In the Town of East Hampton, the holiday season is a much needed time of the year to break up what can be a long, slow winter. We asked business owners from Montauk to Wainscott to tell us what gifts are flying off the shelves. Perhaps it will give readers some inspiration to shop local during the last few shopping days before Christmas.
Steph's Stuff owner Stephanie Tekulsky tells us that the 48-piece Magna-Tiles DX set is quite popular this year. Appropriate for children 3 and up, the recipient of this fun-filled gift can use the flat Magna-Tiles to create castles, trucks and 3-D objects. All they need is their imagination. Plus, parents will be happy because kids learn shape, symmetry and other basic math concepts with the colorful pieces. Price: $78 (there are smaller sets for $58 and bigger sets for $135).
2. Throw Pillows
At the newly-open Made in Montauk shop in Montauk, Ingrid Torjesen Kalfaian reports her best selling gifts are the hand dyed and printed silk and velvet throw pillows. Sounds perfect for someone with a new home or some who loves updating their home decor. Price: $120 to $360
3. Whose Hair?
It's a book that asks the question, "Whose Hair?." At the Golden Eagle in East Hampton, this 2011 fun book is getting picked up frequently for a gift this holiday season. The New York Times commissioned Christina Christoforou, a London-based illustrator and artist, to draw world leaders' spouses' hair. With over 100 hand-drawn illustrations, the quirky book leaves you guessing who. Don't worry, the answers are in the back. Price: $12.95
4. American Girl Doll Clothing
Whether you are dressing Samantha or Molly, Willow in Montauk has a new outfit for the doll on your list. Willow is the only local store to sell clothes for the American Girl dolls. So if you know someone who is getting a new doll for Christmas, why not give her some clothes to go with it? Price: $18 to $24. Shoes are $8 and boots are $10.
5. Toolbox or Carwash Kits
It's no surprise that chainsaws, blowers and drills are popular items for gifts at Wainscott Hardware, but Maria Bartelme, whose father owns the store, said one of the best gift ideas she's seen is a toolbox with some basic items for a new homeowner, or a car washing kit for someone that loves their car. Price: The toolbox kit starts at about $40 and the car wash kit starts at $30 (but it really depends on how much the person wants to spend and how many items they would like to include).
6. Monogrammed Wooden Cutting Board
For the gourmet chef in the family, what's nicer than chopping vegetables than on their very own monogrammed wooden cutting board. The high-quality boards from Vermont have been a popular gift this season, according to owner Valerie Smith. Price: $85
7. Rewards Program
At Naturopathica Holistic Health Spa in East Hampton, Ryann Brennan said the most popular gift this season has been the Rewards Program. Members enjoy discounted treatments Sunday through Thursday, discounted products all the time and even a complimentary birthday massage. Clients have been purchasing them for their family, friends and teachers. Price: $40
8. Custom Frames
The Antique Lumber Company in Montauk makes handsome picture frames out of antique hemlock floor joists that grabbed customers' attention, according to owner Jason Biondo. He makes frames from other species of antique lumber, made to order. Price: $75 to $200, depending on the size.
9. JK Rowling's Novel
Charline Spektor at BookHampton said, "We've got many hot books for Holiday giving." Among the titles is JK Rowling's novel, Casual Vacancy. "A very very far cry from Harry Potter or any such fabulist adventure, this is Rowling as an adult writer," Spektor said. "The novel, which takes place in a small hard-pressed town (really think Riverhead and you won't be far off) is a power-house morality tale that explores the difference between how we wish to be seen and whom we really are. Rowling, whose 'adult' writing is perhaps most reminiscent of Theodore Dreiser, takes a small town and unravels a brilliant tapestry of characters."