SFR's annual Gift Guide heads to press on the heels of the annual shopping event known as "Black Friday."
For some of us, however, the prospect of an early morning camp-out in the parking lot of a big-box retailer is about as appealing as contracting the black plague.
We prefer our shopping to be a bit more intimate. Fortunately, Santa Fe offers massive options for those who prefer gift buying with a personal touch.
The city is chock-full of local businesses whose owners and employees strive to create shopping experiences that are actually fun and rewarding. It's no wonder the city has been on the vanguard of the buy-local movement; Santa Feans well understand the value of supporting their independent shops, artisans and organizations.
SFR’s annual Gift Guide, of course, only scratches the surface with our suggestions—but it’s a good place to start. For even more ideas of how to shop and give locally—and to learn about the economic impact of doing so—check out the Santa Fe Alliance’s website. —Julia Goldberg
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Cool Side of the Pillow
Two-dimensional pins are so 2009. Not only do local artist Carey Anne McDonald’s pillow-like pins ($15) puff out to draw attention, but they are decorated with hand-applied beads and images—not to mention infused with local lavender, so they smell fantastic too. Tons of designs are available at Spirit in Art (5 Firehouse Lane, Madrid, 438-3235), a co-op full of great gift ideas.
Believe it or not, all of the images on Santa Fe-based Janet Paul’s mosaic-like bottles and jars ($5-$25) are made from clay. You’ve probably seen Paul’s vibrant polymer creations at arts and crafts fairs on the Plaza in summer. Now, your hookup for her work year-round is One of One (160-A Alcadesa St., 983-7939), the little Railyard shop that specializes in one-of-a-kind, mostly local crafts. Check out Paul’s website (janetsclayworkshop.com) for more cool stuff.
The art of letter-writing is a lost one. For those of us lucky enough to have a snail-mail pen pal (or maybe those of us who want one), a gift of wax seals ($9.95-$12.95) and sealing wax ($3.95) is sure to encourage some of that old-fashioned USPS stuff. It takes a few tries to get the hang of dripping and stamping the wax just right but, once you get it, it makes any correspondence special. Pick up the right letters at The Gilded Page (DeVargas Center, Guadalupe Street and Paseo de Peralta, 820-0098).
At the Jennie Cooley Gallery (826 Canyon Road, 983-2630), offbeat art is at its best. Cooley’s top-notch artists create everything from recycled metal ornaments ($15-$19) to exquisite oil paintings, all with an edge, an attitude and a formidable sense of humor. These ornaments by K O’Neill (kathleenoneill.com) are sure to make the recipient smile—right before he or she hangs it where it can stay all year. (Cooley's doors close in January, so now is the time to augment your collection.)
Follow That Magpie
Inspired by vintage images and old-school calligraphy, Magpie Pottery’s ceramic buttons ($12-$26) can make just about any garment a work of art. The Eldorado studio creates sewable works of art from only the best high-fired porcelain clay. If fine art buttons aren’t your favorite crafter’s style, Santa Fe Fabrics (533 W. Cordova Road, 988-5888) has thousands of “regular” (in other words, not hand-crafted) buttons for less than $5.
What’s Your Fetish?
You don’t choose a fetish—a fetish chooses you. That said, you may have to choose a fetish for your giftee. No worries; the knowledgable staff at Keshi (227 Don Gaspar Ave., 989-8728) can help educate and inspire when it comes to Native American animal medicine. The shop, which is run in equitable collaboration with Native American artists, stocks thousands of beautiful handcrafted fetishes in every species imaginable. They start at $10 and very few are more than $100, but most are in the $30-$40 range.
Skip the group pedicures or girls’ weekend in Aspen this year—all you do is gossip anyway. This holiday season, get your female friends art (they’ll appreciate it). The Gathering of Sisters ($85), a clay raku creation by Albuquerque artist Christina Sullo, has a decidedly earthy vibe, and comes in various numbers of ladies, perfect for you to tailor your gifting to your number of homies. Pick up yours at Conley Studio Pottery (2870 Hwy. 14, Madrid, 438-0782).
