- Rob Donnelly
The gift-giving season comes but once a year, and we are here for it. Though the consumer culture surrounding major holidays is relatively recent, the tradition of bestowing tokens on loved ones dates way back. Even the cavemen gave gifts: an interesting piece of bark or an animal tooth, perhaps, to show affection or strengthen a bond. Not that we’d recommend sticking either of those in a stocking today!
Instead, read on for a roundup of local gifts we can get behind, each paired with a potential perfect recipient. Many are made by Vermonters, available at indie stores across the state or both. Some are worth a pretty penny; others are a reminder that sometimes the best things in life are free (or at least cheap). And, since presents don’t need to be physical objects, we’ve included experiential gifts and charitable donations.
Many studies suggest that giving generates even more happiness than receiving. So here’s to bringing more joy to the world!
Relatives have tried to dress you and your twin alike since birth — something you jointly rebelled against in teenhood. But you'll make a serious exception for these made-in-Milan Maria La Rosa metallic silk socks, which literally give the wearer twinkle toes. Silver for you, gold for your sib, and you two are sure to have a hoppin' New Year's Eve together. No disco ball can compete. $52 at Rhoan in Winooski.
Your geography-loving tween is obsessed with Montpelier's new World Cow mural: a bovine bearing spots in the shape of continents. Send him Middlesex artist DJ Barry's message of kindness and unity — "We're all spots on the same cow" — via a World Cow shirt. Partial proceeds are donated to local charities. $20-27 at worldcow.earth.
For your best friend who's perpetually running late, a wristwatch is the obvious gift. But this Bering watch, with its ultra-slim Danish design and deep indigo tint, is a delightfully unexpected choice that will appeal to his sleek, utilitarian sense of style. It even has two inset calendar dials to help get him there on time. $175 from Tick Tock Jewelers in Burlington.
It's true what they say: Opposites attract. Among many other, more manageable differences, you like to stay awake reading into the wee hours, while your light-averse partner of a few months hits the hay at a bedtime more suitable for 4-year-olds. This Voyage Sleep Mask will keep the peace — and the relationship going. $23.95 at sondretravel.com, based in Burlington.
Your roomie spends her weekends marching in protest parades and volunteering for Planned Parenthood. Sure, an iron-on "Peace" or "Love" patch wouldn't be out of place on her cute denim jacket, but a snarky Dear Patriarchy Patch is more this activist's speed. That's what's up! $8 from Birdfolk Collective in Winooski and Waterbury.
Late street-fashion photographer Bill Cunningham famously said, "Fashion is the armor to survive the reality of everyday life." That explains your girlfriend's love of bold statement baubles. Burlington jeweler Jon Black's silver Carapace Cuff earrings are a little bit fierce and a lot up her alley. $175 from jonblackstudio.com.
In theory, your aunt is all about winter: warm scarves, sparkly tinsel, chestnuts roasting on an open fire. The Krimson Klover Back Bowl Mock Neck Pullover, a soft merino number featuring a sassy skier, is perfect for her — and anyone else who likes the aesthetics of skiing but would rather get plastered on eggnog than actually hit the slopes. $159 at Sudie's in Woodstock.
Food & Drink top
From bacon to cannabis, your brother is a connoisseur of all things smoked. So he'll dig a jar of smoked honey from Weybridge-based Bee the Change. Raw, unprocessed and untreated, the honey gets its unique flavor from Vermont meadows, as well as from smoked apple and blueberry wood. Even better, it's harvested from a solar field planted to support pollinators. Bzzz! $12 at beethechangehoney.com.
Your fiancée is a free spirit. Feed her sense of adventure with tickets to an upcoming Stonecutter Spirits Adventure Dinner (and a bottle of Adventure Whiskey for now), so that her eating and drinking can be as daring as the rest of her life. Dinners ($160) are announced at stonecutterspirits.com; whiskey costs $37.99 at Stonecutter Spirits in Middlebury, Highball Social in Burlington and liquor stores statewide.
Recently your nephew has taken to spending hours hunched over a mixing bowl, muttering about something called a "Genoese sponge." Is it insanity, or is it the life-changing magic of "The Great British Baking Show"? Encourage his pastry fever by gifting him with a coveted spot in a hands-on cooking workshop hosted by star baker and author Gesine Bullock-Prado (yes, she's related to Sandra) at Sugar Glider Kitchen in Hartford. $95, plus a booking fee.
