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Hudson Valley's Holiday Gift Guide 

“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”
—Winston Churchill

With the holidays only weeks away and plenty of shopping left to do, fight the urge to raid the mall. Instead, check out these local businesses for thoughtful gifts that will stand out among the myriad of mass-produced trinkets and doodads. Give outdoor equipment, jewelry, organic food, and more. We’ve already done the legwork to help you find one-of-a-kind and limited-supply gifts. Every item purchased supports a Hudson Valley small business, sustainable farm, or cultural institution. Supporting small businesses is supporting your community. A study conducted by Civic Economics shows that for every $100 spent locally, $68 in additional local activity is generated. Compare this to the $43 of local impact created when $100 is spent at a national chain store. Just take a look in your neighborhood and find holiday treasures around every corner.

The Writing Is on the Wall
Anne O’Neil, owner of Inspired, sees her business as first and foremost a bookstore, but her patrons see much more—and it’s easy to see why. The shop’s mission is to create a gathering place and provide the tools and encouragement to foster growth, change, and healing. There are fair-trade products, work from local artisans, and, of course, books. Inspirational banners have become popular. These powerful wall hangings make excellent gifts for college students living away from home. They are constant reminders to live, love, and trust life—positive messages from Gandhi, Goethe, and Niebuhr that leave stressed students inspired.

Inspired, 41 North Front Street, Kingston; (845) 331-0644;

Holiday Spirit
Run don’t walk to your local spirits shop to get Tuthilltown’s Hudson Baby Bourbon for the whiskey lover in your life. The latest batch of the locally distilled bourbon was reserved and is only available at select shops and restaurants. It’s well worth the hunt—this single-grain whisky is made of 100percent New York corn, no additives or artificial coloring. The Tuthilltown distillers give extra tender, love, and care to this baby that is bottled, labeled, wax-sealed, and numbered by hand.

Tuthilltown Spirits Distillery, 14 Gristmill Lane, Gardiner; (845) 255-1527;

Let the Sun Shine
In March 2007, Soaring Eagle Native American Trading Company opened on Tinker Street in Woodstock selling authentic Native American crafts, artifacts, jewelry, and leather goods from artists representing tribes across the country. Soaring Eagle is committed to the preservation of all Native American tribes and nations and to the support of their artists and craftspeople. Some of the artists who sell through Soaring Eagle are established and exhibit work in museums while others rely on the sales of their crafts to make humble livings. When shopping at Soaring Eagle, look for one-of-a-kind items like the silver Zuni stone-inlaid bracelet with sunface symbol. Stick around after your purchase and learn about the different native groups from the passionate staff. Soaring Eagle is a craft shop and cultural center encouraging understanding of the original Americans.

Soaring Eagle Native American Trading Post, 62B Tinker Street, Woodstock; (845) 679-6004;

Feast on This

Lagusta’s Luscious, a woman-owned-and-operated, socially responsible, vegetarian home meal delivery service, takes vegetarian cuisine from humdrum to adventurous and then delivers it straight to your home or office by hybrid car. Ninety percent of Lagusta’s clients are not vegetarian, so consider purchasing meals for anyone who doesn’t have the time, skill, or interest to cook but loves a flavorful, ethnically varied menu. All meals are organic when possible, use locally grown ingredients, and never contain animal products, chemicals, preservatives, dyes, or white sugar. Plans run from $90 to $125 per week and include four to eight packaged meals with reheating instructions. Please keep in mind, there will be no deliveries from December 18 until January 22, but certificates will be sent to notify recipients of their gift.

Lagusta’s Luscious; (845) 255-8VEG;

Take Your Pick
Liberty View Farm’s certified naturally grown apples are some of the best tasting in the area—scout’s honor. Highland Girl Scouts judged Liberty’s Cortland apples tops at a local taste contest. Liberty View’s Cortlands average one pound without the assistance of hormones and chemicals. Lease a tree for someone this holiday season and support a farm that donated 60 trees full of apples to feed Ulster County’s hungry and pays employees a living wage of $11 per hour. A tree costs $50 to lease for a full year and yields 60 to 120 pounds, averaging 50 cents per apple. It’s more than just apples; when you give a Liberty View Farms gift you are supporting sustainable agriculture and the preservation of open space in the region. Liberty View holds events all year beginning with April’s Apple Blossom Festival and art shows. Weekly e-mail updates let leasers know the condition of the tree and when to start picking. Consider leasing chickens and beehives, too.

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  • Francis Cruz searches the Hudson Valley for thoughtful, unique gifts.


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