The holiday season is a time for making wish lists, and shopping lists. In an effort to help you with both, we're asking a handful of people what's on their local holiday wish list this year.
Shopping for me is easy (regardless of what my wife may think). If you stick to these three simple questions, you could have my list nailed faster than Bob Vila in a roomful of hammers:
1) Will this gift result in Tim eating something?
I love food. Always have, always will. When I'm around food that I love (i.e. my grandmother's Thanksgiving stuffing, my wife's roast pork with port wine fig sauce, cheese), I eat it in a way that suggests this will be my last meal ever. Rather than fight the un-winnable battle with my poor excuse for willpower, I ask myself, "Is it worth it?" Not surprisingly, the answer is often. "Yes, yes it is."
Here's what a gift basket (trough) filled with my favorite Capital Region Foods might look like:
+ A Cuban pot roast sando from New World Bistro Bar
+ A vat full of tater tots from Comfort Kitchen
+ Anything from the bakery case at Putnam Market
+ A mushroom pizza from Max London's -- do not underestimate the awesome power of taleggio cheese!
+ Steamed pork soup dumplings from Ala Shanghai
+ The curried chicken grill panini from Rock Hill Bakehouse Cafe
+ Or maybe just forget the basket and secretly smuggle me the key to the Adventure in Food Trading warehouse so I can go crazy in their industrial-sized cheese fridge!
2) Will this gift result in Tim experiencing something awesome?
+ I love a good concert, and in my opinion, we have one of the best music venues anywhere right in Albany. I jump at any chance to see a show at The Egg. It's big enough to support great national acts while still being local enough to cater to more unique tastes. And don't even get me started about the sensory memory of leaning back against the sloped walls while staring at the ceiling. Ah, childhood memories. A gift certificate to their box office would look great under my tree.
+ I also enjoy going to the movies, and it just so happens that Albany's Spectrum 8 is the perfect place to eat some cake (preferably chocolate) and watch that flick you've waited months to see while supporting a local business that, simply put, gets it. Did you know that they derive 1/3 of their power from 216 solar panels on the roof! So, throw some passes into my stocking, and I'll meet you at the Ultraviolet Cafe for a pre-movie caffeine boost!
3) Does it have anything to do with photography?
It's a rare day that I leave my house without a camera over my shoulder, in my pocket, or stored away in a very stylish man-bag. I took up photography a number of years ago in a desperate search for a creative outlet that would stick, and it did.
+ As my skills have developed (pun intended), I've started showing some work around the area, and I realized I needed a reliable source for fast, efficient, and high quality photo printing. McGreevey Prolab on Broadway in Albany is where I go to get the job done right, so the gift of their services would definitely be a great way to usher in a new year of picture taking.
+ Also on the photography theme is a website that has popped up about a year ago that showcases individual prints from some of my favorite local photographers. These are the kind of shots that, after seeing them, make me stop and question my own ability to use a camera effectively. Any print from locally-based independent art curator Melissa Stafford's Small Batch Editions would figure prominently on an important wall somewhere in my daily life.
Finally, if none of the above options do it for you, or you're looking to make the holidays less about stuff and more about making a difference, a donation of food, bedding, toys, or cold, hard cash to your local animal shelter would go a long way to make things a little bit happier for our four-legged friends this holiday season. Two of my favorites are the Mohawk Hudson Humane Society in Menands and the Saratoga County Animal Shelter in Ballston Spa.
Tim Dawkins blogs about photography, storytelling, food and other fun stuff at Decisive Reflex.
More holiday wish lists from this year:
+ Kate Welshofer and AnchorCat Brian Williams
We'd really like you to take part in the conversation here at All Over Albany. But we do have a few rules here. Don't worry, they're easy. The first: be kind. The second: treat everyone else with the same respect you'd like to see in return. Cool? Great, post away. Comments are moderated so it might take a little while for your comment to show up. Thanks for being patient.