Thirty gifts under thirty dollars
Let’s face it. Living in the Hudson Valley can be expensive at any time of the year, let alone during the holidays. There is, however, a silver — and gold — lining….
This holiday season, we have chosen a curated selection of affordable and — believe it or not — desirable gifts for you and yours. So grab your favorite festive nog or grog and a cozy blanket as we present HV1’s 30 gifts for $30 or less…Don’t forget that saving money can yield many happy returns!To ensure that you don’t think that we’re stacking the deck by putting our personal favorites first, we’re presenting our offerings in alphabetical order. Bless the aardvark for its leading role in the roll of the world’s creatures.
1. Alcohol. Getting through the holidays can be trying for many people. The constant need to shop, to decorate, to be merry around excessive numbers of friends and family, can be difficult. Sometimes nothing makes the holidays more bearable than a good drink. We happen to be blessed with a massive number of locally distilled drinks here in the Hudson Valley. From a locally made glog to bourbon to whiskey: a locally distilled alcohol is a perfect gift for many. Some of our favorite places to buy our alcohol include Woodstock Wine & Liquors in Woodstock, Miron Liquors in Kingston and Town & Country in Saugerties.
2. Apparel. HV1 has always espoused the notion of supporting local no matter the time of year. We love our towns and villages, our homes and hearths. Our communities are what make each season feel so special and so close to our hearts. And so whether you choose to wear your heart across your chest or on your sleeve, Hudson Valley t-shirts are apparel you can don any time you feel like coming home. To find your local apparel, try Hamilton & Adams in Kingston or Newberry Artisan Market in Saugerties.
3. Art. The Hudson Valley has been a renowned location for artists for at least the past two centuries. It continues to attract numerous artists. During the holiday season, practically any arts and craft show will feature artists personally selling their art at very affordable prices. Nothing feels better than picking out a print from that artist, hearing a bit about their inspiration, and handing your money over to them personally. You have succeeded in supporting a local artist (and neighbor) and in purchasing a unique and special gift. Win-win.
4. Bird houses. Creating a homey holiday atmosphere for your family can often seem rather short-lived. You spend hours in preparation, anticipation, and hopefully a culmination of jubilation. Yet a mere hour or so later, there is complete and total exhaustion. That’s why the gifts that linger, those we can revisit and relish during the year ahead, can carry us through ’til spring and beyond. To me, a birdhouse satisfies this desire. Once the weather warms, there is nothing like seeing a new family of birds select the home you have chosen. Not only does it confirm you have great taste that another being can appreciate, but it can provide joy for many months to come. Our top picks in this category are Tillson Bird Watcher’s Country Store in Tillson and H. Houst & Sons in Woodstock.
5. Books. In Iceland, on Christmas Eve everyone is gifted a new book. This tradition is called Jolabokaflod…Christmas Book Flood. After receiving their respective book, each person goes off and reads for the evening. That sounds like heaven to me. I can imagine the silence as the snow falls outside, while inside all the people are huddled under the covers in warm and cozy nooks throughout the house, deep in a world of imagined people and places. Perhaps this is the year you should create your version of that tradition for your friends and family members. Perhaps you will even take the tour of the Hudson Valley book trail fulfilling your gift list. Our favorite spots are Golden Notebook in Woodstock, Rough Draft in Kingston and Half Moon Books in Kingston.
6. Calendar. Time passes by quickly. You might as well help your friends and family enjoy each day and each month with a local calendar. Whether you pick a calendar with pictures by one local artist or photographer, or one that mixes it up with a variety of local scenes, some historical and some contemporary, such a calendar will be a delight for the entire year to come. You can guarantee that at the beginning of each month you will be remembered as the page is turned. One of our personal favorites is the Art of Seed Calendar by Hudson Valley Seed Company.
Is there any image one can conjure of a cold, dark and snowy night that does not include a candle in the window and the soft warm glow of its light? With it, hygge is created. Without it, the feeling of frost and an icy chill to the bone remain.
Why not save someone on your list from this dismal isolation and gift them a crafted candle from one of our local candle shops? Remember, it’s not just a candle. It’s how we show someone they are welcome.
Our favorite candle shops include Candlestock in Woodstock and Little Light of Mine in New Paltz.
8. Cheese. We like to believe that with each passing year we grow more seasoned, more sophisticated, more cultured (yes, pun intended). This holiday season, give the gift that actually delivers the most ripened of receptions, Hudson Valley cheeses. Our favorites selections can be found at: Cheese Louise in Kingston, The Corner Counter in Red Hook and The Big Cheese in Rosendale.
