Maybe I'm looking for a glass bottle to hold homemade wine (mom, you're not reading this until after Christmas, are you?) Or a mulling ball for hot cider ... or a Ray Charles LP with Betty Carter singing "Baby, it's cold outside" with a laugh in her voice.
And I'd like to find it here. Why? Because exploring is my job. Because I've just put together our annual gift guide at my desk while wishing for Berkshire Bloom cheese or Berkshire Blue or a look inside Rubiner's. (Look for the guide in Friday's paper.) Because I like getting out in the new snow. Because I like the smells of pine and chocolate and fresh bread and dairy cows.
Because I like serendipity.
Because I can find things here I can't find anywhere else.
And because I like thinking that the cards from Climbing Tree Farm with the duckling looking out of the boot top will help this farming family and make my aunt laugh at the same time. (Aunt Margaret, you're not reading this yet either, are you?)
But here's the rub: If I know what I'm looking for, and I want to find it locally, half the time I don't know where to find it.
Just try looking up "mulling spice ball in the Berkshires" online and see how many responses you get outside Williams-Sonoma. (Actually the first response you'll get is me from a year ago asking where to look. After that they go national.)
I'd love to see a website where I could look up this kind of thing. Imagine it: You enter an object (pine sachets or leatherwork or potholders) and the site gives you a list of possibilities. You enter a general category (chocolate, paintings, farm cheese) and it gives you a list of places that carry these things and people who make them.
You can search it by town too, or by kind of shop. You can ask questions, and a local shop that has what you're looking for can get on and answer you.
And you can give recommendations -- like Foodspotting -- take a photo with your iPhone of the Gould Farm store and post it, or olive oil in drums at Bizalion's or a wreath at Whitney's or Taft Farms or a grow-your-own upside-down tree-in-a-tin-can at the Mass MoCA gift shop.
Until I can get a local chamber or tech savvy elf to take me up on this ... I'll do the best I can.
Join us online!
Next Thursday, Dec. 19, from 1 to 2 p.m.
I'll run a live chat and blog to collect holiday ideas. Join in to share your favorite places, ask where to find what you're looking for, or let people know what you have to offer.
Find us at www.berkshiresweek.com.