Western paraphernalia is all the rage in the mainstream nowadays; though, in Santa Fe, we wouldn’t know this “all the rage” from the constant “all the rage” we experience here. Lucky for us, local painter Spencer Kimball specializes in retro-inspired Western prints, from the traditional (a cowboy on a bucking bronco) to the not-so-traditional (a shirtless paper doll who dreams of dancing in her Maidenform bra). Kimball’s matted prints ($44-$92) are ready to frame—plus, Posters of Santa Fe (111 E. Place Ave., 982-6645) also has a collection of canvas giclees, not to mention few originals.
Artists are known for being a little messy. That’s all well and good, but what about when the napthalo green has gone hopelessly missing and that camel-hair brush from Prague fell out of the coffee can in which it was stored? We all need a little help sometimes, and that’s where Artisan Santa Fe (2601 Cerrillos Road, 954-4179) comes in. This attractive (yet useful!) cart rings in at $98.10.
Is That a Banana on Your Head Or…
If the Chiquita Banana lady and a muerto had a baby, this necklace would be a homage to it. Jeweler Ruth Parrott, who also co-owns Beadweaver (503 Old Santa Fe Trail, 955-1600), was inspired when the shop received a shipment of those great skull beads. She let her creativity take hold, and now the little muertos ($38) are flying off the shelves. Kind of delicate, kind of spooky, kind of flashy—this is the perfect necklace for the eclectic artist (or teacher, or janitor or accountant) in your life.
Milagro Herbs has recently moved to a snazzy new location on Paseo de Peralta (just north of the intersection with Acequia Madre, though the actual address is 419 Orchard Drive, 820-6321), and the herbal shop and apothecary is up and running and ready to help everyone on your list beat the winter doldrums. If you know generally what your giftee needs (does she have dry skin? Does his nose run all day?), you can craft a custom gift bag starting at $15 and going up to…well, however much you feel like spending!
Free to B
Bodhi Bazaar’s (in Sanbusco Market Center, 500 Montezuma St., 982-3880) new fragrance, Just B ($42), is a fresh mix of rose, frankincense and other organic ingredients, and is a perfect complement to the shop’s awesome and slightly Bohemian fare. As an added bonus, 10 percent of proceeds from the perfume sales benefit Youth Shelters and Family Services, Santa Fe’s busy nonprofit dedicated to the care and development of homeless and at-risk kids.
Lay It Down
Saachi Organics (523 W. Cordova Road, 982-3938), the Santa Fe-based company that specializes in great sheet sets and buckwheat hull pillows, doesn’t stop at the utilitarian side of things. These beautiful meditation
pillows ($56-$76), available in both cotton and organic silk, are a perfect addition to any sacred space. Handmade in Albuquerque, they’re also local as local can be.
Those paltry little bars of soap your friends put out in the guest bathroom? Feh! We need a serious bar of soap that doesn’t screw around. Bobby’s Cosmetics (328 S. Guadalupe St., 982-1645) carries Claus Porto soap ($16), 12.4 oz of pure cleaning power—but still with a delicate scent. The company, based in Portugal, also shuns animal testing, which we appreciate.
She’s Like a Rainbow
Does your lady change her eyeshadow like some people change their minds? The Glam Box ($27) has her covered. Approximately one billion colors (yes, we counted) of lip gloss, blush and eyeshadows, plus applicators, are all packed into this compact and super-inexpensive little box that fits comfortably into a purse. So if she decides in the middle of a purple night that it’s actually a green night, no problem. Hook her up at Wink (in Sanbusco Market Center, 500 Montezuma St., 988-3840).
Ring in the New Year
One doesn’t have to drink cocktails to enjoy the huge assortment of cocktail rings (prices vary, but all are less than $35) at Lorreen International Emporium (213 Galisteo St., 983-2800). Encourage your friends to quit cluttering up necks and ears with baubles, and use hands to communicate their impeccable taste. The best part of this downtown jewelry store is that you’d be hard-pressed to find anything for more than $100, and the selection is out-of-this-world.
You know that friend who hates doing laundry and, as a result, tends to think that the longer a garment spends in a pile on the floor, the cleaner it gets, and can then be worn again after approximately two weeks? Well, at Le Bon Voyage (328 S. Guadalupe St., 986-1260), when it comes to the essentials, that grody friend is all set. Onederwear underwear ($10.95) and socks ($9.95) are 100 percent cotton, 100 percent biodegradable and 100 percent disposable. Wear ’em and throw ’em away. No laundry required. But if that friend decides he or she actually does know how to use a washer, these aren’t strictly one-time-use. Teach a man to fish…
What Time Is It?
