Win the Holiday Season With Local Gifts You Might Not Have Thought Of

Struggling with gift ideas for friends and family? It seems like every year when the holiday season approaches we wonder the same thing: How can I come up with gifts that are unique, thoughtful, and not the same old things everyone gets year after year?

This holiday season, skip the Amazon gift cards and get something truly special and different for those on your list. Whether it's your significant other, a parent, or even just a close friend, buy them something that speaks to their heart.

You can find a wide variety of gift ideas from the following local shops that are all close to Saratoga. And if you happen to pick up a little something for yourself while you're at it, we won't tell.

Colorful Yarn & Fiber Products

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Most of us likely have someone on our list who loves to crochet, sew, or is otherwise crafty with yarn. Blind Buck Farm in Salem is a fiber and produce farm that raises fiber animals like goats, sheep, alpacas, and llamas.

By keeping all their own flocks, Blind Buck Farm can gauarantee that all of their fiber is natural, and their yarns are spun by local mills. They blend their fibers with other natural fibers from local farms and they dye their own yarn, using only metal-free, non-toxic dyes. Many of the colors they choose for the yarns are inspired by their own farm.

Blind Buck Farm sells their yarns, wools, fibers, and accessories right in their store on-site unless they are away at a fiber festival, or you can buy straight from their website. Check out novelty yarns, yarn measuring tools, organic cottons, needle sets, and more.

A Variety of Sweet Maple Products

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Upstate New York is known for its maple products and Rathbun's Maple Sugar House Restaurant in Whitehall has the best of the best. They're not just a restaurant - although definitely grab a delicious bite to eat while you're there - they also sell a variety of excellent maple products.

You can purchase pure maple syrup in gallon, half gallon, quart, or pint sizes, maple sugar candy in 2 - 6 ounce boxes, maple cream in 2 - 8 ounce tubs, and they also have gift boxes available.

Local Art & Handmade Items

aPhoto credit: Martha Starke

Valley Artisans Market in Cambridge is an artisans cooperative where people can buy handmade items by local artists like paintings, glassware, wood carved items, stationery, fiber art, and more. There is a separate area in the back of the building that features a gallery displaying the work of various artists, so you'll definitely have to check that out as well when you stop by.

You can purchase a one-of-a-kind, high quality gift at Valley Artisans Market while supporting the local art community at the same time. It's a win win!

Repurpose & Reimagine

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You can find a fun and funky store called Shiny Sisters in Cambridge where they recycle or repurpose virtually anything that catches their eye. You might discover a must-have collectible item, a unique gift for kids like a chalkboard table, or eye-catching historical artwork. Definitely check out their distinctive vases and glassware, as well as their repurposed furniture, any of which would really make a statement in someone's home.

The "Shiny Sisters" started out as two women who simply loved collecting side-of-the-road finds and items from tag sales and auctions. At some point they asked themselves, "What are we going to do with all this stuff?" And Shiny Sisters was born.

Comics, Collectibles, Games & Pop Culture

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Do you have a game geek on your shopping list? You'll definitely want to head over to the Freakopolis Geekery in Whitehall for comics, board games, role-playing games, action figures, coloring books, and more merchandise ideal for gaming enthusiasts. You can find items relating to Dungeons and Dragons, Star Trek, and so much more.

And, if you're looking for even more gaming fun, they also host tabletop events and tournaments each week, as well as a comic book club.

Slate Items From the Slate Capital of the World

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Did you know? Granville is considered to be the Slate Capital of the World, thanks to its rich history and important contributions to the slate industry. Make a stop at the Slate Valley Museum and you can find a number of items made from slate right in their gift shop that would be excellent presents for anyone on your list.

In addition to slate products, they also carry children's books relating to immigration and the culture of immigrants who settled in Slate Valley. If you have a kid on your list to buy for, this could be a great opportunity to educate them on the local area. You could also give the gift of actually going to the museum, with a gift certificate.

Quaint Country-Style Home Decor Gifts

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You can find a plethora of home decor gifts and women's apparel at the charming As Time Goes By shop in Hartford. They carry a large amount of Christmas-themed merchandise ranging from gloves and mittens to decorative items to adorn the home with for the holidays.

This is one of those shops where you're never quite sure what you'll find, so you'll have to pop in and give it a look for yourself!

Books on Local History & More

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There's more than one reason to buy local for the bookworm on your list. Battenkill Books in Cambridge not only sells the current bestsellers, old classics, and more varieties of books that most shoppers are looking for, they also carry a large selection on local history and the surrounding area. And, they have a number of books that would be perfect as gifts.

Owner Connie Brooks recommends as a gift idea Remarkable Books from DK Publishing. This is a gorgeous, illustrated guide to 75 of the world's most celebrated and rare books and handwritten manuscripts - this an absolute must for serious book lovers!

Authentic Antiques

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Have someone on your list who loves antiques, or those different, hard-to-find items? Make sure you stop by the Cambridge Antiques Center, right in Cambridge. They have over 5,000 square feet of 17th to 20th century furniture, art, books, jewelry, decorative items, and more with their ever-changing inventory.

For more on what to expect from Cambridge Antiques Center visit their website and check out the "Our Inventory" page. You don't have to be an antiques buff to appreciate the wide variety of items they have for sale!

Find more shopping and antiquing in Washington County »

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