North Country “Folkstores” Offer One-of-a-Kind Gift Options

CHRISTOPHER LENNEY / NNY LIVING
Chocolate is drained from a mold to create a shell for carmel filling at Sweet Picken’s in Heuvelton.

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Watertown’s Agape Shoppe Gives Back Locally,Globally

CHRISTIAN K. LEE / NNY LIVING
General Manager Meg Graczyk at the Agape Shoppe, located in downtown Watertown. 

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Holiday shopping season a success in St. Lawrence County

JASON HUNTER / WATERTOWN DAILY TIMES Marilyn Mintener has owned The Pear Tree in downtown Canton for the past 36 years. Although she cited online shopping affecting her business, she said that her customers still want to see and feel their purchases.

JASON HUNTER / WATERTOWN DAILY TIMES
Marilyn Mintener has owned The Pear Tree in downtown Canton for the past 36 years. Although she cited online shopping affecting her business, she said that her customers still want to see and feel their purchases.

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Unchain your holiday season: Give the gifts of community craft, north country artisans

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BY: HOLLY C. BONAME

As the holidays draw near, finding the perfect gift can be a stressful and daunting task. But it doesn’t have to be. Thinking outside of the box stores and looking locally can ease this stress and even produce a custom gift for each person on your holiday shopping list.

Buying locally not only allows for you to find the perfectly customized gift for your loved ones it also supports your area small businesses, keeping Northern New York communities bustling with business and economic growth.

“Every purchase made locally results in funds going back into our economy,” said Greater Watertown-North Country Chamber executive director Kylie Peck. “The more we shop locally the more effect we have on those that are supporting local programs, non-profits and causes that mean the most to us”

Throughout Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence Counties, many small businesses thrive due to support from local residents.

While shops along the St. Lawrence River depend on tourism during the summer months, they still remain open during the off-season; for small businesses in development it is about their passion for the products which they strive to share with their neighbors and friends.

“Of course it is very gratifying when people use and buy my products,” said Laura Cerow, owner and creator of St. Larry’s organic oils, lotions and potions, “Then they share with me how much they love them. But the most rewarding part is when someone finds relief of some kind from a product, that they had not been able to find elsewhere.  I also formulate for individual needs and I really enjoy that aspect as well.”

It is that personal relationship with local business owners that makes shopping locally a benefit to the consumer.

“We always encourage people to shop locally when they can. We are so fortunate in the greater Watertown area to be surrounded by quaint towns that offer unique shopping experiences. During the holiday season, the chamber acts as a neighborhood champion for the Small Business Saturday movement. For many year’s we have assisted with increasing awareness of this great program,” Mrs. Peck said.

Not only does shopping for the holidays within your local communities benefit the economy, but it helps the consumer save money as well. By shopping locally, you are saving on the cost of shipping and handling. Many online shops claim to provide free shipping during the holidays, but you are paying a higher price for that retail item.

Shopping during the holidays also should be a fun experience shared with friends and family. While browsing the internet from the comfort of home can be relaxing, having personal experiences and laughs while finding the perfect holiday gift can be exciting and create lasting memories.

Remember, your family and friends are one of a kind. Shopping locally means you can choose unique and one-of-a-kind gifts that are as special as the recipient.

NNY Living encourages you to focus your holiday shopping at many of the region’s small businesses this holiday season by following our non-chain holiday shopping guide below Holly’s Holiday Pick.

Holly’s holiday pick

gift-box-image-1With the holidays just around the corner it’s easy to forget to care for your personal health and wellness. Becoming overwhelmed with the hustle and bustle of shopping, hosting guests and family and preparing the big holiday meal can leave one feeling drained.

But you don’t have to let your personal well-being fall to the wayside by simply taking a few minutes to eat well and treat your body right. Three small business owners along the St. Lawrence River want to ensure that you do just that. Laura Cerow, owner of St. Larry’s, Monica Behan, owner of Modicum Skin Care, and Liz Price-Kellogg along with Kristen Taylor, creators of LIVE YUM, have developed the “Gratitude Goddess Holiday Gift Box” to assist with wellness during the holiday season.

