Look locally for holiday gift giving

Beth Dominianni, Mark Twain Library director, stands beside a table displaying a variety of gifts, priced from $2 to $30, for gift giving. —Kaitlin Bradshaw

Finding a unique holiday gift is easy — just shop locally.

Here are some suggestions for gifts from Redding’s not-for-profit clubs, organizations, the Mark Twain Library, Stietzel Family Farm, and Warrup’s Farm.

Redding Land Trust

For the local hiker there is the Redding Land Trust’s Book of Trails ($10), now in its fourth edition. The book describes the local trails, includes a history of the trust’s open space program, and indicates where to park to begin hiking a trail, among other things.

Also available is the trust’s “award-winning” video ($5) on Redding’s Race for Open Space. It is full of Redding history. Both items are fund-raisers for the trust. They are available at the Mark Twain Library, the Community Center and town hall.

The Redding Land Trust also has limited edition T-shirts with artwork by Redding artist Victor Lazzaro commemorating its 45th year. Sizes are small, medium, large, and extra large, and the shirts cost two for $45 or one for $25. A free copy of the Redding Land Trust in Review DVD is included with the purchase of two or more. To purchase, call Laurie Heiss at 203-938-5667 or Sherry Karraker at 203-938-1162.

Another idea is the gift of a membership in the land trust for $10. Call Emily d’Aulaire (203-938-3612) for details or send a check to Redding Land Trust, Box 76, Redding Center 06875.

“Gifts of land and/or easements are always welcome, along with contributions to help save our town’s open space,” said Mary Anne Guitar, trust president. For more information, call Ms. Guitar at 203-938-2043.

Pewter ornament

Redding Neighbors & Newcomers’ 2012 pewter ornament depicts Topstone Park. It is available online at reddingneighborsandnewcomers.org, at the Mark Twain Library and at town hall. The cost of the ornament is $12. The ornament sale is the main fund-raiser each year for the nonprofit club, a social organization open to both new and longtime residents of Redding.

The club’s online store is also offering a variety of Redding items, including wine openers, note cards depicting local scenes, and Redding T-shirts. If you know a newcomer to town, a club membership is another gift idea. For information, go to the club’s website.

Redding Historical Society

The Redding Historical Society offers gifts available at the Lonetown Farm Museum at 43 Lonetown Road, which is open to the public this Sunday from 1 to 4. Items for sale include books: Redding/Easton history/photo book, two books written by Joan Ensor, who grew up in Redding, a book about individuals who live/lived in Redding entitled They All Lived in Redding, and books about Mark Twain. Redding clothing items include a baseball cap and long-sleeved adult T-shirts in teal green, blue and burgundy. Both the baseball cap and T-shirts are embroidered with the name “Redding” in the same style used when the town deed was signed. There is a fine print of Lonetown Farm by Althea Monroe suitable for framing, as well as collections of note cards of historic Redding places by local artist Pam Reese. Or, for $35, give a family membership to the society.

All proceeds benefit the Redding Historical Society’s efforts to maintain the Lonetown Farm Museum and Umpawaug Schoolhouse. For information, call Rosemary Wright, 203-938-9711, before Dec. 20.

Mark Twain Library

Open year-round during business hours, the Mark Twain Library Store offers a wide variety of gifts for purchase. Mark Twain items include bookmarks, note cards, notebooks, tote bags, and mugs. There are also new Twain-inspired T-shirts and ties, among other items. All merchandise is priced from $2 to $30.

Another gift idea is to make a donation so someone special may become a “Friend” of the library or to make a donation in honor of a special friend. More information is available by calling the library, 203-938-2425, or visiting the library website, marktwainlibrary.org.

New Pond Farm

New Pond Farm Education Center, 101 Marchant Road, has a number of gifts for sale.

For knitters, the farm has skeins of yarn for sale at $10 to $12 a skein. The yarn is made from the wool of the farm’s Romney sheep. Calendars with photos of the farm’s cows, sheep and chickens, as well as its scenic gardens, are available for $22.

Another gift idea is the purchase of a hand-sculpted tile by local artist Marion Grebow that will become part of the education center’s tile wall project. The tiles include the names of the donors and depict plants and animals found in Redding.

Memberships to New Pond Farm are also available for gift giving, with the cost ranging from $50 per individual and $75 per family to a patron membership of $500.

“We also encourage support for our summer scholarship fund for inner-city children — $1,600 will cover the cost of bringing a child to the farm for a 10-day stay, said Ann Taylor, the center’s director, “but we are grateful to receive donations of any size!” These donations are tax-deductible.

“As always, the Farm’s Dairy Annex has freshly pasteurized and delicious milk, chocolate milk and yogurt for sale!” Ms. Taylor said.

For more information, call 203-938-2117 or visit the farm’s website, newpondfarm.org.

