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Gift Bag: Holiday Spirit

At Common Folk in Bellevue, there are lots of reasons to believe

December 18, 2009


It’s okay if you’re not totally feeling it this year. It’s been a rough one, and even in the best of times, the season tends to sneak up on you. But if, down deep in your lumpy coal heart there is a little Virginia who wants to believe, I’ve got a store for you. It’s called Common Folk, and it’s just outside the Crossroads Mall in Bellevue.

Owner Kathryn Straub pulls in elements of bedazzled, bejeweled household bling and honest-to-gosh folk art (ask about the sweet hard-carved sheep made by a gentlemen in Kent) and manages to make it at all feel at home with authentic time-worn kitsch (check the corner that time forgot, where almost life-size ‘60s dolls, cartoon lunch pails, and bowling figurines make up a mini-museum), Christmas classics in new color palettes (you can’t not love her pink tree corner), and town-and-country basics likes soaps and candles.

Lots of it is locally made and most of it would please just about everyone. Would you believe me if I told you that the prices veer not toward Big Money Bellevue but, well, common folk?

And okay, the excellent positioning of the New York Cupcake shop next door doesn’t hurt, but it’s the good old-fashioned community vibe that’ll really kick your heart into holiday overdrive.

It doesn’t exactly feel like Mayberry – it’s too hip for that, just a Northwest nabe corner store where, well, everyone is friendly and they all know your name. And get this: Straub and her team have even managed to make a graffiti wall inside the shop’s bathroom feel elegant, purposeful, and stylish. I can almost imagine my mom tagging up inside.

Pink santas, holiday pigs, scented soaps, vintage wedding cake toppers, glittery woodland animals, and random pieces of we-can-laugh-now 80s home decor all under one roof … it shouldn’t work, but it does. Very, very well.


Now that you’re in the spirit, check our staff-curated holiday gift guide

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