Mike Uncorked: A Few Of My Favourite Things

By Mike Butler

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Despite the tumultuous year we’ve all had, by the way congrats for making it through, we’ve come to the close of 2020 and hopefully our heads are held high and we’re ready for the next round of what’s coming our way, good or bad! No matter the events, the holidays are a time to reflect, enjoy, splurge, assist others, and make the best of the year end. Christmas is easily my favourite time of year and here’s a list of some fantastic things you can give as gifts to friends, family, and loved ones that support local businesses (who’ve had a tough time this year!), and can help with the winter blues!

  1. The Big Brothers, Big Sisters Annual Calendar! This is a great fundraiser from a great organization. At only $10 each, the BBBS calendar makes a fantastic gift that you can be proud of, as the money goes towards helping the coupling of big brothers and big sisters with youth counterparts. Currently the Annapolis Valley branch has 36 matches but also has a waiting list of 40 waiting to be matched. The BBBS organization is celebrating its 45th anniversary and this calendar is so special. Throughout 2021, there will be 365 daily draws for calendar owners for some great prizes as well as some grand prizes, including airfare for TWO from Westjet! Pick one up soon because there’s lots of early bird draws!

For calendar information you can contact Tracy Comeau (902-670-7850 or tracy.comeau@bigbrothersbigsisters.ca) or visit bbbsannapolisvalley.ca.

  1. Cobble Hill Puzzles at The Market! I don’t know about you, but during my 81 days of lockdown in the spring, I lived on BBC period piece shows and puzzles! When I was a kid, doing puzzles was one of my favourite pastimes and I am proud to say I’ve reacquainted myself with that hobby in 2020. The Market on Main Street in Wolfville just happens to carry a wide assortment of my brand of choice: Cobble Hill! They’re fun pictures, easy to assemble, beautiful for mounting and the selection The Market has is AWESOME! Treat yourself or someone else to a Cobble Hill puzzle. They’ll go to pieces over it !
  2. Books! If I wasn’t doing a puzzle during lockdown, I was reading! I pored through about 16 books in my 81 days and rediscovered my love of many genres! We have many bookshops in the Valley: The Odd Book, Wolfville; Reader’s Haven, Windsor; Shelf Life, Kentville; and Books Galore, Coldbrook, each with a great selection of books. No matter new or used, books are a great gift and I encourage everyone to pick up a book for a gift this year. With many local authors, there’s no shortage of great stories to share. On my Christmas reading list: Burton L. Russell, famous Valley name, has just released his 13th book on Nova Scotia sports, Down Memory Lane: Highlights of Kentville’s Sports, and I can’t wait to read it. My father owned and operated Everett’s Sporting Goods and there’s a reference in the book to his business so this is pretty close to my heart. Stop down to RD Chisholms in Kentville and get a copy of Burton’s new book! Contact Burton directly if need be at burtonrussell0@gmail.com.
  3. Coffee, Wine, Beer, and Cider! Our Valley has quite the incredible selection of wine, beer, cider, and locally-roasted coffee. As I say on the Magic Wine Bus when I’m the tour guide, “Here in the Valley we grow many wonderful things, and then turn them into alcohol!” (and then require some good coffee in the morning). As a gift of our terrific Valley, pass along some local wine from any of the wineries, beer from The Church Brewing Company (they have great swag too!), cider from Annapolis Cider Company, or some locally-roasted coffee from Just Us!, TAN Coffee, or North Mountain Coffee. Introduce your local friends to something new or send our Valley goods to friends from afar. They might just want to visit this area because of it! Support local and be proud of what we create here!
  4. Donations and Gift Certificates! Local businesses and non-profit organizations are struggling. This has been a tough year, especially for the arts community, and so many others who’ve missed out on all their usual fundraising because Covid-19 restrictions have made it difficult to impossible. So, this holiday season, why not make a donation in the name of someone on your list to a local organization that needs it? Organizations like museums, food banks, CentreStage Theatre in Kentville, restaurant gift certificates, school programs, and so much more!

Enjoy your holidays everyone. Be safe and make the most of your time and how you are allowed to use it. Follow the rules, be diligent, and support your local businesses! All the best over the holidays!