For those of us struggling to find that one-of-a-kind, last-minute gift, local businesses may just be the ticket.
Stocking stuffers: A go-to for stocking stuffers that comes to mind is the Red Barn at 245 Bradley Street, a boutique and gift store. “We have plenty of stocking stuffers under $20,” said Ellen Eisenberg, the owner. Among the most popular are the Snoozies (house socks) or Blue Q socks (their number one seller) which display some humorous or, well, explicit sayings. Another popular item are sachets from Liberty of London; lightly scented, they go into the linen drawer.
Eco-Friendly: Very popular at the Red Barn are eco-friendly items such as reusable shopping bags displaying famous art; or unique items for the household, ranging from mango wood bowls and cutting boards to whimsical kitchen towels and unique entry mats.
Popular for teacher gifts are a line of gourmet teas, especially when paired with Seattle Chocolate, a woman-owned company. The chocolates come wrapped in colorful, one-of-a-kind designer wrapping.
Eisenberg also carries artful copper ornaments as well as greeting cards for Hanukkah or Christmas. Given that it’s the season of light, shoppers can choose from an array of candles, including the newest, a CBD candle said to be promoting relaxation (just make sure you don’t fall asleep with the candle still burning!).
Give the gift of health: Few things promote health more than food, especially organic food that is grown right here in Woodbridge. That brings to mind Massaro Farm, where a gift could take several forms. It could be in the form of a brick honoring that special person in your life. Proceeds will help the farm build a pavilion that will serve as a meeting place for guests, and be equipped with a bathroom sporting sustainability-minded composting toilets. Bricks can be purchased in two sizes ($100 or $250) and the farm will send an acknowledgement to the recipient.
The farm also is offering a gift bag consisting of a hemp tote with the Massaro logo, filled with locally produced glasses of crushed tomatoes, marinara sauce and heirloom salsa (one each). The gift bag is $50, and may serve as a reminder of warmer days ahead during the dark days of winter.
A really special gift is to purchase a share for the next growing season, with either full or half shares available. Check for details on its website.
Fitness training: Amity Physical Therapy recently opened new facilities in Hamden and Milford, called Amity Fitness, where they offer fitness training for individuals or in small groups. “For years, the leading reasons why people cease workout regimens is due to injury and lack of results,” they wrote on their website. “The method we use is simple: We blend the skills of orthopedic examination with the expertise of training. Combining these disciplines before symptoms, versus doing one or the other individually, yields the best chance to catch the ‘ticking time bombs’ of injuries and lead to best results.”
Packages are $75 for an hour or $42.50 for 30 minutes; with reduced prices per hour for multiple sessions. For details, call Hamden at (203) 691-6248; or Milford at (203) 693-2350.
For bird lovers and more: Woodbridge Hardware carries a large selection of Audubon bird feeders, ranging in price from $8.99 to $49.99, along with a whole selection of bird food.
For those who are thinking candles, but want to go for something more creative, Woodbridge Hardware is selling decorative oil lamps for $17.
On the counter at Woodbridge Hardware are products made by a Bethany company called Sea Lark Enterprises. They make soap lifts made out of corn-based “ecoplastic” that comes in different shapes and colors to match the color scheme of your bathroom. Soap lifts allow the water to drain through the strands and allow air to circulate – thus extending the life of the bar of soap.
Sea Lark also produces soaps and lotions. On display at Woodbridge Hardware was a bar soap specifically formulated to help with a poison ivy rash.
Camp fire equipment: Lock Stock and Barrel in Bethany has a large selection of gift items, ranging from dog toys to home décor. “We have something for everybody,” said retail manager Molly Henion.
Among the best-sellers these days are Solo-Stoves, stainless steel, smokeless wood fire pits. The Solo Stoves are particularly good for asthma sufferers, since the airflow design allows to burn off smoke before it can find its way to your clothes and hair or lungs. The stoves are lightweight and can easily be taken on camping trips or to the beach, wherever you want to rest by a fire.
Although primarily known as a farm supply store, Lock Stock and Barrel also sells Amish furniture, hand-made in Lancaster County, and home décor items, such as paintings, vases and coffee mugs.
Located at 770 Amity Road in Bethany, they offer a wide variety of products for pet owners and farmers, including tack, equine supplements and feed, pet food and toys, poultry feed and supplies, wild bird food, and farm and ranch tools. Another part of their business is in power tools.
Let the spirit be bright: For your holiday celebration, check out the selection of wines and local bourbons at Wines and Spirits of Woodbridge, located at 245 Amity Road. The store carries fine wines, bourbons (including those from Litchfield Distillery), scotch, vodka, gins, rum and craft beers. Big sellers are Four Roses bourbon and single-malt scotches.
Nostalgia: The Orange Historical Society is running a gift store on Saturdays from 12-3 at the Stone Otis House at 615 Orange Center Road. Look for toys, books, kitchen items, ornaments and more. The last Saturday for the gift store is this week, December 17.
Kriz Farm: Nostalgia is also running high with horse-drawn wagon rides at Kriz Farm, off Bear Hill Road in Bethany, on Sunday, December 18, 1-3 p.m. Meet up with Santa (or the Grinch) and indulge in their specialty, eggnog milkshake. Provided they are not sold out, Kriz will sell pre-cut Christmas trees, wreaths, holiday crafts, and ice cream in addition to hot cocoa, hot cider, and fresh donuts. Christmas trees begin at $65 and all tree purchases include a wagon ride. Otherwise, rides are $5/person, children under 10 years old are free. Call (203) 915-5534.
Coffee and tea: Café Rebelde, a Woodbridge based purveyor of coffee beans and teas, offers to deliver orders to local addresses, which may be crucial when time is running short. They sell single origin coffees from Nicaragua and Mexico. On their website, they also offer coffee samplers, possibly in a gift bag; and subscriptions, https://caferebelde.net/contact.
And so – may the season bring many blessings to all our readers while they are preparing for the celebrations ahead.
By Bettina Thiel, Woodbridge Town News Correspondent