By now you know the drill: Spending your money at local businesses keeps more of it in the community, pays for public services and supports independent stores. SFR is a big supporter of the shop local movement for all of these reasons—and for one other: Shopping locally is way more fun.
Think about it: Which sounds better? Standing in line in a crowded Walmart that’s jam-packed with plastic crap? Or talking to artist Erika Wanenmacher at Ditch Witch about her new amulets, candles and spells? Where do you want to be when you’re picking out the perfect gift for your kid? Online at toysrus.com? Or in Moon Rabbit Toys, where quality toys have been picked out by someone who really cares? These are just two of the dozens and dozens of local businesses featured in the 2009 Santa Fe Reporter Gift Guide.
We hit the streets for this issue, as we do each year, and stayed clear of the big-box stores. Instead, you’ll find gifts for everyone from the epicure in your life to the reader to the child to the fashionista to the athlete and more. Plus, there are extra gifts listed online--we ran out of room in the print edition.
And in case you think shopping locally is out of your price range, we feel your pain: Every gift in this guide is under $100, and many are well below it.
If you’re on the shopping tip for the season, consider also helping those for whom the holidays are hardest. SFR will continue our collection drives for Esperanza Shelter for Battered Families and Food Depot through Dec. 22. Thank you for your continued generosity in contributing new household items, unwrapped toys and gift cards for the shelter, and canned foods for the Food Depot.
Thumb through the digital edition HERE, scroll down, or use the links below to find your favorite categories.
Food by Zane Fischer
Fashion by Rani Molla
Kids by Jen Palmer
Outdoors by Marshall Glasnevin
Gadgets by Zane Fischer
Books by Julia Goldberg
Music by Alex De Vore
Body by Charlotte Jusinski
Artsy by Julia Goldberg and Charlotte Jusinski
FOOD Bons Vivants Rejoice!
Purple Flower Power
The best part about shopping for gifts at The Chocolate Smith (851-A Cerrillos Road, 505-473-2111) is forgetting to buy them after stuffing your face on, say, chocolate-coated caramel dusted with Himalayan salt. Keep the sweets to yourself and give your giftee something more responsible like Sharon Shipley’s The Lavender Cookbook. It’s packed with clever recipes and concoctions for one of the few fine plants that grows like a weed around here, and it’s reasonably priced at $17.50.
Shot Glass Not Included
There’s a lot on offer in the modestly-sized Kaune’s Neighborhood Market (511 Old Santa Fe Trail, 505-982-2629), but a lot of people forget that it’s home to one of Santa Fe’s finest liquor sections. Good for rubbing on the gums of babies and man-babies alike, Hudson Manhattan Rye Whiskey is a splurge at $57.45, but its restorative powers are more potent than the Christmas Spirit. Tip: Leave a shot out for Santa.
Slice of Heaven
Nothing is more essential to cooking than a good knife. Honestly, the rest can pretty much be done on an open fire. The shelves at Las Cosas Kitchen Shoppe (181 Paseo de Peralta, in DeVargas Center, 505-988-3394) bristle with sharp bits, but a knife is only as useful as the hand that wields it. Instead of buying things, why not give a gift that keeps on giving, like a Las Cosas Knife Skills Workshop, a bargain at $35.
To the Minute
Dish n’ Spoon Café and Gifts (620 Old Santa Fe Trail, 505-983-7676) has got knickknackery covered on its kitsch-filled shelves. For that happy-go-lucky, sunny-side-up kitchen pal in need of another cooking gadget, the Happy Times Kitchen Timer puts a grin spin on preventing overcooked pasta. And less smiley people will enjoy grabbing the thing and twisting its head.
Let It Breathe
One’s wine is not fine until it has been awakened with a little aerating. The cleverly named Vinturi will do the trick without bruising your grapes, yo. At $39.95, these babies are going to fly off the shelves this year, so make haste for the Old World shelves of La Casa Sena Wine Shop (125 E. Palace Ave., in Sena Plaza, 505-988-9232) and secure yours before they vanish.
It’s an age-old problem: You return from the hunt (or the gather) and you’ve got no place to put your fancy fresh food. Bambu nesting baskets offer a threefer of eco-conscious containers to help pretty up your larder. La Montañita Co-op (913 W. Alameda St., 505-984-2852) offers the all-organic set for $21.69.
