Unique gifts require imagination

By Clyde Davis: Local Columnist

When it comes to gift giving, I’ve long been in favor of the unique, the unusual, the unexpected. The recent Christmas season gave me a chance to gift the entire family with something, I believe, caught everyone by pleasant surprise.

I’d purchased a November issue of Santa Fean magazine, with the goal of finding convenient locations for cross-country skiing. While checking out the recently opened Valles Caldera preserve, I discovered they also offer something which would fulfill that unique, experiential gift category.

More than one person in our house had expressed the fantasy wish to go on a horse-drawn sleigh ride, so you can imagine how excited I was to see that Valles Caldera, located near Bandolier, actually offers this experience.

Booking it was a challenge only because I had to use a credit card to secure the date, which meant the family bookkeeper, who is one of the main recipients, nearly discovered what was being planned.

I wrote, a week or so ago, on the under-appreciated joys of winter, and can’t imagine anything more representative of that than gliding along through the mountain snow on a sleigh drawn by a team of draft horses. To say we are looking forward to this would be an understatement.

Additionally, stepdaughter Amanda received a fancy digital camera from Santa, so the trip ought to provide her with some unique photo opportunities. If, by the way, this catches your interest, Valles Caldera has a Web site that will give the details.
I’m also focusing on this because Valentine’s Day is less than a month away. What can you give that would be unique, one of a kind and celebrational? A bit closer to home, of course, we have Ruidoso, or a winter hike through Palo Duro Canyon might be just the ticket to rekindle warm romance.

Trip options aside, what are the niceties to enhance the experience? The right blend of coffee or hot chocolate, available at local stores I can’t name— none of the cheap stuff, now — would be an essential. For our trip, we also stocked up on post-holiday beef stick, cheese and crackers, once the secret had been revealed. If you’re planning an overnight, don’t neglect the pine-scented candles and romantic beverages, along with select CDs.

Romantic and unique gifts ideas can be found with a little time and imagination.

Though this column has centered on outside activities— that is just where my head is— perhaps I have started your own romantic wheels turning. Don’t be afraid to think outside the (chocolate) box.