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101 Local Gift Ideas: Something for everyone

Nov 30th, 2010 | Category: Features

For many people, the holidays are about celebrating the spirit of the season and being with the ones you love. We give gifts to those we appreciate and adore – meaningful expressions, items and actions that show, simply, how much they mean to us. Here are 101 local gift ideas from our northwest corner that will bring joy, inspiration, adventure, learning and tender moments to those you love. Enjoy!

1. Tree or perennial: Give the gift of a growing tree or perennial plant, something that can be planted in the yard and looked at through the years. The person on the receiving end will always think of you. A fruit or nut tree is a nice touch. The tree takes a few years to start producing fruit or nuts, but will provide seasonal food on the table in the coming years.

2. Become a Farmers Market Friend or give Market Bucks: Have someone special in your life that loves and enjoys the local farmers market? A number of markets in the Northwest offer Friend status, essentially a membership fee that is a form of support for the market, but also provides the member with benefits and perks. Other markets offer bucks, which can be used like money at the booths of participating market vendors.

3. Handmade Ornament: From professionally blown glass to a kid’s project, there are plenty of ideas out there. An ornament is a small gift that brings lots of memories, whether hung as a simple seasonal decoration or on a tree. Check local craft fairs for a fine selection, as well as Christmas tree farms or your local community store or gallery.

4. Cheese: We are lucky to be within just miles of some of the best cheese makers in the country – diverse folks creating quite a selection of cheeses from both goat and cow milk. Some of them include Golden Glen Creamery, Gothberg Farms, Appel Farms, Samish Bay Cheese, Pleasant Valley Dairy, Little Brown Farm and Silver Springs Creamery.

5. Wine: With cheese, comes the wine. We have a number of talented wine crafters who bottle up a bit of local heaven, making fruit, reds and white wines. Regional wineries include Lopez Island Vineyards, Eagle Haven Winery, Dakota Creek Winery, Samson Estate Vineyards, Challenger Ridge Vineyard and Cellars, Compass Wines, Whidbey Island Winery, Tulip Valley Vineyard & Orchard, Greenbank Cellars Winery, Pasek Cellars, Carpenter Creek Vineyards and Mount Baker Vineyards, and specialty wine shops like Libation Station and Chuckanut Ridge Wine Co.

6. Garden/Yard Consultation: Is a special person in your life thinking of changing their yard or garden to incorporate edible landscaping? Or perhaps a new or larger veggie garden? Or chickens? Give the gift of a consultation with a local landscaping or permaculture company.

7. Candles: Locally handcrafted beeswax candles can be found at craft fairs. Regional companies include Bee Hive Candles, Quiet Light Candles, Sweet Bee Candles and Moon Valley Natural Products.

8. Home Brewing Kit: For those interested in home brewing and creating the perfect pint or bottle of beer, get them some gear! Try North Corner Brewing Supply in Bellingham or My Own Vintage in Mount Vernon.

9. Mug: We live in the Northwest. Most of us are sipping on something warm, whether it be tea, coffee, hot cocoa. Skip the generic mug and sip from something local and handcrafted. Try local craft fairs, galleries and pottery studios, as well as arts organizations for leads on local crafters.

10. Tea: Try the offerings from local tea makers such as Sip-T, North Star Chai, Wonderland Tea, Sakuma Brothers Farms Market Stand, Harmony Chai, or Island Tea Company.

11. Coffee: The beans don’t grow here, but the roasting happens locally, and there are a number of providers. Check out Hammerhead Coffee Roasters, Guadalupe’s Coffee, Maniac Roasting, Moka Joe’s, Camano Island Coffee Roasters, Mt. Baker Coffee Roasters, Tony’s Coffee, Coyote Coffee Roasting Company, San Juan Coffee Roasting Company, Bellingham Bay Coffee Roasters, Toad Mountain Coffee Roasters, Bellanova’s Coffee and others.

12. Knit Cap or Scarf: Like ornaments, you’ll find lots of locally made knitted or crocheted hats and scarves (and other items) at local craft fairs and art locations. Or make something on your own!

13. Personal Farm or Studio Tour: Contact a farm or artist and ask to set up a personal tour for a loved one. Do they have a favorite farm or artist? They will love to see the inner workings of the farm or studio in the new year.