Chocolate Trumps Fruit
Word to the wise: Nobody wants an orange in his or her stocking. But there’s nothing wrong with fooling people by dropping the orange-sized head of a Mexican down there—Mexican wrestler, that is. And, actually, it’s just a miniature Mexican wrestling mask covering a tin packed with chocolate coins. It will come as no surprise that this $18 stocking stuffer comes from the mad candy scientists at Todos Santos Chocolates and Confections (125 E. Palace Ave. Ste. 31, 505-982-3855). After eating the chocolate, you can use the mask as a key chain or a fruit cozy.
Skip the Whipped Cream
We’re sure the resident chocolate scholars at Kakawa Chocolate House (1050 E. Paseo de Peralta, 505-982-0388) are working hard to come up with a special edition 2012 Mayan calendar elixir—after all, they specialize in Mesoamerican concoctions—but in the meantime, we recommend something closer to home. The 1790 Jefferson Colonial American Drinking Chocolate will hit the spot. For $28, a ball of elixir comes with mug.
No Wilting, No Water
Sensitive Santa Feans love a gift of flowers but are predictably plagued with guilt about the industrialized murder of pretty plants. Edible Arrangements (825 Cerrillos Road, 505-989-9770) has solved this problem by creating absurd and wondrous bouquets of fruit. Sure, plants still get whacked in the process, but at least someone gets to eat them. $59 will secure an Apple Blossom arrangement: chocolate dipped apple wedges in a forest of strawberries dappled with pineapple petals.
Burned Crusts Be Gone
Chef Link (3221-A Richards Lane, 505-424-0240) is a commercial kitchen supply store, but it’s open to the public and it beats stalking the potpourri hell that is Bed, Bath & Beyond when you just need a frickin’ affordable spatula. Give the aspiring baker in your life the gift of deep, even heat with a Fibrament baking stone ($79.99).
You now build your own furniture and sometimes burn it for warmth—but don’t skimp where it counts. Pick up some fine leather, contrast stitched gloves ($80) and a monochrome scarf ($100) from Harrys (202 Galisteo St., 505-988-1959), and let some luxury touch your friends and family’s labor-worn skin. The gloves won’t restrict movement and are lined with cashmere, while the scarves bear the sweet stuff all the way through.
Dress up your loved ones’ drab old rags with one of ¡Mira!’s (101 W. Marcy St., 505-988-3585) black-sequined accents. These sparkly leggings ($58), slip dresses ($68), skirts ($62) and scarves ($19)—not meant to be worn together—are a quick and cheap alternative to a shiny new wardrobe, so your giftees can dazzle even amid the economic downturn.
It’s What’s Underneath…
So she’s lost everything, even the shirt on her back. Focus on what’s left: her underwear. Let the lady in your life pretend that, when employed, she too was a Victoria Secret model with Elle Macpherson bras ($45-$75) from Heavenly Boutique (112 W. San Francisco St., 505-983-0008), the only place in the state to get them. The bras come in a variety of sexy patterns and materials, and are paired with matching underwear: bikini ($35) or thong ($28, less material?).
I’m a Survivor
Your giftee can go straight from foraging for potatoes to a night on the town with these aptly named Survival brand skirts ($35-$48.50) from Maya (108 Galisteo St., 505-989-7590). They come in a range of dark colors and lengths, with a stretchy yet flowing fit—perfect for when one might just have to do anything.
Pick up the Lace Pearl Necklace flapper dress ($69) from Talulah (129 W. Water St., 505-983-6573) so your giftee can party like the Great Depression isn’t around the corner. The intricately beaded collar crests a simple yet elegant lacy bodice for a dress best worn with leggings and during Prohibition.
Hunting and Gathering
You and yours can rustle up nuts and berries in style—and have something in which to bring them home—with Kioti’s (500 Montezuma Ave., in Sanbusco Market Center, 505-984-9836) Thai silk evening bags ($22). Embellished with a floret, these bags come in a wide variety of colors, from gold to turquoise to hot pink, and are classy enough to seem like they’d have money inside.
The hand-stamped and custom-dyed Minetta Designs leather cuffs ($36-$44) at Spirit (109 W. San Francisco St., 505-982-2677) provide rustic and colorful accents to any outfit. Made in Santa Fe using stamping tools from the ’50s, the cuffs can even earn their recipients some recession cred—that is, if they pretend they killed the cow themselves.
Wood is free if people cut it themselves, so keep the woodcutter in your family warm in style. An English Laundry plaid button-up ($85) from Unity (418 Montezuma Ave., 505-946-0464) handles handsomely for roughing it in the forest, while the subtle embellishments for which the brand is known—velvet and satin trim, copper buttons, embroidery—make it a stand-in for long-spent dress shirts.