Even your most clueless companion can always know the hour with the coolest watch on the block. Even 95 feet underwater (scuba divers, listen up), it keeps on tickin’. Well, as much as a digital display can tick, that is. These gel watches ($20) at Cupcake (328 Montezuma Ave., 988-4744) are unisex and low-profile, and so much hipper than that lame Movado you gave last year.
Those little teddy bear hats and bunny rabbit beanies are cute and all, but they’re everywhere. You know what you never see? A robot! A cyclops! A walrus! Oh, wait…Check these out! The Good Stuff (325 W. San Francisco St., 795-1939) carries fun hats and mittens for both adults ($26) and kids ($24). They’re high-quality and super-warm thanks to an extra fleece lining.
Jewelry is fun to wear but, really, it’s the jewelers who get to have all the fun. The secret of jewelry-making is out, though, at Crown Jewels (201 E. Palace Ave., 992-8300). Bring all your friends into one of the friendliest downtown stores for a jewelry-making party with the expert resident artists. Instruction is only $15 per hour (so yes, that means a two-hour party is only $30!), plus the cost of any supplies your group uses—though you’re welcome to bring your own. But who would want to use their own when the shop has such an awesome selection of beads, charms and shiny things? Call the shop to schedule your grand soiree.
Vegan jackets (as pictured, $78-$142) from Mira Apparel, Furniture and Folkart (101 W. Marcy St., 988-3585) come at the expense of no animal, but look and feel like high-quality buttery leather. Whether the animal lover in your life is into a deconstructed, wrinkly look or a more tailored cropped blazer, there’s something for every taste on Mira’s racks.
We All Shine On
At Talulah (129 W. Water St., 983-6573), the specialty is retro-inspired dresses but, here and there, the store also features a fantastic contemporary design that we can’t resist. The Angie sequined tunic ($69) is technically a dress, but you have to have a serious pair of legs to pull off what would be a mini-mini dress. Our advice? Pair it with some leggings and hit the town for all the holiday parties on your list.
Full Bloom Boutique (70 W. Marcy St., 988-9648), one of Santa Fe’s newest and prettiest clothing stores, is full of luxurious fabrics, hand-crafted clothes and—our favorite part—intricate embroidery. This reversible embroidered coat ($399.99) hangs beautifully, flatters any figure and is sure to turn heads in either black (shown) or brown.
Loominus chenille scarves ($265) are hand-woven and hand-picked by the uber-classy staff at Robert R Bailey Clothiers (150 Washington Ave., 983-8803), so you know they’ve gotta be good. The incredibly soft scarves may be in a men’s clothing store, but they’d flatter the ladies as well. The vibrant colors and patterns of herringbone and plaid are pretty much everywhere you turn in the store, so get ready to be forced to choose between your favorites.
High fashion comes to the high desert via Daniella (500 Market St., 988-2399). In addition to super-chic clothing, shoes and handbags geared toward the ladies, Daniella also stocks King Baby jewelry ($90-$327), suitable for any gender you may encounter. Skulls, crowns, guns and hearts are bedecked in brilliant gemstones and polished silver, and are pretty much the most badass pendants in town.
For any friend who thinks he or she has read it all about everyone’s favorite bedridden self-portrait
artist, pick up Frida Kahlo: Face to Face by Judy Chicago ($65, Prestel). Chicago, one of the most important feminist artists working today (she calls her own work “monumental” in the Face to Face introduction), explores Kahlo’s work both in relation to the Mexican artist’s tragic biography and on its own as a purely aesthetic experience. Chicago’s personal reflection on Kahlo’s work makes this attractive volume a must for any Kahlo or Chicago fan.
Heart of the Matter
Former Santa Fe resident and celebrity chef David Tanis is at it again. He’s continued what he started in the food-lust vein (2008’s A Platter of Figs is a staple in kitchens across the country) with Heart of the Artichoke ($35, Artisan). Tanis gracefully combines his obsessions with seasonal menus and elegant fare to create a book of easy, simple and fantastic recipes for one, two or four, or an entire banquet table. Foodies and kitchen idiots alike will appreciate Tanis’ minimal-work, maximum-result recipes.
