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Whee! The holiday season begins for me on December 1st (when I play the first Matt & Shannon Heaton “Fine Winter’s Night” concert of the year). In case you are also tucking into the Christmas season this week, here are a few harmonious gift ideas, for the music lovers in your life: 

1. CD plus something else:

Guys, I’m gonna start by hawking my own wares. But it’s because I really do love this Matt & Shannon Heaton “Fine Winter’s Night” CD. It’s a great collection of old and original carols–some gently sacred, some secular–to celebrate Christmas AND the winter landcape.

A couple of Christmas CDs and a candle makes a pretty swell gift. There are candles on the cover, after all.


If you’d prefer CD/Book option, Natalie Merchant’s “Leave Your Sleep” is a truly beautiful collection of kid songs that ANYBODY would enjoy. But it’s an especially inspired gift to give to people with little ones. Get the CD and also the companion book, which is illustrated by Barbara McClintock (she drew the classic called “The Mitten.”)


And Tuck Andress has the best Christmas album ever. “Hymns, Carols, and Songs about Snow” features jazzy guitar instrumental arrangements of holiday faves, done with such skill and taste. 

Tuck’s CD is the first disc we play on December 1st, and continue to enjoy it though January. It’s so, so great. And you could get a pad of paper and colored pencils to go along with it, since the cover features colorful drawings of Christmas trees…



Three words: LOCAL FOOD BASKET!!
Got three great local businesses? A coffee roaster? A micro brewery? A beekeeper neighbor? Why not pick up wares from your neighbors and assemble a basket or box of edible local goods. USEFUL!!! WELCOME!! PERFECT!!



Music books are great for musicians. My own First 50 is perfect for flute or fiddle players who want to dive into Irish music. Or if you don’t know your musician’s style, pick up a book of blank music manuscript paper (Moleskine has a little version… . or here’s a full page sized book of manuscript paper). And round out the gift with a fresh box of pencils (I love Blackwing pencils!!), and/or a metronome (here’s a basic metronome that I’d get.). This is a gift your favorite musician will (or should) use daily!

Visual artists can always use good paper, erasers…

Chefs can always use good olive oil and a good knife…

Or really, most humans would welcome reams of printer paper, scotch tape, stationery, and stamps, right? You get the idea. Outfit the creative people in your life with the nitty gritty stuff, so they can create!!



If you’ve got a favorite (hilarious?) shot, why not share it with your family on printed mugs, throw pillows, or calendars. Mildly cheesy, and definitely fabulous, sharing candid and posed moments is an intimate way to connect! Tons of outlets offer printing services. We’ve had good experiences with Canvas People and Vista Print



And finally, gifts that get your loved ones out in the world are classy and always welcome:

  • Piano lessons
  • Nutcracker tickets
  • Movie tickets (especially to a locally owned cinema!)
  • Gift certificate to a local restaurant
  • Admission for two to a museum
  • Or if money is a little tight, hand make a gift certificate to take a pal to a local museum or zoo, and find reduced fare library tickets! (For Boston guys, the Harvard Natural History Museum has free admission for Massachusetts residents on Sundays before noon!)


We’re all busy. Dreaming up great gifts for your family and friends CAN be fun. But sometimes it helps if somebody does a little dreaming for you. Hoping some of these ideas jump-start your creative process. Good luck!

Leap, Little Frog

a musician's musings on nesting, being creative, traveling, and parenting