It’s A Wonderful Life

Litchfield County celebrates the Holiday season with shopping, parties, sleigh rides and more

There is something very special about Christmas in Connecticut and the season’s first dusting of snow. In December, the frozen landscape is a contrast to the jovial weekend gatherings and dinners, as we celebrate the holidays with friends and family. There are many events at this time of year, as well as unique resources for unusual and authentic gifts. I thought I’d share a few of my favorites.

> In New Preston, Pergola Home is a beautifully curated garden, gift and home accessories shop. Here you’ll find unique objects and plants including lush foxtail ferns in mossy pots and ceramic pears by Souby Boski. Her pears, which come in a number of glazes and are made by hand, make wonderful gifts, either one or as a group. Don’t miss the stunning view of the falls from the back porch. Pergola Home, 7 East Shore Road, New Preston, (860) 868-4769,

> Practically next door, J. Seitz & Co. is a trendy emporium of hard-to-find fashions for men and women, as well as specialty home furnishings. 
I love their large selection of dog gifts. I don’t know about you, but I 
find it a challenge getting the right gift for my picky pooch! J. Seitz & Co., 9 East Shore Road, New Preston, (860) 868-0119,

> Indulge your sweet tooth at the charming and delicious Three Oaks Chocolatier in Bantam. Drive slowly or you’ll miss it—inside this snug shop are the most extraordinary confections, from chocolate barks to chocolate-covered Oreos. I’m no aficionado but my children certainly are—and we all say this is some of the best chocolate we’ve ever had. It shares a retail space with Papineau Studio, which offers an assortment of handmade gifts. Three Oaks Chocolatier, 583 Bantam Road, Bantam, (860) 567-0392,

> On December 3rd and 4th, St. John’s Episcopal Church is having its annual Christmas Bazaar. This is a much-anticipated community event, with home-baked foods and yes, great finds. Think vintage furs and Gucci bags, antiques pulled out of the attics of 18th-century houses and silver serving pieces and candlesticks taken from butlers’ pantries. We always attend the Friday evening cocktail party where there’s a silent and live auction, as well as lots of yuletide cheer. All are welcome! St. John’s Episcopal Church, Greenhill Road, Washington, (860) 868-2527,

> Handmade in France since 1643, Cire Trudon candles are an amazing way to illuminate your holiday dinner table or add a lovely and unique 
fragrance to your home. Originally manufactured for the French royal court, the candles are available at Privet House, one spot that’s always on my regular list of places to visit. I rarely leave empty-handed. Be sure to browse the vintage tree ornaments, too. Privet House, 4 Cornwall Road, Warren, (860) 868-1800,  

> When I think of authenticity and quality, Jeffrey Tillou’s gallery is one place that comes to mind. Based in Litchfield since 1992, it specializes in 18th- and 19th-century American furniture, art and accessories. Any connoisseur of American antiques knows that Tillou is a special destination. What others may not know is that he offers a fine selection of early pieces of glass, including amethyst, which I adore. Especially striking are the 19th-century French glass apothecary jars in the most amazing blue, with red lids. They’re the perfect gift for the collector in your life. Jeffrey Tillou Antiques, 39 West Street, Litchfield, (860) 567-9693,

Happy holidays to all—and to a 2011 filled with peace and good will!

Also of note: On December 10, the annual Holiday-in-the-Depot is a festive community event that’s right out of a Norman Rockwell painting ( What would winter be without an old-fashioned sleigh ride? Check out the options at Wood Acres Farm in Terryville ( and Loon Meadow Farm in Norfolk (