Multiple Shirt Disorder
In a recession, a reversible shirt is the new two shirts. So give twice the gifts with a Tommy Bahama reversible zip sweater ($98) from Robert R Bailey (150 Washington Ave., 505-983-8803). It’s simple to flip, elegant and effectively performs the acts of both a gray and a purple sweater.
Know someone who’s tired of looking like he lives in a Dumpster (even if he does) with his lame Ed Hardy T-shirt? Help him tone it down and class it up, all while retaining vaguely subversive signifiers, with a US-made, 100 percent cotton Ichiban T-shirt ($65) from Fabrizio (116 Don Gaspar Ave., 505-988-7288). Let gold Chinese lettering and Asian motifs lay waste to tired tattoos and hearts.
Let Them Eat Cake
The floral sleeveless sweater dress ($69) from Cupcake (328 Montezuma Ave., 505-988-4744) is a fashionable reminder of a time when warmth wasn't necessarily a luxury and flowers weren't yet replaced by sustenance gardens. Its scoop neck and lightweight material make this winter gift appropriate for then entire year.
Not More Walking Boots
The Lenore boots ($85) by Betseyville—by the famed Betsey Johnson, known for her eccentric clothing—are perfect for a time after orthodox fashion sense is possible. A mix between a shiny platform dress shoe and holiday socks, these boots from Lucky Angel (161 Paseo de Peralta, in DeVargas Center, 505-992-3252) make your giftee’s chaotic wardrobe seem a little more orderly.
Push It Real Wood
Be good to the tiniest earthlings by buying Sprig toys, made from recycled plastic and wood. The Colorado toy company manufactures rugged trucks, boats, copters and push toys ($8.50 and up) in chunky shapes perfect for small hands. The best part? They smell like real wood and come in non-offensive colors so they’ll look fabulous lying around the house. Check out more organic toys and clothes at Play (500 Montezuma Ave., in Sanbusco Market Center, 505-820-3338).
The award-winning toy maker that brought you the Whoozit, Manhattan Toy, now adds The Kreechers ($33) to its beloved line of crazy-faced cuddlies. Tactile tots (and big kids) will adore these oversized pillows with silly monster faces, made using mixed fabrics and feely textures such as chunky knits, fleeces and toasty sweatshirt materials. Gypsy Baby (318 S. Guadalupe St., 505-820-1898) has a great selection in several colors, and all have crazy eyes and tongues that stick. Nyah!
On Your Little Feet (530 Montezuma Ave., in Sanbusco Market Center, 982-0003) stocks these fun, plush animal bags ($36) that are perfect for sleepovers. Whether the kiddos dig dogs, cows, magic goats, silly unicorns, green dragons, horses or little lambs, they are sure to love hauling pjs, a blanket and huggy bear in these bags. And better yet, since one size fits all, they make great gifts for your favorite nieces or nephews.
Possibly the coolest show-and-tell toy ever! The 3-D Mirascope ($8 and up) features a mirrored bowl with a lid that uses optical illusion to project the contents as a floating 3-D object. Place a small item in the bowl and wow your friends and teachers by showing them how your item magically floats above the bowl. The Mirascope comes with a few small items but, for a mere 60 cents each at Doodlet's (120 Don Gaspar Ave., 505-983-3771), you can stock up on more tiny animals toys.
Sticky Mosaics ($10-$21) are kinda like paint by numbers, but without the messy paint and even messier kids. Decorate tiaras, various pictures, jewelry boxes and pirate ships using hundreds of tiny, shiny shards that are number-coded to correspond with the design and color palette. Toyopolis (66 W. Marcy St., 505-988-8994) supplies a variety of these craft kits, perfect for budding artist types.
Coming Down the Mountain
Mini-shredders will enjoy taking this snowboarder look off the slopes and onto the playground. Bundle them up in the latest Quiksilver threads available at Merry Go Round (150 Washington Ave., 505-988-5422). The brushed cotton coat ($72.95) comes in light gray and is lined in a cozy black fleece. Top off the look with the brightly colored striped hat ($24) that will keep kids' heads warm under their helmets.
This is the perfect gift for little kids who enjoy recycling and making things move. The Children’s Museum’s gift shop (1050 Old Pecos Trail, 505-989-8359) features the Soda Can Robug by Green Science ($13)—a kit that includes a plastic mechanic body (assembly required), a motor with electric wires, and two pairs of wire wings and legs. Build it then watch it skedaddle along flat surfaces. Bzzzzt!
