lo­cal gift ideas



Fea­ture Story

With twin­kling, hol­i­day dec­o­ra­tions pop­ping up around the city — in­side and out­side many homes — it cer­tainly looks a lit­tle like Christ­mas, even if the re­cent snow only lasted its cus­tom­ary day.

And for the har­ried shop­per, that means the time for finding the per­fect gift is al­ready get­ting short.

But with a lit­tle pa­tience and imag­i­na­tion, there are great and per­haps slightly off­beat choices that will bring a smile to any­one’s face.


Here are a few great ideas that will warm the hearts of any­one with a the­atri­cal per­sua­sion. The Univer­sity of New Mex­ico’s Pope­joy Hall (pope­joy­hall­p­re­sents.com) has some fan­tas­tic shows com­ing up both be­fore and af­ter the hol­i­days for which tick­ets would be a wel­come gift.

Com­ing up is “Finding Nev­er­land,” the win­ner of Broad­way.com's au­di­ence choice award for best mu­si­cal. It is a tale cen­tered around Peter Pan, but fol­lows the strug­gles of the play­wright try­ing to bring it to life. Per­for­mances run Dec. 13 – Dec. 16.

“The Doo Wop Pro­ject Christ­mas” is back for a re­turn en­gage­ment on Dec. 21 with “a fresh taste of their danc­ing, styling, and pure show­man­ship,” ac­cord­ing to the Pope­joyp­re­sents.com. “These five charis­matic Broad­way stars — backed by their hot five-piece band — tear it up, “re­doo-ing” the clas­sics and adding their ver­sions of con­tem­po­rary pop hits by stars like Ja­son Mraz, Amy Winehouse, Adele and Ma­roon 5. In be­tween, they sprin­kle in some 'doowopi­fied' Christ­mas clas­sics.”

For shows early in 2019, the Golden Dragon Ac­ro­bats on Jan. 20 are a tes­ta­ment to grace, power and beauty. “They make the im­pos­si­ble look ef­fort­less through a com­bi­na­tion of award­win­ning ac­ro­bat­ics, tra­di­tional dance and spec­tac­u­lar cos­tumes,” the web­site said.

And the time­less clas­sic “The Sound of Mu­sic,” has six show­ings from Jan. 24 – Jan. 27. What could be bet­ter un­der the tree than a cou­ple of passes to the multi-award-win­ning show?


Some­times the hol­i­days — OK, more than some­times — come fraught with stress, anx­i­ety and angst.

There’s noth­ing quite like a sooth­ing dip and/ or mas­sage to ease some of the bod­ily woes brought about by those wor­ries, es­pe­cially if it is ac­com­pa­nied by a re­lax­ing drive in the coun­try.

Je­mez Springs is a rel­a­tively short, 75-minute ex­cur­sion into the moun­tains north and east of Al­bu­querque. It is home to three de­vel­oped hot springs that will wash those cares away.

Je­mez Hot Springs (gig­glingsprings.com) was ren­o­vated in 2016. It now has four out­door pools with more than 17 heal­ing min­er­als in­fused along with shade and pool-side ser­vice. It is lo­cated along the Je­mez River with a view of the col­or­ful Vir­gin Mesa.

The vil­lage-owned Je­mez Springs Bath House (je­mezsprings­bath­house.com) is more than 100 years old and is a State His­tor­i­cal Site. From half hour soaks to wraps and other ser­vices, the fa­cil­ity in­cludes four mas­sage treat­ment rooms and eight bath tubs. The first rock en­clo­sure where the orig­i­nal geyser was es­tab­lished in 1860 is on-site.

The Cañon del Rio Re­treat & Spa (canon­del­rio. com) fea­tures six in­di­vid­u­ally dec­o­rated adobestyle rooms, an out­door swim­ming pool with a view of Vir­gin Mesa, an art gallery, spa ser­vices and a hot tub. Lo­cated along the Je­mez River, the fa­cil­ity in­cludes a top-notch break­fast.


