Montclair Local’s top picks for gifts that give back
BY JAIMIE JULIA WINTERS
Keeping it local is the perfect choice for those hard-to-buy-for people on your holiday list. And buying a thoughtful gift from a nonprofit means your gift does double duty. All gifts can be purchased online, as well.
Here are our top picks.
FOR THE AVID LEARNER
The Montclair Public Library’s Adult School is holding classes online. Classes range from beginner’s ukulele and photojournalism to history lectures and language and art lessons. Gift-givers can go to the adult school website, asm.augusoft.net, to purchase 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 and was owned by Joseph Van Vleck Sr. Today, it offers a quiet retreat and nature and gardening programs for both adults and children. A membership in Van Vleck includes discounted prices to nature programs including birding and gardening, as well as to yoga and meditation series online, among other things.
For more information, call 973-744-4752 or visit vanvleck.org. Memberships start at $75.
FOR THE HISTORY LOVER
Although the Montclair History Center is closed, gift-givers can book a private tour for a family. The History Center also offers personalized map posters from either the 1906 Atlas, 1926 Tax Maps or 1934 Sanborn Insurance maps. You send in your address and specify which map you’d like, and they’ll select the map from the book that includes your address. Their virtual gift shop also offers mugs, 19th Amendment pins and Doors of Montclair posters. For the chef on your gift list, the “Fanny Crane Cookbook” is loaded with recipes for home-cooked meals. Married to Cranetown’s most prominent citizen, Israel Crane, Fanny was mistress of a large home from 1796 to 1826, and was well known as an accomplished cook and hostess. The recipes chosen typify the 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 use in modern kitchens. Call 973-744-1796 or email email@example.com for more details.
FOR THE HEALTH-CONSCIOUS
Give the gift of health with a YMCA membership. The YMCA offers aquatics and exercise programs. Call the Park Street branch, 973-744-3400, or the Geyer Family branch, 973-783-7640, or visit montclairymca.org.
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 $10 for the holiday decoration or face mask, to $15 for a stuffed bulldog, to $35 for a sweatshirt.
FOR THE FILM LOVER
Montclair Film offers virtual 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 members-only nights and discounts for classes.
Gift cards can be purchased for Montclair Film classes such as film studies, screenwriting, editing or makeup design, as well as for screenings, events, memberships and merchandise, including their new face mask. Go to montclairfilm.org or call 973-783-6433.
FOR THE ART LOVER
A membership to the Montclair Art Museum includes unlimited admission for a year. Members get unlimited access to virtual programming, including MAM tours and MAM Conversations, priority registration for all virtual classes and a 20-percent discount on all adult art classes. Memberships start at $30.
FOR THE 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 recipes. Pickups are at Elm Street in Montclair. Go to boxedorganicsnj.com or call Melina Macall at 973-910-0708 for more information.
SUPPORT LOCAL ARTISANS
TURN UP THE HEAT
Local Master Pow’s Co. hot chili pepper sauce brings a taste of Trinidad and Tobago for the chefs on your list. They are a family-owned and -operated hot chili pepper company that launched with its first collection of hot pepper sauce products, inspired by the culture, music and people of Trinidad and Tobago. Owner Vernon Lee Pow Jr. replicated the recipes of his father, who grew up in the islands. The sauces go from Intermediate to Chili Head, with Caribbean Aji Dulce habanero pepper sauce a customer favorite. To order online, go to masterpows.com.
LOCAL CANDLE MAKERS
Rose & Co. Candlemakers was formed by 13-year-old Rose Powell, an eighth-grader at Glenfield Middle School, and her dad five years ago. They started making candles at home because of the Powells’ allergies to the 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, coconut wax and eco wicks; they are dye-free. Candles include HERSTORY, Boss Life, 100% Girl, Save the Turtles and more. Prices start at $24. Go to www.roseandcocandles.com to shop.
FRESH CHOCOLATE, YOUR WAY
Dolce Federica creates small-batch, artisanal products 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. 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 4-inch confections are made with the same pewter molds used since the farm 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 book lover 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.
FOR THE BEER LOVER
For the beer connoisseurs on your list, Montclair Brewery will deliver beer flights, an assortment of 12-ounce cans of four different styles. You can also add glasses or steins to your order. Co-owners Leo and Denise Sawadogo opened the microbrewery in 2014. For about 13 years Leo has been brewing batches of beer in his home and gifting bottles to friends and family. Orders can be placed at montclairbrewery.com.
For the past 10 years, Montclair Emergency Services for Hope has called upon emerging young adult artists to design ornaments for the holiday season. The ornaments are at the center of the annual MESH 32 Campaign to raise funds to cover the cost of emergency shelter for the homeless when the temperature drops to 32 to degrees and is life-threatening. Funds generated are also used to cover costs for college students who remain in local dorms because they do not have a home to go to. Through MESH’s partnership with the Partners for Health Foundation, each $15 ornament purchase will be matched dollar for dollar. Ornaments may be purchased on the MESH website, MESHmontclair.org.