Home for the holidays

Where to get your full meals, desserts and more to go

Whether you’re bringing home festive pies and cookies or a full holiday feast, local restaurants, caterers, bakeries and other businesses have you covered.

All Real Meal (87 Amherst St., Manchester, 782-3014, allrealmeal.com) is taking orders for Christmas meals in two sizes (serving four or eight people) — they include slow-cooked turkey breast with gravy, brown sugar ham, cranberry almond green beans, creamy mashed potatoes, homestyle cornbread, pecan pie cheesecake and bacon herb hash brown quiche for Christmas morning. Ordering early is requested, as quantities are limited. Orders will be delivered fresh to your door on Friday, Dec. 23.

Ansanm (20 South St., Milford, 554-1248, ansanmnh.com) is inviting you to enjoy a taste of Haiti at home with its holiday dinner menu. Entrees available to order include poule nan sos (stewed chicken), janbon (pineapple-glazed ham), griot (fried pork) or legumes (stewed vegetables) — each comes with rice and mixed vegetables, and a mixed greens salad with tomatoes, peppers, shallots and a citrus vinaigrette. You can also order various items a la carte, like macaroni au gratin (baked macaroni), bannann peze (fried plantains) and djon djon mushroom rice; as well as desserts, like gateau anana (pineapple upside-down cake) and gateau au beurre (Haitian pound cake). Order by Dec. 20. Pickups will be on Friday, Dec. 23 — all orders will be served cold with reheating instructions at the time of pickup.

Ayottes Market (100 River Road, Hudson, 883-5235, ayottesmarket.com) is taking orders for pies for the holidays (flavors include apple, blueberry, chocolate cream, pecan and pork), as well as homemade breads (banana, cranberry and zucchini). Order by Dec. 14.

The Bakeshop on Kelley Street (171 Kelley St., Manchester, 624-3500, thebakeshoponkelleystreet.com) is taking orders for several seasonal items for the holidays, including hot cocoa pie, eggnog cake and Yule logs, in addition to a variety of scratch-baked fruit pies, pastries and more. Order by Dec. 18. Pickups will be on Saturday, Dec. 24, from 7:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Buckley’s Bakery & Cafe (436 Daniel Webster Hwy., Merrimack, 262-5929, buckleysbakerycafe.com) and Buckley’s Market & Cafe (9 Market Place, Hollis, 465-5522) are taking orders for a variety of specialty seasonal items for the holidays, including cakes (red velvet cake, Santa’s milk and cookies cake, dark chocolate peppermint cheesecake, and hot cocoa or peppermint white chocolate Yule logs); as well as eight-inch pies (pecan, apple or chocolate cream), Parker house rolls or gingerbread loaves, and assorted breakfast or pastry trays. Additionally, Buckley’s of Hollis is taking orders for appetizers (shrimp cocktail platters, petit crab cakes, raspberry baked brie, antipasto vegetables, New England baked stuffed clams and spinach artichoke dip) and meats (cranberry and apple-stuffed boneless pork chops, boneless prime rib roast, filet mignon or crab-stuffed shrimp). Order by Dec. 18.

Brookdale Fruit Farm (41 Broad St., Hollis, 465-2240, brookdalefruitfarm.com) is taking orders for scratch-baked pies for the holidays, with flavors that include apple, pecan, pumpkin, blueberry and more. The farm stand will be open until 6 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 24.

Brothers Butcher (8 Spit Brook Road, Nashua, 809-4180; 142 Lowell Road, Hudson, 577-1130; brothers-butcher.com) is taking orders for several types of roasts for the holidays, including boneless prime rib and tenderloin and strip loin roasts, in addition to spiral hams, stuffed pork loin (with traditional bread stuffing or apple cranberry stuffing), boneless pork loin and gravies sold by the quart (port wine demi glaze, au jus, pork and beef gravy or turkey gravy). Pickups will be on Thursday, Dec. 22, and Friday, Dec. 23, as well as Saturday, Dec. 24, until 1 p.m.

The Cake Fairy (114 Londonderry Turnpike, Hooksett, 518-8733, cakefairynh.com) is taking orders for pies (eclair, apple and chocolate cream), small chocolate whoopie pies, cheesecakes (plain, strawberry and peppermint bark), assorted cookie trays, Danishes, breakfast breads and jumbo butter cookies. Order by Dec. 17. Pickups will be on Saturday, Dec. 24, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., and first-come, first-served items will also be available out of the bakery case.

Caroline’s Fine Food (132 Bedford Center Road, Bedford, 637-1615, carolinesfood.com) is taking orders for a variety of specialty items to go for the holidays, including appetizers (smoked salmon terrine, pizzetti with port-poached figs, Gorgonzola and balsamic glaze, brie en croute with raspberry and thyme, artisan cheeses with fruit and cured meats, and poached shrimp with a traditional cocktail sauce); entrees (pork ballantine stuffed with savory sausage, herb and apple stuffing, or roasted beef tenderloin with a horseradish cream sauce); and sides (garlic mashed potatoes, butternut squash, roasted Brussels sprouts with Parmesan and thyme, carrot confit, sauteed haricot verts with slivered almonds or apple cider reduction). Order by Dec. 16 at 3 p.m. Pickups will be on Friday, Dec. 23, from noon to 3 p.m.

Cherry Bomb Cookie Co. (Exeter, find them on Facebook @cherrybombcookieco) is taking orders for a variety of specialty decorated sugar cookies, with seasonal designs that include Santa Claus, gingerbread men, snowflakes, sleighs, Christmas trees and more. Ordering is available through Dec. 23, but recommended by Dec. 19 to ensure shipping before the Christmas holiday.

Chez Vachon (136 Kelley St., Manchester, 625-9660, chezvachon.com) is taking orders for pies (flavors include chocolate cream, apple, pumpkin, blueberry, Key lime, banana cream, lemon meringue and more, as well as savory pork or salmon pies) and cakes (flavors include strawberry cream, pistachio cream, apple spice, chocolate cream, cookies and cream and more). Order by Dec. 20.

The Common Man (25 Water St., Concord, 228-3463; 304 Daniel Webster Hwy., Merrimack, 429-3463; 88 Range Road, Windham, 898-0088; Lakehouse Grille, 281 Daniel Webster Hwy., Meredith, 279-5221; 10 Pollard Road, Lincoln, 745-3463; 21 Water St., Claremont, 542-6171; Foster’s Boiler Room, 231 Main St., Plymouth, 536-2764; 60 Main St., Ashland, 968-7030; Airport Diner, 2280 Brown Ave., Manchester, 623-5040; Tilt’n Diner, 61 Laconia Road, Tilton, 286-2204; Route 104 Diner, 752 Route 104, New Hampton, 744-0120; thecman.com) is taking orders for special holiday feasts to go, featuring your choice of glazed ham or herb-roasted prime rib dinners that serve four to six people — each comes with mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole, pesto green beans, maple-roasted Brussels sprouts, Parmesan-crusted dinner rolls, sweet bread and cheesecake with mixed berry compote. Additional items are also available to order a la carte, like spinach-artichoke dip and crackers, peel-and-eat shrimp cocktail, roasted turkey breast, green bean casserole, glazed baby carrots, Common Man macaroni and cheese, pecan pie, and a quart of Common Man-made vanilla ice cream. Order by Dec. 18. Pickups will be on Friday, Dec. 23, or Saturday, Dec. 24, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Copper Kettle To Go (39 Main St., Wilton, 654-2631, copperkettletogo.com) is taking orders for Christmas ham dinners with all the fixings, including mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole, green beans and dinner rolls, with two sizes available (serving two to four people or four to six people). You can also order pies in a variety of flavors (pecan, coconut custard or blueberry cream cheese pie), as well as assorted muffins, cinnamon rolls and steak and cheese egg rolls. Order by Dec. 20. Pickups will be on Saturday, Dec. 24, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Crosby Bakery (51 E. Pearl St., Nashua, 882-1851, crosbybakerynh.com) is taking orders for eight-inch or 10-inch pies (flavors include apple, apple crumb, blueberry, banana cream, cherry, coconut cream, chocolate cream, coconut meringue, mince, pumpkin and pecan); assorted rolls and breads, with the option to add whipped butter or maple cinnamon butter; savory specialties, like gorton, meat pie, salmon pie, sandwich platters, Boston baked beans and potato or macaroni salads; and seasonal holiday specialties, like six-inch Yule log cakes, seven-inch Boston cream pie, frosted angel cakes, pastry and cookie platters and more. Order by Dec. 20 at 6 p.m. Pickups will be on Saturday, Dec. 24, from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The Crust & Crumb Baking Co. (126 N. Main St., Concord, 219-0763, thecrustandcrumb.com) is taking orders for six-inch or nine-inch pies (flavors include pumpkin, Key lime, vegan gluten-free blueberry coconut crisp, Black Forest, apple streusel, forest berry crumb, maple bourbon pecan, chocolate cream, maple cream and coconut cream); cakes (flourless chocolate torte, chocolate raspberry layer cake, hazelnut Boston cream pie and eggnog rum mousse cake); cheesecakes (chocolate mint or vanilla); tarts (fresh fruit or mocha turtle); assorted pastries and breakfast items (cinnamon buns, sour cream coffee cakes, scones, dark gingerbread tea cake and more); and some savory items (French Canadian tourtiere, pork pie with apple, rosemary and sweet potato, broccoli pepper jack quiche, spinach, tomato and feta quiche or bacon cheddar quiche). Order by Dec. 15. Pickups will be on Thursday, Dec. 22, Friday, Dec. 23, or Saturday, Dec. 24 — indicate your pickup time when placing your order.

