Thoughtful Montclair gifts that give back
BY JAIMIE JULIA WINTERS
We scoured the area for gifts that are Montclair-related, and some that even give back to local not-for-profits.
Keeping it local is the perfect choice for those hard-to-buy-for people on your holiday list.
Whether you have an art lover, historian, gardener, reader or theater lover on your list, these Montclairites offer unique gifts that will make your friend or family member feel special with a thoughtful gift.
For the avid learner
The Montclair Public Library’s Adult School holds classes in beer making, Japanese Floral arranging, jazz and tap, glass bead making and so much more. Gift givers can go to the adult school website, www.montclairadultschool.org to purchases an egift card in any amount.
The recipient will receive an email alerting them to the gift, and can then choose from hundreds of classes.
For the garden lover
The Van Vleck House & Gardens originated as a 12-acre private estate and gardens more than 140 years ago by Joseph Van Vleck Sr. Today, it offers a quiet retreat and nature and gardening programs for both adults and children. A membership to Van Vleck Gardens gives discounted prices to nature programs including birding and gardening, a yoga series in the garden and concerts at the mansion.
For more information, call 973-744-4752 or visit vanvleck.org. Memberships start at $75.
Shop the Presby Iris Gardens gift shop, The Bloom Room, from Dec. 5-16 for unique gardening gifts that support the upkeep of the iris gardens.
For the health-conscious
Give the gift of health with a YMCA membership. Membership categories at both branches include kinder, youth, teen, young adult, adult and active older adult. The YMCA offers aquatics and exercise such as yoga, belly dancing and boxing programs, and also science and theater programs for children. Call Park Street Branch 973-744-3400 or Geyer Family Branch 973-783-7640 or visit montclairymca.org.
For the history lover
The Montclair History Center offers personalized map posters from either the 1906 Atlas, 1926 Tax Maps, or 1934 Sanborn Insurance maps. You send in the address and which map you’d like, and they’ll select the map from that book includes your address.
Each map is unique, customized with your address, and includes the name of the atlas and the date. They also have a non-customized map from the 1906 Atlas of downtown Montclair with Lackawanna Station. They start at $75.
A $35 membership to the Montclair History Center offers recipients free admission to historic properties, reduced prices on history programs, behind the scenes programs for members, 10 percent discount in the Museum Shop, complimentary use and assistance in the Albert P. Terhune Research Library to research your home, and two complimentary passes for guests at public tours.
For the chef on your gift list, the Fanny Crane Cook Book, is loaded with home cooked meal recipes. Married to Cranetown's most prominent citizen, Israel Crane, Fanny was a mistress of a large home from 1796 to 1826, and was well known as an accomplished cook and hostess. The recipes chosen typify the cherished food she prepared for her husband, family and friends. They have been prepared in the 18th century manner in the Crane House Kitchen and have been adapted for 20th century use in modern kitchens of today. Call 973-744-1796 or email email@example.com for more details.
For the animal lover
PAWS (Pound Animal Welfare Society of Montclair, Inc.) is a non-profit, that for 41 years has been dedicated to the humane treatment of animals and finding homes for stray and abandoned cats and dogs in the Montclair community. Make a donation in your animal lovers name, and get them a PAWS Cafe T-shirt or mug to go along with the announcement of the donation, at www.pawsmontclair.org
For the film lover
Montclair Film offers film screenings, classes and — of course — the annual Montclair Film Festival. The gift of a membership to Montclair Film includes advance access and discounts on tickets to all screenings and to the hard to get festival tickets, invitations to member-only nights and discounts for classes.
Gift cards can be purchased to be redeemed for Montclair Film classes such as film studies, screenwriting, editing or makeup design, as well as screenings, events, memberships and merchandise throughout the year including the annual spring festival. Go to montclairfilm.org or call 973-783-6433.
For the Mounties fan
Show your team spirit by giving a Mounties Christmas ball or stuffed bulldog. Montclair High School Project Graduation’s spirit shop has cute fan items for sale including T-shirts, hats and sweatshirts.
Visit Project Graduation’s online store, mhs-project-graduation.square.site. Prices start at $12 for the holiday decoration to $35 for a sweatshirt.
Or check out Montclair’s booster clubs such as lacrosse, fencing or softball for team gear with proceeds going directly back to the clubs.
For the art lover
A membership to the Montclair Art Museum includes unlimited admission for the year, members-only exhibition openings, free access to the Museum’s Drop-in Studio, participation in Open Studios on Sundays (offering members the opportunity to gain painting and drawing experience with models), discounts on Yard School of Art classes, events, lectures, trips, film screenings and more. Or purchase an art class for the art lover on your list. Memberships start at $35.
The Yard School offers drawing, painting pottery and more. The Museum Shop offers unique artsy gifts as well. Go to montclairartmuseum.org or call 973-746-5555.
For organic food chef
Support local farmers by giving the gift of community-supported agriculture through Boxed Organics.
Every other week the recipient will get a box of fresh seasonal vegetables and fruits and eggs from as close to home as possible, keeping local dollars in the hands of local farmers.
Each pickup also includes has recipes. Pickups are at Elm Street in Montclair. Prices start at $25.
Go to boxedorganicsnj.com or call Melina Macall at 973-910-0708 for more information.
Support local artisans
Local candle makers:
Rose & Co. Candlemakers was formed by 12-year-old Rose Powell, a seventh-grader at Glenfield Middle School, and her dad four years ago. They started making candles at home because of the Powells’ allergies to the many toxins in paraffin wax candles. After giving them as gifts, the candles were so popular that they decided to move the business to pop-up markets, artisan fairs and a website.
The candles are handmade, with natural soy and coconut wax, eco wicks and are dye-free candles. Scents include peppermint, pumpkin chai and Christmas pine. Prices start at $5. Go to www.roseandcocandles.com to shop.
Fresh chocolate, your way:
Dolce Federica creates small batch, artisanal creations, made with high quality chocolate and superior, fresh ingredients. They can customize your order, creating custom flavors, design and packaging with your family or business name. Or get the Art Montclair Collection, a partnership with a local artist who has created original artworks representing the Montclair community. The artworks appear on the packaging of the assortment. Boxes start at $25. Free delivery is offered in Montclair with a minimum order of $25.
Dolce Federica will also create a chocolate making party for any occasion. Go to www.dolcefederica.com for more information.
Sweet frozen tradition:
Applegate Farm has been serving up sweet little frozen holiday treats since the 1930s. Beginning this week, the farm will take orders for ice cream turkeys, Santas, bells, trees and wreaths in flavors such as vanilla and chocolate, peppermint, pistachio or mint chocolate chip.
The four-inch confections are made using the same pewter molds since the farms started making the holiday treats 90 years ago. Each ice cream piece is $5.95 and the farm has a 48-hour turnaround. Call 973-744-5900 to order.
For the booklover on your list, Watchung booksellers carries hundreds of novels and books from Montclair authors. From Dorothea Benton Frank’s new novel “Queen Bee,” to Lettie Teague’s books on wine to Andrew Wander’s book “Stately Homes of Montclair.” For young readers there’s ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas” illustrated by Daniel Kirk. For a full list go to www.watchungbooksellers.com/localauthors