Dec 23, 2013
09:48 AM
Style & Shopping

Calling All Those in a Panic: Last Minute Gift Ideas from Connecticut Shops

It's only two days till Christmas, and you still have no idea what to get Mom/Dad/your significant other/infant nephew/annoying colleague/sister's dog. Here are some engaging ideas, but when it comes right down to it, we feel—in parodied-to- the-point-of-cliché Bill Clinton-style—that it's the shops, stupid. They may not have exactly the items pictured here, but we can guarantee you'll find something awesome. Take a deep breath and 10 minutes to browse. (But do contact the shops ahead for anything specific you have in mind. And we apologize to any shop we should have named for selling these items and didn't—we'll check you out next year.)


For her:

Fashionistas with an eye for the brilliant and bold will love these reversible jackets from Winding River in Braintree, Mass. Available in a range of styles and sizes, each jacket will fit both your workday and evening wardrobes. Find them at Elegant Touch Fine Gifts in Cheshire.







Ladies who love Victoriana will cherish the romantic floral jewelry of California's Colleen Toland​This transplanted New Zealander fashions her necklaces, earrings, bracelets, rings and headpieces with ceramic blossoms and intricate beading, accenting many of her pieces with Swarovski crystals and pearls. You can find her creations at Peppergrass & Tulip in Mystic and Design Forum Gallery in Farmington.












Connecticut's Michael Michaud crafts jewelry in silver and bronze from botanical species in a process similar to lost wax casting, accenting his creations with pearls and gemstones (at left, his cranberry bracelet; below, his Survivor Tree necklace and matching earrings). He founded his company, Silver Seasons, in the 1990s, and has since expanded it into the Four Seasons Design Group, which includes Table Art (botanically inspired tableware). You can learn more about his work here and here, and find it at Artisan's Marketplace in Plainville and WAVE in New Haven, among other shops.












For him:

Who says you can't play ping-pong anywhere you go? Designed by Stephan Copeland, this portable set's weighted net can be set up on any smooth surface--no special mounting is required--and extends up to 72 inches. The set comes with two ping pong paddles with retractable handles, two balls and a drawstring pouch for storage. Look for it at Mix Design Store in Guilford.





Avid collectors of fine gifts of all kinds will love a little something from R.A. Georgetti & Co.  in Olde Mistick Village in Mystic. Everything from Herend and Swarovski figurines to Byers Choice Carolers can be found here, as well as jewelry and Anuschka handbags. Pictured here is one of a large array of beer steins, this being a tribute to Scotland, decorated with a wraparound blue knotwork motif framing two thistles.


Proudly billing itself as "a store for guys," Deep River's Anchor & Compass offers a casual vibe: music by Johnny Cash, Pearl Jam and the Beach Boys, sometimes even a bucket of beer (or root beer) on ice for thirsty shoppers, and always quality clothing (Woolrich, Tommy Bahama and Carhartt) alongside unique gifts and gadgets. One pick the man in your life will love is a belt by Leather Man Ltd., made with love in Essex since 1967.









For the home:

Sick to death of the profusion of Yankee Candles in every household? Make a change and start a Cire Trudon Candle trend. Available in a variety of sizes and 18 different scents (like fresh laundry, the wooden floors of Versailles and the spices and honey of the Ottoman Empire), they're on sale at Privet House in Greenwich and New Preston.


This large, hand-built vase by Nancy Gardner of Philadelphia was made using a pinch and coil technique. Water-tight and functional as well as decorative, it's available at WAVE in New Haven.











New Jersey artist Peggy Karr creates enameled glass clocks, bowls, serving plates and platters that are beautiful as well as functional (pictured, an oval platter from one of her 2013 design lines, the Gourmet Collection). Her work is a staple of the American crafts collection at Artisan's Marketplace in Plainville.












For the hosts:

You're destined for a big holiday party and are determined to impress. Look no further than Stew Leonard's in Norwalk for the best gourmet gifts, from popcorn, fruit and baked goods to a large assortment of all the store's most popular munchies. Each gift basket is hand-packed and artfully presented.






What won't they create in ornament form these days!?! You can find most forms of holiday design and decoration at The Historical Christmas Barn in Wilton (which is now located in Lambert House, the town's oldest residence). Got an animal lover on your list? Check out the Joy to the World Pet Collection, representing dogs of many breeds and cats of all coat colors. 










There's no more civilized gift than tea, and no lovelier place to find it than Pomfret's Celebrations Gallery, Gift Shoppes & Tea Room. Not only can you buy teas by Harney & Sons, Adagio and The Foreign Office (pictured), but you can also treat a friend or family member to a gift certificate for one of Celebrations Monthly Themed Afternoon Teas, such as February's "Steeped in Love."







For the kids:

Reibman's in Torrington is the largest children's furniture and apparel store in northwestern Connecticut; regarding kid's clothes, they specialize in sizes from newborn to size 4. Your little cutie will look particularly divine in outfits by Mud Pie, whether designed for the holidays or any day.






Wethersfield's The Wooden Toy stocks more than 10,000 toys, games and books for children from infancy to pre-teen age: Bathtub toys,  musical toys, educational toys and collectibles are just the beginning of the list. This wooden "balance boat," made of Baltic birch and maple, helps young'uns develop dexterity, fine motor skills and aptitude for problem solving.   














For the dog:

This Green Interactive Dog Feeder turns your best friend's meal into a challenging game, giving them the kind of mental stimulation that helps to eliminate other problems like inappropriate chewing or barking. All you have to do is scatter Rover's dinner across the toy's surface, and watch him work to push the blades of grass aside as he eats. The Green also extends his dinner time, thus promoting healthier habits that reduce problems with gagging, vomiting and gas. One size fits all dogs, and the toy is dishwasher safe. Look for it at The Bowerbird in Old Lyme.

Calling All Those in a Panic: Last Minute Gift Ideas from Connecticut Shops

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