Need Some Ideas? Just Look Around
By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com
While making gifts for family and friends, Sara O’Brien realized that she could not only bring a smile to someone at Christmas, but to her fellow cancer survivors.
“Tracy Abrams hasn’t been able to do fundraisers for her Wigs for Wishes charity because of the pandemic,” she said. “I took a few of the ornaments over to her, and she called me back that night and said they’d all sold.”
Wigs for Wishes ($5)
They were in such high demand that she brought in Abrams, Gail Baden and granddaughter Susan Morell to help cut, glue and finish each handmade wooden ornament. “We’re making 160 of them,” she said.
The ornaments, which sell for a suggested donation of $5 each at Abrams Head to Toe salon, will help raise money to give free, custom wigs to women undergoing cancer treatments.
“Some people have donated more than $5,” said Abrams. “But we wanted to make them available to everyone.”
O’Brien’s handmade Rocky ornaments are just one of many local gifts you can pick up this Christmas, with many stores offering curbside pickup, online shopping or shipping to keep shoppers safe during the pandemic.
• TO DO:
Billed as this year’s big after-dinner party game by Nate Roberts, owner of Serenity Hobbies, “Half-Truths,” created by Richard Garfield (“Magic: The Gathering”) and “Jeopardy” champion Ken Jennings, asks players to place bets on which three of the six answers are truths, and which ones are lies.
“It follows the logic that everyone can play,” said Roberts. “Even grandma and the little kids, who might not have that trivia knowledge, because it’s multiple choice, so they can still guess.”
The game, which got started on Kickstarter, includes more than 500 questions, plenty to keep the party going. “It’s a party game that makes you feel smart,” he said. “And it’s a laugh riot.”
• TO WEAR
Poncho and scarves, Holy Myrrhbearers Monastery, The Artisan’s Guild, (Price Varies)
It’s rare that you get to see exactly where your garment came from, but with each hand-spun and hand-woven scarf and poncho, you get a photo of the Icelandic sheep who gave the wool.
“This poncho came from Fosco,” said Roxanne Marcellino. “All of these are made from the wool of sheep raised on the farm.”
In addition to the Holy Myrrhbearers garments, the Artisan’s Guild also offers handmade capes and children’s clothing, hand-knit scarves and hats, dyed silk scarves and other locally made crafts.
• TO READ
Richard Duncan, “Otsego County: Its Towns and Treasures” ($39.99)
Photographer Duncan wants you to see his “Otsego County: Its Towns and Treasures” book as a window to the world.
“I hope it stimulates memories,” he said. “Since there isn’t a whole lot we can do right now, we can look at pictures of places we used to go.”
The coffee-table book, his third, uses his own photos of the county, taken over two years, as well as photos from days past.
“I went to every historical society in the county and asked them to send me photos,” he said. “There’s a romantic bent to it, we have all of this precious land to take care of.”
The Utica-printed book is available at The Farmers’ and Fenimore museums, and through their website, and at the Green Toad Bookstore in Oneonta.
The photos range from a parade of elephants down Oneonta’s Main Street, to an early 1900s Decoration Day in Unadilla Flats.
“If you have the COVID blues,” he said. “Go for a drive with my book and try to find where I stood to take each picture.”
• TO EAT
Custom Gift Baskets, The Fly Creek Cider Mill, (Price Varies)
It’s easier to survive these dismal times if you’ve got the right kind of snacks.
That’s Bill Michaels’ approach at the Fly Creek Cider Mill, where he’s spent the last two weeks in his own version of Santa’s Workshop. “We do 60 percent of our online business during the holidays,” he said. “You can go online, fill your cart and we pack it up for you.”
Pick out some of the mill’s famous cheese, sauces and jellies, apple goodies and maybe some fudge, and Michaels will box it, tie it with a bow and mail it to the recipient of your choice. “This year, our corn salsa has been really popular,” he said.
But if you’re in a hurry, there are pre-made gift baskets ready to order, including a “Stay At Home Survival Kit” – with pancake mix, fudge, maple candy, apple crisp mix and more – or a “Celebrate Your Heroes” snack basket, with cheese, sausage and, most curiously, gummy frogs.
And he even throws in a few extras, including a catalog, a map of the Cooperstown Beverage Trail and an Otsego County Guide – for when the pandemic is over and they can come visit the mill for themselves.
• TO DRINK
Tay’s Tea (from $4) and Roman Roaster Coffee (from $10) Green Earth Market
“Nini Ordoubadi is very particular about her tea,” said Mike Shaughnessy, manager, The Green Earth. “And she does it very well.”
Also from Delhi – and new to the Green Earth – is Roman Roaster Coffee, an artisanal, small-batch roaster owned by Andrea Ghersi, a former chef who moved to Delhi to open his business.
Both use sustainably sourced and fair trade ingredients in their blends.
“Buying local helps all of us stay in business,” said Shaughnessy.