14. Chocolate: Like coffee beans, cocoa beans grow far from here. But local businesses like the C Shop, Chocolate Necessities, Totally Chocolate, Kathryn Taylor Chocolates, Forte Chocolates, Sweet Mona’s, or even the Newhalem Store (for handmade fudge) produce some tasty local chocolate treats. For some different takes on chocolate, try the Chocolate Flower Farm.

15. Garden Art: Head to your local garden center or art gallery for a look at local garden art. A gift of garden art, especially during the winter months, will brighten any garden of any size.

16. Soap: Honey, milk, oils, scents of all kinds. There are locally made soaps created from all kinds of ingredients. Check out local craft fairs and bazaars, galleries and art studios as well as community grocers.

17. CSA Membership: The CSA season may have just ended, but once the holidays are over and the new year begins, many minds will again be thinking ahead to spring time. More CSAs are extending their season beyond the summer-fall harvest seasons. A membership is a great gift for the local food lover in your life. (For a list of CSAs in your area, visit grownorthwest.com to access our archived list.)

18. Framed Photograph by Local Photographer: Visit local galleries, art locales and restaurants for a look at some of the offerings from local photographers. Also ask arts organizations for leads on area photographers who may be of interest, depending on desired content (portrait, landscape, culture, etc.).

19. Honey: Great for tea, baking and that sore throat that is bound to come this winter. Whatever it is, a jar of local honey in the cupboard is a staple for many Northwest households. Craft fairs, local grocers and local bee groups are great places to find local honey.

20. Birdhouse: Handmade for the holidays is definitely appreciated. Have a bird lover in your life? Create a handmade birdhouse. Need help? Head to your local building materials store for help with materials. As far as design, you can find plenty of simple instructions on the web. If all else fails, head back to the local store for a kit.

21. Make a Donation to a Local Organization: If your loved one feels strongly about a certain cause or local organization, consider making a donation in their name. From agricultural groups and non-profit community providers, there are many to choose from.

22. Nuts: A variety of hazelnuts and walnuts are available in the area, and are great for snacking or adding to recipes. Try Holmquist Hazelnut Orchards, McMurry’s Mountainside Hazelnut Farm and local farm stands.

23. Handmade Doll: A number of local crafters create a variety of dolls, often found this time of year at craft fairs, holiday bazaars and Christmas tree farms.

24. Monthly Local Care Basket for a Year: This is great for someone you care about who lives far away. You can send a personal touch each month and let them know you are thinking about them, and want to send a piece of your world to them.

25. 2011 Calendar: Ring in the new year with a local calendar celebrating local life, whether it’s food, landscapes, animals, or other subject matter.

26. Wreath: Whether you create your own or buy it from a local maker, people always appreciate a fresh wreath.

27. Mushrooms or Mushroom Kit: Those who enjoy local fungus will like receiving the gift of mushrooms, or a kit that allows them to experience the growth at home. Try Cascadia Mushrooms, FungusAmongUs, Twin Sisters Mushroom Farm or Ostrom Mushroom Farm.

28. Apples or Fresh Cider: A big crate of apples might seem like a funny gift to some people, but not apple lovers, especially those who have cold storage space and wouldn’t mind being able to get an apple when they feel like it or have enough on hand to make a pie, applesauce, etc. Local apple growers include Bellewood Acres, Cloud Mountain Farm, Sm’Apples Orchard, Apple Creek Orchard, and others. Fresh pressed cider is always a hit at the holiday table.

29. Buy a local coupon book: Some communities offer coupon books full of offerings from area businesses. In Whatcom County, for example, Sustainable Connections offers an annual coupon book, costing only $11. Ask your local chamber about what may be available. Makes a great stocking stuffer!

30. Egg Nog: Another seasonal favorite on the holiday table is locally made eggnog. Drink it straight, mix it up or add it to recipes. Try products from Breckenridge Dairy, Golden Glen Creamery, Edaleen Dairy, Twin Brook Creamery or Silver Springs Creamery. Some make eggnog ice cream too!

31. Wooden Furniture or Household Items: Whether it is a beautiful rocking chair, a handmade wooden bowl for use in the kitchen, or a bedroom bookcase, seek out local woodworkers at your local art studios or craft galleries, or farmers market if open.

32. Regional Cookbook: Hit up your local bookstore to see what cookbooks are on the shelves. There are many to choose from!

33. Gift Certificate to Local Restaurant: Have a favorite local restaurant? Maybe one that serves up some fine local dishes? Give a gift certificate and let your loved one go when they want, or need to.