Pizza is the base of your bestie's food pyramid — but, weirdly, she's a fork-and-knifer. Sorry, but dragging cheese and toppings right off a flatbread is barbaric behavior that simply cannot be tolerated! Her gift will be a MiLuna Personal Pizza Cutter, invented in Westford. $29.95 at milunacutter.com, as well as in stores such as Homeport and Kiss the Cook in Burlington.
Since moving into her first apartment a couple of months ago, your college-age daughter has been surviving on nachos. Encourage her to hone some kitchen skills with a copy of All About Dinner: Simple Meals, Expert Advice, by Vermont author Molly Stevens. The cookbook features easy, everyday favorites full of flavor and, more importantly, nutrients. $40 at Northshire Bookstore in Manchester Center, as well as at indie bookstores statewide.
This giving season, gift food to neighbors in need by supporting the Barber Farm in Jericho. Since 2009, the farm has grown organic produce for hungry Vermonters; in 2018, it donated 36,000 pounds of food through partnerships with local food shelves and gleaning organizations. Your donation to barberfarm.org will help purchase seed and soil supplements. Come warmer weather, you can also help with your hands as a volunteer.
Your uncle has been banned from entering the kitchen when there's food on the stove, because one year he took it upon himself to season the gravy. His intentions were good, but his idea of a snack is a raw ghost pepper. As a result of his doctoring, nobody could speak for the rest of the night. Give him a Three Amigos Gift Box of hot sauces so he can turn up the heat — on his own food! — to his heart's content. $29.95 from Vermont Maple Sriracha in Rutland.
Arts & Entertainment top
In the dictionary under "social butterfly," there's a photo of your friend Hawa. Vermont artist Hilary Ann Love Glass' gorgeous 2020 calendar — featuring another winged wonder, birds — will help her organize her busy life. And when the year's over, she can cut it up and frame the art. $25 at hilaryannloveglass.com, as well as in stores such as Trinket in Burlington, Northwood Gallery in Stowe and Artisans Hand Craft Gallery in Montpelier.
Weary of fratty, ho-hum beer games like Flip Cup and Civil War? Nudge your drinking buddy to expand his horizons with a handmade wooden cribbage board in the shape of Vermont. If he can't figure out the rules, he'll probably have just as much fun making up his own. $28 from Maple Landmark in Middlebury.
Lately, your twentysomething daughter has been too busy adulting to spend time at her easel, which used to be her go-to form of self-expression. Encourage her to reconnect with her artistic side with a stunning ceramic paint palette by Vermont-based Sugarhouse Ceramic Co. While you're at it, pick up a handmade maple twig paintbrush — yes, it looks like an actual twig! — to remind her of home. $58 and $8, respectively, at sugarhouseceramicco.com.
Trivia nights, crossword puzzles, Scrabble marathons — it's all pun and games as far as your dad is concerned. He'll be endlessly entertained by the rebus puzzles in Vermonter Jory Raphael's book Goes Without Saying, a collection of idioms and pop-culture references presented in simple visual icons that must be deciphered. $15.99 at the Vermont Book Shop in Middlebury, as well as at indie bookstores statewide.
Know a chronic doodler who should have the opportunity to hone her skills? Sponsor the aspiring illustrator in your life with a Burlington City Arts class gift certificate — and consider throwing in a little extra to help BCA's scholarship program, which supports tuition for less privileged young artists. Amounts vary at burlingtoncityarts.org.
Your next-door neighbor should have their own comedy special. Every time you see them, they let loose a hilarious and incisive stream-of-consciousness commentary on everyday life, from relationships to yard work to parenting. Someone get this person a microphone already! A standup class at Vermont Comedy Club in Burlington might just propel them to stardom. Gift cards start at $25.
When you were a kid, your grandmother introduced you to MGM's "aquamusicals" of the 1940s; the two of you were mesmerized by the synchronized swimming and diving. To recapture that magic, treat her to a February 9 performance of Viva MOMIX. There's no water, but the athletic dancer-illusionists stage what the Wall Street Journal calls "an exhilarating showcase of marvels," and it's sure to blow your damn minds. $25-60 at the Flynn MainStage in Burlington.
Outdoors & Rec top
There's something about a waxed-canvas accessory that makes an ordinary errand feel like a Shackleton expedition, minus the frostbite and scurvy. The Red House Day Pack, handmade in Vermont, is perfect for your intrepid girlfriend who also enjoys looking fly AF. $198 at redhousevt.com and Common Deer in Burlington.