Rockabilly Ranch Wear
Authentic '50s ranch wear by Rockmount features heavyweight, crisp cotton and rugged fit as well as the usual slash pockets with contrast piping. Kids will appreciate details like pearly snap buttons and vivid embroidered designs with flowers and kachinas. Cheri Cherie (100 E. San Francisco St., 505-983-6386) has a ton of fun dress-up gear, but little cowpokes will make these ranch shirts an everyday fave.
Make It Last
This holiday, stretch out your shopping dollars at Double Take (320 Aztec St., 989-8886) and Boomerang Baby (1845 Cerrillos Road, 505-984-2229). Think these second-hand shops only sell old cribs, strollers and mismatched socks? Bah! You can snatch up a ton of brand-new and closeout items, such as toys, books, movies and puzzles, at rock bottom prices. Inventory revolves quickly, so check back often to see what’s new(ish).
Babies are smarter than fifth graders these days—and it’s no wonder if they play with blocks by Uncle Goose ($36 and up). The blocks are available at Moon Rabbit Toys (112 W. San Francisco St., 505-982-9373) in Hebrew, Greek, Spanish, German and Norwegian with culturally relevant pictures and common words. Bug Blocks are cool but the Hieroglyphics Blocks are the shiznit—we’ve never seen anything like them! All blocks come beautifully boxed and include a canvas storage bag.
Zen and the Art of Camping
If your camping enthusiast obsessively shaves every ounce off his pack, gift him or her Fozzils ($19.95), an origami serving set that combines Zen-style solace with picnic pleasure. The set includes a dish, cutting board/funnel, spoon, strainer and peace of mind, and is available at Sangre de Cristo Mountain Works (328 S. Guadalupe St., 984-8221).
Wave of the Future!
Nothing says hot like a fanny pack, and nothing says efficiency like a fanny pack that has replaced cumbersome zippers with state-of-the-art magnetic seals. The Reel Life (500 Montezuma Ave., in Sanbusco Market Center, 995-8114) has the new William and Joseph Surge Mag Series Fanny Pack ($99.99). It allows the winter fisherman’s chilled, stiff fingers to single-handedly access his (or her) kit and kaboodle.
Simple and Cool
Flylow All-Purpose Gloves ($25) are waterproof, supple and durable. Made of abrasion-resistant pigskin and manufactured independently in the Western Hemisphere (Denver, that is), Flylow’s back-to-basics work-style gloves are the ultimate all-purpose mitts for backcountry, the resort or just getting the ice off your windshield. Pick them up at Santa Fe Mountain Sports' new location (1221 Flagman Way, 988-3337).
Get ’Em Hooked
The Watcher Master River Landing Net ($99.99) is made in the USA, gorgeously handcrafted and surprisingly practical. The ultra-light-weight net’s no-snag PVC-molded bag keeps hooks in the fish and not in the trash because of another ruined net. Find one for the fisherperson in your life at High Desert Angler (453 Cerrillos Road, 505-988-7688).
Snugly Being the Operative Word
Your comfort is Alpine Sports’ (121-B Sandoval St., 505-983-5155) concern. Colorful, casual and comfy, the Marmot Flair Fleece Jacket ($90) comes in black, turquoise or plum and is the perfect companion for lining a winter coat. It’s much softer than most fleeces and fits snugly, so it also looks better.
Take the Pen!
The Fisher Trekker Space Pen ($30) is good no matter the situation you throw its way. If this pen is good enough for outer space, it’s perfect for the winter sportsman. Santa Fe Pens (500 Montezuma Ave., in Sanbusco Market Center, 505-989-4742) carries the pen as well as the pressurized refillable ink cartridges. The pen clips conveniently to lanyards, belt loops or gloves and even writes reliably upside down.
Say No To Ninja Cyclists
If you know cyclists who ride in low visibility, late at night or during blizzards, keep their wheels parallel and underneath them with Black Burn’s Flea Rear Light ($29.99) at rob and charlie’s (1632 St. Michael’s Drive, 505-471-9119). This ultra-light and ultra-bright clip-on flasher comes with a long-lasting rechargeable battery and is solar charger compatible.
Bike N Sport’s (524-C W. Cordova Road, 505-820-0809) The Roxanne ($80) is local Santa Fe company Harlot Clothing’s simple, chic and warm winter sport top. There’s no embarrassing neon Lycra for the modern lady cyclist; it’s all about strength, durability and practicality. The "dri-wool microblend" eliminates odor and reduces moisture—two side effects of biking that are even worse than Lycra.
