You will not likely ever meet a Jew who loves Christmas as much as I. If you have a couch and charge me a $150 an hour to lie on it, I can get into the deep-seeded specifics, but suffice to say, the holidays to me are truly the most wonderful time of the year! I love honoring Hanukkah under the lights of our Christmas tree, as Kyle and I exchange an inscribed book each of the eight nights, him saying the prayer along with me, with a little Yiddish "ughchhh" thrown in occasionally for authenticity's sake. I love the traditions deeply-rooted in the warm family I was so lucky to marry into: fondue on Christmas Eve, a pan-fried trout on Christmas morning, a Yankee swap that Kyle's Grammy always ends up the victor of, whether her number was 1 or 2 or 22, and skiing together at Saddleback on December 26. And I love the gracious gift exchanges that happen at the holidays.
To me, there is no greater delight than giving someone a gift that they know unequivocally was thoughtfully selected solely for them. It doesn't just show someone you care about them, but that you get them, and you want to celebrate who they are, whether it's their love affair with Italian cooking (Kyle's mom), their disdain for pesky squirrels (Kyle's grampy) or the delight they derive from dachshunds (Kyle- hence the reason he receives an ironic weiner dog t-shirt in his stocking from me each year). Of course in order to give, I have to first get, and luckily, I love, love, love holiday shopping (though a recent Saturday stop at the Portland Mall almost turned me)!
While I do most of my shopping through Amazon (love that Prime membership which means everything ships in two days for free) and L.L. Bean (just love everything about them), I do my best to support independent artists, and love being able to find that fun little niche gift that speaks so to the person I picked it for. Enter Etsy, where last Christmas, I was able to get hand towels stamped with banjos for my banjo-playing dad, soap made with Sapporo beer for my Japanophile uncle, and catnip stuffed in a sushi print pouch for the kitties of that same uncle and my aunt. I also love to shop local when I can, so when Picnic Portland held its holiday sale last weekend, I was the first in line, along with my dear friend Amy. Picnic is an indie craft fair featuring Maine artists (many of the vendors also hock their handmade wares on Etsy) and it's where I got Kyle the coolest present- ever!
Being there reminded me how cool Maine's indie craft scene is, and so as a little gift to you last minute shoppers out there, I've compiled an Etsy treasury featuring Maine must-haves for this holiday season (many of which you can order through the weekend and still receive in time to place under the tree). (These are not gifts that I necessarily want or need for the record, rather items that I think reflect the creativity and diversity of Maine's independent artists that will hopefully inspire your shopping in its final week.) Please note that some of the items I selected have since sold out, but check out the other goods offered by the sellers, my favorite of which include:
•Long Winter Farm: http://www.etsy.com/shop/longwinterfarm
•Classic Hound: http://www.etsy.com/shop/classichound
•Dutch Pearl: http://www.etsy.com/shop/dutchpearl
•Mims Maine: http://www.etsy.com/shop/MimsMaine
•Erin Flett Designs: http://www.etsy.com/shop/erinflett
•Finny and Zook: http://www.etsy.com/people/KZukowski
•Madder Root: http://www.etsy.com/shop/madderroot
•Purplebean Bindery: http://www.etsy.com/people/PurplebeanBindery
And if you like this sort of stuff and are passing through Portland, I urge you to visit Eli-Phant, a handmade and designer goods store on the East End, owned and lovingly-operated by our ski team buddy Pete and his wife, Sally.
I'd love to learn about your favorite Etsy shops so I can add them to my list. Happy giving, and happy holidays!
SWW WEBSITE | SWW ON FACEBOOK | SWW ON TWITTER | CONNECT WITH SWW