Sue Hoxie, Better Middlebury Partnership

Are you in holiday panic mode yet? Gifts to buy, parties to attend, presents to wrap, meals to prepare, travel plans to make…and with only one week to go before Old Saint Nick arrives. Many downtown stores will be open late again this Thursday, December 18th—including a Last Chance Makers Market at Bundle from 5 to 8 p.m.

Local merchants’ inventories do not lack gifts for the home. What better to way to beautify a house than with art. There are original works, small and large, at both Edgewater Gallery locations. Prints from Addison County artists Woody Jackson and Deb Holmes are available at Sweet Cecily, as well as Vermont humorist/artist Dug Nap.

Don’t you deserve a gift to yourself? No need to head to a box store or Burlington. Head just south of town to Woodware for a new sofa, bedroom set or lighting. One of the mantras of shopping locally is that it supports your neighbors…Woodware is a third-generation business.

Danforth Pewter has something for every budget—wine stoppers, candle sticks, even one-of-a-kind lamps handcrafted by Fred. If you’re looking for something on the softer side, Wild Mountain Thyme carries unique rugs, pillows and bedspreads. Slate Home, one of the merchants in the Stone Mill Public Market, offers throws, leather goods and other gorgeous products made by ethical and sustainable vendors.

If you’re shopping for someone who loves being in the kitchen, you’ll have difficulty making a choice at Kiss the Cook. There’s bakeware, a great selection of cookie cutters (many made a few miles south in Rutland), utensils for every task, Emile Henry pie dishes and Le Creuset cookware. Is your Secret Santa a coffee or tea-aholic? Kiss the Cook stocks many varieties of cups, pots, makers, French presses, grinders, sundry gadgets and do-dads.

Speaking of food! Aren’t edible gifts the best? Or, maybe you need to find something quickly for a party host. The Middlebury Natural Foods Co-op has lots of edible stocking stuffers. Or, duck into Vermont’s Own Products and find food of nearly every variety–pepper sauces, jams, jellies, crackers, syrup, coffee, cocoa—most of them Vermont-made. There are candles, doggie treats, stone cutting boards, as well as locally produced wines, beverages and cheeses. Instead of cookies and milk, treat St. Nick to a piece of Dana’s famous homemade fudge.

This is the last of four gift giving idea blogs. It’s been fun researching and writing them. I gained a better appreciation for all the beautiful things that can be purchased locally, and a few items might have been added to my own list for Santa a/k/a husband.

“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!”