A Christmas Miracle: Find stress-free shopping at NOMA

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Travel Girl's Gift Guide: Museum gift shops are the antidote to packed malls! 

NEW ORLEANS - Are you feeling stressed? Dreary winter days are perfect for museum visits and touring the galleries at New Orleans Museum of Art is one way to relieve holiday stress. But if your stress is caused by thoughts of crowded malls with packed parking lots, our Travel Girl Stephanie Oswald suggests you head for The Museum Shop at NOMA.

You'll need more than 12 days of Christmas to cover all the product lines on display at the stunning boutique where lifestyle luxury comes in many forms and in a wide price range.

Retail Manager Christina Lossi says there are items for under a dollar, and others for several hundred dollars. The selection wows visitors from around the world.

"Last week we got a huge group of very energetic women from the United Kingdom who bought everything," says Christina.

A few favorites:

Classy New Orleans-themed dinnerware comes in a variety of pieces: salt and pepper shakers, plates, pasta bowls, each adorned with artist-rendered and hand-sketched famous monuments and key places in the city. The plates are less than $20 each and the pasta bowl is $48.

Handmade ornament crafted by women in Nepal are the perfect gift for those who wish to give back with their giving! They start at eight dollars apiece, and are sold by a non-profit company  specializing in female empowerment. The women, who are often single moms, are protected, housed and taught a trade.

"And then 100 percent of the proceeds are given back to the women to help pay for the education costs of their children," explains Christina.

Imported Italian paper: To class up your wrapping station, The Museum Shop at NOMA is selling elegant and playful handmade wrapping sheets for four dollars each. There are classic Venetian patterns, whimsical antique prints and a few with favorite storybook characters such as Pinocchio and Alice in Wonderland. The newest sheet features an elegant print of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.

Of course, for the best wrapping job, by all your gifts at NOMA, along with the paper, and the staff at the shop will wrap it for you, along with some holiday cheer.