For any­one with a green thumb on the list there are some amaz­ing and un­usual se­lec­tions that will make any gar­dener on your list head out and start puttering Christ­mas morn­ing.

Hanayagi - The Ja­panese Gar­den Shop (hanayagi.net) is more than a sim­ple gar­den store. Look­ing for that spe­cific wa­ter el­e­ment or some hand­made, wear­able art? This is the place to go.

How about a cer­tifi­cate to learn how to make in­cred­i­ble Ja­panese ar­range­ments? Mary Bur­nett de Gomez teaches Ike­bana, the art of Ja­panese flower ar­rang­ing as a Ichiyo School of Ike­bana Mas­ter teacher. It is the per­fect com­ple­ment to the Ken­zan Needle­point Flo­ral Pin Holder for Ike­bana flower ar­rang­ing. A heavy, Ja­panese-made flo­ral pin holder, or ken­zan, for ar­rang­ing flow­ers in ike­bana or west­ern style forms makes for a great gift. This pin holder is used in "morib­ana" style ar­rang­ing with a Ja­panese flat bot­tom con­tainer.

Su­per-sharp bon­sai scis­sors have mul­ti­ple uses be­yond the snip­ping of the fa­mous, mi­cro trees. And the Hori Hori dig­ging and weed­ing tool makes life in the gar­den much eas­ier, but is some­thing of an un­rec­og­nized tool, at least un­til you start us­ing it.


The kitchen is al­ways a great place to pro­vide gift ideas.

At Le Creuset (lecreuset.com/ stores/fash­ion-out­lets-of-santa-fenm) in Santa Fe, the brightly-col­ored stoneware French Press cou­ples func­tion­al­ity with a splash of color in the kitchen, said em­ployee Zach­ery VanCuren.

“It is stoneware so it is ba­si­cally clay-like ce­ramic,” he said. “You put the cof­fee grounds in­side of it and fill it up with hot wa­ter, let it set for 3 to 5 min­utes, put the top on and push the grounds down and the cof­fee is pretty much ready to go.”

The dense stoneware blocks mois­ture ab­sorp­tion to pre­vent crack­ing, craz­ing and rip­pling and the im­per­me­able ex­te­rior enamel re­sists stains and scratches from metal uten­sils, VanCuren said. The 12-ounce ca­pac­ity con­tainer stands 6.5 inches high and can also be used with loose tea leaves and runs at $63.

When it comes to ac­tual cook­ing, it’s hard to beat old-fash­ioned cast-iron with a mod­ern twist, VanCuren said.

“There are ben­e­fits to cook­ing in cast iron, es­pe­cially if you’re ane­mic or need more iron in your body,” he said. “But our cast iron is coated with enamel so it’s not like raw cast iron. Since it's enamel-coated, you don’t have worry about it get­ting rusty or sea­son­ing it. It holds the heat evenly and cooks evenly.”

The round Dutch ovens are a pop­u­lar item be­cause you can slow cook, medium cook, do large pot roasts, cook hams and even use them to bake in, VanCuren said.

They range from the two-quart size for $147 to the 13¼-quart size for $392. Oval Dutch ovens, which are per­fect for larger size meat dishes like tur­keys, or other large cuts, range from six-and-three-quar­ter for $259 to 15½-quart for $473.

Brais­ers are also a ver­sa­tile tool be­cause of their multi-use ca­pa­bil­i­ties, VanCuren said.

“You can cook on top of a stove top, like a nor­mal pan, or if a recipe calls for it to be baked, you can throw it in the oven,” he said, “It comes with our heav­i­est lid and you can use it with­out the lid. It’s heavy be­cause it’s a dome­shaped piece, which helps cir­cu­late the heat in a cir­cu­lar mo­tion.”


Je­mez Springs

Pope­joy Hall

Le Creuset Dutch Oven

Le Creuset Braiser

Le Creuset French Press

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