Bye-bye, bunny hill. Your daring daughter is movin' on up the mountain slope, and she'll need a new board for these alpine adventures. The Girls' Yeasayer Smalls Flat Top Snowboard offers stability, snap and style. She'll say yea to that! $279.95 at Burton Snowboards in Burlington.
Barbecue might as well be your dad's middle name, and he's built up the backyard around his grilling oasis. Expand his repertoire — and test his MacGyver tendencies — with a build-it-yourself wood-fired oven kit. Admittedly, this gift is a bit selfish; you plan to enjoy the cheesy, crispy, bubble-crusted results just as much as he will. Prices vary at Vermont Woodfired Ovens in Alburgh.
Rugged adventures are right up your niece's alley — but so is lounging around with a good book. Eno's ultralight camping hammocks are sturdy enough to support both of her favorite pastimes, indoors and out. (They're also ideal for rambunctious small children who enjoy testing the limits of centrifugal force.) $69.95 at Outdoor Gear Exchange in Burlington.
Your aunt and uncle are completely obsessed with Doctor Zhivago, but their suburban lives present them with tragically few opportunities to dress up in ankle-length mink coats and fox earmuffs. An evening dogsled ride at Umiak Outdoor Outfitters in Stowe will give them a chance to indulge their love of Siberian cosplay while soaking in the winter wonderland. $150 for a 30-minute excursion.
You've been impatiently waiting for the holidays to roll around, mostly so you have an excuse to gift a reusable coffee mug to your nice, outdoors-loving coworker who annoyingly still uses throwaway cups for his daily java. The Hydro Flask will keep hot drinks hot and cold drinks cold, whether he's at his desk or climbing a mountain — and it's waaaay friendlier to the environment. $27.95 at Skirack in Burlington.
Velociraptors are your kid nephew's spirit animal. They're extinct, but you can still help him support education, research and wildlife rehabilitation of modern raptors through the Adopt a Raptor program at the Vermont Institute of Natural Science in Quechee. Sponsor one of the center's avian ambassadors, like this majestic peregrine falcon named Fairlee. $30 to $500, or two for $50 holiday Super-Predator Variety Pack, at vinsrise.org.
A plant in a pot is just a thing your insanely busy neighbors will forget to water, but a plant in a glass enclosure is a work of art. Bring a bit of green into their lives with a Gazebo Tabletop Terrarium, a mini succulent oasis that requires minimal maintenance and makes any interior space eminently Instagrammable. $49.95 at Gardener's Supply in Burlington or Williston. Plants not included.
As a freshman, your little sis is required to live in a dorm. Between the stark white walls and the too-worn carpet in a distinct shade of "blah," her campus quarters could use some cozying up. Scent can transform a space, so gift her with Star Child's Spell Jars Incense in varieties such as Love, Winter Solstice and, yep, Unicorn. $11 at Rebel Heart in Montpelier.
You've finished your holiday shopping, but you still haven't found a gift for that one person who's impossibly hard to buy for. Know what they deserve? A Rocket Launcher Pencil Holder. It can be used for its intended purpose or to hold pre-rolled joints — whatever floats their boat. $24 on Etsy or at Pleasant Ranch in Winooski.
Your college roomie just got married, which means she now needs stupidly beautiful objects with practical purposes. This wheel-thrown-in-Vermont olive oil bottle, a neutral-toned vessel with an elegant, slender spout, elevates the act of lubricating a skillet to performance art. $95-145 at Farmhouse Pottery in Woodstock.
You suspect that your mother-in-law only enjoys hosting dinner parties as an excuse to trot out her amazing dishware collection. Did you just admit that? Whoops. A platter by Jeremy Ayers will make a minimalist-chic, geometrically pleasing backdrop for her bomb-ass roasted butternut squash, which is the real reason you visit her. Prices vary at Jeremy Ayers Pottery in Waterbury.
Since bingeing Marie Kondo's show, your husband has become obsessed with labeling, cleaning and organizing. So this year, you'll invite him to join you in volunteering at ReSOURCE, which works to alleviate poverty in the community by repairing and reselling household goods that otherwise would end up in the landfill. A win for your neighbors and the environment — not to mention an opportunity to spend meaningful time with your sweetie. Details at resourcevt.org.