Don’t Worry, Ride Happy
Santa Fe’s newest bike shop, The Broken Spoke (1403 Second St., 505-992-3102), can assuage all kinds of worry with the Xtreme Sports ID ($10) and the IT Clip ($4). The ID bracelet gives EMTs access to emergency contact info and life-saving medical records for a $5 annual subscription. The IT Clip keeps Mamma E happy, as it allows her children to recycle goat-head-ruined tubes and convert them into practical and earth-friendly bungee cords.
Winter runners are in too much of a hurry to always properly care for those hard-working muscles and aching bones. Nevertheless, sprint into The Running Hub (527-B W. Cordova Road, 505-820-2523) to give the runner in your life the pleasure of the Pro-Tec Foam Roller ($25). The high-density massager improves flexibility and eases upper and lower back tension.
Black Diamond Decibel
Now you can blast Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker as you hurtle down the slopes! That’s the only musical choice, right? Beyond Waves Mountain Surf Shop (1428 Cerrillos Road, 988-2240) has the Bern Watts Speaker Snow / Skate Helmet ($100) for tune-fueled wickedness—no ear buds required.
To the Moon, Alice!
It’s never too soon to plot out future escapades—even to the moon and back. For tykes too tiny to play in the snow, indoor play is now geographically gentle. Travel Bug (839 Paseo de Peralta, 992-0418) has Hug-a-Planet’s stuffed momma earth and baby moon ($28) pillow combination is the perfect pre-nap distraction.
Looking for just the right whosiwhatsit for a friend with a rodent problem? Or maybe you’d like your spouse to get on the discipline bandwagon with the rug rats? Nothing says you’re minding your nest with a firm but (mostly) non-lethal hand like the Big Bore blowgun ($41.50), available from the concealed carry junkies at The Outdoorsman (530 N. Guadalupe St., in DeVargas Center, 983-3432).
Blizzard Not Included
Practical gifts can suck, but then so can extricating your car from a snow bank. The Double-Duty Multi-Use Vehicle Shovel ($21.99) has a swiveling blade, which means it can pull snow from under a car as well as scoop up heaps of the white stuff. The strong, telescoping handle means it stows in a small space and expands into a multi-tool capable of handling emergencies, whether it be a winter rescue, acute snowman sculpture-itis or the sudden shaping of gnarly features on the slopes. Get yours at The Feed Bin (102 W. Alameda St., 505-982-0511).
Empire Builders Supply Company (1802 Cerrillos Road, 505-982-2646) has carpentry couture covered with a $99.25 nylon tool vest. Lovingly modeled at the store by a headless, limbless, shirtless plastic torso, the vest sports 24 pockets and tool holders, and accommodates additional clip-on pouches. Not just for handyman types—the myriad stash pockets make it perfect for fishermen, bird watchers, dorky tourists and drug dealers or anyone else with multiple items to squirrel away.
Socks, ties and sweaters are well and good, but keeping your relationships sharp means taking the time to truly hone them. Alpine Builders Supply (493 W. Water St., 505-982-2543) sells a $7 ovoid lawn and garden tool sharpener that sends a metaphorical message about your refusal to let things get dull. It’s useful for shears, hatchets, mower blades and anything else a kinky, knife-edged brain might contemplate.
Green Thumb Assist
For friends who just can’t build trust and love with their houseplants, Payne’s Nursery (715 St. Michael’s Drive, 505-988-9626) offers a Rapitest Light and Moisture Meter. The $26.99 contraption means that ensuring the proper amount of sun and water for each plant is as simple as sticking it like a pig. This Christmas, the stainless steel probe is the new green thumb.
One of a Kind
When former New Mexico Gov. Bruce King died on Nov. 13, he left behind a legacy of political acumen and folksy geniality. Both are captured with literary aplomb in King’s 1998 autobiography, Cowboy in the Roundhouse, A Political Life ($26.95, Sunstone Press). Though more than a decade old, King’s personal retelling of his career remains the best book there is for learning about New Mexico politics. This funny and great read is the perfect gift for the pol, gadfly or student on your list.
Past and Present
Creating a museum that captures New Mexico’s multifarious history is no small feat. Creating a book that reflects that museum but also stands on its own is even more impressive. Telling New Mexico, A New History ($29.95, Museum of New Mexico Press) does just that. Edited by Marta Weigle with Frances Levine and Louise Stiver, the book reflects the structure of the new New Mexico History Museum, with sections that represent historic and contemporary time periods. But the essays themselves run the gamut, covering geology, art, religion, politics and more. Telling New Mexico is perfect for history buffs and newcomers alike.
