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Last-Minute Gift Ideas

by and on December 18, 2013 2:00 PM

For some, waiting until the last minute to purchase gifts can be as much of a holiday tradition as trimming the tree or baking Christmas cookies. Luckily, Centre County has plenty of unique last minute gift options for late shoppers. Whether you are looking for food, home décor or electronics, local stores have something for everyone on your list.

  • Wine — With numerous local vineyards and wineries, wine can be a great gift for those who enjoy a little red or white. Prices vary by winery, bottle size and fruit ingredients. Whether you are looking for a dry red, a semi-sweet or a sweet wine to pair with all those holiday desserts, Happy Valley Vineyard and Winery, Mt. Nittany Vineyard & Winery and Seven Mountains Wine Cellars offer a large variety of classic and unique wines. Each winery also carries wine accessories including corkscrews, bottle stoppers and chilled wine bags.
  • Outdoors accessories — Appalachian Outdoors is the perfect place to find last minute gifts for the outdoors enthusiast. According to Dave Gandv, assistant floor manager, LED lights, including headlamps are great gift options, even for kids. "We have some fun ones that kids would enjoy. Some look like a lizard or a frog when they light." The store also features camping and backpacking headlamps. In addition to camping and backpacking, Gandv said these lights are great gifts for travelers and people who work on cars. Another last minute gift option for the outdoorsman is Merino wool socks from various companies. For stocking stuffer ideas, look to organic lotions and lip balms. For the campers in your life, much of Appalachian Outdoor's camping gear, including tents, backpacks and sleeping bags, will be 20 percent off throughout the holiday season. For more gift options from Appalachian Outdoors, visit the store at 123 S. Allen St. or click HERE to visit its website.
  • Grilled stickies — Often duplicated but never matched, the original grilled sticky comes from The Diner, located at 126 W. College Ave. Prepackaged, grilled stickies are ready to be wrapped or all done up with a bow and put under the tree. Simply follow these instructions to grill up stickies at any holiday gathering: Spread about a half a teaspoon of butter on each "cut" side of the sticky. Place in a preheated skillet over medium heat (275 degrees) and cook about two to three minutes on a side or until golden brown. Do not put "sticky" side down as it will burn the sugar. For more information about grilled stickies, call The Diner at (814) 238-5590.
  • Clothing — When in doubt, clothing is always an acceptable last minute gift option. With many local stores and boutiques, Centre County provides shoppers with unique and stylish clothing choices. At 130 S. Allen St., Connections features great gift ideas for young women, including a large amount of Free People apparel. For men, Harper's, 114 W. College Ave., offers suits, ties, dress shirts and sweaters in various styles and prices. Shoppers looking to purchase last minute gifts in Boalsburg can look to Elegant Affairs. The boutique offers designer clothing and accessories for women. Renata Glon, co-owner, says gift options include fashion jewelry, handmade Christmas ornaments from Europe, scarves by European designers and candles from California. "We try to get unique and unusual one-of-a-kind pieces," she says. Blankets and homemade throw pillows, table cloths and placemats are also available. To learn more, visit Elegant Affairs at 111 W. Main St. in Boalsburg or call (814) 441-7222.
  • Bonfatto's Wing Sauces – Have a wing and hot sauce lover on your list? Liven up his or her kitchen with Bonfatto's for unique and locally-made wing sauces. Sauces and marinades include: Bonfatto's Original, Peaches & Scream, Hawaiian BBQ, Apple Pepper Jack, RazzHab, Fire-In-The-Hole and Tongue Thai'd. To really put a kick in the holidays, also try Bonfatto's Spice Cream. The unique spicy dessert is made with vanilla ice cream and Bonfatto's wing sauces. Currently, Spice Cream comes in three flavors, Rolling Berry Blastoff, made with RazzHab; Jumping Jack Apple Splash, made with Apple Pepper Jack and Sweet Peachy Heat Wave, made from Peaches & Scream. For more information, visit Bonfatto's at 205 Park Place, Bellefonte, call (814) 353-3330 or click HERE to visit Bonfattos website.
  • Home Décor – To help a house feel more like a home, think about purchasing home décor as last minute gifts. Items like candles, picture frames and knickknacks add to the ambiance of a home and make great personal gifts. Steigers at 215 N. Penna Ave., Centre Hall offers shoppers plenty of home décor gift options. "The hottest thing this year is our battery operated luminary that look like real candles burning. They are timer-operated. They are pillars and taper candles," owner Brenda Steiger says. "They are just beautiful. They just look magical." Because they are battery-operated, Steiger says they are not dangerous and are great gift options for people with allergies. Steiger's also offers ornaments, wreaths, candle wax sleeves, willow tree angels, garden flags, jar candles and furniture. "It's just beautiful in here. It looks like you are walking into someone's home," Steiger says. "It's a place where the hustle and bustle stops and you can just relax."
  • Village Eatinghouse salad dressings — The Village Eatinghouse, 105 S. Main St. in Pleasant Gap, features a vast array of homemade salad dressings, perfect last minute gifts for foodies. Dressings include Sweet and Sour Italian, Marvelous Poppy Seed and Tart Cherry Poppy Seed. All dressings can also double as a marinade. The Village Eatinghouse also offers Sweet and Sour Italian barbecue sauce, as well as a Sweet and Sour Italian mustard. For more information about dressings, condiments or other gift ideas, contact Clay and Melanie Phillips, owners of The Village Eatinghouse, at (814) 548-7380 or email them at
  • Electronics — Paul & Tony's Stereo, 134 S. Atherton St., features many electronic gifts for the holidays. If you are in a frenzy for a last minute gift, look to Paul & Tony's for wireless speakers. Tony Walczak, co-owner, says the speakers can be controlled by any smart device, including tablets and smartphones. "(They create) accessibility to music," he says. "It's like having a portable jukebox."

This story was produced by the staff at the Centre County Gazette. It was re-published with permission. The Centre County Gazette is a weekly publication, available at many locations around Centre County every Thursday morning.

Sam is a correspondent for the Gazette.
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