Dancing Lion Chocolate (917 Elm St., Manchester, 625-4043, dancinglion.us) has all kinds of specialty chocolate bars available in the shop, as well as bonbon sharing boxes, drinking chocolate and other products. The shop also offers holiday croissants, which can be reserved online for pickup on Tuesday, Dec. 20, from 2 to 5 p.m.

The Flying Butcher (124 Route 101A, Amherst, 598-6328, theflyingbutcher.com) is taking orders for a variety of holiday roasts, in addition to boneless leg of lamb, boneless turkey breast and various a la carte sides, like maple bourbon sweet potatoes, cilantro lime asparagus, garlic pepper green beans, roasted root vegetables, horseradish cream sauce and more. Order by Dec. 20 at 6 p.m. Pickups will be on Thursday, Dec. 22, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Friday, Dec. 23, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Saturday, Dec. 24, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Frederick’s Pastries (109 Route 101A, Amherst, 882-7725; 25 S. River Road, Bedford, 647-2253; pastry.net) is taking orders for a variety of specialty seasonal items for the holidays, including decorated Christmas cookies, cinnamon cranberry cookies, gingerbread cookie kits, assorted chocolates, cheesecake samplers, Christmas Yule log cakes, gingerbread tortes, fruit turnover trays and more. The whole menu will be available to order online, in store or via phone until Dec. 15. Beginning Dec. 16, there will be a limited holiday menu only, and online ordering will also end on Dec. 15. Pickups will be on Friday, Dec. 23, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturday, Dec. 24, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The Fresh Chef Press (775 Canal St., Manchester, 716-7197, freshchefmp.com) is taking orders for a variety of specialty items for the holidays, including honey-baked spiral-cut ham, Italian sausage stuffed mushrooms and prosciutto-wrapped asparagus, as well as nine-inch quiches (plain, veggie, bacon and veggie, bacon and cheddar or ham and swiss), cookie platters, cheesecake bites and more. Order by Dec. 16.

Giorgio’s Ristorante & Bar (270 Granite St., Manchester, 232-3323; 524 Nashua St., Milford, 673-3939; 707 Milford Road, Merrimack, 883-7333; giorgios.com) is offering its full regular catering menu for the holidays, through about Dec. 20, owner George Sklavounos said.

Granite State Candy Shoppe (13 Warren St., Concord, 225-2591; 832 Elm St., Manchester, 218-3885; granitestatecandyshoppe.com) offers a variety of seasonal sweet treats around the holidays, like milk, dark and white chocolate Santa Claus molds, cake bites, advent calendars, cocoa bombs and more.

Greenleaf (54 Nashua St., Milford, 213-5447, greenleafmilford.com) is taking orders for special holiday dinners to go, featuring your choice of peppercorn and rosemary-glazed ham, roasted chicken breast with chimichurri, beef tenderloin with roasted garlic jus or cauliflower steak with pumpkin hummus and roasted vegetables. All non-vegan dinners come with potatoes au gratin, spiced glazed petite carrots, and seasonal mixed greens with a cranberry sage vinaigrette. You can also add house-made brioche Parker house dinner rolls (with or without whipped molasses honey butter) and desserts, like holiday Yule log slices and apple galettes with salted caramel. Order by Dec. 20. Pickups will be on Friday, Dec. 23 — all orders will be served cold with reheating instructions at the time of pickup.

Hart’s Turkey Farm Restaurant (233 Daniel Webster Hwy., Meredith, 279-6212, hartsturkeyfarm.com) is taking orders for family meals for the holidays that include your choice of whole roasted turkey with gravy, prime rib au jus or baked ham — each is available in multiple serving sizes (feeding two to six or six to 10 people, as well as 10 to 14 for the turkey dinner) and comes with whipped potatoes, butternut squash, green beans, dinner rolls and your choice of a dessert pie, along with some additional accoutrements depending on the meal package you choose. Order by Dec. 20. Curbside pickups will be on Saturday, Dec. 24, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., and individual dinners will also be offered for takeout from the regular menu.

Harvey’s Bakery & Coffee Shop (376 Central Ave., Dover, 742-6029, harveysbakery.com) is taking orders for a variety of seasonal items, like gingerbread cookies, festive cakes and cupcakes, traditional fruit cake, Christmas tree Danishes, pork and chicken pies, filled finger rolls, petit fours, brownies, cream puffs and more. You can also order eight-inch or 10-inch pies (flavors include apple, pumpkin, pecan, cherry, chocolate cream, coconut cream, banana cream and more) and assorted dinner rolls available by the dozen. Order by Dec. 15.

Local Baskit (10 Ferry St., Suite 120A, Concord, 219-0882, localbaskit.com) is taking orders for some specialty appetizer to-go kits, as well as “season’s eatings” hostess gifts and “grazing baskits.” Order the grazing baskits by Dec. 21. The appetizer kits can be ordered through Dec. 22, or until they sell out. Season’s eatings hostess gifts, meanwhile, will be available to order until Local Baskit closes for the day on Saturday, Dec. 24, at 1 p.m.

Loon Chocolate (The Factory on Willow, 252 Willow St., Manchester, loonchocolate.com) has all of its artisan chocolate products available for sale inside the shop it shares with 603 Charcuterie, which is open Thursday through Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Loon Chocolate and 603 Charcuterie are also hosting a special holiday market on Saturday, Dec. 17, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Sunday, Dec. 18, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., when more than two dozen local and regional vendors will be showcasing their products.

Mr. Mac’s Macaroni & Cheese (497 Hooksett Road, Manchester, 606-1760, mr-macs.com) accepts orders for both hot-and-ready and take-and-bake trays of macaroni and cheese, as well as macaroni salads, assorted green salads, desserts and more. Placing orders at least 24 hours in advance is appreciated.

New England’s Tap House Grille (1292 Hooksett Road, Hooksett, 782-5137, taphousenh.com) is taking orders for several seasonal items for the holidays, including traditional French-Canadian meat pies, 10-inch carrot cake or apple crumb cheesecake, and dinner rolls by the dozen or by the half-dozen. Order by Dec. 16. Pickups will be on Friday, Dec. 23, or Saturday, Dec. 24, by 5 p.m.

