When did the holidays become a mad dash to the deadline? A consumptive spree through the mall? When did bringing joy to others start standing at odds with convenience? Sustainability is more than an environmental concern: It’s also about sustaining community, supporting ideas, and feeding a flowing economy. Perhaps the holidays can be an opportunity for exploration and creative expression. This holiday season, give a gift to yourself too: Make time to reflect on the individuals in your life, and consider how to reflect them in your gifts. Here, a few ideas to get you going.
Poporopo is a toy store named for the Spanish word describing the sound of popping corn––“A word that makes you laugh, even if you can’t help it, just like a toy store is meant to,” says Zeno Vanfretti, the owner. And with an emphasis on stroller-accessibility and open space, Poporopo delivers just that. This holiday season, instead of buying toys that entertain themselves, consider getting toys that spur the imagination. Rody’s Italian rubber riding animals ($52) and Roy Toy’s building logs (tubes are $19.95, classic boxes $25.50, and bags $45.95) implore you to just add kids. Don’t miss the collection of tin toys ($2.75-$35) with Pot Pot Boats that are powered by a candle.
Started six years ago in New Paltz with Waldorf-inspired playthings, Enchanted Toys continues to offer Sarah’s Silks ($10-40) and mostly wooden items. But owner David Tate has branched out from the less-affordable organic toys. You’ll find Haba wooden baby toys ($13), Papo historical figures ($6), plus an amazing selection of Plan Toys ($18-$100), including the popular Ryan’s Room. Made in Thailand from replenishable rubberwood trees, Plan Toys enhance children’s hand-eye coordination and their inner muse. Focusing on old-time toys with durability, Tate doesn’t worry about current trends. Visit him and his mixed-breed dog, Tommy, seven days a week.
Poporopo Toy Store 35 Broadway, Kingston, (845) 331-3005
Enchanted Toys 15 North Front Street, New Paltz, (845) 255-1429
The sense of place is immediate when you walk into White Rice in Hudson. With furniture, home décor, and artwork (fairly traded from indigenous business partners in Bali and Java) greeting you at the door, you feel the Asian Island vibe right away. Antiques made from milled and handhewn wood, furniture reimagined from reclaimed teak, vintage-inspired jewelry from New York State artisans and clothing for all ages (including those made from White Rice’s signature batiks), everything emits style, rich color and a sense of history. Check out the children’s area for Peruvian Trade’s snake, fish, and funny-face hats (about $25). Or take a look at Dream Sack’s ridiculously soft baby onesies, made of bamboo fabric (about $20), soon to arrive in nightware for men and women. On every rack there are Tano’s luscious Italian leather bags and wallets ($100-250) and White Rice’s hip Ikats, handloomed in Java and made into table runners, linens ($30+), coats ($90+), and children’s clothes ($20+). Keep your eyes peeled for their new knitware line, coming soon.
In Woodstock, go to Sorella on the village green for midpriced designer clothing that has a cool, ageless style. With the chic ambiance of an LA boutique, and the attention and warmth that only a trio of sisters bred in West Shokan could extend, most of Sorella’s clothing is made in the USA, often from up-and-coming local designers, that has been chosen for its uniqueness and quality. Look for Lisa B’s over-the-knee socks ($25+), Christie’s of London’s men’s fedoras (also hip for women)($35-$50), and Luxury Apparel’s comfy cashmere thermals ($154-$189). Or Solar Recovery’s all-natural beauty supplies ($12-$20) and Pacifica’s vegan soy scented candles ($14) and old-fashioned solid perfumes ($9)––great for stocking stuffers. You’ll also hit matchless finds like Demitasse’s Fairy Absinthe miniature spoon necklace (a nod to Toulouse-Lautrec) and Alpha Industries’ peacoat, the original style worn by Marilyn Monroe ($150). Don’t miss the sale rack!
White Rice 531 Warren Street, Hudson, (518) 697-3500, www.white-rice.com
Sorella 8 Old Forge Road, Woodstock, (845) 657-4104
As we all hunker down for that long, cold winter (made colder by our erratic economy), why not bestow gifts that celebrate the home-cooked meal? Your personal chef would enjoy a gift from Warren Kitchen & Cutlery in Red Hook, the shopping place for cooks and foodies alike. Owner Richard Von Husen advises that a chef can never have too many knives and says the hippest thing around the cutting board are Japanese specialty knives ($42.50-$346.50). Warren Kitchen & Cutlery carries brands like Shun and Kikuichi, as well as Henckels, the forever favorite. Stuff stockings with copper or tin cookie cutters ($.99-$7.49), or have them wake up to a gift of a Swiss Diamond omelet and crepe pan ($99.99), and let the holiday morning breakfast be inspired.