local gift ideas
PLENTIFUL LOCAL GIFT CHOICES PROVIDE FUN, VALUE LOCALLY
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.
IN THE KITCHEN
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.”
Le Creuset Dutch Oven
Le Creuset Braiser
Le Creuset French Press