Osteria Poggio (18 Main St., Center Harbor, 250-8007, osteriapoggio.com) is taking orders for a variety of seasonal flavors of pies for the holidays, like eggnog, white chocolate peppermint cream, spiced cranberry apple and pumpkin pecan. Other items available to order in their Christmas to-go package include deviled eggs, pineapple candied pork belly, sweet potato casserole, five-cheese baked macaroni and cheese, white balsamic roasted Brussels sprouts, cauliflower au gratin, brown butter carrots and caramelized onions and mushrooms. Order by Dec. 18.

Queen City Cupcakes (790 Elm St., Manchester, 624-4999, qccupcakes.com) is taking orders for all kinds of seasonally inspired gourmet cupcake flavors, like chocolate-covered cherry, candy cane creme, gingerbread snickerdoodle, eggnog, red velvet Oreo and coconut snowball, as well as vegan and gluten-free gingerbread spice cupcakes. Order by Dec. 21. Pickups will be on Saturday, Dec. 24, from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The Red Arrow Diner (61 Lowell St., Manchester, 626-1118; 137 Rockingham Road, Londonderry, 552-3091; 112 Loudon Road, Concord, 415-0444; 149 Daniel Webster Hwy., Nashua, 204-5088; redarrowdiner.com) is taking orders for its specialty homemade desserts for the holidays, including multiple flavors of 10-inch pies, double-layer cakes, “Dinah fingers” (homemade Twinkies), eclairs, whoopie pies and more. Orders can be placed online with at least a 24-hour notice in advance of pickup.

Roundabout Diner & Lounge (580 Route 1 Bypass, Portsmouth, 431-1440, roundaboutdiner.com) is taking orders for special Christmas dinners to go, featuring your choice of bacon-wrapped pork loin, spiral ham, roasted chicken or baked haddock. You can also order various items a la carte, like Italian or barbecue meatballs, fowl balls (smoked chicken wrapped in bacon), smoked scallops wrapped in bacon, crab cakes with remoulade and stuffed mushroom caps; and assorted cakes and pies (pie flavors include banana cream, coconut cream, apple, chocolate cream, Key lime, pecan, blueberry and German chocolate, while cake flavors include strawberry cream, caramel toffee, coconut cream, chocolate mousse, Oreo Black Forest and chocolate peppermint). Pickups will be on Friday, Dec. 23, and Saturday, Dec. 24, and will be served cold with reheating instructions.

Simply Delicious Baking Co. (176 Route 101, Bedford, 488-1988, simplydeliciousbakingco.com) is taking orders for several sweet treats for the holidays, like cherry crumb pie, chocolate cherry cake, carrot cake and salted cinnamon chip cookies, as well as breakfast items like traditional coffee cake and cranberry orange scones. Order by Dec. 17.

Slightly Crooked Pies (Bedford, slightlycrookedpies.com) is taking orders for a variety of flavors of scratch-made pies for the holidays, including apple, pecan, cherry, blueberry, maple blueberry and chocolate bourbon pecan, in addition to some specialty options, like Sweater Weather (apple and pear with cinnamon and cardamom) and Christmas (apple, cranberry and pecan with orange zest and cloves). Pickups will be on Friday, Dec. 23 — see website or email crookedpies@gmail.com to arrange a pickup time.

Smoke Shack Cafe (226 Rockingham Road, Londonderry, 404-2178, smokeshackcafe.com) is taking orders for special holiday dinner packages to go, featuring smoked ham, salad, cornbread and your choice of sides (mashed potatoes, butternut squash, brown sugar carrots, macaroni and cheese, green beans, corn saute and gravy), available in two sizes (serving six to eight people or eight to 12 people). You can also order various meats a la carte, like smoked ham, bacon-wrapped turkey breast with jalapeno and sausage stuffing, and smoked prime rib au jus; as well as nine-inch holiday pies (flavors include apple, cranberry, pumpkin or chocolate cream). Order by Dec. 20. Pickups will be on Friday, Dec. 23, from 2 to 7 p.m., or on Saturday, Dec. 24, from 9 a.m. to 1:45 p.m.

Sweet Caroline (28 Homestead Place, Alton, 875-0263, sweetcarolinebakerynh.com) is taking orders for a variety of specialty cakes and desserts for the holidays, including Yule logs, carrot cakes, Holly Jolly red velvet cakes, raspberry mocha white cakes, and assorted cookie platters and holiday cakes. You can also order 10-inch pies — flavors include apple, blueberry, pecan, chocolate cream, pumpkin and lemon meringue. Order by Dec. 13.

Sweet Love Bakery (20 Main St., Goffstown, 497-2997, sweetlovebakerynh.com) is taking orders for pies (apple, pecan, pumpkin and chocolate creme); cheesecakes (white chocolate peppermint, gingerbread, eggnog, maple bourbon pecan and Bailey’s); cakes (peppermint mocha, eggnog, carrot, gingerbread and red velvet); cookies (candy cane, gingerbread, molasses, chocolate chip, sugar and snickerdoodle); and assorted dinner rolls (white, wheat, and garlic herb). Pickups will be on Thursday, Dec. 22, and Friday, Dec. 23, from 9 to 11 a.m.

Tammaro’s Cucina (469 Charles Bancroft Hwy., Litchfield, 377-7312, tammaros.com) is taking orders for half-sized (feeds six to eight people) and full-sized (feeds 12 to 14 people) trays of home-cooked Italian meals for the holidays, from meat or cheese lasagna to spaghetti and meatballs, chicken or eggplant Parmesan and more. Order by Dec. 18.

The Traveling Foodie (Merrimack, jrmcateringllc.com) is taking orders for pies (flavors include apple, apple crumb, pumpkin and pecan), charcuterie boards, and cookie and brownie platters. A 72-hour advance notice is requested, with free deliveries to the Nashua and Merrimack areas.

Tuscan Market (9 Via Toscana, Salem, 912-5467, tuscanbrands.com) is taking orders for several special dinner packages for the holidays, featuring whole roasted turkey, leoncini ham or standing rib roast — each comes with an assortment of sides, complete heating instructions and a meat thermometer, and serves six to eight people. You can also order various in-house butchered meats a la carte, antipasti options; sides, like risotto stuffed peppers, jumbo shrimp with cocktail sauce, mascarpone whipped potato, balsamic roasted carrots and pecorino-stuffed artichokes; and various pastries and desserts, from tiramisu squares and assorted cannolis to traditional ricotta pie and flourless chocolate torte. Ordering with at least a three-day notice is appreciated. Pickups will be available through Saturday, Dec. 24.

Twelve 31 Events (261 Main St., Tilton; 100 N. Main St., Concord, 818-0012; twelve31events.com) is taking orders for assorted Italian cookies for the holidays, available to reserve now for any day up to Saturday, Dec. 24. Flavors include anisette, ginger, pistachio macaroons, honey walnut and chocolate espresso cookies.

Van Otis Chocolates (341 Elm St., Manchester, 627-1611, vanotis.com) offers a variety of seasonal sweet treats around the holidays, like chocolate mold Santas, boots and snowmen, peppermint twist bites, white chocolate kettle corn and more. A 2-foot-tall, 13-pound chocolate Santa is also being raffled off online — the winner will be chosen on Dec. 22 and must be available to pick up in store on Saturday, Dec. 24.

Wicked Good Butchah (209 Route 101, Bedford, 488-5638, wickedgoodbutchahnh.com) is taking orders for boneless and bone-in prime rib roasts, lamb roasts, beef tenderloin, and boneless and stuffed pork loin, as well as Boar’s Head sweet sliced hams. Orders will be accepted right up until Christmas Eve, but ordering as soon as possible is recommended to ensure you get what you want.

Featured photo: Courtesy photo.