9. Chocolates. Here in the Hudson Valley, chocolates are not a generic gift. We are blessed with an array of local chocolatiers making chocolate to fit everybody’s specific taste buds. Whether you want traditionally made French-style chocolates or something new and different, you can find it here, from truffles to brightly colored bonbons, from the nougat-filled to the smooth and creamy varieties. You can find chocolate seasoned with ginger, lemon, raspberry, chili, and more. Perhaps you won’t get a huge amount of locally made chocolate for your $30 price point. However, you will get a carefully selected, lovingly made, sweet gift that is more unique and thoughtful than chocolates from the pharmacy. But then again, you won’t get your prescriptions filled at your local chocolatier. For a list, go to https://hudsonvalleyone.com/2022/11/26/local-chocolates-to-complete-your-gift-giving/
10. Climbing wall. The gift of good health may seem like an untimely choice whilst we stuff our faces with gratuitous imbibements and delicacies as we move from one holiday engagement to the next. But this particular choice serves up both a main course of healthy pursuits accompanied by a side of adventure. The rock walls at BC’s Climbing Gym in New Paltz can offer an exciting way to work off seasonal excesses and set the New Year off right.
11. Coffee. Over half the American population starts out each day with a cup of coffee. I cannot relate to nor do I want to know what is in the minds of the other half! Those on my side, the self-righteous half, insist life is not worth half as much without their daily cup of coffee. With so many awesome local roasters and coffee being so affordable, I might suggest getting a pound or two of locally roasted coffees so that your friends and family members can really take a crack at discovering the very best locally roasted coffee. Our favorites include Monkey Joe’s in Kingston, Dry Fly Coffee Co. in New Paltz, Bluestone Coffee Roasting in Saugerties, and Rondout Roasting Company in Kingston.
12. Comics and more. While presenting certain books or cards to a younger giftee may seem to them on par with receiving underwear, some local gaming and comic book shops can take these offerings to a whole other level. Graphic novels, a comic-book subscription, MTG cards and admission to organized gaming events are the perfect gifts for the younger (or older) person in your life. And hey, for once why not contribute towards the development of an entire hobby rich with creativity rather than simply give a once-and-done gift that loses its charm before the next snowfall? Our favorite shops include October Country in New Paltz and World End Comics in Uptown Kingston.
13. Cookies. Homemade cookies might stand supreme as a devotional gift, with your own blood, sweat and tears as essential ingredients. The next best thing, and perhaps arguably the better choice for those of us not gifted with baking skills, are locally made cookies. They definitely rate high up on the list of thoughtful gifts. You can usually hand select your array of cookies or buy a preselected holiday box that is sure to please a variety of tasters and taste buds. Some of our favorite cookies can be found at The Bakery in New Paltz, La Deliziosa in Poughkeepsie.
14. Don’t forget the pets! People around here take their pets very, very seriously. A gift for any family’s furry friend will be sure to result in squeals of delight. There are some treats and apparel that are even made locally for our favorite little furballs. Kira’s Pet Collars in Catskill makes stylish collars for both cats and dogs. Peace, Love, Jerky Treats in Saugerties makes small-batch healthy treats for dogs. There are also locally owned pet stores with an endless variety of pet apparel and nibbles. Our favorites include Natural Pets in Gardiner, Bark and Biscuit in Uptown Kingston.
15. Earrings. There are a lot of pierced ears out there these days and a lot of earrings to fill those little holes. Where I tend towards simple silver earrings, my kid likes to have brightly colored objects hanging from their lobes whether they be giant red lollipops or little knives. It is amazing to think that one’s fashion sense can be easily captured on one’s earlobes. So think for a moment of the person for whom you are shopping. Do they wear classic attire, vintage from head to toe, or give off a dark aura or a simple happy feeling? There will be earrings out there to match that personality! Our favorite earring spots include Sparkle in Woodstock and Soiled Doves in Rosendale.
16. Ice skating. Ice skating at Wollman Rink in Central Park has become something of a classic holiday must-do. In fact, it features quite prominently in so many quintessential seasonal pursuits, it’s rather difficult to imagine a true New York State winter wonderland without the experience. Here in the Hudson Valley, we have a frozen festivity available to transport you and yours from the hustle and bustle of New York City to the quaint and welcoming Village of Saugerties. The Kiwanis ice rink offers public skating sessions featuring Cosmic Skate. Experience this not-to-be-missed holiday activity in your very own back yard. Go to: https://www.kiwanisicearena.com/ for information.
