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Holiday Shopping on a Budget: where to go to save time and money

Tis’ the season for shopping and, for Mills students hoping to avoid the last minute holiday gift-giving grind, saving time and money. The Laurel shopping district, located between the wrought iron arches of 35th and High Street, offers several convenient holiday go-to gift hotspots sure to help you wrap up your friend’s and family’s wish lists – and maybe even your own. The best part? Many stores give discounts to Mills students. Here are three of our favorite picks for the holiday season:

Monique’s Clozet!

Monique’s Clozet! is a boutique that sells both new and gently-used ladies’ fashions. Whether you’re looking for last season’s Gucci kitten heel or a cheetah-print L.A.M.B. handbag, this store has it all.

Racks of chic clothing and handbags, both new and used, line the purple walls of Monique's Clozet! (Tara Nelson)

“There’s something for everyone,” said Myrtle Henderson, mother of the owner.

The shop boasts a decent collection of plus-size clothing along with jewelry, T’s and sweet-smelling candles created especially for the store by several local East Bay designers. Be sure to stop by the day after Thanksgiving for their in-store fashion show and mixer for even more deals and a chance to win a $5 gift card. And if you’re looking to make a little extra Christmas cash, the store purchases gently-used clothing.

Prices for new and used clothing range from $15-$50 with some high-end brands running at about $75-$90.

Store hours: Wednesday – Saturday, 12:30 p.m. – 6 p.m.

Located at 4140 MacArthur Boulevard.

A wall of toys on display at Laurel 99, most for under a dollar. (Tara Nelson)

Laurel Bookstore

The Laurel Bookstore has been a staple of the area for nine years and carries an eclectic selection of books. Store owner Luan Stauss said children’s books and cookbooks are especially popular this time of year.

The store is giving Mills students a 10% discount through the end of the 2010-2011 school year, and if that isn’t enough incentive, the bookstore hosts fundraisers for local schools and Mills College creative writing class readings.

Store hours: Monday – Friday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Located at 4100 MacArthur Boulevard.

Cookbooks and children's books are popular gifts for the season. (Tara Nelson)

Laurel 99

Low on funds or gift wrap? Head over to Laurel 99,  a store stocked with all sorts of items, including toys, scarves, Obama wristwatches, key chains, stickers, binoculars, earrings, hats, holiday plates and mugs – not to mention an extensive assortment of gift wrap for all seasons.

We couldn’t find anything over $20 when we were there, so we’re pretty sure you can go nuts without going broke.

Store hours: Monday – Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Located at 3731 MacArthur Boulevard.