Gifts for foodies

Delicious gift-giving ideas this holiday season

Make it a holiday season to remember for the foodie in your life, with anything from a specialty gift box of local products to sweet treats like cocoa or tea bombs, cakesicles or even chocolate candy-filled gingerbread “smash” houses. Whether you’re looking for something to ship and be enjoyed later, or a centerpiece to be the hit of your next holiday party, there are all kinds of delicious gift-giving ideas this season.

Enjoy it later

Great for colleagues, teachers, neighbors or perhaps a friend at an upcoming Yankee Swap, gift boxes and baskets are the perfect ways to discover all kinds of locally made goodies. Jessica Moores of the Manchester Craft Market, Mall of New Hampshire (1500 S. Willow St.), recently organized an entire table setup inside the shop featuring bundled gifts from many of her sellers, from jams and jellies to cooking spices, soup kits, salsas, coffees and more.

In Bedford, head to the Educational Farm at Joppa Hill (174 Joppa Hill Road, theeducationalfarm.org), where they are selling specialty gift boxes in two sizes containing a variety of New Hampshire-made and other regional products. According to farm stand manager secretary Mandy Underwood, they can be ordered through Dec. 22 for pickup, and custom gift boxes can also be put together if you’d like a certain theme.

Other local businesses have gift boxes available to order directly on their websites to be shipped. Salem’s Cucina Aurora Kitchen Witchery (cucinaaurora.com) has a gift set of its infused olive oils, featuring 12-ounce bottles of its roasted garlic and rosemary oregano oils packaged with a free recipe booklet. Owner Dawn Hunt, who is the author of Kitchen Witchcraft for Beginners, her newest cookbook, released earlier this year, also offers a larger gift set that additionally comes with a wooden cooking spoon, a risotto mix, a garlic and herb dip mix and an herb and seasoning mix. Both also have the option of including a holiday card for your gift recipient.

For the spicy food lover, The Spicy Shark of Portsmouth (thespicyshark.com) has a gift box containing 5-ounce bottles of each of its six craft hot sauces — they vary in intensity, ranging from products made with jalapeno and chipotle peppers to habanero, Scotch bonnet and ghost peppers, as well as Carolina Reapers, which were recognized in 2017 by Guinness World Records as the hottest in the world. Smokin’ Tin Roof (smokintinroof.com), based in Manchester, similarly offers gift boxes containing bottles of its ghost pepper-based sauces, sometimes also accompanied by products like a bacon stout mustard and a Buffalo-style sauce. They even now sell mango habanero cotton candy in collaboration with Sillie Puffs (silliepuffs.com).

And speaking of sweets, there’s so much to discover for those looking to indulge. Fabrizia Lemon Baking Co. of Salem (fabrizialemonbakingcompany.com) is offering holiday gift boxes containing all kinds of limoncello-infused goodies added to its product line since its late 2020 launch, from limoncello cookies and biscotti to truffles, blondies, lemon loaf, hard candies and even lemon popcorn. They can be picked up at Fabrizia’s Salem facility (2 Industrial Way) or shipped nationwide with the option to write up a personalized holiday note at checkout.

For other sweet tastes that are uniquely New Hampshire, Ben’s Sugar Shack of Temple (bensmaplesyrup.com) has gift boxes of its maple syrup and other assorted maple-infused products, from maple cream and buttermilk pancake mix to gluten-free maple kettle corn and pure maple candy. Specialty candy stores like Van Otis Chocolates (vanotis.com) and Granite State Candy Shoppe (granitestatecandyshoppe.com) have gift boxes of their own, featuring items like assorted caramels, nuts, chocolate bars and Swiss fudge in several different flavors.

Enjoy it now

If you’re looking for a tasty hostess gift to share with other guests at a holiday party or gathering, local restaurants, caterers and other businesses have you covered. Tilton’s Twelve 31 Events, for instance, which also recently opened a cafe in downtown Concord (100 N. Main St.), is taking orders for its scratch-baked Italian Christmas cookies. They’re scheduled to be available for pickup and delivery starting Dec. 8 and right through Christmas Eve, Twelve 31 owner Melissa Dolpies said. Visit twelve31.events/christmascookies to order a dozen or more cookies — flavors include anisette, soft gingerbread, pistachio macaroons, dark chocolate espresso and snowballs, or traditional butter cookies that are rolled in powdered sugar.

“The typical dozen that people can get is an assortment of all of the cookies, but you can certainly mix and match or request one or two of whatever combination you’d like,” Dolpies said. “They come in a pretty little box, and they make great gifts. I’ve had people get them for employees, for teachers, for co-workers. They’re really appropriate for any kind of occasion.”

The Traveling Foodie (jmcateringllc.com), a food truck and catering company based at Anheuser-Busch Brewery in Merrimack, also has cookie gift trays and mixed cookie platters available on its holiday catering menu. Chef and owner Jamie Mandra said orders can be placed until Dec. 18 for a free delivery to the Nashua and Merrimack areas on Dec. 22. Options will include mixed sugar cookies and chocolate chip peanut butter kisses, or you can order brownies.

For some savory hostess gift ideas, check out the appetizer to-go kits being offered by Local Baskit (localbaskit.com) — featuring your choice of a set of miniature quiches with a goat cheese honey filo and cranberry dip, or dumplings and vegetable spring rolls with a sweet spicy soy sauce, each kit’s items are ready to pop right into the oven. This year, in addition to her custom charcuterie and cheese boards under her Grazing Baskits line, Local Baskit owner Beth Richards also has “Season’s Eatings” hostess gift packages, which come with a bottle of red or white wine, cheese and crostini — the prices for each package vary depending on your choices.

In Manchester, Loon Chocolate (loonchocolate.com) and 603 Charcuterie (603charcuterie.com) are gearing up for a two-day holiday market inside their facility at The Factory on Willow (252 Willow St.) on Saturday, Dec. 17, and Sunday, Dec. 18, when more than two dozen local vendors will be showcasing their products. In the meantime, you can visit their onsite joint shop every Thursday through Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., which offers a variety of New Hampshire-made cheeses, jams, crackers, mustards and other artisan foods. You can also buy locally built charcuterie boards — courtesy of Andy Pearl of Souhegan Wood Designs of Amherst — in all kinds of shapes, sizes and designs, or even gift a custom-made charcuterie board, gift basket or class certificate, Theresa Zwart of 603 Charcuterie said.

Explosive flavors

Cocoa bombs were all the rage during the 2020 holiday season and, two years later, are continuing to stick around. A trend that originally went viral on TikTok back in the fall of that year, these small hollow balls of chocolate are most often created using silicone molds, and are usually filled with miniature marshmallows or flavored mixes. Pouring hot milk or water over the bombs causes them to “explode” with flavor inside your mug.

For Lindsey Bangs of I Whisked It (iwhiskedit.com), a home baker based in Raymond, cocoa bombs are among her most popular seasonal items. Hers is among the participating businesses at The Factory on Willow’s holiday market, where she will be offering cocoa bombs in traditional, caramel and peppermint candy cane flavors. She’ll also be at New Hampshire Audubon’s Holiday Craft Fair on Saturday, Dec. 10, at the McLane Center (84 Silk Farm Road, Concord).

In addition to her flavors Bangs has played around with different types of silicone molds for her cocoa bombs, from those in the shape of Christmas trees to reindeer- and ball-shaped ornaments.

“I have a lot of people who are buying [cocoa bombs] from me this year because last year they had it on Christmas Eve with their family, and their kids are asking for it again, or people need something for a Secret Santa gift or a Yankee Swap gift, and so they are getting the nicer boxes. … I have little plastic boxes that have bows on them that I can put them in,” Bangs said.

cake covered in chocolate and decorated with sprinkles on a popsicle stick
Cakesicles from The Cake Fairy in Hooksett. Courtesy photo.

