Finding gifts in unexpected places in Wilton

WILTON — The coronavirus pandemic has upended just about every aspect of life, but there are a few constants and gift-giving at Christmas is one of them. The season is an opportunity to support a local nonprofit while still getting to choose from a variety of atypical gift ideas.

History at hand

A gift from the Wilton Historical Society ticks many boxes: made in America, historical in nature, Wilton-centric. While the Betts Store is not open to visitors, many items may be ordered and picked up curbside at 224 Danbury Road.

From kitchen and home decor to accessories and jewelry, books, toys, and specialty foods, everything is laid out in an easy-to-use format at wiltonhistorical.org.

This year, the society is offering a number of kits for those with cabin fever. The society’s annual train show will be missed by many, but train fans can still toot their horn with a train engine kit and train book. The kit contains a Vermont-made blank pine engine body with hardwood wheels, axles and chimney to assemble with glue and then paint or decorate. Shoppers may select from a variety of train-oriented books.

An beginner’s embroidery kit celebrates an 18th century American tradition with a design of the 1740 Betts House. Also along the lines of sewing is a craft kit with a felt ornament in the shape of Connecticut. A denim heart may be stitched on to mark Wilton or any town of the stitcher’s choosing.

The kits can be found at wiltonhistorical.org under Programs.

Help at home

Looking for a gift for an older person who doesn't need another sweater or coffee mug? A Stay at Home in Wilton gift certificate offers value every day.

Stay at Home in Wilton offers seniors supportive services and resources, along with social and educational programs that unite its members as a community and enhance their efforts to remain independent, active and connected. Membership includes transportation, friendly visitors, handyman services, household assistance, and technical help.

An annual membership is $360 for a single person and $480 for a couple. For gift certificates or to donate a scholarship, visit stayathomeinwilton.org or call 203-762-2600.

One-of-a-kind

Visiting the Turnover Shop at 98 Old Ridgefield Road is a feast for the eyes.

It is filled with everyday items, including clothing for men, women and children; home decor; kitchenware; lamps; furniture; personal accessories; and jewelry to special holiday items in the form of ornaments, pillows, toys, wreaths, and china.

COVID has brought a few changes. There are separate entrance and exit doors. Those looking to consign items must make an appointment. Donations are accepted during store hours at the side door.

Throughout the holiday season, the shop down by the Village Market in Wilton Center is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. For information, visit turnovershopwilton.org or call 203-762-3160.

On the wild side

Looking for something a little furry? How about a little scaly? Animal lovers might enjoy adopting an ambassador animal from Woodcock Nature Center.

Gift options begin at $25 and include a color photo, letter from an animal, and a fact sheet about the animal. A private meet-and-greet comes with the $150 adoption level.

The animals, both native and exotic, are favorites with children who visit the nature center on school trips, after-school programs and camp. But they do not take care of themselves, and it costs the nature center more than $10,000 a year for their care and feeding.

Those who choose adoption will discover that Pancake is not a breakfast treat, but a bearded dragon and Sprinkles is an Eastern box turtle. Bonnie and Capone are not gangsters, but gray tree frogs. All, along with Indira the red-tail boa, Franklin the spotted turtle, and it seems every camper’s favorite — Chubbs the African bullfrog — and more are available for adoption.

For details, visit wiltonnaturecenter.org.

In the spirit

Shoppers may show their Warrior pride at the Trackside Teen Center’s online store. There are long-sleeve T-shirts with the Trackside logo and Warrior logo face masks. Twenty-five percent of sales from Wilton Strong magnets will be donated to the Wilton Volunteer Ambulance Corps.

Orders may be picked up from Trackside at 15 Station Road. For ordering details, visit tracksideteencenter.org.

Feeling neigh-borly?

The equines who live at Rising Starr Horse Rescue on Silver Spring Road have gotten a second chance at life. Many of them have been saved from slaughter houses and have become school horses or been put up for adoption at Rising Starr.

To help pay for their food and shelter, the nonprofit rescue is offering a pewter ornament with every $25 donation. For details, visit risingstarrhorserescue.org or call 203-257-8345.

Looking toward the future

It’s not anything the kids might get excited over but their parents will. The Connecticut Higher Education Trust (CHET) makes holiday shopping and saving for college easier with the CHET Gift of College gift card. Gift givers can go online to aboutchet.com/gift to purchase a Gift of College gift card in denominations ranging from $25 to $200 and can have a physical card delivered or receive a link via text or email to share with recipients.

For those who don’t feel a gift card alone is sufficient or that a child should have something to unwrap, the gift card can be paired with an educational toy, popular children’s book or even just a note from the giver on why they are investing in the child’s future.