Shopping around for something unique

Island blacksmith Jamie Rogers sells her olive oil tin bags at the Holiday Gift Shop in Vineyard Haven. — Photo by Katryn Yerdon

The time is upon us and holiday gift-giving season is here. Are you prepared? Or will you be that person frantically shopping at the last minute for a gift — any gift — to pass off as something special?

Make it easy for yourself and head out this week to find that something special, unique gift from the Island and become the hero of seasonal gift giving.

One of the most unique options would be an olive oil tin bag made by a professional blacksmith Jamie Rogers. Ms. Rogers explained to me the process of making a bag: “Using almost all recycled material, with the base of the bag being an olive oil tin of some kind…I make the lid out of all sorts of things that were scraps and the chain is handmade out of steel wire. I then come up with different ideas for latches and ways to make it stay closed. I also put little secret pockets in it and I just have a loads of fun using a lot of different materials that come my way.”

Ms. Rogers also makes colored glass earrings rimmed in metal, along with all of her other metal work items. To see her work, she suggests visiting her at the Holiday Gift Shop next to the Vintage Jewelry Store on Spring Street off of Main Street, through Christmas. You may also reach her via email at

For a green gift, Kristi Perry from The Trustees of Reservations (TTOR) suggests “Giving a gift that not only shares your passion for a favorite nonprofit, but also keeps on giving throughout the year, a Green Gift Membership.” This membership starts at $47 for an individual and is available for families, students, and seniors. The membership allows the recipient a free or reduced admission to TTOR’s 106 reservations across Massachusetts and includes Long Point Wildlife Refuge in West Tisbury, Menemsha Hills in Chilmark, along with the three properties on Chappaquiddick: Mytoi, Wasque, and Cape Pogue Wildlife Refuge.

Along with admission discounts, there are discounts for various TTOR Bed & Breakfasts, discounts to hundreds of TTOR events, a 224-page property guidebook, and a year’s subscription to the quarterly magazine. If you upgrade your gift membership to one that is $125 or above, you will also receive an Outdoor Adventure Kit to include in your gift box. Time is short though, so order your green Gift Membership today to ensure holiday delivery. You may order by phone at 978-921-1944 or online at

For an animal-inspired gift, visit Island Alpaca in Oak Bluffs or Allen Farm in Chilmark. Island Alpaca offers a variety of gifts for kids and adults alike. Babies will feel comforted in their felted or fur baby booties and adults can be stylish with a Martha’s Vineyard Alpaca Handbag, a cable knit sweater, or a felted hat and mittens. Don’t forget a “Spit Happens” bumper sticker for that special someone who has an extra funny bone.

Allen Farm offers its Island-knitted sweaters and for an aspiring home chef, why not consider giving an Island-raised leg of lamb?

A holiday ornament can be a welcome gift, especially if it is a young couple just starting out. There are so many great places to purchase both Island-inspired and unique ornaments on Island and it would be difficult to name them all. Instead, here are three suggestions from a host of wonderful options. Lisa Strachan’s hand-built porcelain ornaments are made in traditional shapes and are offered in both a glazed style and a style that gives it a look of Island sand. You may find both Ms. Strachan’s ornaments and her other lines at the Night Heron Gallery on Main Street in Vineyard Haven. Another great ornament option would be a hand-blown Cane ornament by Martha’s Vineyard Glassworks on State Road in West Tisbury, or one by Tom Kelly, who is being featured at the Louisa Gould Gallery on Main Street in Vineyard Haven.

Happy holiday shopping.