Renowned Southwest writer Tony Hillerman created fictional stories and characters so vivid that, for his legions of fans, they might as well be real. But his fictional landscape, no matter how creatively envisioned, has a concrete counterpart. The mountains, skies, roads and pueblos are beautifully rendered in Tony Hillerman’s Landscape, On the Road with Chee and Leaphorn ($28.99, HarperCollins), written by daughter and writer Anne Hillerman, with photographs by Don Strel. The book will fit perfectly on the shelf of a friend who already has the 32 books Tony Hillerman wrote before his death in 2008.
The Hills Have Eyes
In Ghost Ranch and the Faraway Nearby ($45, University of New Mexico Press), photographer Craig Varjabedian captures the elusive and timeless beauty of Abiquiu’s expansive Ghost Ranch and its surrounding environs with approximately 100 new black-and-white photographs. While this area of northern New Mexico is perhaps most often associated with artist Georgia O’Keeffe and photographer Ansel Adams, Varjabedian stakes new claim, with photographs that are startling in their beauty and clarity. The accompanying essays by a variety of writers add to the breadth of knowledge about the natural beauty of the region, as well as the artistic challenges capturing it presents.
Beaumont’s Kitchen, Lessons on food, life and photography with Beaumont Newhall ($55, Radius Books) is sure to delight anyone who loves: a. photography b. food c. art books and, yes, d. all of the above. This assemblage of noted photography historian Beaumont Newhall’s love of food and life includes recipes and selections from his column, Epicure Corner, as well as duotone photographs by Newhall, Ansel Adams, Edward Westin and numerous others, in addition to several essays by noted art critics. While Beaumont’s Kitchen is a beautiful art book, it may be hard for its recipients to keep it from getting it dirty, as many of the recipes are quite tempting.
Music With Heart
More than 20 local artists donated tracks to The Heart of Santa Fe, a new double album benefiting Warehouse 21, and released in memory of Katie Klein, Julian Martinez, Rose Simmons and Alyssa Trouw, the four teens tragically killed by a drunk driver last June. This coming together of musicians is a perfect example of holiday spirit and goodwill, and a great way to support the local teen arts organization (Warehouse 21, 1614 Paseo de Peralta, 505-989-4423).
Post-Punks Need Presents Too
Spitting at the Glass, the new album from Santa Fe via Britain’s Venus Bogardus, is the perfect stocking stuffer. A celebration of post-punk experimental brilliance, this album will rock its recipient all the way through the New Year for just $14. Hey, if you’re lucky, you can borrow it when that whole “quit smoking and lose 10 pounds” resolution of yours is put on the back burner.
Hundred Year Flood, Joe West, Boris and the Saltlicks and Goshen are all great bands, so why not drop by Santa Fe Hemp (105 E. Water St., 505-984-2599) to pick up any of their releases from Frogville Records for $16? Give one to that special music lover in your life, and don’t forget you can also get the new self-titled Stephanie Hatfield & Hot Mess album while you’re there, because everyone loves Hatfield.
Talent Is Priceless
Instead of buying your kids some ridiculous music-based video game that will teach them nothing, why not give them the gift of actual talent? High Desert Guitars (111 N. Guadalupe St., 505-983-8922) offers guitar lessons with local guitar master Tim Valentine for a scant $60 an hour. Almost any style is taught, the guitar isn’t half as irritating as a trumpet and whoever said gift certificates aren’t personal is full of it.
Maryol with a Bow
Betcha’ didn’t know local hero Alex Maryol has been quietly sitting on a new release for most of this year. But now that you do, you can learn that Face the Day is far more varied a listen than one might expect from the normally all-blues musician, and it’s only $15 (Tia Sophia’s 210 W. San Francisco St., 505-983-9880). Cram that on your Secret Santa list!
The Proof Is in the Cream
Some creams say they moisturize, but they’re lying. Some creams say they smell good, but they’re lying. This cream is not lying. Derbe Ultra Rich Body Cream in honeysuckle scent from Onorato (109 E. Palace Ave., 505-984-2008) smells like a summer night by the flower vine, and leaves hands silky and smooth—even after washing ’em a few times. It’s worth its weight in gold, but it’s only $33 for five ounces.
These Feet Were Made for Pampering
Winter may not bring the dreaded “flip-flop foot” of summer, but cold days and heavy socks can leave the tootsies in need of rehab. The Barefoot Geisha foot scrub ($22), made especially for Ten Thousand Waves (3451 Hyde Park Road, 505-982-9304), is just the ticket to revitalize and exfoliate feet—especially when paired with the scratchy foot brush ($5.50).
