Monday, December 1, 2014

Christmas ideas: Artisan gifts, local shops, shelters and stocking stuffers


By Dathan Kazsuk | Dec, 2014
Twitter: TriangleAT | Facebook: Triangle Around Town | Instagram: trianglearoundtown

With Christmas rearing its ugly head, I'm sure there are a lot of people who have no idea what to buy for family and friends. I'm one of them. I'm at that point in my life where I really don't "need" anything. I need food. I need water. I need sunlight. But I don't need that Xbox One or Yeti cooler just be trendy. There are a lot of less fortunate people out there that really do need items to survive the winter months. Jackets for children whose parents can't afford to pay their energy bills. Homeless men, women and children that go to shelters during the holidays to get nourishment in the form of donated foods like turkey, ham and all the fixings.

The Salvation Army does something known as the Angel Tree. This seems like a good idea for the less fortunate. With close to 9,000 kids registered in this program, individuals can help these kids by donating clothes and toys.

There’s also those furry ones we call pets. They need homes and love from generous families. It was really nice to see how many families after Thanksgiving went out to places like the SPCA of Wake County, SAFE Haven for Cats and Second Chance Pet Adoptions to pick up a shelter animal, and give them loving homes. This is by far the best way to go. Sure, every animal should have a loving home, but I think families going through a shelter prove their weight in gold. 
Shelter animals, local artisan gifts, chocolates and more 
are perfect gifts for Christmas this year. 

So, if you’re looking for great stocking stuffers, there are so many great local places to check out. Right down the road from my house is the relatively new shop, Going Local NC. The shop has over 75 artisans from the mountains to the coast. There you can find soaps, jewelry, paintings, candles and specialty-made cards for all occasions. You are bound to find something for a loved one.

Lafayette Village also features a slew of local businesses with presents to fill the stockings. With places such as The Olive Wagon, Gigi’s Boutique, Savory Spice Shop, The Chocolate Shop and Novel Tea, the stuffings should be stuffed – and please do so with care.

If you plan on placing craft beer or fine wine under your tree – or to open up during a holiday party – Raleigh has many shops that can fulfill your needs. It all depends on where you live, but shops like BottleMixx, Wine 101-Raleigh, Tasty Beverage, Ridgewood Wine & Beer Shop, The Hop Yard, Uncorked, Seaboard Wine & Tasting Bar, Bottle Revolution or Lincoln Bottle Shop will have what you’re looking for.

One thing I like to do for my parents back home in California is send them a package filled with North Carolina goodies. And we have a lot to choose from. Larry’s Beans (Raleigh); Counter Culture Coffee (Durham); Videri Chocolate Factory (Raleigh); Escazu Chocolate (Raleigh); Forever Bella Soaps (Raleigh); Wicks for Wags (Raleigh) … and this is to name only a few.

So in hindsight, Christmas can be fun, just don’t be obnoxious about it. Don’t gloat over gifts. Don’t run over people trying to find a parking spot. Respect those less fortunate than yourself. Buy gifts that have a sentimental value. And buy local when trying to fill the space under your tree.