Holiday gifts: Jeff Smith

musician Jeff Smith

Gifts and giving are on most everyone's mind this month. So we're asking people to share some thoughts on presents, past and present, charities, and wishes for the next year.

Next up: Jeff Smith. Along with his brother Kip, he started Cacophone Records, a local indie-music label, back in the mid-90s. This year, he released reissue from 1313 Mockingbird Lane, a new album from Capitle, and a best-of album from The Erotics.

What gifts would you like to get this year?
I'm such an incredibly lucky person. As trite as it sounds, the only "gift" I really want is for my family to remain happy and healthy.

With that said, there is one thing on my Christmas list. I've always loved my nerdy eyeglasses, and it's time for a new pair. So I did ask for a Warby Parker gift certificate. Their plastic frames start at $95 with lenses, going against the grain of expensive designer eyewear. Best of all, for every pair they sell, they donate a pair to someone in a developing country!

What gifts would you like to give this year?
It's usually the most fun to buy for the kids. However, there is one gift that I look forward to giving every year. My wife and I have exchanged Santa stockings since the boys were young (you know, so it didn't look suspicious). Well, a couple of years ago, I had a brainstorm. My wife loves cheese. Why not fill a stocking to the top with assorted cheeses?! The timing is tricky. I have to sneak out of the room and remove the stocking from the fridge, but not so early that either the cheese gets warm or the dog gets to it first.

"Well, a couple of years ago, I had a brainstorm. My wife loves cheese. Why not fill a stocking to the top with assorted cheeses?!"

Needless to say, she loved this concept, and it's now become a requirement. It's a pretty easy chore in the Capital Region. Along with good selections at any number of grocery stores, we also have The Cheese Traveler, and one of our personal faves, Waterwheel Village in Galway.

The cheese wheel they have on their counter is, no contest, the best sharp cheddar in the Northeast!

What charity would you like to support?
There's plenty of charities around the world doing amazing work, but we tend to keep things close to home. We donate money and food to local homeless shelters and food pantries. It seems important to make sure that people in our own backyard aren't going hungry, especially during the holiday season. We also participate in an "Adopt-a-Family" program, with the kids help in checking off the items on the list. And we're enthusiastic supporters of the Fresh Air Fund. It's so very worth both supporting and participating in!

What is your most memorable gift?
This might be a ridiculous answer, but I'm an "instant dad" (i.e., stepdad) to two young boys. The most memorable gift I can remember is the day my wife and her two sons came into my life. Every day, and even more so on holidays, I don't know what I'd do without them.

What is your wish for the New Year?
Well, a wish is a wish, right? Something you don't really expect to come true but have a longing for. So I'm going to say I want to wish a magical storm of empathy across the globe.

I've had many discussion with friends lately about how people, especially people here in the USA, sorry to say, seem to have completely lost the ability to put themselves into other people's shoes. And I'm including myself in that.

I'm going to work on it, and I'll wish that other people do the same.

Compiled by Deanna Fox.

More holiday gifts 2016
+ Jamel Mosely
+ Nicki Brown
+ Paul Curran
+ Kim Neaton

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