Climate panic is real, and your best friend is feeling it big-time. This year, she ditched her car and went vegan; now, she's on a one-woman crusade to rid the world of plastic packaging. A Bee's Wrap Drying Rack, made in Middlebury from Vermont maple, is perfect for airing out her ever-expanding collection of reusable cloths and containers. $34 from beeswrap.com.
Some books are meant to be read aloud at bedtime; others are meant to be drooled over. Polanshek of the Hills, by Vermont illustrator extraordinaire Jess Polanshek, contains 165 pages of jaw-droppingly gorgeous drawings of foxes, bears and other fantastic beasts. Ideal for little animal lovers and Instagram moms alike. $35 at ofthehills.com.
Since dressing as a pirate for Halloween, your godchild can't get enough of those sea-faring scallywags. The little swashbuckler will love the silly sea shanties in Talk Like a Pirate, the latest album from Vermont's own Rockin' Ron the Friendly Pirate. Tracks include "Wigglely, Gigglely, Squigglely Squid" and "Duncan's Sunken Treasure." Hey, it's a break from "Mary Had a Little Lamb," right? $9.99 at rockinronthefriendlypirate.com.
Of course you want to foster your child's artistic tendencies, but you draw the line at large-format abstract-expressionist painting in the carpeted living room. Happily, Wildflowers Studio in Essex Junction is a destination for fun and free-form creativity. During open studio hours, youngsters commit random acts of art and tinkering — and somebody else cleans up the mess! $125 for a yearlong family membership.
Your BFF's kindergartner is a budding zookeeper: His bed is so covered in stuffed animals that there's barely room for him in it. Piss off his parents by adding to his collection with a menagerie of small plastic creatures, ranging from prehistoric to barnyard, from Woodbury Mountain Toys in Montpelier. (Caution: These critters may come alive at night.) Prices vary.
American politics are effed up, but your fourth grader still wants to be president one day. So sit down together and learn how government works with a copy of This Is What Democracy Looks Like: A Graphic Guide to Governance, a comic book from the Center for Cartoon Studies in White River Junction. Educational and fun to look at, the cartoons inspire active citizenship. Let's be honest, you could use a dose of that, too. $6 at cartoonstudies.org.
Mister Rogers is making a comeback, but it's Vermont's own "Mister Chris and Friends" that your young mentee is obsessed with. The locally produced children's TV program uses music, movement and "everyday adventures" to teach simple lessons about science, nature and emotions, and that's screen time you can get behind. To show your support, donate to vermontpbs.org.
If your sister and her partner were any more boho, they'd simply vanish in a puff of palo santo smoke. Now that they're going to be parents, they've become obsessed with feathering their nursery with the most woo-woo décor. A soft, tasseled bunting from Meadow Lane Macrame, hand-woven in the Champlain Islands, would make an excellent addition to the wall above their bundle of joy's crib. $55 on Etsy, or at Thirty-odd in Burlington.
Beauty & Body top
Uncle Rob is a mellow vegan masseur leading a generally new-agey lifestyle. (Family lore has it that he was in a wellness cult in the '70s, but you've never been able to get the real story out of him.) Healing crystals will enhance his energy work, and the pretty stones in quartz, amethyst, citrine and more will make for eye-catching décor in his home meditation studio. Under $20 at Emeraldrose Gifts in Bristol.
For all this talk about the holidays being merry and bright, they're actually secretly stressful for your mom, who hosts all the cousins and cooks the 12-course Christmas dinner. Slip her an early gift this year: Mood Elevating Bath & Body Oil, with aromatic essential oils and CBD, for lifted spirits and a sense of calm. Who doesn't need that these days? $18.95 from AroMed Aromatherapy in Montpelier or Berlin.
They say you can never be too rich or too tatted — at least according to your brother, who's gradually been turning his epidermis into a human-shaped Sol LeWitt canvas. Help him vanquish what few inches of blank surface area he has left with a gift card to Onyx Ink in Burlington. $80 and up.
Yogis often say that yoga is for everyone, but Sangha Studio in Burlington walks the walk. Its service classes include Living Recovery (for those recovering from substance-use disorder), Resilience Flow (for those affected by traumatic brain injury) and Chair Yoga (for those with limited mobility). A $5-a-month contribution will get you a Sangha heart pin — and the satisfaction of helping make a peaceful, healing practice accessible to all. Donate at sanghastudio.org.
