It's not about getting -- it's about giving. Everybody knows that. So instead of asking a handful of interesting people what's on their holiday wish list this year, we asked them what they'd like to give for the holidays this year.
Today's list, from Schuyler Bull, even includes something for you.
Gift giving is an art. Recognizing each recipient's unique styles, interests, and passions and subsequently finding a reasonable and appropriately-priced item that perfectly reflects those qualifications can mean the difference between a joyous and festive gifting experience and an awkward "Oh, look at that. You shouldn't have."
I believe the list below provides a balance that is imperative in the gifting process: it embraces technology yet sources locally; it shows an appreciation of history while thinking toward the future. Most important, though, it represents the desire to give meaningful gifts to those you love.
So here goes....
A gift for the 'Techie'
In my opinion, the go-to tech gift this year is the new Google Chromecast ($35). This little device plugs into a HDMI port on your television and streams your Pandora, Netflix, YouTube, etc. from your laptop or smartphone. It does require an additional USB port for a power source or you can plug it in, something the advertising doesn't show you. I bought one of these recently for the living room and have since added one to my bedroom. It's not that I watch a lot of movies, but when the opportunity arises I don't want to watch it on a small screen propped on my lap.
A gift for the 'Buy Local' person
Saratoga Filly is a local start-up that produces select high quality, fashionable clothing for those who want to show off their Saratoga pride, perfect for my sister-in-law who provides a safe and loving home to an off-track thoroughbred: my nephew-horse, Nox. Their product and shipping prices are reasonable, an added benefit for those shopping on a budget.
A gift for the history buff
Living in or around Albany, we sometimes get accustomed to the incredible amount of history that surrounds us each day. We forget to appreciate the important historical figures that walked this ground, the stunning architecture that lines our streets, or the story of our ancestors. For those who can't seem to get enough history, consider gifting a membership to one of the local historic organizations such as the Albany Institute of History & Art, Historic Cherry Hill, or Shaker Heritage Society, to name a few. Reciprocal memberships to other art and history museums around the United States may also be included. Or, visit their gift shops to find a unique and equally appropriate gift.
A gift for the family
If money were no object, I would treat my family to an international vacation. Growing up, we didn't often have the means to travel but I've been fortunate to be able to experience three overseas destinations in the past few years. Each time, I've returned with an incredible appreciation for a different culture and a new perspective on life. Sharing in this experience with those that mean the most to me and being able to spend time with them apart from a busy holiday routine or special occasion would be a gift for all of us to enjoy.
A gift for Albany
Lastly, I'd like to gift the people of Albany something that's long overdue: a new use for the Central Warehouse. Though not an original idea, and probably not on anyone's Christmas list except the mayor-elect, I'd still like to be able to turn the building in an IKEA-parking garage-giant piece of LED art-history experience center-indoor farmers market-grocery store-sustainable housing megaplex. Heck, throw an aquarium in there, too!
This idea seems far-fetched and impossible, but maybe that simply exposes a flaw in our thinking. Have we forgotten that the New York State Capitol took more than 30 years to complete, blew through multiple architects, and was the most expensive government building of its time? Let's embrace our roots and turn that eyesore into something residents and visitors can all enjoy.
Schuyler is the marketing manager at the Albany County Convention & Visitors Bureau, and the opinions expressed above are solely his. When not promoting Albany, Schuyler is teaching a class at Saint Rose or tackling projects around the house he recently purchased. He contributes to the bureau's Discover Albany blog.
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