If you're anything like SFR staffers, you often hit somewhere around Dec. 20 and think "OHMYGAWDIFORGOTTOBUYPRESENTS!"
We get it—you're busy. We are, too. But just because you procrastinate doesn't mean you don't want to gift well, and just because you don't have a whole lot of disposable income doesn't mean you don't want to do so in style. And, better yet, our list includes gifts that aren't really things at all, but experiences. If you're scared, drawing a blank or otherwise giftless as of this moment, allow us to help you out.
1. Decorate Those Ears at Maya
108 Galisteo St., 989-7590
Maya feels so Santa Fe. There's whimsy, beauty and a natural air about the store. And it's a great spot to buy a pair of unique earrings. A large chunk of what's in the easily perused cases falls into the $30-$70 range, but they can be fancier or more casual. The store is also the only place around that stocks the dconstruct brand, an eco-resin line of earrings, bracelets and cuffs accented by precious metals.
SFR Tip: Jewelry buyer Stephanie McKellar knows her stuff and can point you in the right direction.
2. Have a Medicated Christmas
1300 Luisa St., Ste. 1, 216-9686
Everybody should steal some time around to relax around the holidays, and a cannabis gift basket ($39) can help you reach a state of ultimate relaxation. Included is THC-infused massage oil, soap, and bath balm—plus a "pain stick," which looks like a girthy lip balm tube. Of course, you need a medical cannabis card from the state to purchase the basket.
SFR Tip: Look out for other deals on flowers and edibles nearer to Christmas at this and other dispensaries.
3. Artsy Experiences from Santa Fe Art Tours
As the idea of art as experience picks up more steam, many are looking to get out and see rather than own and hold. Enter Santa Fe Art Tours, the brainchild of arts expert Elaine Ritchel and a fun and educational tour of the galleries and museums right here in Santa Fe. Throw that friend or loved one a gift card ($10-$40) or two, maybe even go with 'em—either way, you'll know you've helped make memories.
SFR Tip: Don't do that thing where you ask questions designed to make the guide know you know stuff.
4. Wake ‘Em Up with Coffee from Caveman Coffee
411 W Water St., 988-8042
Scientific reports abound about the health and mental benefits of coffee (when not imbibed to excess), and with a homegrown flavor like Caveman Coffee, it's easy to see why. We're talking bulletproof (with butter), cold brew and more, plus they've got handy gift sets of various roasts and styles available on their website. Feel good about it.
SFR Tip: You ever poured coffee over ice cream? Holy moly.
5. Healing Touch from Santa Fe School of Massage
1091 Siler Road, 982-8398
When it comes to gifting on a budget, you could do a lot worse than a massage from the student clinic at the Santa Fe School of Massage. For a mere $35, you can bestow an hour's worth of peace and serenity. And before you start in about how they're still students, understand that everything is supervised and a massage is a massage. Enjoy!
SFR Tip: Remind your giftee not to be gross and to shower first.
6. An Alternative to a Puppy Under the Tree
108 Hamm Pkwy., Española, 505-753-8662
Smart humans know pets don't make good surprise gifts; the whole fam should be in on that choice. Instead, head to Eldorado Country Pet (7 Avenida Vista Grande, Eldorado, 466-1270) or Critters and Me (1403 Agua Fría St., 982-5040) to buy all the supplies you need—leashes, bowls, toys, food—and wrap that stuff up as an implied pet promise. Let the suspense build, then go adopt as a family in the new year. Española Humane's adoption fees run anywhere from $20-$200 (younger animals are more pricey).
SFR Tip: If you wait 'til kitten season or opt to bring home a senior pet, you may even get your adoption fee waived there or at other local rescues.
7. Get Yer Undies at Corsini!
107 W San Francisco St., 820-2300
Men's underwear is often overlooked. Even by the fellows who need, um, support. People have been raving about Saxx underwear for years now. You can pick up a pair of the luxuriously soft undies for $38.95. It's less than a ticket to the ballgame, and the price of admission includes Saxx's "Ballpark Pouch," which is exactly what you think it is.
SFR Tip: If you're looking to go top-shelf, they're the only place in town that stocks amazing coats from Italian maker Gimo's. Expensive, but wow.
8. New Worlds from VR Junkies
4250 Cerrillos Road, 428-0172
What was once a horrible '90s fad has become a viable form of entertainment with the new wave of Virtual Reality, or VR, games. For those who want to dabble and not own, VR Junkies in the Santa Fe Place Mall delivers. You simply pay for the time you want to play ($10-$45) and yes, they're available for parties and group fun.
SFR Tip: Be aware that VR can be disorienting, so pace yourself and don't push it.
9. The Smaller, The Better
Santa Fe galleries tend to rally their artists for "small works" shows each holiday season—sculptures, paintings, drawings and jewelry that are stocking-sized or easy to tuck into a carry-on, plus easier on the wallet. If you have a friend whose art collection you'd love to contribute to (or start!), hit up Ventana Fine Art (400 Canyon Road, 983-8815), Owen Contemporary (225 Canyon Road, 820-0807), form & concept (435 S Guadalupe St., 982-8111), City of Mud (1114A Hickox St., 954-1705) and Giacobbe Fritz Fine Art (702 Canyon Road, 986-1156) to see what they have. Also find listings for artisan markets in the SFR calendar (starting on page 30). Happy gifting!
SFR Tip: Most shows close before the end of December.