Mom did cayenne-pepper juice cleanses long before Gwyneth Paltrow did, and her idea of excitement is a polar bear plunge before breakfast. Yerbary Master Tonic, a fire cider produced by a Charlotte-based company, has her name written all over it: The formula includes onions, garlic, horseradish root, ginger, turmeric, habañero and raw apple cider vinegar. (Gift it with some organic breath mints.) $16.99 for an eight-ounce bottle at City Market, Onion River Co-op in Burlington, or at yerbary.com
This year was monumentally exciting for you and your partner, but also kinda stressful: You bought a house, renovated the kitchen yourselves and adopted a rescue dog who's lovable as hell but very unchill. Time for an escape! Treat your sweetheart (and yourself) to a steamy romantic getaway with a two-hour private cabana reservation at WilloBurke Nordic Spa in East Burke. $190.
Your niece is obsessed with bath products, including glittery body washes that are probably 2 percent cleansing agent and 98 percent PCB. Help her clean up her beauty ritual with a bar of all-natural, minimally packaged Pacha Soap, made with organic coconut oil and other environmentally inoffensive ingredients. The proceeds support clean water initiatives, small-scale soap shops and sustainable ventures in developing countries. $4.59 from Healthy Living Market & Café in South Burlington.
Experiences & Classes top
In the SAD depths of winter, it's nice to be reminded that flowers will bloom again. That's why you'll sign up your bestie for a Bouquet CSA — it's like a vegetable CSA, but instead of broccoli or Brussels sprouts, she'll get 10 weeks of blossoms delivered to her door next summer. It's enough to get her through another nor'easter or two. $100 from Firefly Flowers in Colchester; details at fireflyflowersvt.com.
Your Florida cousin is flying in for New Year's and has demanded that you do all the winter things together. Top of your list? Ice skating on Lake Morey. The 4.5-mile outdoor loop is the longest skating trail in the U.S., and there's even live music and marshmallow roasting on select weekends. Pack an extra pair of mittens. $10 figure-skate rentals; details at lakemoreyresort.com.
When you and your sister shared a room as kids, her side was always a complete disaster, with socks strewn everywhere. Not much has changed, and the prospect of tackling her overflowing drawers gives her agita. Help her out with Create Space organizing services, a thoughtful, thorough cleanse for the chronically cluttered soul. $200; details at createspacevt.com.
This summer, your roommate took great care in cultivating his own cannabis. Since he always shares his homegrown stash, you'll even up by registering him for a Pipe Lesson at the Bern Gallery's Glass School. He'll be stoked to fire up a functional work of art with an expert glassblower — then pick up the finished piece and smoke it the very next day. $100 at the Bern Gallery in Burlington.
Sparks flew when you and your main squeeze first met. Bunsen burner sparks, that is — it was at lab class senior year. Never have two science nerds had more, uh, chemistry. So this holiday, spring for a date at the Fairbanks Museum & Planetarium in St. Johnsbury. There you can geek out over bug art, STEM exhibits and 19th-century taxidermy. Maybe you'll even kiss under a replica of the cosmos? $9 per adult, plus $6 for the planetarium.
Since moving to the NEK for work last year, you've become a regular at St. Johnsbury's Catamount Arts. A Family Membership will net you free film passes and popcorn — and, according to the cultural center's website, "Perhaps your contribution will provide a low-income grade-schooler her first thrilling experience with theater, or a rural community college student his first exposure to international music, or a senior citizen an afternoon spent spellbound by a live opera screening." $100 at catamountarts.org.
Your out-of-state brother-in-law gargles with hazy IPA and begs you to bring cases of Heady Topper whenever you visit him. When the fam comes to town for the holidays, take him on a Burlington Classic Brew Tour, which includes tastings of up to 15 kinds of local suds from Fiddlehead Brewing, Zero Gravity Craft Brewery and a bunch of others, plus a beer-pairing meal. $90; details at citybrewtours.com.
Listening & Reading top
A gold-foiled journal that looks like it belongs in an 18th-century library will bring out the writer in anyone, especially your bibliophile brother. This Peter Pauper Press notebook includes 192 blank pages and a gold ribbon marker. Lest all that feels intimidating, pair it with Calligraphuck's Fucking Brilliant pencils, inscribed with encouragements such as "Write that shit down." $15.99 and $12.95, respectively, at Phoenix Books in Burlington, Essex or Rutland.