Give Me Mor
Wink (500 Montezuma Ave., in Sanbusco Center, 505-988-3840) only has a limited supply of these Mor gift sets ($42.50), which include triple-milled soap, lip balm and hand cream. There are three different sets with three different scents each and, with aromas like lychee flower, marshmallow and rosebud, this is luxury in a tin. Wink also carries plenty of individual Mor products if you miss out on this limited edition.
You’re Getting Very Steepy…
At Body (333 W. Cordova Road, 505-986-0362), Deep Steep products come in many forms, including body wash, bath salts and bubble bath. Here at SFR, though, our favorite is the moisture stick ($5). Even the most scaly, cracked hands—or lips, for that matter—are no match for its intense moisturizing power. Plus, the grapefruit-bergamot scent smells just like Fruity Pebbles cereal. Yum.
Try It, You’ll Like It
Dr. Hauschka sets, which include mini versions of five, six or eight products each, are perfect for gifting. If the recipient ends up liking anything included, La Montañita Co-op (913 W. Alameda St., in Solana Center, 505-984-2852) carries the full-size versions too. The pretty tins come in Body Care ($22.99), Aromatherapy Bath ($19.99) and Face Care ($24.99).
We all have that friend who’s always sniffling or complaining of a headache and who pops Tylenol like candy. Offer your sick pal an alternative with Rosemary Gladstar’s Herbal Recipes for Vibrant Health ($16.95). The book is a veritable encyclopedia of natural, do-it-yourself remedies for everything from a baby’s colic to a CEO’s insomnia. Find a cure at Herbs, Etc. (1345 Cerrillos Road, 505-982-1265).
Smell of the Season
Santa Fe’s own Aromaland (1326 Rufina Circle, 505-438-0402) produces super-clean lotions, soaps and essential oils, and there’s no better way to enjoy scented oils than with a diffuser. Small ones ($13.90) come in various shapes, like buddhas and bowls, and larger ones ($19.90), which hold a tea light, come in enough shapes and colors to match any decor.
Center of the Universe
All About You (211 Galisteo St., 760-808-5012) proprietress Rose Kuonen specializes in hypnotherapy for teens and adults, but she also stocks her shop with everything else that it takes to feel nice. This Healing Spa body wash and hand cream gift set in white tea scent ($17) is only one of a variety of products that lines the shelves.
Goats ‘n’ Soaps
With numerous classy local products all in one place, santafeps.net
is your one-stop shop for Santa Fe gifts. The website features skin care products from Second Bloom Farm
, including seven varieties of goats’ milk lotions and soap
s ($73.95) in a gift set. All purchases come gift-wrapped and can be mailed nationwide or delivered locally in town, so all you have to do is call (505-690-2700).
Gift someone with hedge clippers and they’ll fix the yard. Gift a blender and they’ll make you a smoothy. Gift massage oils and they’ll ask for a massage. Thankfully, both the massager and the massagee can enjoy Lust edible massage oils ($18), which come in caramel, cherry, creamsicle and watermelon. Au Boudoir (1005 St. Francis Drive, in Crossroads Center, 505-983-7700) is a veritable warehouse of pleasure, and what better excuse to give and receive than the holiday season?
Got a friend who’s always uttering some form of “Ouch”? Get the perfect personalized first aid kit ($4) at Design Warehouse (101 W. Marcy St., 877-988-1555).
Bathing to Enlightenment
This happy Buddha soap ($5) is the perfect gift for someone who may only have time for enlightenment when they’re in the shower or washing their hands. Cleanliness is next to godliness, after all, at Ten Thousand Waves (3451 Hyde Park Road, 505-982-9304).
ARTSY Aren't They Lovely?
Words + Art = Happy
Artist, poet and photographer Lisa Chun
creates collage art with an elusive quality. Always it seems there is a mystery hidden in the words, fragments and found items. Her collages on canvas
, therefore, are gifts that keep giving, as the recipients not only get new art for the walls (the canvasses run from 4-by-4 to 6-by-8-feet, from $20 to $65), but get to spend hours transfixed by their ethereal beauty. Chun’s studio (533 Agua Fria St., 505-470-1822), open by appointment only, features a variety of other art cards, pillows and soulful gifts.
