Wilton’s hidden gift ideas
Finding the right gift at any time of year can be daunting, but the winter holidays can take even the most seasoned shopper’s anxiety to new heights. And while Wilton offers many fine retail establishments, there are some places people might not turn to right away for gift giving. But what if you’ve got someone on your list who likes vintage, environmentally correct, or educational?
Wilton’s nonprofits have a number of interesting gift options that give two ways — a gift for the recipient and support for the nonprofit.
Animals have a special place in peoples’ hearts, and doubtless many kitties and pooches will find a stocking with their name on it. But Woodcock Nature Center believes turtles, salamanders, snakes and owls deserve some love as well.
Click the barred owl, Walter the cane toad, and Elma the box turtle are VIPs at the nature center on Deer Run Road. They and all the other animals there work for their living, helping to teach children about native and exotic species and instilling in them a love of nature. Hundreds of children visit the nature center for educational programs throughout the year and summer camp. These animal ambassadors, from the feathery to the slimy, are there for them.
The nature center has about 30 animals and four birds — the exotics are mostly pets their owners no longer wanted and the native animals have been injured and cannot be released into the wild. It costs more than $10,000 a year to pay for their food, bedding and lighting, which is a big part of the center’s budget.
Adopting one of these animals helps pay for their upkeep. There are several adoption levels, ranging from $25 to $150 per year and each level includes at least a 4-x6-inch photo and letter from the animal. A one-year bird of prey adoption is $500 and comes with a professional 8-by-10-inch photo of the bird, a letter from the bird, a personal fact sheet, certificate of adoption, and a private, up-close encounter with the bird. All animals stay at Woodcock.
Photos of the animals are online at woodcocknaturecenter.org. For information on adopting, email the animal care coordinator at email@example.com, call 203-762-7280, or visit https://www.woodcocknaturecenter.org/adopt-an-animal.
Giving the gift of entertainment is possible with tickets to a show presented by the Wilton Playshop. The Playshop has been presenting live plays and musicals since 1937 in its converted barn on Lovers Lane. Run by a group of volunteers, several productions are presented each year as well as special events such as staged readings, concerts and youth productions.
The next show is the musical Evita, April 24-May 9, 2020, followed by Jekyll & Hyde, Oct. 30-Nov. 14.
For gift certificate, ticket and subscription information, visit wiltonplayshop.org.
Those looking to give a gift of personal enrichment may want to consider a Wilton Continuing Education gift certificate.
Valid for any class offered in the Wilton Continuing Education catalog, the gift certificates never expire, and a simple gift card code allows the cardholder to use any or all of the amount given at any time.
To purchase a gift certificate, visit bit.ly/continuingedgift.
To learn more about Wilton Continuing Education and its programs, call 203-834-7694 or visit wiltoncontinuinged.org.
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 Tech 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.
Visiting the Turnover Shop at 98 Old Ridgefield Road is like entering a scavenger hunt.
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.
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 real bargain hunters, the third Monday of the month everything is 75 percent off.
Not just history
A visitor to the Wilton Historical Society was once overheard telling the staff how nice it was not to have to exit through a gift shop.
But the gift shop, in the form of the Betts Store, is not to be missed on a visit to the museum complex at 224 Danbury Road. New items this year include those from some of the artisans who took part in the recent American Artisans show including classic tavern signs and vinegar-grained boxes by Kristin Helberg, scarves by Marguerite French, and wood utensils and cutting board from Meb’s Kitchenware.
The collection of Wilton-centric items includes mugs, ornaments and wineglasses. To go in those mugs and wineglasses are a selection of teas, cocktail packets for hot toddies and mulled cider, and salted honey with bourbon and lemon ginger honey.
Fans of the society’s Great Trains exhibition will find the ever popular train whistles, wooden train boxes that could hold train show pins, and a make-your-own wooden train.
The society’s new blacksmith, Skip Kern, has on display some wrought iron wreath hooks and angel and weathervane ornaments.
There are also folk art birdhouses, heirloom-quality ornaments by Vaillancourt, many books on many subjects for all ages, toys, and crafts.
Books and art
From picture books for children to books of art for older readers, Wilton Library’s Holiday Book Sale offers something for just about every taste. And speaking of taste, among the many offerings is a trove of cookbooks, so those who are still wondering what to serve this holiday season will surely find some ideas there.
Not into cooking? There likely will be something for the traveler, the historian, the thinker of great thoughts. Along with the books there are CDs and DVDs as well.
Looking for something bigger? Take a look around the library walls. Paintings from the current show, Harvest of Hues, are available for sale with a portion of the sale price supporting the library.
The sale takes up the library’s main gallery, with the stock replenished regularly as items are sold. The sale takes place every day the library is open through Dec. 29.
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.