10. Stay Smart and Stay Local at Indigo Baby
DeVargas Center, 185 Paseo De Peralta, 954-4000
They're on Facebook
If you're an uncle or an aunt or anything but a parent, it can be hard to know what to get a kid who may not know themselves what exactly they (or their parents) will find entertaining. Enter Indigo Baby proprietress Katie Hyde, who pointed us immediately to Questa-made North Star Toys and a hilarious "Red Green Christmas Baby" jumper with a cap that reads "burrito," made by Albuquerque artist Nikki Zabicki.
SFR Tip: At least 30 percent of the stuff there is made in Santa Fe.
11. Traipse Through the Snow in Taos
Taos Backcountry Snowshoeing Day Tour
If you're an outdoorsy type but haven't tried snowshoeing, here's a perfect opportunity to give it a go: Take a backcountry tour that meets at El Monte Sagrado Resort (317 Kit Carson Road, Taos, 575-758-3502) and traipse around scenic backcountry with a knowledgable guide. The day-long package includes a snowshoe rental for the 2-4 mile trek in scenic Amole Canyon, plus a gourmet picnic lunch and hot beverages. Two people are $175 apiece, or double-date it for $138 a head for three or more.
SFR Tip: A decent pair of snowshoes will run you at least $150, so this is a pretty economical option for those who buy a piece of gear only to use it once. (Um, not that we've ever done that.)
12. Mexican Holiday Treats Perfecto para la Navidad
Panaderia Zaragoza Bakery
3277 Cerrillos Road, 471-9383
Mexican culture offers some of the best comfort foods this time of the year. You can pick up a dozen conchas ($9.70), which are sweet bread rolls topped with a crunchy cookie layer, or a dozen buñuelos ($15), which are similar to cinnamon-covered sopaipillas but thin and crispy instead of puffy. If you're looking for something savory, get a dozen tamales ($14) or 32 ounces of champurrado, a chocolate-based drink made from corn masa ($2.99).
SFR Tip: This is possibly the best deal on tamales in town.
13. Tea for at Least Two
117 Galisteo St., 795-7724
Wrapping one's hands around a steaming mug of tea is a simple pleasure. Spiff up this ritual by choosing a few flavors from more than 100 loose leaf teas for the herbal or caffeinated tea lover ($4 for each 1-ounce bag). Pair it with a vessel from a local potter, or find a silly or charming used mug at a thrift store.
SFR Tip: Canyon Road parking is not really that scary.
14. Straight Off the Comb Near the Rio Grande
Santa Fe Honey
554 Juanita St., 780-8797
When the temperature drops, a hot drink with a spoonful of honey can be delightful. There are nine local honeys on offer here, sourced from beehives around the Chama Mountains and the Rio Grande River. The store carries 18 other honey varieties from across the West. Buy them in packs of three jars ($30 for 2 oz and $45 for 4 oz) or six ($50 and $80), or opt for a single 4 oz jar ($18) infused with things like chocolate red chile, and green chile pistachios.
SFR Tip: The wooden crates that the jars come in make a sleek gift for a professional acquaintance or your team of criminal defense attorneys.
15. Hot Tamales! Learn Your Stuff at Santa Fe School of Cooking
125 N Guadalupe St., 983-4511
For good bit of the population, this class is unnecessary. You've been making masa and packing it around calabacitas or pork and chile for, well, ever. But what if you don't have an abuela who hooked you up? Santa Fe School of Cooking has you covered. Sign up for a class and learn how to make tamales ($102), or start down the road of red or green chile ($80).
SFR Tip: If we knew tips about how to make tamales, we wouldn't have to take a class.
16. Get Cavin’ at Santa Fe Salt Cave
1424 Second St., 365-2875
We know it's a cliche, but this one could really be perfect for the person who has or has tried almost everything. It's also perhaps a winner for someone on the list who isn't really a do-er. All they have to do is sit still in a recliner and absorb the benefits of halotherapy and twinkling lights and soft music—it's $35 for 45 minutes.
SFR tip: Make sure they know to wear warm clothes for the session. Turns out a cave that's made from nine tons of pink Himalayan salt is kinda chilly.
17. Make a Rag Rug to Keep or to Gift
Española Valley Fiber Arts Center
325 Paseo de Oñate, Española, 747-3577
At the EVFAC's Walk In & Weave session, make an appointment to spend about three hours crafting a 26-by-36-inch rag rug on a loom, with full instruction if you need it. Either send your friend who needs an afternoon of a new hobby, or head up yourself to make someone something unique. A session is $40 and must be scheduled in advance; you can bring your own fabric, but be prepared to spend about $20-$30 on upcycled Pendleton fabric there, too.
SFR Tip: We're sappy, but we think this could be a super nice idea to do with someone's sentimental old clothes that are too worn-out to donate.
18. Quit Looking Like a Doofus with Dance Lessons
947-B W Alameda St., 989-9788
We all have a friend who always talks about learning to dance. They have a few options for lessons at Dance Station: You can take them to a drop-in class throughout the week for about $20 a pop, or you can get serious and schedule private or group lessons with the studio's professional and friendly instructors for anywhere from $30-$60. If you don't want to schedule something outright or want to leave it all up to your pal, get a gift certificate.
SFR Tip: Dance is totally the kind of thing where if you know two or three moves, you can extrapolate and make it your own. A little goes a long way!