Pastry chef Emilee Viaud of Milford started her business, Sweet Treats by Emilee (find her on Facebook and Instagram), at the height of the cocoa bomb trend. She has since branched out to all kinds of cocoa bomb flavors and even recently started dabbling in tea bombs, which you can get at the Manchester Craft Market, as well as at Junction 71 (707 Milford Road, Merrimack) and Locally Handmade (80 Premium Outlets Blvd., Merrimack). Find Viaud also at Great New England Holiday Shopping Extravaganza on Friday, Dec. 9, and Sunday, Dec. 10, at the Hampshire Dome (50 Emerson Road, Milford).

Tea bombs, Viaud said, are essentially a cup of tea’s counterpart to a cocoa bomb. They feature a sugar sphere that’s filled with a tea bag, edible glitter and flowers. She has more than 10 flavors, ranging from passion tea and Earl Grey to green tea, chamomile and more.

Another item Viaud is featuring this year includes chocolate candy-filled “smash” houses — similar to the breakable chocolate hearts she sold during Valentine’s Day, you simply take a small wooden mallet that they come with to smash open the house, revealing candy inside.

Cakesicles, or fun takes on cake pops crafted in the shape of a popsicle mold, are also having a moment as popular treats. Brianna Miller, whose mother, Lisa Lucciano, owns The Cake Fairy in Hooksett, said it’s likely a nostalgic factor that makes them resonate with so many people.

“It reminds me personally of the bars you’d get off the ice cream trucks as little kids,” she said.

In addition to lemon, funfetti and chocolate peanut butter-dipped cakesicles, The Cake Fairy rolls out a special peppermint dust-flavored cakesicle around the holiday season.

Featured photo: Cocoa bombs from I Whisked It, based in Raymond. Courtesy photo.

The Weekly Dish 22/12/08

News from the local food scene

Garden feasts: Longtime television chef Mary Ann Esposito will be at Tuscan Market (9 Via Toscana, Salem) on Saturday, Dec. 10, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. to present her newest cookbook, Ciao Italia: Plant, Harvest, Cook! Released Nov. 15, it’s her 13th book, centered around the home vegetable garden with easy-to-follow planting advice and more than 100 Italian-inspired recipes. During the event, Esposito will be accompanied by Tuscan Brands wine director Joseph Comforti for a special wine tasting. Admission is free. Visit tuscanbrands.com or read more about Esposito’s newest book on page 28 of the Nov. 17 issue of the Hippo — visit issuu.com/hippopress to read and download the e-edition for free.

Wine and cheese chats: The final Cheese & Corks tasting at Local Baskit (10 Ferry St., Suite 120A, Concord) is happening on Wednesday, Dec. 14, from 5 to 6:30 p.m. Featuring Kristy Ammann of Dole & Bailey — formerly the owner of Butter’s Fine Food & Wine in Concord — and Ambra Kash of Crush Wine & Spirits, events in this bi-weekly series have included “wine and cheese chats to prepare you for holiday entertaining or cozy winter nights,” according to the event flier. The Dec. 14 event is expected to feature sparkling wines and creamy cheeses, and admission is free. Visit localbaskit.com.

• ’Tis the season: Depending on when you’re reading this, there may still be tickets available to the three-day Christmas festival being hosted at Fulchino Vineyard (187 Pine Hill Road, Hollis) from Friday, Dec. 9, through Sunday, Dec. 11. Each day features artisan food vendors and craftspeople, a fire pit, hot cider and doughnuts, and family photo opportunities with Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus. Go to fulchinovineyard.com for the most up-to-date details on ticket availability. Tickets are $15 for adults ages 21 and over (all adult tickets will also include one free wine glass per adult and a complimentary wine tasting), $7.50 for attendees ages 12 to 20 and 1 cent for kids ages 12 and under, for counting purposes.

Whiskey business: Join Steadfast Spirits Distilling Co. (134 Hall St., Unit H, Concord) for its second annual Sip & Shop event on Saturday, Dec. 10, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The distillery will be celebrating the return of its 86-proof peppermint moonshine,and will also be hosting a one-day community shopping event featuring local crafters and other small business owners offering their wares for sale. Admission is free. See the event page on Facebook @steadfastdistilling.

On The Job – Dan Auditore

Wood floor refinisher

Dan Auditore is a wood floor refinisher and owner of Renaissance Hardwood Floors, based in Manchester.

Explain your job and what it entails.

My job is to take a customer’s hardwood floor and make it look brand new again or give them an entirely different-looking wood floor, depending on what they want. I go in with my machinery, sand the floors down to bare wood, then sand twice more to make it smooth. After that I hand scrape the areas the machines can’t reach. I vacuum the floor and apply a coat of sealer or stain depending on the job, and then apply two or three coats of finish on top, again, depending on what the customer needs.

How long have you had this job?

I’ve been professionally refinishing hardwood floors since January 2007 in Boston and surrounding areas as a member of the Floor Coverers Union Local 2168, but started Renaissance Hardwood Floors back in June of this year.

What led you to this career field and your current job?

Destiny. My great-grandfather, grandfather, father, stepfather, three of my uncles and a cousin all have had or currently have a wood flooring company. Ever since childhood I was always helping out on the jobs and started working full-time in the summers doing it at age 13.

What kind of education or training did you need?

Onsite training. You learn this trade by getting your hands on the machinery, getting a feel for it all, learning what to look for and how to fix errors and by getting a sore back and sore knees. You could read it in a book, but to really know what you’re doing, it takes hands-on, lots of time doing it and lots of body ache.

What is your typical at-work uniform or attire?

Typically I wear a short-sleeve shirt, and then shorts or jeans, depending on the time of year, with some light, comfortable sneakers since I’m on my feet all day and doing lots of walking. I definitely make sure to have my earplugs and a dust mask since it’s usually very noisy and gets dusty.

How has your job changed over the course of the pandemic?

It seemed like when Covid was still fresh, work began to slow down a little bit. I think some people were uncomfortable with others coming into their homes unless it was completely necessary, and on occasion a homeowner would ask that I wear a mask. I was usually wearing one all day anyway due to the dust. As Covid became a part of everyday life, work seemed to pick back up.

What do you wish you’d known at the beginning of your career?

To work smarter, not harder, and to actively practice self-care on my body.

What do you wish other people knew about your job?

I wish people knew how involved refinishing a floor is, how physically taxing it is, how expensive materials and equipment are and that whether they want a small room refinished or a whole house, the same amount of equipment is required.

What was the first job you ever had?

The first job I ever had was sanding and refinishing with my family. My first real job on the books was as a kennel assistant at Handle With Care Veterinary Hospital in Derry.

What’s the best piece of work-related advice you’ve ever received?

To fix whatever errors I see in the floor before the finish starts going down. If you don’t, it becomes much more difficult and time-consuming to fix after. That, and to just do what I know how to do and don’t overthink it.

Five favorites

Favorite book:
Meditations by Marcus Aurelius
Favorite movie: Dumb and Dumber
Favorite music: I’m big on electronic, but also enjoy classical and country.
Favorite food: Venezuelan, Italian and Chinese
Favorite thing about NH: Scenery. I’ve always loved forests, mountains and countryside.

Featured photo: Dan Auditore. Courtesy photo.

Holiday gifts for the gardener

Tools, books and other ideas for the grower in your life

By Henry Homeyer


First on my list for holiday gifts for the gardener is this: a subscription to this newspaper. Our local papers need subscribers in order to deliver to you the news you want but cannot get online. Yes, local news, gardening tips that fit your climate, obituaries and more. If your loved ones do not have subscriptions, think about giving one.

Next, since most of us really need very little, think about a donation to a nonprofit in your loved one’s honor. One of my favorites is a nonprofit that for decades has nurtured orphan bear cubs, the Kilham Bear Center in Lyme, New Hampshire. The Center this year is nurturing and caring for more than 100 baby bears whose mothers have been killed by cars or hunters and who would otherwise not survive. The Center has more than 19 acres of fenced forest for the bears, and serves Vermont, New Hampshire and Massachusetts. You can donate to The Kilham Bear Center at PO Box 37, Lyme, NH 03768, or go online to kilhambearcenter.org. Online there are photos and videos of the bears. Visiting is not possible, as they want the bears to have as little contact with humans as possible because their goal is to return all to the wild where they avoid humans.

