Nicole Jackson, on a shopping mission


We sent Times graphic designer Nicole Jackson out on a mission: “Stay local, and find treasures for everyone on your Christmas list, and yourself, too, of course.” She came through with flying colors, cozy mittens, and things shaped like Martha’s Vineyard.

I always try and shop local; it’s such an easy way to support our merchants and share something from where we live with my family and friends. Whether it be a iconic hoodie from the Black Dog or a box of Chilmark Chocolates, my Island gifts are always rockin’ the Christmas tree, and everyone is thrilled to see what specialty Island item I’ve searched for to bring them. I hope Santa reads the MVTimes, and I find some of these gifts under my tree this holiday!

Anything alpaca

If you haven’t stopped by Island Alpaca, it’s a spot you surely can’t miss for your holiday shopping. Gifts such as hats, mittens, and socks are all reasonably priced, and everything is soft to the touch. I found these hand-knit 100 percent alpaca fingerless gloves for my Christmas list — Santa, I swear I’ve been good this year! Not only was it a great shopping experience with helpful staff, but I got to visit with the alpacas too.

Menemsha Blues, too

Menemsha Blues belts? I’ll take two! My pockets aren’t deep, but they’re originally $31.88 and now 40% off. They have the story of Menemsha Blues on the tag, which I found fascinating (and added to the value of the gift.) You can dress the belt up with khakis or just wear it casually with a pair of worn jeans. One is for my Uncle, the other for my best friend from high school — I know they’re going to love them; they say Martha’s Vineyard without screaming logos of the Island.

In a jam?

Morning Glory’s homemade jams and jellys. I picked beach plum and (seeded) raspberry, one for each of my aunts. I think they would pair nicely with crackers and multigrain bread, so I am going to pick some up to go with them in hopes they’ll share with me! Some other flavors Morning Glory makes are Concord grape, strawberry, organic blueberry, and hot pepper.

Things shaped like Martha’s Vineyard

This Vineyard-shaped necklace sold at Backwater Trading Co. is branded by Kris Nations, and comes in three different finishes. My stepmom would love this necklace in the silver finish; it’s $50, and comes in a glass bottle, a super-cute gift for her to open Christmas morning.

Things bearing the imprint of Martha’s Vineyard

In addition to prints, tiles, and art, Heidi White, whose studio is in Edgartown, makes therapy neck bags that I thought would make great gifts this holiday season. They’re made with corn and lavender, smelling amazing, with a pretty and colorful sea glass pattern on the outside. There are two sizes; a longer neck wrap for $38, and a square shape for $20. I’m still deciding what size I want to get my grandmother, but she will surely think of me, Martha’s Vineyard, and our time collecting sea glass together each time she relaxes with her new therapy pillow.

For difficult (to buy for) brother

Brothers: Impossible to shop for! I stopped by Your Market in Edgartown, and picked up some Bad Martha beer … boys like beer, or at least my brother does. At Slip 77 in Oak Bluffs, I found these glasses that would pair perfectly with his six-pack; only $9 apiece.


Mom loves Chesca’s … I found the perfect gift! I can bring a little piece of the Vineyard restaurant scene to her at home (no, it’s not Chesca’s takeout). At LeRoux Gourmet in Vineyard Haven, they have Chesca’s jarred maple mustard balsamic vinaigrette, dark chocolate sauce, and Thai chili glaze. I’m going to make recipes for her for maple mustard chicken marinade, dark chocolate sauce ice cream sundaes with cherries, and Thai chili glazed shrimp tacos. I’ll wrap the jars in holiday paper, and roll the recipes, put them in a basket, and nestle it under our tree.