Giving as good as it gets
Welcome to the holiday season — and to the Seven Days guide to gifts. Every Wednesday for the next few weeks, we’re offering ideas for just about everyone on your list. For greater variety, a different writer weighs in each week: same set of recipients, unique presents of mind. (Note: Some of these giftees are figments of our imaginations.)
And what do we want this year? Just for you to shop local, please and thank you.
Mom and I share the same week off each December, so it’s become tradition to while away a couple of those hours at the movie theater. Rather than fighting off the crowds at the multiplex, this year we’ll take “dinner and a movie” to new heights at Big Picture Café & Theater. Watching Les Mis over housemade Italian sodas and a Vermont cheese plate? Trés classy. $5-$8 per movie ticket; average price per entrée is $13-$18.
Big Picture Café & Theater in Waitsfield, 496-8994. bigpicturetheater.info 
My family will never forget our trip to Parc Safari, the drive-through animal preserve where a massive water buffalo came up and snotted all over my dad’s brand-new car. It was so worth it. Our last visit was years ago, so it’s high time for another safari adventure — we’ll be there as soon as it opens for the season in May. And we’ll leave time for a car wash before driving home. $9.95-$31.95 day admission per person.
Parc Safari in Québec, Canada, 450-247-2727. parcsafari.com 
Sis is a natural at snowboarding and stand-up paddleboarding. Unfortunately, Vermont’s weather doesn’t always let her practice her balancing act. To give her a year-round outlet for all of that energy, I’m gifting her a beginner’s slacklining set and a promise to catch her when she falls. $79.99.
Gibbon Funline Slackline: Outdoor Gear Exchange in Burlington, 888-547-4327. gearx.com 
Oreo is a total lap cat — and that’s why I love her so much. To keep her company when I’m not around, I’m getting her a little felt friend from Burlington-based Etsy shop Cattitude Creations. Made from eco-friendly wool and filled with organic catnip, these colorful, handmade toys come in the shapes of ducks, bunnies and “octopussies.” They’re almost as cute as kitters. $12.
CattitudeCatToy, etsy.com 
No one has a sweet tooth quite like my grandma, who always has a couple of Hershey’s Kisses tucked in her pockets, just in case. So I’m whisking her away to Brandon Music Café, where we can have a sophisticated visit over a traditional British tea service and dessert. The Chocolate Delight, topped with raspberry purée and cream, has her name on it. Average price per entrée is $12 or under.
Brandon Music Café, 465-4071. brandon-music.net
Since his school field trip to the Great Escape last spring, this little man hasn’t stopped gushing about his adventures tubing down the lazy river. Something tells me he’ll love the twisting water slides and double-barrel flowrider at the Pump House Indoor Waterpark, too. $25-$35 per day pass; free for kids under 4.
Jay Peak Pump House Indoor Waterpark, 988-2611. jaypeakresort.com/pumphouse 
To make up for the fact that I’ll be vacationing in Italy without him next spring, I’m treating my guy to an overnight at the Norwich Inn. He’s a beer geek, so I’ve booked us the Ales at the Inn package, which includes some of the brewery’s award-winning ales and a souvenir pint glass. Cheers, darlin’. $209 per night.
Norwich Inn, 649-1143, norwichinn.com 
When we’re not watching old Charlie Chaplin movies, we’re in the kitchen drinking wine and making elaborate pasta dishes. For a fun change, I’ve signed us up for one of Healthy Living’s Girls Night Out classes, which let us cook, feast and leave the cleanup for somebody else. $85 per pair.
Healthy Living Market and Café, 863-2569, ext. 1. healthylivingmarket.com