34. Sign up for a Cooking Workshop: Whether it’s certain foods, dietary differences, or how-tos, there are a variety of classes and workshops out there for all levels. Some places to start include your local co-op, community college or private cooking businesses.

35. Start your Mini Farm: Whether you’re looking to start an urban farm or you have a 4-H kid, consider a chicken or a goat.

37. Local Artwork: Check out local galleries, craft fairs and holiday bazaars for offerings from local artists. Also inquire with local arts organizations for leads.

38. Fix Something: Does your loved one have something they have wanted to fix but haven’t had the time? Surprise them! Maybe it’s a chair that needs reupholstering, or perhaps a low-flow toilet or energy efficient windows that need to be installed? Whatever it is, lend a hand. They will be grateful, and it will knock one thing off of the to-do list at home. If you’re in the mood to upcycle or find used items to place in the home, search thrift shops and stop at the ReStore.

39. Create a Recipe Box: Create a recipe box using items found in a thrift store or purchase a handmade box from a local crafter (local craft and holiday fairs are a wonderful place to look.) Start by putting in at least 12 recipes (one for each month). If you have a lot of recipes, and the time, consider sending more. You can also make it an annual tradition to give recipes.

40. Jams, Jellies, Syrups and Butters: Berry preserves, apple butters and other delicious toppers make great simple gifts. Try offerings from Aldrich Farms or Northwest Wild.

41. Handmade Greeting Cards: Check out craft fairs and markets for beautifully made, handcrafted holiday cards – one of a kind cards that anyone will appreciate. Or, head to local craft shops for materials and make cards yourself!

42. Give Grow Northwest magazine: Try a subscription by mail, a t-shirt, or an advertisement for that farmer, business or local organization in your life.

43. Massage: Let their tension go! A certificate for a 30-minute or longer massage is a great gift idea for someone who could use some relaxation.

44. Handmade Jewelry: Rings, necklaces and other items are available by local jewelers. Check out craft fairs and markets or your local arts association.

45. Baked Goods: Most of us eat a lot of baked goods during the holidays. But consider a special batch of cupcakes, artisan bread or bagged mixes from a local baker. Or bake your own, using as many local ingredients as possible!

46. Volunteer: There are a variety of non-profit and service organizations in the community that could always benefit from volunteer time. Do it together!

47. Dog treats for the canine in your life. Check craft fairs and markets for local offerings.

48. Sunset Cruise or Boating Lessons: A number of local captains and boats offer evening sunset cruises for two, or more. Does someone want boating lessons? Sign them up.

49. Scenic Flight: See our beautiful Northwest corner from the sky. Take pictures of the amazing views of mountains, waterways, valleys and fields.

50. Garden/Farm Clothing: Overalls, gloves, boots. That special farmer or gardener in your life can always use good clothing, especially during winter.

51. Locally Made Ice Cream: Try a pint of Mallard Ice Cream, Lopez Island Creamery or Edaleen Dairy. Seasonal flavors of pumpkin and egg nog are especially delightful!

52. Beauty and Skin Products: Local creams, lotions, lavender-infused items and other beauty products are handcrafted by a number of local artists. Good for the body, good for the environment.

53. Pasta: Fresh, homemade pasta does not compare to something coming out of a box! Try Bellingham Pasta Company, San Juan Pasta Company, or make your own.

54. Cooking Materials or Food Preservation Kit: Preservation equipment and cooking utensils are great for gardeners or local foodie in your life.

55. How-to Books or Certificate: Check out your local book store for how-to books on gardening, preserving food, farming, crafting, DIY home projects and more. If you’re not sure about what to get, buy a certificate. One can never have enough books!

56. Make a Quilt: A handcrafted quilt is a gift that will be there for years to come, keeping your loved one warm and cozy.

57. Local Seafood: Head out to your local marina and walk the docks to buy fresh seafood (when available) and shake hands with the captain of the ship who brought in your dinner. Local seafood stores also have lots of sea items on hand.

58. Plan a Locavore Weekend Trip. Want to hit the road? Travel to another Northwest community and visit local spots, including farms, restaurants serving local food, art studios, markets, beautiful sights and more.

59. Instrument: Buy a locally made wooden flute or visit a local music store for a new or used instrument. Great idea for kids!