Each gift box includes gratitude-inspiring products handcrafted along the St. Lawrence River from the local businesswomen.

LIVE YUM

A signed copy of “For the Love of Food and Yoga: A Celebration of Mindful Eating and Being,” by Liz Price-Kellogg and  Kristen Taylor. Plus, three new LIVE Yum recipes.

LARRY’S

Two organic essential oils from St. Larry’s, helmed by the St. Lawrence River’s remarkable Laura Cerow, that may be used in recipes from the For the Love of Food and Yoga inspirational cookbook.

MODICUM SKIN CARE

A travel size of the coveted Essential Serum from Murray Isle’s Monica Behan, owner of Modicum Skin Care! A 2015 Beauty Nominee for Martha Stewart’s American Made Awards, Modicum Skin Care nutrient system combats a multitude of skin care issues from aging to acne.

Call 523-0627 to purchase your holiday “Gratitude Goddess Holiday Gift Box” or to learn more. Each gift box is $50 to $65 value and includes sales tax. LIVE YUM will also mail your gift box to any mailing address with an enclosed LIVE YUM gift card (add $10 — flat rate for shipping). Give the gift of the river, health, wellness and gratitude this holiday season.

 

Jefferson County

Editor’s note: The following list of non-chain stores is not intended as an all-inclusive shopping directory.

Country Designs

320 Dodge Ave., Sackets Harbor

778-5633

St. Lawrence Pottery

41468 state Route 12, Clayton

686-4252

stlawrencepottery.com

The Lake Ontario Gift Shop

12279 state Route 12E, Chaumont

(315) 300-4014

The Natural Basket

44144 state Route 3, Natural Bridge

644-4821

Agape Shoppe

136 Court St., Watertown

788-7470

The 1000 Islands Cruet

226 James St., Clayton

767-1064

1000 Islands River Rat Cheese

242 James St., Clayton

686-2480 or 1- (800) 752-1341

riverratcheese.net

Treasure Island Jewelers

40 James St., Alexandria Bay

482-2294

treasureislands.net

Karla’s Christmas Shoppe

500 Riverside Drive, Clayton

686-1906

Captain Spicer’s Gallery

40467 state Route 12, Clayton

686-3419

Freighters of Clayton

534 Riverside Drive, Clayton

703-0166

St. Larry’s

38234 Windward Cliffs, Clayton

408-1174

stlarrysriver@gmail.com

stlarrys.com

Live Yum

Liz Price-Kellogg and

Kristen Taylor, Clayton

775-7115 or 523-0627

namaste@liveyum.com

liveyum.com

Modicum

Clayton / 1000 Islands

modicumskincare@gmail.com

modicumskincare.com

St. Lawrence County

Phil and Jackie’s

69 Main St., Massena

philandjackies.com

Nature’s Storehouse

21 Main St., Canton

386-3740

natures-storehouse.com

Seasons Specialty Gifts

27 W. Orvis St., Massena

764-7671

seasons-gifts.com

Misty Hollow

22 Market St., Potsdam

265-1660

mistyhollowcraftsandhobbies.com

St. Lawrence County Arts Council

41 Elm St., Room 231, Potsdam

(Downtown Snell Hall, 2nd Floor)

265-6860

slcartscouncil.org

Brick & Mortar Music

15 Market St., Potsdam

274-9311

bandmm.com

Adirondack Fragrance & Flavor Farm

1551 Highway 72, Potsdam

265-1776

adkfragrancefarm.com

Argent’s Jewelry and Coin Shop

32 Market St., Potsdam

265-6389

Canton-Potsdam Gift Shop

50 Leroy St., Canton

261-5415

Em Bears

P.O. Box 402, Hannawa Falls

268-1227

embears.com

Traditional Arts in Upstate New York (TAUNY) store

53 E. Main St., Canton

386-4289

tauny,org

Maple Run Emporiums Inc.