Other nonprofits I like include The Native Plant Trust, the Audubon Society and the Nature Conservancy. As a supporter I get the Nature Conservancy magazine and I never cease to be amazed at all the good projects they initiate or support. And of course most states have nice nonprofits supporting public gardens and wildlife areas that need our support.

Along with new products I like, each year I have to mention a few old favorites. The CobraHead Weeder is a simple, well-made tool that virtually all gardeners love once they’ve tried it. Shaped like a curved steel finger, it will get under weeds or flowers to lift them from the earth. I use it for planting as well as weeding. It’s found at most garden centers or online at cobrahead.com for about $30. They now have a version for smaller hands and a long-handled weeder as well.

Books are a great present. I usually mention author Michael Dirr, my favorite expert on trees and shrubs. All his books are well-researched, complete and opinionated. My favorite is his classic, the Manual of Woody Landscape Plants: their Identification, Ornamental Characteristics, Culture, Propagation and Uses.

Another classic is Barbara Damrosch’s The Garden Primer. This book is a good reference on almost anything a gardener would wish to know. And at under $20 in paperback, it is great value for an 800-page book. More reliable than many of the online experts, I dare say.

Lastly, a pair of books that work well together. First, Doug Tallamy’s Nature’s Best Hope: A New Approach to Conservation That Starts in Your Yard. This explains in readable layman’s terms why what we select for our gardens impacts birds and pollinators.

A good companion to Tallamy’s books is Essential Native Trees and Shrubs for the Eastern United States by Tony Dove and Ginger Woolridge. This book supplies all you need to know for selecting the right trees and shrubs for your land to support wildlife.

But on to other needs of gardeners. Consider a small electric chainsaw. They are safer, quieter and easier to start and to use than gas-powered ones. I have a DeWalt DCCS620 chainsaw that has a 20-volt battery and a 12-inch bar and weighs just 9 pounds. It’s great for cutting up downed branches, removing small trees and more. Available locally at $250 or less.

For gardeners who start seeds indoors each spring, there is an alternative to all those flimsy plastic six-packs. You can buy a metal soil blocker that you can use to make small cubes of a soil mix for your seeds. Available from Johnny’s Seeds or Gardener’s Supply, about $40.

Another great product for starting seedlings is electric heat mats. These sit under flats of seeds planted indoors, providing heat that speeds up the germination process. They are available in two sizes — enough for one flat or a big one for four or more flats. Great for things that take a long time to germinate.

For stocking stuffers I like seed packets. Give your loved ones seeds of less common vegetables and flowers that they might not find at the plant nursery. Garden gloves are great gifts, we all use them in spring and fall, and some people use them all summer, too.

Lastly, my wife, Cindy, swears by a natural bug repellent made in New Hampshire, White Mountain Deet-Free Insect Repellent (whitemountaininsectrepellent.com). It doesn’t take much of this stuff to keep away black flies, she says. It comes in a 4-ounce bottle of all-natural ingredients (no fillers) for $15 plus shipping. Great stocking stuffer.

Use your imagination. There are so many nice things a gardener will appreciate, including your own time promised for weeding in the spring!

Featured photo: Consider a donation to a good nonprofit like the Kilham Bear Center. Photo by Henry Homeyer.

Treasure Hunt 22/12/08

We have inherited this fish. It belonged to my uncle, who had many stuffed fish. Are there local collectors for such items?

My husband and I thought we might like them in our home. They are not working for us.

Thank you for any information you can share with us.


Dear Cathy,

Your taxidermy fish looks like a bass. And I would say yes to at least this one and probably all of your uncle’s fish. The condition of each one will determine the value.

When it comes to collecting anything related to fishing — fish, poles, reels, etc. — there is a strong collector’s market. Some taxidermy fish can bring into the four-digit range along with related items.

First thing I would do, Cathy, is bring them either to a sportsman’s store or antique shop. This is to determine the condition of each and identify them.

After getting as much information as possible, they should be able to come up with an approximate value for you. They might even be your buyer. Taking the time, Cathy, will be worth it. Your bass is in the range of $100 in good condition. Some could even be higher. I hope I helped and your inherited fish bring you a treasure.

Kiddie Pool 22/12/08

Family fun for the weekend

The big guy

It’s a bird, it’s a plane … it’s Santa Claus in a helicopter: Santa Claus will helicopter in to the Aviation Museum of New Hampshire (27 Navigator Road in Londonderry; aviationmuseumofnh.org, 669-4820) on Saturday, Dec. 10, at 11 a.m. Plan to get to the museum by 10:45 a.m. to park and see the landing, according to a press release. Santa will talk to kids (who will receive goodie bags) until 1 p.m., when he will depart by fire truck, the release said. The museum will be open and free to visitors on Saturday, Dec. 10, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The museum’s holiday exhibit, “Holiday Festival of Toy Planes and Model Aircraft,” which features more than 2,000 aviation-related toys, games and other items, will also open on Dec. 10. The exhibit will feature a “12 Planes of Christmas” scavenger hunt, the release said. The museum is open Fridays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sundays from 1 to 4 p.m. Admission costs $10 for ages 13 and up, $5 for ages 6 to 12, and is free for ages 5 and under, seniors and veterans/active military.

Find more places where kids can talk to Santa and enjoy other holiday amusements in our Holiday Guide issue (Nov. 24); the e-edition is available at hippopress.com (toward the bottom of the homepage). This weekend you can also find the big guy at breakfast at the Milford Town Hall (1 Union Sq.) on Saturday, Dec. 10, from 8:30 to 10 a.m. Breakfast will be pancakes and sausages. Price is $9 per person; children ages 2 and younger eat free. Visit milfordnh.recdesk.com and to reserve a spot.

Relax while they play

• Leave your kids with the child care staff at the YMCA of Greater Londonderry (206 Rockingham Road in Londonderry) for Kids Night at the Y on Saturday, Dec. 10, from 3 to 8 p.m. The event, open to kids ages 4 to 12, will feature holiday-themed crafts and games for the kids as well as a pizza dinner, according to the YMCA. The program costs $45 for one child and $40 for each additional sibling. Visit bit.ly/ygl-kids-nights to register in advance.


• Turning Pointe Center of Dance presents The Nutcracker on Saturday, Dec. 10, at 2 p.m. at the Concord City Auditorium (2 Prince St. in Concord). Tickets cost $20. Visit turningpointecenterofdance.com.

• Dance Visions Network presents The Nutcracker Suite Acts I & II on Sunday, Dec. 11, at 12:30 and 5 p.m. at the Dana Center (Saint Anselm College, 100 Saint Anselm Drive, Manchester). Tickets cost $22 plus a $4 surcharge. Visit anselm.edu/dana-center-humanities.

Special screenings

• Chunky’s Cinema Pubs (707 Huse Road, Manchester; 151 Coliseum Ave., Nashua; 150 Bridge St., Pelham, chunkys. com) will screen The Polar Express (G, 2004) at all three locations Friday, Dec. 9, through Thursday, Dec. 15, with multiple daily screenings Friday through Sunday and one 5:30 p.m. screening Monday through Thursday. Kids get a golden ticket when entering the theater and there is a surprise during the hot chocolate scene, according to the website. On Friday, Dec. 9, the 4 p.m. screening is a sensory-friendly screening with house lights slightly brighter and the movie volume turned down, the website said.

Gift of adventures

This year, give kids the gift of activities, adventures and experiences.


For the holidays, give a gift to kids that allows them to explore art, nature and science through museum passes, activity gift cards, movie tickets and more.

