Shopping with Chea

Though we’ve come to the end of the holiday shopping season, shopping locally is a New Year’s resolution I can keep, since it doesn’t involve giving up sugar, bread, vodka, or spending money. We’re going to finish with a flourish with some books, last-minute panicking at the drug store, and in our hearts.

Flying Pig (Shelburne)

If you know a woman between the ages of 18 and 105, buy her My Brilliant Friend (no, it’s not about me, silly!), the first in Elena Ferrante’s series, The Neopolitan Novels, and it’s just the best book I’ve read in a really, really long time. You should just actually buy all four novels at once, since she’ll be hooked. For non-fiction, I love The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing. It’s addictive—at this point, even my kids are throwing stuff out and yelling, “This doesn’t spark joy!” Little ones will love any of Mo Willems Elephant and Piggie series—a favorite in my house is I will surprise my friend! because it involves shouting—and older kids who are looking for something to fill their Harry Potter void would do well with Salman Rushdie’s Haroun and the Sea of Stories or the ever-popular Diary of a Wimpy Kid series.

Kinney Drugs (Hinesburg and Shelburne)

Last-minute? Don’t freak out!

For dad, there’s a wireless Bluetooth turntable that also has radio, CD, and Ipod capabilities; he can finally stop harping about how much better Led Zeppelin sounds on vinyl, and then when he leaves the room the teenagers can just turn on Selena Gomez without even getting up from their seats.

I pack for everyone in my house when we travel, and I tend to go overboard. To avoid poor mom sweating in the airport check-in line, shoving handfuls of underpants into her purse in the hopes that she’ll get that suitcase under 50 pounds, Kinney sells a hand-held luggage scale. Other nice travel items include leather luggage tags, a passport cover, and a hacker-proof credit card case.

Good stocking stuffers include fruity mud masks, nail-clippers so they stop taking yours, or a hot water bottle, and cute polka-dot and animal print emery boards. They also sell iTunes, Amazon, Macy’s, and LL Bean gift cards. Kinney also has tons of toys from Melissa and Doug, Barbie, and Hot Wheels.

A nonprofit

The Lund Center provides adoption services as well as and assistance to pregnant and parenting teens and young families. They have a large wish list on their website at, where you can pick and choose what you’d like to donate.

The Parent Teacher Organizations for Shelburne, Charlotte and Hinesburg are constantly struggling to raise the funds to pick up where our shrinking school budgets leave off. The great thing about this money is that you know it goes straight to students and programming that will enrich their daily lives.

There’s no reason for anyone to be hungry, and we can all do our part by supporting the food shelf, not only at this time of year, but all year round. Consider setting up a monthly, automatic payment straight from your online banking.

If you don’t have the cash, but have the heart, volunteers are always needed at our schools, for the PTO, for CY mentoring programs, in the Charlotte Senior Center, or in the libraries. More than anything else, we know that time, compassion and support for our families, friends, and neighbors is the best gift you can give. Other than jewelry.