49 Market St., Potsdam

274-0102

MapleRunEmporiums.com

Lewis County

Nolts Country Store

7189 state Route 812, Lowville

377-3077

Marguerite’s Cranberry Emporium

7614 N. State St., Lowville

376-4411

mcegifts.com

Cozy Country Corner

7608 North State St., Lowville

376-4004

cozycountrycorner.lightspeedwebstore.com

Bonaparte Candle & Gifts

7790 State Route 3, Harrisville

543-7535

The Blue Bird Country Store

8311 state Route 26, Lowville

376-2473

bluebirdcandle.com

Amish Connection

9882 state Route 12, Copenhagen

688-2569

amishconnectionllc.com

Croghan Candy Kitchen

9740 state Route 812, Croghan

346-1591

’Tis the season to start your holiday shopping

JUSTIN SORENSEN n WATERTOWN DAILY TIMES Connie Crowder, owner of DownEast’r Studio Designs shows her stemware coasters and cloth bowls to Nancy Kall , left, and Marcia Kall, Sunday during the Watertown Urban Mission Holiday Craft Fair and Market at the Dulles State Office Building.

JUSTIN SORENSEN / WATERTOWN DAILY TIMES
Connie Crowder, owner of DownEast’r Studio Designs shows her stemware coasters and cloth bowls to Nancy Kall , left, and Marcia Kall, Sunday during the Watertown Urban Mission Holiday Craft Fair and Market at the Dulles State Office Building.

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Have a plan, take a breath and don’t overdo it this season

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It starts with Halloween. After that, the race is on for two solid months. Along with all our other chores and obligations there’s decorating (inside, outside and sometimes for more than one household), shopping, wrapping, cooking, baking, traveling, hosting and general celebrating, sometimes well into early January.

Throw in sibling squabbles, unmet expectations, missing or seriously ill loved ones and a little too much alcohol and you have the makings of a stressful, exhausting, potentially depressing time of year. What can you do about it? We asked several experts for their advice. Here’s what they had to say about how to handle some of the most common holiday stressors.

Shopping and gift-giving

Gift shopping can be stressful for all sorts of reasons. Among them is trying to find the perfect gift for everyone on your list. Elaine Rodino, a Pennsylvania psychologist, said you know it’s a problem if you’re taking too much time to choose each gift. “You feel like the gift, and often the wrapping, is a major reflection on you.”

Leslie Connor, a psychologist in Delaware, agrees. “By trying to find the ultimate gift we put unnecessary pressure on ourselves, which can be overwhelming.” That can lead to overspending, especially if your gift list is long. Instead, focus on simply getting something the recipient will enjoy and not what the gift says about you personally.

If you didn’t begin your holiday shopping in July, it’s time to get busy or you’ll be stuck at the mall with all the other procrastinators. Be prepared to be patient. Plan to arrive early, when stores and businesses open, or shop during the dinner hour, when crowds often thin out. Better yet, shop online but allow plenty of time for possible shipping delays.

Too many tasks on the to-do list

Make a list of everything you would like to do, delegate what you can and take on only those things you can comfortably accomplish. Then cross off the rest. “Ask yourself: ‘What do I find meaningful and what can I let go of?’” Connor said.

Here’s another way to think of it: “Accept that you can’t do all the work yourself,” said New York psychologist Carol Goldberg. She advises you to ask for and accept all offers of help. “You don’t have to show off your cooking and decorating skills. Give everyone a job.” And be realistic about your budget, time and energy. Here are some areas where you might cut back:

Decorating: Limit yourself to one area that’s most important to you or your family, say the front yard or the living room, and skip the rest. Or, scale back. “Be satisfied to be the house that’s next door to the one that makes the news every year,” advises Rodino. “Don’t even try to compete.”

n Gift-wrapping: Use gift bags, tissue paper and premade bows. Take advantage of charitable gift-wrapping fundraisers.

n Sending holiday cards: Just stop. Send holiday greetings via email or social media, advises Dr. Nick Dewan, a BayCare psychiatrist and medical director of Behavioral Health Services. Whittle down your list to only those you know will truly miss them. And, if the deadline is a problem, it’s OK to send New Year’s cards, Dewan adds.

n Baking: Take shortcuts. Start with a mix or use refrigerator dough. Buy plain bakery cookies, cakes or confections and decorate them yourself. Make just one favorite recipe rather than 10.