Michael Accomando, the owner of Mel’s Funway Park, said that even though Mel’s is closed until the spring, they are still selling gift cards and Fun Packs (which include admission for all activities at the park) for the upcoming season. To Accomando, giving activities to kids is important.

“I try to keep people as far away from sitting on their phones or screens,” Accomando said. “I want to see kids outside and having fun.”

Below are a list of some area venues that offer gift cards, passes and more for kids and families to enjoy.

Altitude Trampoline Park (360 Daniel Webster Hwy., Merrimack, altitudemerrimack.com, 261-3673) Gift cards can be requested through the website. An average jump session starts at $20 and there are multiple session passes available for purchase at the park.

Aviation Museum of New Hampshire (27 Navigator Road, Londonderry, 669-4820, nhahs.org) Membership for the full year includes a 10 percent discount in the Museum gift shop, borrowing privileges from the Slusser Aviation Lending Library, an invitation to quarterly luncheon programs and all Aviation Museum of New Hampshire events, and a subscription to the quarterly newsletter The Aeronaut. Individual membership costs $35, with family membership costing $70. Memberships can be purchased online.

Children’s Museum of New Hampshire (6 Washington St., Dover, childrens-museum.org, 742-2002) The museum is offering gift cards that are one playtime pass for $12.50 for an adult and one child. A yearlong membership costs $145 per family.

Chunky’s (707 Huse Road, Manchester, 206-3888; 151 Coliseum Ave., Nashua, 880-8055; 150 Bridge St., Pelham, 635-7499; chunkys.com) The movie theater offers physical and printable gift cards ranging from $10 to $100 and an anytime movie pass for $8. There are also gift boxes starting at $22, such as the one that includes a $10 gift card, one prepaid admission and one prepaid popcorn coupon.

Cowabungas (725 Huse Road, Manchester, cowabungas.com, 935-9659) The playground offers gift cards in any amount that can be purchased on its website.

Crotched Mountain (615 Francestown Road, Bennington, crotchedmtn.com, 588-3668) Day lift passes start at $64 for youth ages 7 to 17.

Fun City Trampoline Park (553 Mast Road, Goffstown, funcitygoffstown.com, 606-8807)Gift cards can be purchased at the park. Jump times start at $10 for toddlers ages 6 and younger or $16 for children ages older than 6. There is a VIP pass available online that includes two hours of fun, with a 60-minute jump time, laser tag and bumper cars. Pricing for children older than 6 is $30, $18 for toddlers.

Granite Base Camp (300 Bloudin Road in Manchester; experiencebasecamp.org/pages/granite, 623-5962) offers annual family members (at $150 for four passes per weekend and $200 for six) or get a day pass for $20 per person. During Saturdays in winter, Granite Base Camp has ice skating, ice fishing, snow shoeing, indoor archery, STEM programs and more.

Krazy Kids (60 Sheep Davis Road, Pembroke, krazykids.com, 228-7529) Gift cards start at $25 and a two-hour play session costs $15 for a child and an additional $5 for an accompanying adult.

McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center (2 Institute Dr., Concord, starhop.com, 271-7827) The Center features different levels of memberships that can be purchased online. Base level membership includes free admission to exhibit halls, free admission to the monthly Super Stellar Fridays series, free admission to regular planetarium shows, free or reduced admission to science centers that are part of the Association of Science-Technology Centers (ASTC) reciprocal program, free admission to partner museums and attractions, discounts on Discovery Center workshops and programs, and discounts at the Science Store. Membership for students ages 18 and under start at $30.

McIntyre Ski Area (50 Chalet Way, Manchester, mcintyreskiarea.com, 622-6159) They offer everything from day lifts to season passes available to purchase on the website. Prices range from $20 to $389. Gift cards are also available starting at $10.

Mel’s Funway Park (454 Charles Bancroft Hwy., Litchfield, melsfunwaypark.com, 424-2292)Email info@melsfunwaypark.com or call to purchase gift cards or a Funway fun pack. Packs start at $38 per person and include a go-kart ride, a round of mini golf, a laser tag session, a bumper boat ride, two admissions to the laser maze and five batting cage tokens.

Muse Paintbar (42 Hanover St., Manchester, musepaintbar.com, 888-607-6873, musepaintbar.com) The studio is offering gift cards that can be purchased online. The starting price for a gift card is $25 and sessions start at $35.

O’neil Cinemas (24 Calef Hwy., Epping, oneilcinemas.com, 679-3529) The movie theater offers gift cards from $5 to $100. Gift cards can be purchased online or in the cinema.

Pats Peak (686 Flanders Road, Henniker, patspeak.com, 428-3245) Gift cards start at $20, and a lift pass for juniors costs $82.

SEE Science Center (200 Bedford St., Manchester, see-sciencecenter.org, 669-0400) Individual membership costs $30, membership for a family of four costs $120, for a family of up to eight is $150. Gift certificates can be purchased by calling the center’s phone number.

Studio 550 (550 Elm St., Manchester, 550arts.com, 232-5597) The clay studio offers classes in drawing or clay work for students ages 9 and older during the school semesters and a pottery camp over summer vacation. Gift cards (made out of clay) are available and range from $10 to $300.

Vertical Dreams (250 Commercial St., Manchester, verticaldreams.com, 625-6919) The rock climbing gym has gift cards starting at $25 that can be purchased online. A beginner lesson package costs $40 and a day pass costs $15 for children. Memberships for children start at one month for $45.

XtremeCraze (4 Orchard View Dr., Unit 10, Londonderry, xtremecraze.us/londonderry, 404-6064) Pricing starts at $18.

Featured photo: The Aviation Museum of N.H.’s annual ‘Holiday Festival of Model Planes and Toy Aircraft.’ Courtesy photo.

Wishing you a Merry Christmas

Two local productions bring holiday classics to the stage

By Mya Blanchard


Two Christmas classics will be brought to the stage this holiday season with the Majestic Theatre’s production of The Best Christmas Pageant Ever and Peacock Players’ A Charlie Brown Christmas.

The production of The Best Christmas Pageant Ever will run at the Derry Opera House from Friday, Dec. 9, through Sunday, Dec. 11, while A Charlie Brown Christmas is happening the following weekend at the Janice Streeter Theatre in Nashua from Friday, Dec. 16, through Sunday, Dec. 18.

Originally a book published in the 1970s by Barbara Robinson, The Best Christmas Pageant Ever puts a musical spin on a classic story.

“[The story] centers around the Bradley family, who is … a typical suburban churchgoing family … getting ready for the Christmas season. … The mother, Grace Bradley, ends up in charge of directing the church’s annual Christmas pageant,” said Katie Gifford, the director of the show. “The town bully children, [the Herdmans] … show up at church [and] demand to be a part of the Christmas pageant.”

This is something that Helen Armstrong, the usual director of the pageant, is very unhappy with.

“She’s quite the control freak. … She’s trying to control the whole show [from her hospital bed],” said Bethany Layne, who plays the part of Helen.

By the end of the play, Helen and the rest of the characters eventually come around to the Herdman children.

“The Herdmans put their own take on the classic Christmas story, which ends up being even more endearing than the traditional Christmas story,” Gifford said. “They’re the ones who end up teaching the town the true meaning of Christmas. It’s just a really heartwarming story.”

Peacock Players will bring Charles Schulz’s 1965 classic Christmas special to life with their production of A Charlie Brown Christmas.

“If anybody’s ever seen the holiday special, it’s basically just like that,” said Kendall Toupin, who plays the role of Snoopy. “At Peacock Players we are adding on the actual Christmas pageant [scene]. [Snoopy] gets to be all the animals in the Christmas play and that’s very exciting for him.”

Being a nostalgic classic that is sentimental to many, this is a show that is sure to spread holiday cheer and get everyone in the Christmas spirit.

“Audiences will love this show because it is just so wholesome,” Elle Millar, the show’s director, said in an email. “It has a lovely sense of nostalgia and warmth that is so fun for this season.”