There's nothing like simultaneously bingeing "The Handmaid's Tale" to bring two coworkers together. After each episode, you and your deskmate gossip about all things Gilead, analyzing every detail of the dystopian drama, from the foiled escape plans to the telling flashbacks. What will fill the void until next season? Only The Testaments, author Margaret Atwood's long-awaited sequel. $28.95 at Yankee Bookshop in Woodstock, as well as at indie bookstores statewide.
Your niece wants to play an instrument, but she can't decide among guitar, drums, bass, trumpet, flute or ukulele. Help her launch her high school band career with lessons at the Burlington Music Dojo, which start at $30 for 30-minute sessions. (And, for her parents, custom earplugs from Vermont Audiology in Montpelier will ease the pain of living with a learner. Prices vary.)
Avocado on a Stick. Glovetensils. The Pizza FannyPack. These are among the weirdly brilliant ideas of Vermonter Matt Benedetto, whose fake-product prototypes have gone viral. Your wannabe-inventor dad will be both inspired and tickled by 101 Unnecessary Inventions, a book full of imaginative creations that promise "to solve problems that don't exist." $21.95 at unnecessaryinventions.com.
Your grandfather is a major history buff, but he probably hasn't read The Volunteer: One Man, an Underground Army, and the Secret Mission to Destroy Auschwitz by Charlotte author Jack Fairweather. The book tells of a member of the Polish underground who, during World War II, volunteered to go into Auschwitz as a prisoner to report to the Allies on what was happening inside the death camp. (Spoiler alert: He survived.) The subject matter isn't exactly cheery, but the book reads like spy fiction and is meticulously researched. $28.99 at the Flying Pig Bookstore in Shelburne, as well as at indie bookstores statewide.
The office Yankee gift swap is fast approaching, and this year you'll give your coworkers something to vie over: Vermont singer Miriam Bernardo's stellar debut record, Songs From the Well. With songwriting from Anaïs Mitchell, Michael Chorney, Mark LeGrand and many other scene veterans, it's the biggest local album of the year. $25 vinyl or $14.98 CD at Buch Spieler Records in Montpelier.
Many, many things suck in this world, but indie bookstores aren't one of them. Your civically minded bestie can never acquire enough reading material, so why not sponsor her habit — and a local gem — with a Star Gazers Membership to the Galaxy Bookshop in Hardwick? For a yearly fee of $35, she'll get 10 percent off every book purchase, special deals and a say in what the store stocks. Read on!
Pets & Their Humans top
Recently your best friend developed a severe cat allergy and had to give up her beloved feline companion for adoption. The most amazing gift idea ever: a pillow silkscreened with a disconcertingly realistic image of an adorable snoozing kitten. May cause confusion and distress, but that's a small price to pay for insane, non-asthma-inducing cuteness. $33 at Common Deer in Burlington.
There's no question your canine is the queen of your castle. So why not feed her like royalty with Yabozi Royal Pet Bowls? This stylish set of food and water dishes — resembling red stilettos, because why not? — levels up mealtime and adds some hilarious flair to your kitchen décor. Heel, girl! $25 for the set at the Quirky Pet in Montpelier.
Sure, your pet-obsessed stepdad has socks with pictures of dogs on them — but do those pictures actually look like his own dog? Pet Food Warehouse in South Burlington and Shelburne stocks SockDaddy socks showcasing a stunning number of breeds, from terriers to pugs to labradoodles. Cat lovers, you're in luck, too. $8.99.
A dog, a cat and two guinea pigs at home mean you can't possibly bring home another animal — at least, that's what your husband tells you. Instead, sponsor a pet at the Central Vermont Humane Society in East Montpelier. The monetary gift will help support the care, medical services, grooming and training of furry friends. Donate at centralvermonthumane.org.
What's better than a chipmunk wearing a bow tie? A stuffed one filled with organic catnip, obviously. Your feline friend needs this thing. $3.99 at Fuzzu in Williston.
Your new girlfriend's pup is approximately 10 pounds of fluffy disobedience, but she won't hear a word against him. The solution to this relationship conundrum: a passive-aggressive gift of Puppy Preschool at Fetch the Leash in Burlington. Eventually, she might thank you. $190 for a six-week session.
Bruiser doesn't like to be cold, but he's also something of a clotheshorse — er, dog. Keep him warm and stylish in a flannel dog jacket, ideal for 5 a.m. pees when it's 10 below. You might even want a matching one for yourself. $33.80 at Vermont Flannel Company, multiple locations.