Cooking: Buy as much as you can afford from a deli, restaurant or caterer. Have guests bring dishes or help with the cooking. And, remember this sage advice from the queen of entertaining, the Barefoot Contessa, Ina Garten: “People don’t have a better time because you made everything yourself.”

n Cleaning: If possible, this is the time to hire a cleaning service or your neighbor’s housekeeper. Not in your budget? Streamline cleaning to the most used areas: living room, bathroom, kitchen. When invited guests ask how they can help, ask a few to plan to stay late to assist with cleanup. Use real flatware, but disposable plates, cups and napkins.

n Hosting dinners, parties: If you’re tired of hosting, come clean and ask someone else to do it. Or, you provide the location and ask others to bring the food, drinks and handle cleanup. Try inviting people over for dessert and coffee from 2 to 4 p.m. Make or buy one special dessert, and let guests who offer bring additional treats.

Expectations

Be realistic about what you can accomplish and afford. Don’t try to do everything yourself. Simplify the menu, drop dishes that are too much work, make it potluck and let everyone contribute. Dewan said we should all remember, “Most people care more about having fun and being together than having an elaborate celebration with a tired host.”

“Don’t compete with yourself,” adds Rodino. “Don’t feel that you have to outdo what you did last year. It just gets to be so much work that it’s less and less fun.”

Take stock of your family traditions and let go of the ones you no longer enjoy. Rodino said keeping holiday traditions alive and following them to a tee is a top reason for holiday stress. If attending midnight church services followed by a gift exchange is just too much for your family, find another service to attend and schedule gift-giving earlier in the day.

“All those traditions had a start somewhere, at sometime,” Rodino said. “So why not start some new ones that fit your schedule and your lifestyle better?”

And, while you’re managing expectations, don’t expect problem family members and friends to suddenly change and be the perfect guests this year. Connor said you should instead resolve not to react to or get drawn into their bad behavior. Dewan suggests you even practice in advance “positive ways to respond when they get under your skin.”

When your guests don’t get along

Be sure each knows the other one will be there or has been invited. Ask them to put aside their differences for the few hours that the family will be together.

“One thing that tends to upset people is that they imagine everyone else is with a loving, perfect family and they compare their imperfect family to that one,” Connor said. “The truth is that many people have family struggles. … Maybe you don’t stay as long as you would like, or you engage only with family members who are easier to be with.”

Problem drinkers

Stopping alcohol cold turkey can cause serious medical problems in alcoholics — do this only with medical help or supervision. Ask heavy drinkers to come over, say hello and leave before they start drinking. Don’t serve alcohol while they are there.

Dewan said it is important to set boundaries with them in advance and let them know how you expect them to behave. “Don’t bring up past bad behavior and hurts, but do stand firm on your boundaries for this year,” he said.

For those who have quit drinking, it can be hard to be around alcohol, especially in the early stages of recovery. Have plenty of nonalcoholic beverages available. Limit the amount and kind of alcohol you serve: no hard liquor or fruity cocktails that make it too easy to overindulge. Have just a couple of bottles of wine on hand, not a couple of cases.

Don’t ever push alcoholic drinks on guests and don’t let drinkers drive. Cut off alcohol at least an hour before the party ends. Have phone numbers handy for taxicab and ride-share services. Or, if you’d rather not serve alcohol in support of someone who is newly sober or struggling with alcohol, let your guests know in advance and ask them not to BYOB.

Missing a loved one

It’s OK to remember and talk about loved ones who have passed away or who can’t be at the party because of illness or inability to travel. Honor that person with activities like inviting guests to help make a memory album, or visiting a grave site or volunteering at their favorite charity. “Find a way to express your grief or sadness, rather than holding it in,” Connor said.

If a loved one is hospitalized or too ill to attend, Goldberg suggests passing around a card, having everyone sign it and adding a personal message. Or, make a video for those who would enjoy that more. It lets those who couldn’t attend know they were missed and remembered.