Heart and Sole
Plenty of new Westerners feel they have a bone to pick with cowboy culture. However, no matter what one’s gender, political, ethnic or humane arguments against cowpokes may be, everyone has to admit that cowboys have always had fantastic style. Sole Mates: Cowboy Boots and Art ($34.95, Museum of New Mexico Press) is an exploration of not only the footwear, but the history and culture of cowboys, not to mention the art that has been created in their honor. The book includes analyses of paintings and drawings by artists such as Frederic Remington and Charles M Russell, plus glances at the people who fashion cowboy boots.
If you remember it, you weren’t there. Thankfully, photographer Roberta Price spent seven years living in and touring the communes of the southwestern US, and shot tons of photographic proof that the ’70s actually happened. She managed to cull her collection of 3,000 photos, taken between 1969 and 1977, down to 121, which make up Across the Great Divide: A Photo Chronicle of the Counterculture ($34.95, University of New Mexico Press). The book is a beautiful but unsentimental look at the alternative history of New Mexico and Colorado, and also includes Price’s recollections about her life at Libre, a Colorado commune.
Sharon Niederman, who came to New Mexico in 1981 with absolutely no tolerance for spicy food, has since made a name for herself as a food judge, critic, creator and writer. New Mexico’s Tasty Traditions ($27.95, New Mexico Magazine), Niederman’s 10th book, explores her adopted home state of New Mexico through recipes, local produce, family farms and the endless stories that run behind all of the above. Whether the giftee is a New Mexico newbie who needs to learn the ropes, or a fourth-generation resident who will probably know personally some of the book’s profiled locals, Niederman’s stories and dishes are bound to delight.
Ride ’Em Cowboy
Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be cowboys. Oh, never mind, let them do whatever they want! This super-adorable rodeo romper ($25) starts ’em off right and ready to sign up for mutton bustin’ as soon as they can walk. The fringes on the arms and legs really complete the look. Get yours, plus everything else you need to outfit your little cowpoke, at Yippee Yi Yo (54 E. San Francisco St., 988-2757).
Not all parents want their children to become tattooed adults but, for those who do (you know who you are), baby tattoos ($5.75) are a great starter. They’re perfectly sized for pint-sized arms, and are gentle enough not to harm young skin (unlike an ink-filled needle traveling at the speed of light). Doodlet’s (120 Don Gaspar Ave., 983-3771) is a treasure trove of toys and crafts for both kids and grown-ups.
Visions of Sugarplums
The pop-up book finds a whole new life in the hands of visionary designer Robert Saruda, whose pop-up incarnations delight pretty much anyone who cracks the cover. Poem (in Sena Plaza, 125 E. Palace Ave., 820-7884) has a holiday stock of Clement Clarke Moore’s The Night Before Christmas ($26), featuring brilliant and intricate paper designs.
Build Outside the Block
The toys at Toyopolis (66 W. Marcy St., 988-8994) encourage kids to create, build, play and exist in unique ways, and Dado products are no exception. The easy-to-use toys, in both square ($22.99) and cube ($27.99) sets, create 3-D constructions of which Legos can only dream of.
Who wants their kid to hump a heavy load to and from preschool? Certainly not parents who shop at On Your Little Feet (in Sanbusco Market Center, 530 Montezuma Ave., 983-3900). Sassafras Pull-along Backpacks ($30) take the forms of moose, horses, bears, zebras or cheetahs (not shown) and have handles that pull out, just like the best wheeled suitcases in the airport. Scoliosis be damned!
Booties Worth the Bronze
On second thought, don’t bronze these felted wool baby booties ($40). Keep them just the way they are—they’re much prettier that way. At Indigo Baby (in DeVargas Center, Guadalupe Street and Paseo de Peralta, 954-4000), you can find these booties, along with tons of other locally made, sustainable, organic and generally wholesome products for moms and kids alike.
In da Hood
Hoodies aren’t just for Ma and Pa anymore. Actually, pretty much any clothes you think are best-suited for adults (faux fur, puffy jackets) are available for half-pints at Merry Go Round (150 Washington Ave., 988-5422). We especially like these hoodies, whether your favorite kid opts for the embroidered butterfly ($74.95) or the skull and crossbones ($44.95).