60. Wooden Puzzle or Toys: Several artists create wooden puzzles and children’s toys using reclaimed or local wood. Imagine a puzzle or truck made of local Douglas Fir. Tell that story to your child! Check out toy stores, craft fairs, markets and bazaars.

61. Community Garden Spot: Don’t have room for a garden, but your loved one wants a garden space? Sign up for a community garden spot. Not sure if you have one near you? Give Grow Northwest a call and we’ll help you find one in your area.

62. Locally Made Album or Journal: Keep thoughts, ideas and lists down in a nice journal and photos of a special time in an album. Find local artists at craft fairs and bazaars who use leftover materials to create unique, one-of-a-kind journals of different shapes, colors and sizes.

63. Upcycled Bag. Need something to hold your stuff while traveling or heading out? Local crafters are using genius methods, upcycling all kinds of materials – from plastic to corduroy pants – to make a handbag or backpack.

64. Basket: A handcrafted basket makes a beautiful local gift. It can be used as decoration or for functional purposes. Check out Dunbar Gardens, as well as craft fairs and farmers markets.

65. Make a Family Tree: Talk to older relatives and family members to establish a family tree, showing roots as far back as you can. Even if you can only trace a few generations, you have started the project for that special person, who can keep it going or pass it along to their children or loved ones.

66. Local Clothing: Various local clothing companies can be found at farmers markets and craft fairs. T-shirts, long-sleeve shirts, hats, pants, skirts and more. Get one-of-a-kind designs on sustainable clothing from a local artist or printer.

67. Seeds or Seed Catalog: It may be the holiday season but once the new year rings in, many minds will be on the coming spring and growing season – veggies, flowers and more! For a list of local seed makers, check the Grow Northwest archives. Some of them have seed catalogs as well.

68. Make a Hoophouse: Does a loved one want to start winter gardening, but needs a small hoophouse? Make them one! Go to your local garden center or nursery for advice, or log on to the local WSU extension for some ideas. Most local hardware stores have all the materials you need.

69. Kids Coloring Book: Some local artists have taken their artwork and created coloring books for kids. Some have animals, cars, and landscapes. Check craft fairs, book stores and art studios.

70. Walking Stick: For that hiker in your life, give the gift of a wooden walking stick. Some makers used reclaimed or fallen wood to create a walking stick with character. Walk among the trees while holding onto a branch.

71. Yoga or Exercise Class: The new year is on the way and many people will cite exercise and healthy living as a resolution or goal. Find a fun or interesting class your loved one might like and sign them up for one time. See if they like it. If they do, buy them a full session.

72. Go Winter Hiking: Rent some snowshoes or cross country skis, and hit a snowy trail in the foothills. It will be peaceful, adventurous and beautiful. Stop by for a local dinner or dessert at a foothills area restaurant.

73. Historic House Hunting: Does your loved one live in an older home? Do some research at your local history museum or society to find information about past residents, what the home looked like and when it was built. A great gift for a history lover.

74. Garden and Home Improvement Tools: Have someone in your life fond of do-it-yourself projects? Casually find out what tools or home improvement items they are needing or wanting, and go from there.

75. Take an Art Class: Watercolor painting, pottery, scrapbooking. Whatever the interest is, you can probably find a local class for it. A good gift for children or adults. Check with your local art studios and community college campuses for ideas.

76. Spring Cleaning in early Winter: Simplify and give away what you don’t need or use, just be sure your loved one really didn’t want to keep those things! A great idea to help a very busy family member in your life.

77. Go for a Paddle: Rent a kayak and explore local waterways, from smaller fresh water lakes to open coastal waters. Try an overnight trip to the San Juan Islands during the quieter winter months.

78. Mt. Baker Lift Tickets: Send ‘em up to the mountain for a day of snowboarding or skiing.

79. Rug: Like furniture, a rug can add nice charm and color to a room. Some artists use old wool sweaters and other items to create colorful rag rugs, many found at craft fairs and bazaars. Or learn how to make your own.

80. Wallet: We have some incredible artists making interesting wallets using all kinds of materials, including duct tape and corduroy. Anyone who likes “different” things, will like this.

81. Handmade Stocking: Buy a locally made stocking or create one yourself. Then, head out into the community and find small local items to fill it with. Chocolate, book, coffee beans, hat, tea, you name it. If it fits in there, put it in there!

