By Mary Heyl

Although there are only a few more shopping days until Christmas, it’s not too late to find the perfect gift for that hard-to-buy-for friend or relative. For a Christmas gift that is unique, meaningful, and possibly life changing, look no further than the historic village of Randolph to help you finish your Christmas shopping.

On Sept. 20, Randolph held its first annual Class Kickoff to show the community and visitors how much there is to learn in just one town! Visitors explored the downtown shops where class instructors of yoga, dance, knitting, ceramics, miniature gardens and painting displayed their projects, shared their class schedules and helped prospective students sign up for fall classes.

Now that winter is here, there’s no better time to expand your creative skills, as classes are continuing throughout the snowy months. Visitors in town for just the day or the season are invited to join one of Randolph’s many classes. Why not get a class gift certificate for your loved one this Christmas? Give the gift of creativity, personal expression and friendship, for a single class can become a lifelong passion and forge relationships that will be treasured for a lifetime.

Stay in shape this winter at the Village Dance Studio, located at 112 Main St., where classes are offered in traditional styles of dance such as ballet, jazz, and tap, but also hip-hop and cheer dance. Evening and Saturday classes are available, so if students want to learn to dance for a special occasion or master a particular style, call Tara Smith at (716) 358-3830 for a full class schedule and find out how to purchase the gift of lessons for someone else. Also at the Village Dance Studio, Connie Dalbo teaches hatha-style yoga for beginners and advanced students, as well as chair yoga for students with limited mobility/flexibility. These refreshing, invigorating sessions are taught on weekdays in the mornings and afternoons; contact Connie at (716) 354-2095 to join her yoga classes or to purchase a class gift certificate.

Students can create their own little oasis in Cathy Congdon’s miniature garden classes at her ladies’ clothing and gift store, Randolph Retail Company located at 127 Main St. The beach-themed garden and the cheery Christmas garden can brighten your windowsill or make a beautiful gift. With both evening and weekend classes available, Cathy’s miniature gardens classes provide the perfect indoor opportunity to escape the snowy weather outside with a beautiful arrangement inside. For more information on upcoming classes or to purchase a class gift certificate, contact Randolph Retail Company at (716) 358-5758.

Yarn for Ewe, located at 133 Main St., offers knitting and crochet classes year round for the newbie and the seasoned knitter/crocheter. Knitting classes run regularly throughout the winter in the morning and afternoon (10 a.m.–noon, 1–3 p.m.) on Thursdays and Saturdays. Prospective students can learn socks, hats and mittens or get help on any works in progress. Visit Yarn for Ewe’s Facebook page to see pictures of class projects or call the shop at (716) 267-2070 for more information on classes and gift certificates.

Venture next door to Anthony Ercolani’s Destination 129 Main, where one can learn how to paint and glaze ceramics. Glaze your own retro lighted Christmas tree, Old World Santa or ornaments with instructor Karen Keuther on Thursday nights from 6:30–8:30 p.m. Also on Thursday nights, Vicki Reding teaches painting classes to students at all levels. Learn how to paint on canvas, use watercolors or learn a surprisingly beautiful technique with colored pencils. Reding’s Thursday night classes and Tuesday daytime classes are held at Randolph Retail Company. For more information on Reding’s winter class schedule, contact her at (716) 358-3023.

Betsey Dubois teaches quilting and sewing classes from 1–4 p.m. on Thursdays at her fabric shop, Betsey’s Country Shop, located at 12 Jamestown St. To find out more about the different sewing and quilting projects that Betsey and her students are working on, such as pillows, garments and wall hangings, contact her at (716) 358-9704.

If sewing and quilting are skills you or your friend have long since mastered, perhaps you’d like to give spinning a try. Sue Bean, owner of A Slice of Heaven Alpaca Farm, teaches spinning lessons on a traditional spinning wheel (or drop spindle, for newbies) right in her gift shop located at 11144 Pope Rd. in Randolph. To learn how to create your own yarn for knitting, crochet, or weaving, contact Sue at (716) 358-5242.

As you visit Randolph this weekend to finish Christmas shopping and purchase class gift certificates, be sure to claim a spot on Main Street. Although Randolph’s Christmas parade was canceled on Saturday, Dec. 6 due to the weather, it is rescheduled for 11 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 20. This festive event during the last shopping weekend before Christmas is the perfect time to bring your family to Randolph where you are bound to return in the New Year.