17. Kaleidoscope. Emerson Resort and Spa on Route 28 in Mount Pleasant can certainly serve as an excellent locale for one to shop with this very list in hand. However, there is one superlative available here and here alone that towers above the rest. That’s a visit to the world’s largest kaleidoscope, recorded with that honor by the Guinness Book of World Records in 1997. The local Kaleidoshow offers an experience literally like no other. At 60 feet in height and 37.5 feet in diameter, this ‘visual and sound experience’ is a gift for the whole family and one that is as surely unique as the Catskills themselves.
For more information go to: https://emersonresort.com/
18. Movie night. In our household, few activities truly hearken the herald of a new holiday season like the annual arrival of classic movies and TV shows. It is nearly impossible for me to distinguish between the two. While the films are what may bring us together for cookies, cider and cocoa, the real reason would be evident if we delved a bit deeper: spending time together and creating a moment. Giving tickets to a local theater is a further creation of this moment. You might begin a new tradition, one in which a night of film and family will converge for many years to come. Our favorite locally owned theaters include The Orpheum in Saugerties, Tinker Street Cinema in Woodstock, New Paltz Cinemas in New Paltz, and Upstate Films in Rhinebeck.
19. Oil and vinegar. A dedicated foodie’s love for sauces, oils and vinegars, infusions, herbs and spices (and gourmet culinary items in general) truly knows no bounds. It might then follow that simply snatching a decent product off the shelves from another region or country would deliver the necessary enjoyment to the recipient. However, what if there were a surefire way to surpass that delight by allowing them the ability to visit an olive oil and vinegar taproom and sample directly a carefully crafted creation they can then use throughout the year? Go to Scarborough Fare in New Paltz for this experience. If you can’t make it there, check out our locally made sauce suggestions from last year at https://hudsonvalleyone.com/2022/11/26/give-a-basket-of-irresistible-locally-made-sauces/
20. Ornaments. They are cute, shiny, whimsical and meaningful. When we fill up our tree each year, we think back to where and when we acquired a particular ornament and what it meant to us at that moment. Give the gift that will be a symbol of you and your friendship every holiday season. Our top picks for holiday ornaments include Handmade and More in New Paltz and The Gilded Carriage in Woodstock.
21. Plants. I was never a plant person. I was the person with the terribly sad half-dead plant struggling to survive. Then I discovered succulents. There is nothing better than a small green life sitting on my windowsill needing nothing but water every couple of months. Whether you have a list of avid gardeners or someone who needs a plant that survives even when mostly neglected, plants can be the perfect gift. The Hudson Valley also has a large array of local florists who can point you in the right direction. Local favorites include Dancing Tulip in Saugerties, Jarita’s in Woodstock, Meadowscent in Gardiner, and Pelatos in Kingston.
22. Pottery. Once again we are blessed to be in an area full of artists and creators. We cannot leave off the potter on our list of people who make beautiful, magical items. There are potters who make gorgeous vases and bowls that become the focal point of many homes and are well worth the occasional hefty price tag. There are also smaller items that can be purchased below our $30 price point. A small saucer can hold the accompanying sauce. The mug can hold the tea to accompany a tasty cookie into which one can dip. These items become part of everyday use and are always appreciated and admired for the work that went into them. Our personal top picks include cups by Jean Campbell and little animal plates by Lora Shelley.
23. Soaps. Have you ever been invited to a friend’s house and upon entering their bathroom marveled at the wonderful smell of herbs and the cute little hand towels hanging nearby? Inevitably, these kinds of bathrooms have a delectable bar of soap complete with little bits of herbs that make your hands feel entirely scrubbed clean in a lovingly natural way. Pass that feeling on by buying a handmade local soap made right here in the Hudson Valley. A few choice soapmakers include Phoenicia Soap Company in Shokan, Heart & Arrow Handcrafted in Accord, and Rondout Soap Co. in Kingston.
