By Chea Waters Evans, News Editor
Schoolteachers, your mom, your spouse, your garbage man—even if you never want to leave the house again, these people still all need gifts. Hand lotion for those who have to wash their hands a lot now at work, a bong for people who don’t care too much about work, an Icelandic sheep horn planter for someone who already has everything, but I can guarantee you, doesn’t have that. All of these things and more are available right here in our little town.
Spear’s Corner Store
Holiday dinners can be stressful. Is the Beef Wellington rare enough? Are all the perfectly paired wines at the correct temperature? Have my Jell-O shots set in time for dessert? Well, stress no more. Spear’s Store now sells the no-vowel-needed treat of the winter: Slrrrp! a little plastic barrel of pre-made alcohol-laden gelatin that’s $9.99 for 12.
Speaking of alcohol, there’s lots of wine and beer for sale to fit all budgets at Spear’s, including a fun Cabernet Sauvignon called Monogamy, which would make a nice accompaniment to a Christmas-gift engagement ring or a You’re busted! sarcastic gift for those on the faithless side of faithful.
Spear’s has a great selection of items in all price ranges—a box of 12 candy canes is $2.99, or a ceramic hookah in the shape of a fierce dragon or Geronimo with an eagle flying overhead is $75. (These are real things and you must go see them.) A nice big aloe plant is $8.99, or a cute and peppy plant called the ponytail palm is around $20. It looks like something out of a Dr. Seuss book.
Chop Vermont stone cutting board sets that come with a cheese knife—one has handles!—range from $35 to $55 and are made from recycled materials. Spear’s has a selection of cheese and Vermont Smoke and Cure meats that would make a nice gift accompaniment.
There are some fun stocking stuffers at the store, too, like Gramp Lyford’s Country Salve (although there’s a pic of Gramp Lyford on the label and he really looks like he’s going to give you a good once-over as you apply said salve), or a three-pack of mini box cutters. My 14-year-old asked for a box cutter for Christmas. Should I be worried? Spear’s also sells ZigZag rolling papers, which he did not ask for, so I guess we’re okay for now.
Horsford Gardens and Nursery
I’m dead serious when I tell you that one time, I found an old piece of pizza in my (quite large) handbag. Some people carry the weight of the world on their shoulders; I carry every item in the world in my bag. If you have someone like this in your life who at all times has a golf ball, six packs of gum, a small power drill, and 90 to 1,000 lip balms, the Barebones Gathering bag is so big you could fit all that plus a small car inside. I think it’s supposed to be for like garden harvesting or foraging for wood nymphs, but I think it would make a very nice purse.
There’s a wide assortment of Christmas ornaments and decorative knick-knacks at the Route 7 nursery in the Garden Shop; some little blue and green trees are $3 each, and there are cars, birds, a variety of woodland creatures, and other pretty tree decorations starting at around $5.
The gardener in your life can be checked off the list here. Despite my aversion to nonsensical phonetical spellings, I do see the need for Komfy Knees knee pads for gardeners, that come in cute patterns for $28. There is also a $20 natural leaf rake that looks like something I might have flown in on, and a large display of sharp things to cut stuff outside. There are also some clever garden markers made from flattened and stamped vintage silverware.
Philo Ridge Farm
Once I tried to put lots of little bags into my enormous bag, which was fun until I was literally carrying around 10 extra bags and wondered why one person needed that many pens at a moment’s notice. The $60 striped café clutch made from handwoven fibers and lined with linen is a perfect and adorable little pen carrier or purse for a normal person.
If you’re feeling a little high end and hyperlocal at the same time, the naturally dyed watercolor scarves made from Philo Ridge Farm wool are beautiful gifts; they cost $230 each. If you buy too many of the scarves and need an extra neck or two, Philo Ridge Farm also sells chicken necks on their web site for only $4 a pound.
The farm, continuing their mission to be thoughtful in their use of the animals they butcher, have handmade pillows made from the hides of the Belted Galloway cows raised on the farm. They come in three sizes and start at $133. They do not moo.
The farm stand is just around the corner from the Ferry, is open from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. most days, and you can buy turnips in bulk there. If that’s not enough of a reason to pop into the farm stand, they also sell lots of seasonal vegetables, frozen lamb, chicken, and beefalo, which I never heard of until today, but it sounds fun.
There are blank cards in the charming and cozy farm stand with delicate nature drawings on them by artist Nick Mayer for $4.25; a selection of cookbooks including The Vermont Farm Table Cookbook; a simple and natural dried herb wreath for only $14.31 (they’re nice enough to calculate the sales tax for you!); and a wide selection of yarn, pelts, and planters made from the Icelandic sheep raised on the farm. “We cherish each life on our farm and we’re so grateful to you for helping us to continue to love these animals in giving them a second life in your home,” a sign in the shop reads.
Take care of yourselves and your loved ones this holiday season, and if you want to do Slrrp! shots on Zoom, you know where to find me.