As Tiny Tim notably said, “God bless the Internet.” Or something like that, anyway. Whether it’s a fussy kid, an estranged uncle, a best friend, or you just got stuck with Chad from accounting in the office Secret Santa pool, some people just aren’t easy to shop for.
If you’re having trouble finding a meaningful gift this time of year, items with a personal touch or a local origin always go over well, but finding them can be an ordeal in and of itself. Hence, Tiny Tim, the Internet. Or Etsy, specifically. The online marketplace is a terrific source for finding handcrafted, repurposed, and vintage items from artists and small businesses you might never have realized were even in your neighborhood. Here are some of our favorite pieces we’ve discovered this year:
Hudson Candle offers artisanal candles, hand-poured in the Hudson Valley, all of them made from soy wax and scented with essential oils, and with metal-free wicks. The Fir + Spruce scent featured above is a lovely choice for winter holidays, but there’s a nice assortment to choose from including “Wake Up Call” and “Hustle and Flow.” Their website also has a hilarious option for Chanukah: “The Shiksa.” Half-pillars are $28, or you can grab tea lights on the above website for as little as $6.99.
Technically, it’s based off a pirate, but all we see when we look at this hand-knit stocking cap with built-in sideburns is Michael Caine in A Muppet Christmas Carol, tearfully promising to honor Christmas in his heart. Grab one for the jovial, festive celebrant in your family or office, or just use it as an excuse to attend SantaCon in your nightgown and bathrobe!
Nothing quite lends an air of subdued class to a room like a beautiful, hand-cut, framed silhouette. Popular in the American Colonial and English Victorian periods, the pieces ranged from tender keepsakes to humorous cartoons. This local shop can create a one-of-a-kind portrait for you of yourself, a loved one, a pet, or practically anyone you want. For that special someone, we highly recommend a couple’s portrait to commemorate the biggest day in your relationship. We selected an 8-by-10 size suitable for walls and framing (options available), but the shop offers everything from lockets to porcelain Christmas ornaments.
Jennifer Llewellyn is the owner of Majestic Hudson in Katonah, a recently opened wellness store right on Katonah Ave. next to Golden Prana Yoga Studio. Among the various incense, smudging supplies, crystals, and meditation aids you’ll also find this line of t-shirts and stickers “changing the speed of consciousness.” Yes, they come in adult sizes, but we’ve found the most apt might be the baby onesie, as toddlers best embody the spirit of growth and change (as well as the ability to very suddenly take off on their own).
How could you go wrong with caramels from Carmel? Hailing from just over the border in Putnam, these sweet and bitter, delicate treats are perfect by the half-pound or pound ($34.99) as host/hostess presents in their little gift boxes, or as a party snack by the tray (about 6.5 pounds for $135).
This one’s pretty self-descriptive, but honestly we couldn’t think of anyone who wouldn’t enjoy this lovely spa kit. This Hudson Valley shop specializes in products made from raw honey and beeswax, which really comes together in this gift set. Included are a jar of body butter, their three-step Ultimate Lip Care Set, lip balm, healing salve for distressed skin, raw honey and beeswax soap, a hand-knit cotton washcloth from neighboring Saugerties, and a beeswax votive candle to complete the warm and relaxing spa atmosphere.
Pick up a gorgeous set of simple, understated, and utterly perfect Christmas ornament styled jewelry —hand-crafted by a local designer — at a very reasonable price. Sets come in a variety of colors and styles, but we kept coming back to this silver and cherry-red necklace and earring set. Choose your earring back and necklace length for as little as $59, and get a perfect little gift box ready to bequeath under the mistletoe.
This elegant serving platter doubles as a cutting board, and triples as a wonderful centerpiece for all your holiday gatherings. It makes a terrific gift as each unique piece is signed and numbered on the underside — there’s even an engraving option — but we won’t dissuade you from nabbing one for yourself and feeling like the swankiest host this party season.
All right, this one is a little bit of a cheat but in our defense:
1. These are genuine pieces of Westchester County history, repurposed into fascinating vintage cufflinks, perfect for history buffs, local politicians, or anyone who loves high-fashion kitsch, and
The artist currently only has this one pair in stock, but has confirmed it’s something they try to make more of anytime they can find more of the tokens. Grab this set now, or ask to put in an order for the next batch.…Sheboygan!
What? How did this get on here? This must be some kind of mistake. I mean, this breathtaking article of Americana would be the perfect gift for any staff member of your favorite regional magazine, but it’s a one-of-a-kind find. Wouldn’t really be suitable for our readers, at least not as much as any of the shop’s vast selection of women’s and men’s vintage clothing. We don’t know who you could possibly get this for….