The Witching Hour
A gift that meets a recipient’s deepest needs with magical forces is hard to top. When constructed by renowned artist Erika Wanenmacher, it’s bound to be a force of nature. Wanenmacher’s new milieu, Ditch Witch (926 Baca St., Ste. 6, 505-310-0567) features Wanenmacher’s sculpture spells (custom spells beginning at $25)—made from found and constructed objects—as well as amulets, talismans and beautiful purposed candles—from fire to earth to spirit—featuring signed versions of Wanenmacher’s paintings ($9).
Say It with Oil Drums
These wall sculptures just look like another pretty piece of art until you realize they’re hand-punched from the metal of old oil drums in Haiti. Sales—which run anywhere from $35 to $80—help the impoverished artisans who have made the best of what’s around. Get yours at Doodlet’s (120 Don Gaspar Ave., 505-983-3771).
Color Me Awesome
These alphabet place mats ($24) may have been designed for humans standing under 4 feet tall, but one look at the intricate designs on each of the 26 letter-themed pages could make an adult with some colored pencils want to go wild. Design Warehouse (101 W. Marcy St., 505-988-1555) is your coloring hookup and has lots more adult toys (no, not like that) available.
The Perfect Ganesh
We all need a little guidance and tranquility every once in a while. Sate a frantic friend or augment the calm of a peaceful being with Ganesh statues (or any deity of your choice) and delicate lotus tea light holders (all $18) from Heart of the Lotus Interiors (322 Montezuma Ave., 505-989-1779).
Tick, Tock, Tick, Tock…
Christmas just might win as the holiday with the most refuse; between Barbie boxes and wrapping paper, people receive a lot, but throw away a lot too. What better time to buy earth-friendly art? Almost everything at Weasel & Fitz (2878 Hwy. 14, Madrid, 505-474-4893) is made out of recycled (nay, up-cycled) stuff. And no, that doesn’t mean egg cartons glued to rusty barbed wire. These recycled watch part necklaces ($45-$80) are delicate and downright pretty, but still have a rustic steampunk vibe.
Message in a Bottle
Who else wishes he or she could bottle up Guad and take her along for the ride? Search no more—retablos are now available in a convenient travel size. Glass bottle retablos ($24) feature Frida, Our Lady of Guadalupe and other colorful designs—kind of like New Mexico’s version of a ship in a bottle. The gift shop at the Museum of International Folk Art (706 Camino Lejo, 505-476-1200) is a veritable wonderland of—you guessed it—international folk art. (CJ)
Happy Happy Hour
Anne Taintor started her “vintage revisited” line when she wondered what old-school advertising models were really thinking. She started crafting snarky, fun cards and magnets in her home, and the rest is history. Her nationally renowned products make the perfect gift for a woman with a ’tude. Bonus: Taintor hails from Coyote, NM. At Poem (125 E. Palace Ave., in Sena Plaza, 505-820-7884), Taintor's products, including coasters ($5.50), flasks ($23), pill boxes ($10.50) and more, are bound to please the cheeky broad in your life.
You Got That Swagger
Show your friends you appreciate them by getting a doll that’s just unique enough that you can convince them it was custom-made. Handmade by artist Jeannine Snyder, Swagger Jack dolls ($26) are each unique and nuanced. Some are kinda creepy, some are really festive, others make no sense—kind of like human friends! One of One (1607 Paseo de Peralta, 505-983-7939) lives up to its name by carrying lots of one-of-a-kind handmade crafts and garments.
These Animals Be Sweet!
These adorable animal pins
($12-$16) are made by women in South Africa, many of whom depend on the sale of their crafts for survival. Their products are sold around the world through Be Sweet
, a nonprofit founded in 2003 to help the women gain independence. Pins come in a variety of animals, from zebras to birds, as well as holiday-themed ornaments, at Victoria Price Art and Design (1512 Pacheco St., 505-982-8632).
If there’s someone on your list who isn’t too into the holidays, the Museum of International Folk Art (706 Camino Lejo, 476-1200) has the perfect gift for their attitude. Folk art skeletons ($8.50) and papier-mache skulls on a stick ($14) are sure to put a smile on anyone’s face this holiday season.
Spell It Out
Letter necklaces ($50) from One of One (1607 Paseo de Peralta, 983-7939) are delicate, simple, and perfect for pairing with just about any outfit ever. And as long as you know your giftee’s name, you know which one to get. Easy!
Design Warehouse (101 W. Marcy St., 877-988-1555) has perhaps the funniest post-it notes on the face of the earth. These weird stickies ($15) have monosyllabic gruntings as titles, so you can make your shopping list say “Um” or your list of grievances with the roommate say “Argh.”