of everything, and Banks says she likes to curate fun and beautiful things, including locally made apparel and other gifts.

The Tidal Salt website even has a page dedicated to all its Maryland Makers, showing a strong dedication to shopping local. In store or online, you can find jewelry, candles, cheeky stickers, Maryland-themed gifts and much more.

Personally, I’m a fan of the vinyl stickers (all about $2-$10, depending on size). They make great stocking stuffers, and would be easy to stock up on and give out as gifts without stretching your wallet too far.

7602 W. Main St. in Sykesville, https://www.shoptidalsalt.com

Mooney, the golden retriever, greets most guests at Botanigal in Sykesville.
(Courtesy photo)


It’s 2023, so you’re either a plant lover or know somebody who is. Whether you’re shopping for yourself or that friend who has a plant on every surface of their home, Botanigal should be on your radar.

Open for just over a year on Sykesville’s Main Street, Botanigal is a houseplant boutique that also offers horticulture therapy. In addition to finding a plant to appeal to your green-thumbed friend, you can also schedule a session on plant care and related topics.

Hannah Brookfield, the store’s owner, suggests looking for the shop’s $25 gift set this year. For that price, customers get a plant, a pot, soil and fertilizer, making it a great gift for your plant-parent friend.

She also stocks a variety of planting accessories and plant-themed objects — from plant hangars to stud earrings shaped like leaves. If you go, be preparted to be greeted by Mooney, Brookfield’s 7-year-old golden retriever.

7550 Main St., Unit 1, in Sykesville, https://www.botanigalplants.com

Happy Kids Co. in Sykesville
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Happy Kids Co.

If you’re reading a holiday gift guide, I’d bet there’s a child in your life — whether your own baby, your nephew or your co-worker who’s about to have a baby shower. Happy Kids Co. has a bit of something for everyone, especially kids on the younger side.

The boutique has plenty of cute T-shirts for kids (probably thinking about snacks,” $19.99) and meaningful messages for the grown-ups, too, like a shirt that reminds us all to “raise good humans” ($28)

Happy Kids Co. has a wall full of children’s books, if you’re overwhelmed (or a bit bored) by children’s clothing. They sell some toys and other accessories as well.

7520 Main St. in Sykesville, https://shophappykidsco.com

The Vine on Main in Sykesville.
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The Vine on Main

We’ve all got the friend or family member who insists they don’t want anything for the holidays. Maybe they feel that their house is too cluttered already, or maybe they just don’t know what to do with another novelty mug or a book they won’t actually read.

Have no fear. The best bet for a person like that is to get them something consumable — something they can enjoy and not worry about taking up space. If you’re in Carroll County, there’s no better place for that than The Vine on Main.

The shop specializes in beer and wine. It carries local brewers like DuClaw and Manor Hill, but also stocks big names from across the country like Schlafly and Blue Moon. The shop promises popular wine varietals like merlot and sauvignon blanc, but it also carries smaller batch wines and unique bottles like chocolate wine and dry rosé.

The Vine on Main carries fair-trade gifts, like jewelry, ornaments, tea and chocolate. The store’s owner, Ridia Dearie, said that if a gift in the store isn’t fair trade, then it’s from a local artist.

You could also sign your loved one up for the store’s Wine Club, which gets them 5 bottles of wine each month for $55 (plus tax). The Wine Club requires in-store pickup, so it might not work for non-local giving.

7615 Main Street in Sykesville, https://www.thevinesykesville.com

Gotham Comics in Carroll County.
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Gotham Comics

Gotham Comics in Westminster is a must-stop location for anyone on your list who’s into board games, nerdy collectibles or, well ... comics. It promises to have a comic or graphic novel for any interest or age group, and get new shipments of comics every week.

Gotham Comics offers a variety of board games and table top games, so whether your loved one is into Dungeons & Dragons, Magic The Gathering, Ticket to Ride or Carcassonne, the folks at Gotham can help you find something to add to their collection.

And if you’re new to board games, they also carry old staples like Monopoly and Risk.

The shop’s owner told me he expects graphic novels to be this year’s big holiday seller, in part because there are always so many new ones coming into print.

15 E. Main Street in Westminster, http://www.gotham-comics.com

The holiday display and inside the store at Cultivated.
(Courtesy photo)


A trendy, eccentric boutique in Westminster, Cultivated is the place to shop for your fashion-forward loved one. They’ve got beautiful Pashmina scarves ($32), cozy-looking sweaters and cardigans (no more than $99) and seasonally appropriate candles (crushed candy cane tin, $12, 4-piece mini gift set, $52).

While they’re sold out right now, Cultivated is known for producing and selling customized tote bags for $159. The travel bags are made of water-resistant canvas with leather accents and have a zippered bottom compartment for shoes or dirty laundry.

It’s not just clothes and custom totes, Cultivated carries gifts, books, home goods and more — so it’s worth stopping by to see what you can find for different folks on your list.

15 E. Main St., Suite 103, in Westminster, https://shopcultivated.com

A Manor of Thyme
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A Manor of Thyme

Last on our list of the best places to shop in Carroll County is A Manor of Time, a family-run business in a gorgeous, 110-year-old mansion.

They’re known for their locally made soaps, scrubs and candles, though the shop carries well-known gift brands like Simply Southern and Jellycat. An in-house candle to look for this season is the Victorian Christmas scent, which promises to bring to mind warmth and good cheer.

Like many shops, A Manor of Thyme rotates its selections based on the holidays and the seasons, so the latest inventory is worth checking out. And of course, if you know your loved one well enough to know they’d rather shop for themselves, you can get an e-gift card.

1108 South Main Street, Hampstead, https://manorofthyme.com

🎁 Looking for more gift ideas?

🎁 8 places to shop for holiday gifts in Baltimore City

🎁 9 great gift ideas to buy in Baltimore County

🎁 8 places to buy gifts for the holidays in Anne Arundel County

🎁 8 places to shop for holiday gifts in Howard County

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🎁 7 places to shop for holiday gifts in Bel Air and Harford County


Cody Boteler is a reporter on The Banner’s Express Desk, reporting on breaking news, trending stories and interesting things in and around Baltimore. His work has appeared in The Baltimore Sun, USA TODAY, Baltimore magazine and others.

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