Can you believe that this is the last weekend before Christmas? If you haven’t started working on that list yet, now is the time to get going. With that in mind, we continue our campaign to celebrate our favorite independent shops and eateries in the Greater Boston area, where people are hard at work to make your holiday season a special one. They are the ones acting as Santa’s local elves, dispatching gifts through bricks and mortar shops, found in each and every neighborhood and town.

We began by focusing on a few downtown neighborhoods, then headed west to shop Brookline, Newton, and Wellesley. This week, we are offering up a double hitter, with a South Shore guide published this morning, and the North Shore this afternoon! Grab your friends, get that sleigh ready, and make a plan to hit up some of the best independently owned stores north of Boston this weekend.

Snowy Newburyport, courtesy of Historic New England

North Shore—Newburyport and beyond

Since the North Shore is a big region, and has several amazing shopping districts in towns like Salem, Gloucester, Hamilton, Wenham, Essex, Ispwich and Andover, it might just be impossible to cover all of the wonderful places where you should be shopping. We decided to focus in on Newburyport today, and offer up a few other suggestions around the region that we think should not be missed!

Fuel up! Plum Island Coffee Roasters is a unique, unconventional coffee shop with (you guessed it) freshly roasted and ground coffee. Or, drop by Caffe Di Siena for drinks and delicious pastries and desserts.

Shop ‘til you Drop: One of the best places to start your day of shopping is at the Tannery Marketplace in Newburyport. Housed in an old leather mill, this complex features some of our favorite shops in the area. For the foodie on your list, be sure to stop by Joppa Fine Foods, where you can fill up your basket with premium olive oil, cheeses and unique spices. Afterwards, head over to the dynamic duo of the Jabberwocky Bookshop and Eureka! Toys for gifts that will please just about everyone you are shopping for this season.

After exploring The Tannery Marketplace, stroll up State Street and hit up another one of our favorite indie bookstores, The Book Rack. Peruse their great range of books and gifts, and check out the newly released North Shore Baby. If you know of any expecting parents on the North Shore, this incredibly useful guide is the perfect stocking stuffer this season.

Do Lunch: Stop by Black Cow, a local favorite, for a delicious all-American lunch and a great view overlooking the water.

Apres-Shopping Drinks: Settle in at Ceia Kitchen + Bar for a festive cocktail after a long day of shopping. Craft beer and a dark, cozy bar more your style? Head to The Grog for their great selection.

Photograph by Jay Albert, Cape Ann Images

Other North Shore Favorites from Union Park Press:

Visit the Lobster Pot Christmas Tree in Gloucester!

For some of the best chocolate in all of New England, stop by Harbor Sweets in Salem. The sweet tooth on your list will be very happy with your choice of gift!

Zak’s, in Manchester-by-the-Sea, is a treasure trove of gifts and toys, the perfect place to find last-minute gifts. Head there this weekend and say hello!

Head to Marblehead for another wonderful New England shopping experience, where will encounter great stores like the Bus Stop for clothes and accessories, and the Spirit of ’76 bookshop.