Holiday shopping that’s easy, fun, and unique

 

Reimer’s Candies and Gifts
42375 Sierra Drive, Three Rivers 
Open Daily 10-6 p.m.
 
It’s difficult to imagine a Christmas or holiday season without a visit to Reimer’s. And though your first inclination might be to indulge a chocolate fetish, there is not a single person on any gift list that would not be elated with a gift from the Three Rivers confectionary institution.
 
And though Three Rivers might not be known as a manufacturing mecca, owners Lynn and Mary Anne Bretz operate their very own version of Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory popularized by the 1971 film of the same name. Gene Wilder portrayed Willy Wonka; the real-life character actor in Three Rivers is Lynn Bretz.
 
Each time-tested recipe of every scrumptious chocolate is made through the doors of the ice cream parlor on the northwest side of  the headquarters for holiday magic. 
 
But ‘tis also the time for those seasonal treats that make any holiday gathering extra special. The traditional stollen bread is crafted in the old-world way. Samples are always available in the candy shop as long as supplies last. 
 
The bread’s taste is difficult to describe — a fruit bread, it contains a unique blend of dried fruit, nuts, and spices (cardamom, cinnamon) and is covered in powdered sugar. Reimer’s version is a heavyweight in the field, and uneaten portions may be frozen and enjoyed later. 
 
There is also a marzipan stollen with a rich almond flavor. Either variety is a great gift choice. 
 
And while you are there be sure to enter the gift shop on the west side of the building. There are decorations for all faiths and however one chooses to celebrate the season. But it is St. Nicholas who presides over the festive gift shop in so many shapes, forms, and ornamental products. 
 
The Reimer’s gift shop must be seen to be believed. It is an unparalleled collection of holiday memorabilia, including decorations, ornaments, and thousands of gift items that help every shopper experience the mood and reason for the season.
 
Information: 561-4576.
 
 
Totem Market and Gifts 
45186 Sierra Drive, Three Rivers 
Open Monday-Wednesday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.; 
Thursday, 8 a.m.-6 p.m.;
Friday-Saturday, 8 a.m.-7 p.m.;
Sun: 8 a.m.-6 p.m.
 
The five-year transformation of Totem Market and Gifts under the ownership of Greg Lockhart is now complete and yet, according to Greg, every nook and cranny of the quaint tourist stop is a work in progress. On Thanksgiving Day, the handsome redwood tasting bar was elbow to elbow at 10 a.m. 
 
There were tourists from Ohio escaping the chores of camping at Potwisha, an enlisted woman on a solo trip from her Navy post in San Diego on too short of a leave to travel back east to be with her family, and also a mother and daughter from Pennsylvania in town to see the giant sequoias for the first time. All had at least one thing in common — giving thanks that the Totem was open with a couple of turkeys in the smoker where each of these itinerants could share some holiday spirit together.
 
That inviting, welcoming spirit is on tap daily at the Totem. During the holidays, it’s not only a great place to celebrate the season or grab just the right vintage of a Central Coast wine for the table at home, it’s a treasure trove of unique gifts, many with a mountain or Old West theme.
 
“Even though our customers love the beer and wine selections and deli and pizza, Totem’s gifts and souvenirs have remained the top sellers,” said owner Greg Lockhart. “Anything with a tree, bear, deer, or squirrel sells like hot cakes.”
 
Many items that adorn the walls and shelves of the shop look more like museum pieces than merchandise. That’s because they are unique to the local store, some handmade, and all specially selected to capture the essence of a visit to Sequoia National Park and the Kaweah Country experience.  
 
Come peruse the well-stocked shelves and while you do, taste a vintage wine or craft beer to make shopping local the best it can be. 
 
Information: 561-4810.
 
 
A la Mode
196 E. Pine Street, Exeter
Open Monday-Wednesday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.;
Thursday, 10 a.m.-9 p.m.;
Friday-Saturday,  10 a.m.-6 p.m.;
Sunday, noon-4 p.m.
 
Located on the corner of Pine and South E streets in downtown Exeter, A la Mode is an upscale boutique-style fashion lounge featuring unique gifts, shoes, clothing, and accessories. In fashion, the meaning of a la mode is derived from French parlance defined as updating, or adding something exquisite or luxuriant — in food it would be ice cream to pie or gravy instead of butter.
 
In this inviting, elegantly appointed shop, the owners have captured the translation of the essence of fashion. Here, the discriminating shopper adds the perfect accessory whether it be a pair of shoes, a handbag, a unique piece of jewelry, or just the right wrap that could complete any woman’s evening attire.
 
But, gentlemen, do not be intimidated by the selection.  The friendly staff will help you select the perfect gift.       
 
Information: 592-6570.

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