When it comes time to get your gift list together and strategize a game plan, you may encounter some tough scenarios. Often it’s the people we’re closest to who are the most difficult to buy for. To help, we’ve compiled a list of the most challenging people in your life, with a handy guide for the perfect holiday gift. Even better, it’s all local. Grandpa who do…

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The locale: This tiny Schoharie County village (pop. 558) is almost four hours east of Buffalo, so plan to explore nearby Catskill, Cobleskill, Cooperstown and Herkimer, too. The scoop: There’s nothing like a drive into Central New York’s small towns to realize how easily we overlook pockets of history, commerce and cuisine like Sharon Springs. A late fall trip will…

Just 222 steps from Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland, the world’s largest Christmas store, is the Silent Night Chapel, where nothing is for sale. Away from the hurly-burly of holiday commerce, the peaceful chapel in Frankenmuth, Mich., is a replica of the original church in Oberndorf, Austria, where “Silent Night” was composed in 1818. The lyrics to “Silent N…

Growing up in the New York City area and spending 25 years in New Jersey have contributed to my obsession for great pizza, which culminates in this month’s pizza-and-wine tasting. Of all the many delicious types, I still crave New York-style thin crust pizza the most. It brings back memories of being a kid in Westchester County. My Aunt Pat always ordered “tomato pi…

Food traditions bind us to family, but especially so during the holidays. Chefs of local restaurants are really no different. For them, November through New Year’s Eve often means working unbelievably long hours. Yet they still find time to celebrate. Here is some of the history that helped shape them. Mary Ann Giordano, chef and owner of Gigi’s Cucina Povera, sa…

Ten Thousand Villages 5596 Main St., Williamsville 810-9333| Tenthousandvillages.com A gift from Ten Thousand Villages can make a world of difference. Fair-trade handcrafted items help artisans earn income and empower them to build better lives. Not to mention the joy a recipient receives in getting a unique gift. Paella Dish, top ($90), Spice Jar Set, above ($32) …

There are a ton of great gifts for the culinary-inclined loves of your life. Of course one great option is a gift certificate to any one of our hot new local restaurants (take your pick!) — but here are some other ideas: Local grocery stores = awesome gifts Add a fun ingredient to a gift card from your recipient’s favorite grocery store. From olive oils, vinegars…

Matt Bindig asked his wife for 10 days of summer vacation. Ten days that he could have on his own, uninterrupted, to work on piecing together the narrative of what would become his first novel. Seven years later, “Nothing Here Is Real” was released. Bindig had been wrestling with the idea of writing the book since the early 2000s, and had stacks of notes and plot p…

By Sara Ali What is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word “refugee?” Polling data released by the USA for United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees found that the “public is largely unaware of the scope of the international refugee crisis and where the needs are greatest.” Although we often hear about the public’s opinion on refugees…

Between 2010 and 2014, Buffalo took in approximately 12,700 refugees, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Ninety percent of those who arrived since 2013 are from militant strongholds including Burma, Somalia, Iraq, Democratic Republic of the Congo and Bhutan. “If you walked out of the camp, you were arrested,” said Mya Ye, a refugee from Thailand who resettled here…

It’s the time of year when the days grow shorter and the to-do list gets longer. And as friends and family gather, it’s natural to want our homes to shine. In an already-busy/expensive season, consider easy-on-the-wallet, no-hassle displays to infuse your home with a welcome dose of holiday cheer. To achieve “dollar store chic,” look for affordable versions of t…

By Kimberly LaRussa We know how stressful it can be to find the perfect holiday outfit to wear to your company party or family get-together, so we took the leg work out of it for you. Buffalo Magazine visited four Buffalo clothing stores to create a must-have holiday ensemble: The red tulip dress from Anna Grace, 799 Elmwood Ave. Classy and sexy at the same time, thi…

The holidays are the most social time of the year, and you need to be on top of your game when it comes to making conversation. There can be some challenges, however, like when you ask your long-lost high school friend when the baby’s due (you know where we’re going with this one) or you get stuck in a corner with your neighbor’s boss’ wife, you’ve exhausted all …

Sprinkled cookies. Bedazzled sweaters. Pandora-served tunes by Nat King Cole, Bing Crosby and the Muppets. All are now expected at every holiday party, and all have helped solidify the standard expectation for what your planned gathering should look and sound like. Suggestion: this year, haul those expectations to the curb like a dead Christmas tree. Winter in Western …