Featured photo: From The Best Christmas Pageant Ever: Jonathan Kaplan as “Bob,” Suzy Denu as “Grace” and Gavin Abbott as “Charlie.” Photo by Matthew Morin.

The Art Roundup 22/12/08

The latest from NH’s theater, arts and literary communities

The next generation of actors: The Palace Youth Theatre (Palace Youth Theatre at Forever Emma Studios, 516 Pine St. in Manchester; palacetheatre.org/pyt) has a lineup of classes this winter and for 2023 vacation camps. Classes that run in January and February include stage makeup (for grades 5 to 12), teen improv (grades 10 to 12), improv and acting games (grades 2 to 5, and grades 6 to 9) and mini-camp: musical edition (grades 2 to 6). The winter vacation camp (Feb. 27 through March 3) will perform Sleeping Beauty and the spring vacation camp (April 24 through April 28) will perform Pinocchio. Registration is open now.

Not a fragment of underdone potato: Ebenzer Scrooge continues to be haunted by three ghosts at the Palace Theatre (80 Hanover St. in Manchester; palacetheatre.org, 668-5588) this weekend, with shows of A Christmas Carol Thursday, Dec. 8, through Sunday, Dec. 11 (7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Friday and Saturday as well as 2 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday; the show runs through Friday, Dec. 23).

The Hatbox Theatre (270 Loudon Road in Concord; hatboxnh.com) also continues its Dickens’ A Christmas Carol this weekend with shows Friday, Dec. 9, and Saturday, Dec. 10, at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 11, at 2 p.m. The production runs through Sunday, Dec. 18.

Other productions offering up the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Yet to Come this weekend include the New Hampshire Theatre Project, which presents a one-woman theatrical performance of A Christmas Carolby Jennifer Munro at the West End Studio Theatre (959 Islington St. in Portsmouth; nhtheatreproject.org), with showtimes on Friday, Dec. 9, and Saturday, Dec. 10, at 8 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 11, at 2 p.m. Tickets cost $30 for adults and $26 for students, seniors and veterans, with a livestream option also available for $20. The Rochester Opera House (31 Wakefield St., Rochester; rochesteroperahouse.com) presents A Christmas Carolfrom Dec. 9 through Dec. 17, with showtimes on Thursday and Friday at 7:30 p.m., Saturday at 2 and 7:30 p.m., and Sunday at 5 p.m. Tickets range from $22 to 28. The Garrison Players present Inspecting Carol, a riff on A Christmas Carol that features that play within a play about a theater company seeking grant funds,at the Garrison Players Arts Center (449 Roberts Road in Rollinsford; garrisonplayers.org) Dec. 9 through Dec. 18, with showtimes on Friday at 7:30 p.m., Saturday at 2 and 7:30 p.m., and Sunday at 2 p.m. Tickets cost $15 for students and $20 for adults.

Made by you
Twiggs Gallery (254 King St. in Boscawen; twiggsgallery.org, 975-0015) is holding a free make & take holiday ornament craft this Saturday, Dec. 10, from 1 to 3 p.m. Mixed media artist Shela Cunningham will have the materials to help make and embellish an ornament, according to a press release, which said the activity is family-friendly.

A joyful noise: The Souhegan Valley Chorus (souheganvalleychorus.org) performs its holiday concert, “Sharing Christmas Joy,” on Saturday, Dec. 10, at 7 p.m. at First Congregational Church (10 Union St., Milford). Tickets cost $18 for adults and $15 for students and seniors and are free for children ages 12 and under.

The Manchester Choral Society and Orchestra presents its holiday concert on Saturday, Dec. 10, at 7 p.m. at Ste. Marie Parish (378 Notre Dame Ave., Manchester), and on Sunday, Dec. 11, at 4 p.m. at Manchester High School Central (535 Beech St., Manchester). Tickets cost $30 for adults and $25 for seniors and are free for children. Visit mcsnh.org.

The New Hampshire Gay Men’s Chorus wraps up its holiday concert series, “Suddenly Silver Bells,” with shows Saturday, Dec. 10, at 7:30 p.m. at The Park Theatre (19 Main St., Jaffrey) and Sunday, Dec. 11, at 4 p.m. at The Derryfield School (2108 River Road, Manchester). Tickets cost $20 for adults; admission is free for children ages 12 and under. See nhgmc.com.

The Granite Statesmen will perform at Pinkerton Academy’s Stockbridge Theatre on Sunday, Dec. 11, at 2 p.m. Tickets are $30 for adults, $20 for seniors and $10 for kids.

The Canterbury Singers will sing holiday Shaker songs at the Canterbury Shaker Village (288 Shaker Road in Canterbury; shakers.org) on Sunday, Dec. 11, from 4 to 5 p.m. Donations will be accepted.

The pops: The Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra performs its Holiday Pops concert at the SNHU Arena (555 Elm St. in Manchester; snhuarena.com) on Saturday, Dec. 10, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets start at $55.

Symphony NH performs its Holiday Pops concerts on Saturday, Dec. 10, at 7:30 p.m. at Keefe Center for the Arts (117 Elm St. in Nashua), and on Sunday, Dec. 11, at 3 p.m. at Concord City Auditorium (2 Prince St. in Concord). Tickets are free for youth under age 12 and start at $10 for students, $18 for seniors age 65 and up and $20 for adults. Visit symphonynh.org

Craft & art fairs

More fairs and art shows offer shopportunities this weekend. Know of any coming up? Let me know at adiaz@hippopress.com.

• Main Street Art (75 Main St. in Newfields; mainstreetart.org) will hold a reception for their annual “Holiday Small Works Show” on Thursday, Dec. 8, from 4 to 7 p.m. Additional gallery days are Wednesdays, Dec. 14 and Dec. 21, from noon to 3 p.m.

• The Great Holiday Shopping Extravaganza is being hosted by The Great New England Craft and Artisan Shows at the Hampshire Dome (34 Emerson Road in Milford) on Friday, Dec. 9, from 5 to 9 p.m. and Saturday, Dec. 10, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Visit gnecraftartisanshows.com.

Bishop Brady High School (25 Columbus Ave. in Concord; bishopbrady.edu) will hold its Craft Fair on Saturday, Dec. 10, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

• The Holly Jolly Craft Fair will bring more than 75 artisans to the DoubleTree Hilton (2 Somerset Plaza in Nashua) on Saturday, Dec. 10, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Admission is free. See joycescraftshows.com.

• The Canterbury Community Farmers Market Association (canterburyfarmersmarket. com) will hold a market with food, fine arts and more on Saturday, Dec. 10, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. inside the gymnasium of Canterbury Elementary School (15 Baptist Road).

• The Holiday Food & Arts Market focus this Saturday, Dec. 10, at the YMCA Allard Center of Goffstown (116 Goffstown Back Road) is “Holiday Hodge Podge” with assorted festive crafts, according to a post on the YMCA’s Facebook page. The fair runs from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

• The New Hampshire Audubon’s Holiday Craft Fair will take place on Saturday, Dec. 10, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the NH Audubon McLane Center (84 Silk Farm Road in Concord; haudubon.org). The fair will feature local handmade crafts and other products and the food truck The Spot To Go, which serves Puerto Rican street food.

• The annual Hudson Holiday Fair will take place at Dr. H.O. Smith Elementary School (33 School St. in Hudson) on Saturday, Dec. 10, from 11 to 4 p.m. and feature pictures with Santa and the Grinch as well as crafters and vendors, according to an event Facebook post.

• The Wrong Brain Holidaze Bizaare (facebook.com/wrongbrain) will take place Saturday, Dec. 10, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Millspace (55 Main St. in Newmarket) featuring artwork and artisan crafted items: “We aim to bring the strange, unconventional, underground, and alternative to the Seacoast, serving the fledgling and under-represented artists from our area and beyond,” according to the group’s Facebook page. Admission costs $1 and masks are required.

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