Some kids start jonesing for a car way before high school. Sate the appetite for horsepower with Bruder trucks ($34-$96 at Play, in Sanbusco Market Center, 500 Montezuma Ave., 820-3338). Bruders are made with impeccable attention to detail, from a detachable hose on the fire truck to a rotating canister on the cement truck.
Bring Nature Home
Hansa animal toys are handmade in Indonesia, and bring an exotic element to the playroom. The realistic animals come in every shape from rodents to hyenas and run from $10 to $60 at Moon Rabbit Toys (in Plaza Mercado, 112 W. San Francisco St., 982-9373). Even bigger and pricier ones are available, such as a life-size buffalo but, until there’s room in Moon Rabbit’s chock-full shop, there is indeed a price ceiling. Hansa also creates model animals for zoos and museums, so their artisans really know what they’re doing.
Coyuchi creates blankets and towels out of awesomely high-quality organic cotton. The American company, which ethically produces its textiles in India, embroiders its products (which range from sheets to shirts to baby onesies) with adorable wilderness creatures. BODY of Santa Fe (333 W. Cordova Road, 986-0362) carries many Coyuchi products, including the hooded terrycloth towel ($49) and the incredibly soft receiving blanket ($64).
Treat your adventurous friends to a year of exploration. The National Parks Service annual pass ($80; seniors $10; disabled free) allows the holders (two can sign it and, in some places, it’s valid for a carload of people) access into any national park for free, plus provides free or discounted admission into many national forest day-use areas. For someone who has some travel planned in the next year, whipping out this little card sure beats shelling out $25 per week at Yellowstone or $14 a head for a tour at a Hyde Park mansion. Procure one at any National Parks site; the closest ones to us are Pecos National Historical Park (Pecos, 757-7200), Petroglyph National Monument (Albuquerque, 505-899-0205) and Bandelier National Monument (Los Alamos, 505-672-3861).
For anyone who knows and loves a fly fisherman, you know that once one starts fishing in a new stream, it’s hard to tear him or her away from the banks during the search for bugs skimming across the water. Fly Patterns of Northern New Mexico ($15.95 at The Reel Life, 500 Montezuma Ave., 995-8114) can help in the quest. With detailed instructions on how to tie the most useful flies in this part of the state, you can save your fisherfriends a few hours in the muck and let them get right to the fun stuff (which also happens to occur in the muck).
Just Do It
Nike has declared it will only sell its snowboarding boots ($199-$350) to 500 retailers worldwide, and our very own Beyond Waves Mountain Surf Shop (1428 Cerrillos Road, 988-2240) has snagged one of those accounts. Sweet! The boots, which are comfy and way cool, harken back to the days of Air Jordans and high-top sneakers, only made for a decidedly colder atmosphere.
Stuff Your Pack
When you’re backpacking, it’s hard to justify bringing along anything extraneously fun (we’re talking books, iPods, games, stuff like that). When you’re carrying your life on your back, that Nintendo DS is suddenly heavy as a bowling ball. Imagine the backpacker’s delight when he or she discovers the Stuffball ($11.95) at Sangre de Cristo Mountain Works (328 S. Guadalupe St., 984-8221). It does double-duty as a stuff sack and a ball, so when the hikers take a break, there’s something other than a sharp rock with which to play catch.
Do You Know the Way?
If your friends are like our friends, they’re not from around here. Seems like half of Santa Fe has been here for 500 years, and the other half for only five. If your friend keeps talking about his or her hometown streets or won’t shut up about a favorite neighborhood in Europe, get a custom map ($10.95-$16.95) of precisely where he or she is talking about at Travel Bug (839 Paseo de Peralta, 992-0418). Tell the folks at Travel Bug where you want to see, choose how far to zoom in and, in minutes, possess a 24-by-30-inch color printout of anywhere on Earth.
Hand Me that Doo-Jigger
As a synonym for “thingamajig” and “what’s-its-face,” “jigger” is a great word with lots of applications. This Jigger, however, is a very particular whatchamacallit. The Jigger ($20 at Design Warehouse, 101 W. Marcy St., 988-1555) provides all those awkward measurements that most kitchen whizzes don’t have time to calculate (1.25 ounces, 1.5 ounces, 0.50 ounce and so forth). Next time your grandma complains about having no idea how much three-quarters of an ounce is, pass her this whatsiecallit and call it a day.
