“Happy holidays! Here’s a ram skull.”
That could be you, talking to your grandmother, best friend or next-door neighbor, and you won’t even have to drive far to get such an amazing gift. The holiday season is upon us, and shopping doesn’t need to stress you out—you can take care of everyone on your list right here in Charlotte.
Start with ShakeyGround Farm on Converse Bay Road. For $175 you can get an Icelandic sheep ram skull, complete with two beautiful horns. If your loved ones want something a little more snuggly, for prices starting at $90 you can get soft and luxurious sheep pelts. Warning: Keep them away from children and dogs, unless you’re cool with them alternately sleeping and barfing on them. (I learned this the hard way.) They also have hand-spun skeins of thick yarn for $12-$95 and lovely greeting cards for $4.25.
Spear’s Corner Store, as usual, offers the most eclectic selection of gifts and treats in town. Proprietor Carrie Spear said she has a great selection of Yankee Swap items, along with hostess gifts at all price points. For a mere $2, pick up an oversized beer mug, add in a high-octane bottle of one of the local craft brews sold in the store, stick a bow on it, and you’re done. Still popular and still on the shelves are the cat-shaped bottles of Riesling, some with jaunty ribbons around their necks. Chances are, your crazy cat lady friend also loves wine, so this is a real twofer.
If your loved ones prefer their indulgences delivered by other means, Spear’s store has CBD gummies, cute little pipes that can be used for a variety of substances and, for those who aren’t into subtlety, a large silver roach clip that is shaped like the word “roach” in cursive.
The little store that packs a big punch also has a disc golf starter set for $29.95, adorable glass bottles of maple syrup that are shaped like gingerbread men, snowmen and bears, all wearing tiny Santa hats and selling for only $14. And for the friend who has everything, for only $7.99 there’s a winter hat printed with Christmas bulbs that actually light up.
The Philo Ridge Farm store has a lot of options for fine gifting. For a fun and offbeat gift, grab a namesake tote bag with the farm’s cute belted-cow logo on it ($15) and fill it with squash. You laugh, but I assure you, it’s a unique and memorable gift. Have you ever gotten a tote bag full of squash before? I didn’t think so.
They also have beautiful handmade leather items, ranging from $25 for a small card wallet to $280 for a delicious tote, made by local company Rhubarb Leather. You can pick up Vermont Spoon items like hand-carved wooden spoons for $34 and $52, or a formidable rolling pin for $42 that looks like it could make a wonderful pie or scare an intruder if wielded properly.
Local artist Jennifer Kelly makes everything you ever wanted but just didn’t know about: change purses with pop-art images of David Bowie, cosmetic bags with the Golden Girls printed on the side, and a pocket-sized Bernie Sanders stuffie called My Itty Bitty Bernie Buddy, printed with eco-friendly ink and, as Kelly said, “stuffed liberally.”
She also makes and sells air planters: whimsical ones made out of brightly-colored dinosaurs, as well as lovely, more earthy ones made from driftwood. Prices start at $8; and if you are a person who kills plants, an air plant is a real stress-reliever because all they need to thrive is air and a bit of water. Therefore, if you kill them, it’s the air’s fault. Kelly is selling her items at pop-up shops at her home on Elcy Lane throughout the holiday season, as well as at the Charlotte Central School Holiday Market this weekend.
If your friends have enough stuff or you want to give a present to an organization that loves you back, donations of money and time are always welcome and appreciated at the Charlotte Library, the Charlotte Senior Center, the Charlotte Children’s Center and the Charlotte Central School PTO. And of course The Charlotte News.
And finally, as in all things Charlotte-related, when all else fails, hit the Brick. The Old Brick Store sells gift cards, penny candy for $8 a pound, and has lots of wine. They also sell cards and wrapping paper, perfect for wrapping up that bag of squash.