The countdown to the holidays has begun! If you are trying to think of some off-the-beaten-track gift ideas, for special friends and family, below you will find a list of suggestions. So, if you are looking for a unique gift, you might want to check out the following institutions that work hard all year round to make our lives more culturally fulfilling.
The Fairfield Museum and History Center www.fairfieldhistory.org Gift Shop can be the ideal spot to find all of the gifts on one’s list or special last-minute treasures. The shop, which will be opened until 4 p.m. on Christmas Eve, offers a range of unusual Christmas ornaments and stocking stuffers along with jewelry, books, note cards and a host of children’s gifts. If you want to buy local, Fairfield artisans and jewelry manufacturers have created about 25% of the inventory. Museum members have already received a 20 percent discount card through the mail and non-members visiting the shop can still pick up a 20 percent discount card. All shop proceeds support the Museum’s exhibitions and education programs and new members receive a 10 percent discount.
The Westport Historical Society www.westporthistory.org offers a wonderful range of products including beautifully framed pictures, Westport dish towels, glass blown ornaments, jewelry, sweatshirts, books, mugs, stationary, postcards, and a new Westport calendar for 2012. Best of all there is no tax on anything you buy! The shop is open 10 to 4 Mon.- Fri. and Sat. noon to 4.
The New England Carousel Museum www.thecarouselmuseum.org in Bristol offers a whimsical selection of carousel themed pieces, woodcarvings, books, Victorian gifts, jewelry, quilts, prints, and paintings. They even offer full size reproduction hand carved carousel pieces! The gift shop is open during Carousel Museum hours, Monday thru Saturday 10am to 5pm and Sundays from 12pm to 5pm. The Museum is located at 95 Riverside Avenue in Bristol, 860-585-5411.
The Bruce Museum www.brucemuseum.org in Greenwich is offers a unique blend of gift ideas from science kits for young experimenters and Josh Simpson contemporary glass planets, an other-worldly gift; to Jewelry from the sublime to the whimsical and Geode bookends for literature lovers. The gift of membership to The Bruce Museum is 50% off. Holiday shopping hours are: Tues. – Sat., 10 am – 4:30 pm, Sunday, 1 pm – 4:30 pm, and Mon., Dec. 19, 10 am – 12 noon.
The Bartlett Arboretum on 151 Brookdale Rd. Stamford www.bartlettarboretum.org is offering a stunning four season calendar that features beautiful images from the photography club of lower Fairfield County as well as a number of gift certificates that can be used for classes, events, plant sales and in the gift shop. A give one and get one free family membership to the Bartlett is being offered through 12/31/11 (please note, limit one per customer). This is a great way to save 50% and give a gift that will be treasured throughout the year.
If you are looking for original artwork, stop in at the Greenwich Historical Society’s Storehouse Gallery Shop www.hstg.org that is hosting a sale of works by 2011′s Greenwich Community artists through January 25, 2012. Art in a variety of media from paintings to photography to sculpture will be on sale and may be taken as soon as it is purchased. Fresh works will replace the pieces that are sold throughout the holiday shopping season. Buy one of these beautiful creations as a gift, and you’ll not only be able to bestow something totally unique, you’ll support the Historical Society as well.
For racing fans, Lime Rock Park, the Road Racing Center of the East in Lime Rock CT is offering a holiday 15% discount for 2012 events at the Park through Dec. 31! By ordering online www.Tickets.limerock.com or by calling 860.435.5000, you can save 15% on all General Admission tickets for 2012. If you purchase Lime Rock Park tickets and Season Passes before December 31 you won’t have to pay the new 10% surcharge.
Just in case it’s fallen off your radar screen, starting January 1, 2012, the state of Connecticut requires most entertainment venues, including Connecticut’s race tracks, to collect a 10% Admissions Tax on tickets, whether purchased in advance or at the gate.