You Salty Dog
The body needs iodine, sure, but put away the Morton’s and find a better way to get it. Natural salt is the way to go, and some of the best stuff is from the Himalayas. This pure Himalayan salt ($8.95) is hammer-crushed and full of minerals, and is best enjoyed when ground in a ceramic salt mill ($17.95). Some say the salt even has vibrational properties that promote a balanced life, and who can argue with that? The saline-crazed epicurean in your life will appreciate this gift from Emerald Earth (328-K S. Guadalupe St.,
The Best in a Jar
It’s become Santa Fe tradition that The Shed wins Best Red Chile in SFR’s Best of Santa Fe competition every summer. Bring the fire home in a 15-ounce jar of red chile sauce ($9.95) from the kitchen of the perpetual fave. Another great reason to get this gift (available at the Santa Fe School of Cooking, 116 W. San Francisco St., 983-4511) for people you know is so that they can cook for you as thanks.
Everyone likes chai. It’s a scientific fact. We looked it up. Therefore, you’re bound to delight everyone on your list with Tsundue’s Chai Mix ($7.95) from the Ark Bookstore (133 Romero St., 988-3709), which obviously carries far more than books. Tsundue, a native Tibetan who now lives in Santa Fe, really knows what she’s doing and has crafted a perfectly delicious tea. A perfect companion is a vibrant teapot ($20.99-$24.99).
Instant Spice Cabinet
A store such as Ziggy’s International Market (1005 S. St. Francis Drive, Ste. 107, 986-5054) can easily overwhelm the beginning ethnic food cook. There’s just so much to see! Thankfully, this helpful packet of Tunisian spices ($5.99) contains all the basics in perfect starter amounts for that friend whose spice cabinet is exploding with too much cinnamon and not enough coriander.
You know someone is serious about food when you walk into the kitchen and spy a billion different kinds of olive oil. Augment the collection of your favorite foodie or start a wannabe on the right track with Badia a Coltibuono olive oil ($49.95) from Kaune’s Neighborhood Market (511 Old Santa Fe Trail, 982-2629).
It’s Chile in Here
From sweet preserves to fiery spices, The Chile Shop (109 E. Water St., 983-6080) has it all when it comes to those little peppers we so worship around here. Bring your whole guest list into the shop and the owners can either create chile gift baskets ($28-$129) to your specifications, or just get creative and make baskets they think are awesome. Plus, they ship their baskets just about anywhere, so you don’t even have to worry about buying a stamp.
Pulling into Port
Sweet, lush, complex and super-classy…No, we’re not talking about your girlfriend. Port wine (or, to be fancy, vinho do porto) is defined by W & J Graham’s, a fine company that has been making this alchemistic concoction for over 200 years. Graham’s 100 Years of Port set is not cheap ($492.99) but, when you think about it, that comes out to less than $5 per year. The four bottles come nestled in an attractive leather case, so you can save on gift wrap. Get yours (plus just about any other classy alcoholic beverage you could ever want) at Susan’s Fine Wine and Spirits (1005 S. St. Francis Drive, 984-1582).
Paella, that delicious, savory, versatile Spanish stew, is a European food that is quickly becoming a favorite in all eating circles in the US of A. For the kitchen whiz who has never tried paella for lack of tools, The Spanish Table (109 N. Guadalupe St., 986-0243) has the solution. The paella starter kit ($60) contains almost everything needed (even the pan!) to make a hearty meal for eight people—not to mention a cookbook to continue the deliciousness long past the holidays.
Slow It Down
“A slow-cooker! How thoughtful…Honey, go put this in the kitchen, next to all the other appliances we don’t use.” Don’t let this happen to you this holiday season. An All-Clad slow-cooker ($179.99) is a great gift, yeah—if your giftee has any clue what they should do with it. Problem solved! Las Cosas Kitchen Shoppe (in DeVargas Center, Guadalupe Street and Paseo de Peralta, 988-3394) can provide not only the appliance, but also stocks 101 Things to Do with a Slow-Cooker ($9.99), so there’s no excuse for your giftee to let that shiny machine gather dust.