24. Socks. In the movie A Christmas Story, there’s a scene where two kids are furiously opening gifts. I always remember the moment when the kids unwrap … socks. They look at each other and toss them over their shoulders, quickly moving onto the next gift. That idea of socks being a throwaway gift is a thing of the past. Socks have gotten cool. There are now socks to fit every personality on your list: Bright colorful socks, sarcastic socks, socks for animal lovers from alligators to zebras. Socks heralding one’s greatest vice — whether it be coffee, being grumpy in the morning, or smoking weed. Maybe your friends have no vices. In that case, there are socks for the reader in your life: the hiker, the gardener, your next-door neighbor, etc. Socks are no longer a non-customized gift. They’re acts of consideration, surprises that show how well you know someone’s favorite color or favorite activity. In Woodstock, there is an entire store, Woodsocks, filled with socks. Check it out. Other places with cute socks to pick from include two in New Paltz, Handmade and More and Cocoon.
25. Take a hike. Picture a scene of the Hudson Valley – and especially the Catskills — and you picture the mountains. These mountains have inspired stories, music, paintings and creations of all sorts. We have the privilege of walking through the beautiful nature here, some of us, on a daily basis. There might be certain hikes one doesn’t get to quite as often, but the memory of the view from atop a particular vista lives fully in the mind. Why not encourage this experience by gifting a hike at a New York State Park? NYS gift cards are available in any amount and can be purchased at: https://parks.ny.gov/admission/gift-card.aspx
26. Tea. Coffee may have become our go-to beverage, whether in the form of an early-morning jolt at home, a coffeehouse that doubles as our workspace, or a social scene to be seen. Coffee is everywhere. Yes, it even appears elsewhere on this very list! But while often overshadowed by its more popular cousin, a warm cuppa tea can soothe the soul in a way that coffee simply cannot. Tea produces the discriminating individual’s milder buzz, a gentle feeling that maybe everything is all right with the world after all. Several local purveyors of fine teas have the perfect selection for the tea lover in your life.
Our favorites include Harney & Sons in Millerton, The Ridge Tea & Spice Shop in New Paltz.
27. Tote bag. You can never, ever have too many tote bags. Whether heading to the grocery store or packing lunch, I always seem to be on an endless search to find a tote bag not only to bundle up all the things that don’t fit into my purse but also to save the planet and represent whatever place the tote bag originates from. A couple of our favorites are the Bearsville Theater logo bag in Bearsville and the Grazery in New Paltz
A bottle of wine will be a welcome visitor to your holiday table. It’s an obvious choice for easy gift-gifting while enjoying friends-and-family festivities. Delving just a little bit deeper into our local wine culture can add indispensable insight (and an essential tasting) into what makes this region so special.
By one account, the Hudson Valley has been blessed with nearly 60 wineries from the Westchester to Albany areas. What better way is there to select not only a delicious and affordable wine from your own personal stomping grounds, but also one in which our unique terroir supplies your giftee the distinctive qualities of our regional complexities and identity.
Our picks include: Whitecliff Vineyard in Gardiner and Millbrook Winery in Millbrook. We also encourage you to follow the Shawangunk Wine Trail and shop along the way!
Some of the merchandise available at Rewind.
I love to shop at vintage stores. Where else can you find a vase, a piece of clothing, antique memorabilia, toys you can recall playing with as a kid, and a piece of local history, art that has lovingly hung upon someone else’s wall, etc.? The possibilities are endless. However, you have to go into it with a completely open mind. You will never find the exact thing you had pictured, but you do know that you will find a completely unique item that can’t be found at a big-box store and isn’t likely to be duplicated by another person’s gift.
Some of our favorite vintage stores are Kingston Collectibles in Uptown Kingston, Thrift to Fight in Tivoli, Antique Barn at Water Street Market in New Paltz, Rewind in Kingston.
30. Yes, the inevitable HV1 plug (and subscription.) Well, we assume you knew this one was coming … and yes, shameless self-promotion is an unfortunate but essential part of life in 2023. However, this does not mean that we do not feel there is a verifiable and inherent value in what HV1 offers. Your gift of an HV1 newspaper will arrive each week, heralding tidings for certain and while we cannot predict all of it will be joyful, we can say that it’s the single most ‘local’ gift one can give. And to top it all off, it can offer an amazing under-the-tree appearance as next season’s wrapping paper. Happy holidays. Normally, our subscriptions are just over our fairly strict $30 price point. But our gift to you this holiday season is a gift subscription at $30 using the code HV1gift30 for either print or digital subscription (not valid for combo print-digital subscriptions). Please, we ask you to use this code for new subscriptions purchased as a gift only. Valid through December 31. Thank you so much for your support throughout this year and every year!