Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Setting sights elsewhere this holiday season

Done Christmas shopping yet?

Maybe? Maybe not?

Oh ye of little faith …

Christmas is but a week away. The children are nestled in front of their DS players and the shopping storm that has taken place makes you feel a little … well. … icky?

Never fails. You spend your holiday shopping time at Target (*genuflects* … I love the store, but really, a Mom ‘n Pop it’s not) and you feel a little like you’ve been put in a blender and set to pulse. Or I do anyway.

You may even wonder if you have a pulse.

So what’s the antidote?

SHOP LOCALLY, at locally owned businesses.

There’s still time Ebeneezer:

The handmade holiday gift shop at Spencertown Academy runs through Dec. 20 and offers hundreds of unique items by local artists including jewelry, painted scarves, marbled books, quilted handbags, letterpress cards and more. Open Thursday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. And just because it’s art doesn’t mean it’s expensive. In fact, if you’ve been oogling an amazing artist, holiday shops are probably your best chance to get an original work without having to sell the farm.

Amazon is jungle in Brazil. Visit there to see an environmental masterpiece. To read one, though, visit your local independent bookseller. My favorites are Market Block Books in Troy and The Book House in Stuyvesant Plaza; The Chatham Bookstore, Mainstreet, Chatham, NY; Berkshire Books, Chatham, NY; Blackwood and Brouwer Booksellers; and Politics & Prose in Washington, D.C.

One lunch time last week I took a walk around the block and realized one of my favorite shops had moved. Closer. The Spinning Seed, 272 River Street, Troy, is a little store with big ideas, not to mention terrific finds. It offers organic, biodegradable, handmade, sustainable, non-toxic, recycled, fairly traded, vintage and upcycled goods. In fifteen minutes of browsing I scratched three folks off my list. Holiday hours are Monday through Thursday, 11 to 5; Friday 11 to 7; Saturday 10 to 5; Sunday 11-3; Christmas eve 10 to 3.

Speaking of sustainability, I’m a huge fan of re-gifting. And what better way to find re-gifts than by hunting around some local consignment shops and second-hand emporiums. You’ll save some space in the landfill and get something useful to boot. Last year I got an amazing set of wooden farm animals (and their humans) at Goodwill Industries and virtually every book the kids want to read over and over again has come from The Book Outlet in the Troy Atrium. In addition to its rabbit warren of every known subject matter, the shop has a wonderful children’s section.

This year I made my own candy, but usually we get our chocolate gifts from Krauses. (And if we're lucky we'll be the recipients of some of the candy maker's chocolate decadence. They can't guarantee Christmas delivery at this point, but I guarantee it will be well received whenever the gift arrives.

1 comment:

beecher said...

Mmmm...wish we had nice local shops like that. to be honest I'm not sure what we have anymore since we just moved to this city in the summer...I stick to etsy for most things I can't make myself.
I got a delicious package of toffee in the mail today from you by the way. Thank you so much for sharing it with us!