TOP 10: Locally Made or Homemade Holiday Gifts

LBcoverWith turkey day behind us it means just one thing: Christmas. And shopping and lines and mall parking garages and receipts on receipts on receipts. Not for this gal. Last year was the first year I just said NO to manic holiday shopping. Instead I either made homemade gifts or purchased gifts from local companies.

This new approach completely changed my attitude on Christmas shopping. I spent more time focusing on each person to think about what they would want to receive; the gift that would surprise them with delight and make them smile. This approach might not meet the needs of everyone on your list, but if in the process of Christmas shopping you can support your local economy, pursue that craft or food gift you’ve always wanted to try and give a few unique gifts I encourage you to give this alternative approach to gift-giving a try. Take a peek at my top 10 ideas for locally made or homemade holiday gifts listed below for inspiration. Happy holidays!

Top 10 Ideas for Homemade and/or Local (Portland) holiday gifts:

1. Bacon: I made my Dad and others homemade bacon last year. Suffice it to say, I think my father (who is known for being the hardest person to shop for) was surprised to hear that I bought a pig and cured him up some bacon. You can read about the process on this blog post. If you want to give the gift of bacon this Christmas its time to get going! The process takes a few weeks.

2. Books by Local Authors:
on Sunday, Dec. 1 the Oregon Historical Society is having a book sale/signing event with dozens of Oregon authors. You can buy everything from books on Oregon history, cheese, beer, hiking, ecology and cookbooks by Oregon authors such as John Gorham of Toro Bravo and Kyra Bussanich from Kyra’s Bake Shop.

3. Candles: pay a visit to Mr. Green Beans, an all-things-DIY shop on Mississippi Avenue to pick-up supplies to make your own candles. Check out this blog post to see how I made candles last year.


4. Holiday Six-Pack: some of my favorite gifts to give are those that can be consumed among friends. Wine, beer, spirits? Duh. Create a six-pack of unique local beers or wine from your local bottle shop, make or buy a few snacks and include an invite to have a date with a good friend. Check out John’s Marketplace and Belmont Station for a huge selection of beer and Hop and Vine and Zupans for Oregon wine.

5. Coffee: for the coffee enthusiast in your life considering buying them a gift certificate to join Third Wave Coffee Roasters for one of their educational walking tours and tastings of Portland’s artisan coffee scene. I recently went on one of the tours. Check out this post to learn more. And if you want to try making your own coffee this holiday season spend a few minutes learning the tips and tricks from Nic, who wrote about his experience making homemade coffee in this post.


6. Vacation to Costa Rica: next year I’ll be guiding nine women during a 10-day trip to Costa Rica. As a gift to yourself, your wife, your daughter or a gift to each other consider singing-up to join me! Visit this page to learn all about the trip and sign-up. FYI – as of this post there are just five spots left!


7. Leather Bike Accessories: I’m slightly obsessed with the creations coming from Walnut Studios. They make high-end leather accessories, many for your bike, that not only make you life easier but finds a way to do it in style. I mean who doesn’t need a fancy leather bike holder for the six-pack of beer you want to buy on your way home from work? Genius. Photos courtesy of Walnut Studios and Erin Berzel Photography.


8. Distillery Row Passport: Portland is home to some amazing craft distilleries, and thank goodness they have teamed together to not only offer a “passport” so you can try them all but they have placed themselves conveniently near each other so you can safely walk between many of them. Pick-up a bottle of my fav, Aviation Gin, buy a Distillery Row Passport at House Spirits or another distillery in town and get tasting.

9. Happiness by the Jar: this concept is awesome. Give someone the gift of monthly happiness in a jar. Each month the recipient receives two mason jars. One is filled with something that will make you happy on the inside (such as pumpkin spiced almonds) and the other jar will be filled with something that will make you happy on the outside (such as a lemon-poppyseed body scrub.) Every thing is natural, made in Oregon and delivered to doorsteps around the country.

10. Neighborhood Day Date: one of my favorite dates with Nic was when we left our house and tackled the city by bus, max and streetcar to visit the farmers market, Oregon Historical Society, Powell’s Books, the street cart pod, brewery, etc. It was an awesome day. We were able to experience new parts of the city together sans the stress of driving and parking. Pick a corner of the city you want to explore and use to map out your route. Discover new restaurants, movie theaters, coffee shops and shopping en route with someone you love! 


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