Nancy Bates, visiting Redding from England, will be sending Parade Path holiday greetings cards this year. —Georgina Scholl photo

Parade Path

The Parade Path Garden, the town’s volunteer-run public garden adjacent to Redding Town Hall on the former 18th-Century militia training Parade Ground, is supported in a variety of ways. On sale now are two designs of holiday greeting cards. One is based on  drawings by Sally Dimon of plants to be found in the gardens, identified by botanical name and date in Ms. Dimon’s calligraphy. The other features the town gazebo in the snow seen through the red winterberries of the Parade Path. Each design features a miniature version of the other design on the reverse side and the words “Season’s Greetings.” Cards are available in the first selectman’s office in town hall and at the Mark Twain Library at $12 for a set of six.

Other Parade Path items are gift packs of postcards, T-shirts (long-  and short-sleeved in white, black and gray from toddler to XL adult sizes) and sweatshirts, all with the woodcut design of frolicking medieval gardeners, from $15 to $20. A Parade Path 2013 Wall Calendar with 13 images of the garden throughout the year is available for $17.50.

All proceeds support the ongoing maintenance of the Parade Path, which pays tribute to the flowers and plants of the town’s botanical heritage, and recognizes named donors, honored members of the community and loved ones with inscribed plaques on donated trees and shrubs, benches, picnic stones, and rustic seats and gates in the garden.

The Parade Path accepts tax-deductible donations toward the purchase of plants, bulbs or materials in honor of a loved one or resident, volunteer or teacher. Donations of more than $350 also get a plaque in the garden itself. Currently available for sponsoring as a $750 gift is a stunning set of rustic gates in the garden created by Hugh Karraker.

Send a check, in any amount, with the name of the recipient of the gift to Annet Bonfanti, Treasurer, 44 Umpawaug Road, Redding CT 06896, or use the online payment button on the town website’s Parade Path page. To order a calendar or reserve multiple sets of cards, call 203-938-2002 or send an email through the Parade Path web page.

Many people consider giving donations in another person’s name as a holiday gift, or just make it a gift of their own.

Share the Warmth

Those who want to make a donation to help a fellow citizen need look no further than the town’s Redding Shares the Warmth program. This is a fuel assistance program set up to receive tax-deductible donations to help residents in need.

To contribute, send a check to Heritage Center, P.O. Box 1118, Redding Center CT 06875.

Contributions to the town’s food pantry or gift certificates for food or for gifts for children are welcomed by Gail Schiron, the town’s human services director. Call her at 203-938-3580 for more information.

Shop with a Cop

Redding police would welcome a donation to their annual Shop with a Cop program, which affords kids the opportunity to spend some time with a police officer while doing some holiday shopping. The program is entirely driven by individual and business donations.

Contributions may be mailed to the Redding Police Fund, Redding Police Department, 96 Hill Road, Redding CT 06896.

Redding Preservation Society

A gift of membership in the Redding Preservation Society is another gift idea. The group’s mission is to preserve the rural and historic character of the town of Redding. The society works with the first selectman, town commissions and homeowners to carry out its mission.

Anyone interested in joining the society may send annual dues ($25 for individuals and $50 for families) to the Redding Preservation Society, P.O. Box 1154, Redding CT 06875.

Venison donations program

A program that provides venison for the needy is also accepting donations locally. Hunters who participate, including those in BeSafeRedding.org, donate harvested deer to food banks. Donations cover the processing costs.

Donations to Redding’s “Venison Donations Program” may be sent to Steve Gniadek, Controller, Town Hall, P.O. Box 1028, Redding Center CT 06875-1028.

Other gift ideas

Memberships in any local organization make good gifts, as do donations in someone’s name to a scouting or church group, to the Boys & Girls Club of Redding-Easton, or to one of the local churches.

Book on Reddingites

Dennis Paget’s book, They All Lived in Redding, is another gift idea. The book lists such renowned Redding residents as Albert Bigelow Paine, an author and biographer whose credits include a three-volume biography of Mark Twain. The book may be purchased at the Mark Twain Library. All proceeds from the sale of the book go to the library.

Daniel Cruson, a local historian, has a book titled Putnam’s Revolutionary War Winter Encampment: The History & Archeology of Putnam Memorial State Park (The History Press Inc.). The 60-page paperback book sells for $19.99 and is available at local bookstores, independent retailers and online. It is also available directly through the publisher at 866-457-5971.

Stietzel Family Farm

The Stietzel Family Farm, at the corner of Gallows Hill Road and Route 53, has eggnog from Arethusa Farm in Litchfield for sale. They recommend the eggnog “as the perfect hostess gift with its annual collector’s bottle.”  The cost is $9 for a quart.

Open daily from 9 to 5 during the winter, the farm sells fresh eggs, milk, yogurt, honey, and maple syrup. Call 203-938-3462 for information.

Warrup’s Farm

Warrup’s Farm, 51 John Read Road, makes its own maple syrup, another local gift idea. Owner Bill Hill has maple syrup in several sizes. The cost is $10 for a half-pint, $16 for a pint and $24 for a quart, and there are smaller decorative maple leaf jars of syrup for sale. If you call ahead, Mr. Hill said he can make maple candies in holiday shapes like Christmas trees, bells, Santa Claus, etc. For the candies, call several days ahead. Call the farm, 203-938-9403, before coming to buy maple syrup to make sure someone is there.

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