Give gifts that offer a taste of Gilroy

Warning: These gifts are not hazardous to your health. They
require no batteries, no electrical outlets, no cartridges. Their
model numbers will not be obsolete by the time you receive the bill
to pay for them.
In fact, they come in only one model with no options to choose.
They will not reduce you to tears as you try to follow

easy to assemble

instructions. There are no buttons to push, no save keys, no
crashes; speed means nothing. They are not noisy; they are not
frustrating; they will not make you feel less intelligent than your
children.
Warning: These gifts are not hazardous to your health. They require no batteries, no electrical outlets, no cartridges. Their model numbers will not be obsolete by the time you receive the bill to pay for them.

In fact, they come in only one model with no options to choose. They will not reduce you to tears as you try to follow “easy to assemble” instructions. There are no buttons to push, no save keys, no crashes; speed means nothing. They are not noisy; they are not frustrating; they will not make you feel less intelligent than your children.

These are gifts from home, a taste of Gilroy. As a bonus, many of the following suggestions will contribute funds to local cultural organizations and other non-profit groups. The Serious Shopper, who knows how important it is to get an early start, probably thinks I have wasted enough time already, so let’s get right to it.

Performers for Rent

When I think about this category, what comes to mind is that effective commercial with the great punch line “They made money the old-fashioned way. … They earned it.” Three performing arts groups in town are willing to work for your donation, and the price of including live entertainment on your gift list or at your party just became very reasonable.

Members of the Gilroy High School’s Chamber Choir hire themselves out as carolers to raise funds for their program, which includes a biannual trip to Japan. For more information call 847-2424 and ask for Choir Director Phil Robb.

The South Valley Suzuki String Academy has never been a group that limits its performances to traditional concert venues, and the sight of violinists playing their hearts out in front of grocery stores or anywhere there are people to listen has become part of the Gilroy landscape; these serious string musicians are available for private performances. For more information call 847-0615.

For a very different type of entertainment, I suggest The Oddballs, a teenage improvisational comedy club under the auspices of Odyssey Theatre Company.

“We are like pudding,” states Oddball member David Bress. “We are able to adapt our performance to any mold.”

For more information call 848-5870 or visit www.odysseytheatre.org.

Museums, Museums, Museums

Here’s where you can find some unique Gilroy and South County memorabilia. The Gilroy Museum, 195 Fifth St., sells items that you are just not going to be able to find at the mall, including Old City Hall pins and spoons and some fascinating literature about the city’s history.

Some titles of note are “Sketches of Gilroy,” a collection of essays compiled by Gavilan students in 1979 and “Old City Hall 1906-1989,” co-written by none other than Chuck Myer, who, interestingly enough, wrote arts and entertainment for The Dispatch many years ago. For those bargain hunters out there, look at this price and weep: one dollar for the large size and 25 cents for the small version of an 1885 map of Gilroy worthy of framing.

Another gift that would benefit the museum would be a donation to the George White Newspaper Preservation Fund for obtaining microfilm of the Gilroy Dispatch. Donations for this fund are managed by the Gilroy Historical Society. Membership to the Society, by the way, would be another great gift idea.

For more information call 848-0470.

The Morgan Hill Historical Museum, 600 W. Main St., 779-5755, sells similar type items with Morgan Hill’s past in mind, including a packet of prune recipes entitled “Valley of Hearts Delight. The gift shop at Villa Mira Monte, an 1884 Queen Anne home built by Hiram Morgan Hill and now owned by the Morgan Hill Historical Society at 17860 Monterey Rd, Morgan Hill, is simply chock full of gifts for the home and library; whoever stocks that place is a very serious shopper. For more information call 782-7191.

If you have anyone on your list who is interested in aviation and aviation history, the Wings of History Air Museum, 12777 Murphy Ave., San Martin, under the auspices of the Northern California Antique Airplane Association, is the place to shop for models, posters, books and assorted paraphernalia. For more information call 683-2290 or visit www.wingsofhistory.org.

Angels, etc.

The people involved in the following two organizations are sincere do-gooders who work hard to improve the quality of life in Gilroy. You can support their causes and end up with some unusual gifts as well. The Gilroy Assistance League has been assisting young people in need for more than 25 years and is raising funds by selling a blanket decorated with scenes of Gilroy, including garlic fields, Old City Hall, and the Gilroy museum. For more information call 842-2432 or 842-6945.

The Theater Angels’ mission is to support local arts through various means, including scholarship programs at Gilroy High School and Gavilan College; they have compiled a cookbook with recipes from the kitchens of some of Gilroy’s more famous residents, such as garlic rancher Don Christopher and community activist Connie Rogers. For more information call 846-9191 or 842-6754.

No Place Like Home

Gilroy Community Services, 7351 Rosanna St., deserves its own category. These are the people who bring you Kids Discover Arts and opportunities for local artists of all ages to display their works in museum-type settings.

For an early holiday present, give the gift of time by spending the day with someone special at the Willey Cultural Center Dec. 7 for a Victorian Christmas event. There will be entertainment, refreshments, crafts demonstrations, tours of historical buildings, and some unique photo opportunities.

Here are some other ideas: a certificate for one of the many classes or programs sponsored by Community Services, a donation in someone’s honor to the Youth Scholarship Fund and tickets to one of their theater productions with proceeds designated for Kids Discover Arts.

For more information call 846-0460.

That Stinking Bulb

Any article about gift ideas from this area would not be worth the paper it is printed on without mentioning the product that has become synonymous with Gilroy. There are places all over town that feature garlic-related items, but I’ll just mention a few of my favorites here.

The Gilroy Garlic Festival Association, 7473 Monterey St., has a wonderful gift shop tucked away on Monterey Street and offers a wide assortment of products, from posters to clothing to cookbooks.

Gavilan College ceramics teacher Jane Rekedal has created a fine line of work with garlic themes, including garlic keepers, mirrors and tiles, which can be found in town at The Garlic Festival Store or through her business in Aromas, Family Gooey, 1560 Cannon Road. For garlic braids and garlic ready-to-go in a box, check out LJB Farms, 585 Fitzgerald Ave., San Martin.

Go Mustangs!

For past, present, and future alumni, you shouldn’t settle for anything but the real thing. Gilroy High School now has an online store at www.gilroyhighschool.com with a full range of products, including sweatshirts and T-shirts. I have three GHS alumni in my family, and they still show off that Mustang pride even away from home.

Theater Anyone?

Tickets to any of the performing arts companies in town would be a meaningful gift for the theater or music lover on your list.

Fortunately, South Valley Civic Theatre, Odyssey Theatre Company and South Valley Symphony all have scheduled performances in either December or January, so people would be able to take advantage of this gift in a timely way. For more information about SCVT call 842-SHOW or visit www.svct.org. For more information about the Odyssey Theatre call 848-5870 or visit www.odysseytheatre.org. For more information about the South Valley Symphony call 847-1441.

Enjoy all that Gilroy has to offer this holiday season and support the individuals and groups that enhance the quality of life in South County.

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