82. Adopt an Animal: Visit your local animal shelter and surprise a loved one with an adopted cat or kitten, dog or puppy, cat, guinea pig, bird, or horse. Give an animal a second chance and forever companionship.

83. Buy a Bus Pass: Someone in your life prefer to use the bus for transportation? Give them a bus pass of any size, wrapped inside a local publication for them to read on the bus. Makes a great stocking stuffer.

84. Visit a Museum or give an Annual Pass: This is great for a rainy day. See what kind of history and art can be found in your community and neighboring areas. We have great museums across the Northwest, both small and large. Does your loved one have a favorite museum? Give them an annual pass.

85. Go Local Day: Plan one day in your community in which everything you do is local. Make a breakfast of local ingredients or go out to breakfast at a local restaurant. Go for a walk down a local trail. Meet a local friend for a cup of locally roasted coffee at a local cafe. The list goes on, just keep it local.

86. Create a Memory Book: Whether you choose to document a certain amount of time or momentous occasion between people (a birth, for example) or subject matter (family hikes, for example), a personal memory book will be there for years to come. Place your favorite photos and handwrite your memories next to the photos.

87. Annual Wilderness Pass: For a mere $35 a year, you can gain an annual pass to National Forest and Wilderness areas. Since we’re all just miles from these areas steeped in gorgeous scenery, this is great gift. Go as often as you’d like.

88. Lip Balm: Like locally made lotions, a number of local crafters make lip balm using local herbs and ingredients. Great way to soothe lips during cold winter activities – from snowboarding to kayaking to running to farming.

89. Jerky: Salmon, beef and buffalo jerky are all available in the Northwest, with many items for sale at farmers markets and craft fairs. A good holiday treat for someone fond of jerky and different flavors.

90. Granola Bars: There are various options out there, including Baker’s Breakfast Cookie to Belly Timber Bars. Nutritious, delicious and local. Great stocking stuffer.

91. Bath Salts: How about bath salts created with local herbs and fragrances? You can find some at a market or craft fair. Your special person will love a soak in the tub after a long day at work or on the trail.

92. Meat or Poultry: It might sound odd to some people to give them meat for the holidays, but for those people who do eat meat and appreciate it being locally raised and cared for, talk to your local farmer or go to a farmers market. Beef, chicken, turkey, even buffalo is available in our northwest corner, often in both small and large orders.

93. Condiments: BBQ sauce, hot sauce, salsa – these things are tasty with sandwiches, burgers, pastas and other foods. There are many local offerings. Check them out at markets, stores and craft fairs.

94. Go Horseback: A horseback trail ride or even lessons can be a fun idea for that equestrian lover in your life. Have a young child that wants to be around horses? Start with some trial lessons.

95. Outdoor Gear: For the outdoor person or hunter in your life, consider the gift of gear, or an outdoor workshop, such as survival skills, compass and mapping skills, avalanche awareness, foraging or wilderness cooking. A fishing pole or compass for a child is always a nice gift.

96. Gardening Gift Certificate: Not sure what kind of plant to get your loved one? Give them a certificate to a local garden center or nursery.

97. Bicycle or Gear: Forget the car when running errands, or strap the car to your car when coming into town, and ride the bike while doing errands! Everyone enjoys a bike ride. Hit a local bike shop for a new or used set-up, gear, maps and more. Parents may like a trailer or child seat, or a connector for older children.

98. Local Music: Bluegrass? Jazz? Rock? Instrumental? Hip-Hop? Whatever your pleasure, the Northwest is home to a number of great venues and artists. Take them to a show or buy some music.

99. Go Thrifting: Local stores carry some great older items full of character and charm. See what kind of gift you can make with someone else’s discarded goods.

100. Compostable Picnic Kit: Order at Go Green Now or check local stores. Head out on the trail with your loved one and pack a locally made picnic with a compostable kit.

101. Start a Tradition: Come up with a new meaningful tradition to have with your loved one and keep it going at a certain time each holiday season. Incorporate something local in the tradition, whether it’s a place, service or item. The important thing is to be together.

–compiled by Grow Northwest magazine

3 Comments to “101 Local Gift Ideas: Something for everyone”

  1. Marleen Hoverson says:

    This is fantastic. I love this. Lots of good, meaningful gift ideas here. And ALL of these gift ideas have some element of LOCAL to them.

  2. Sakuma Market Stand thanks you for the mention in #10. Sakuma Brothers has been growing tea in the Pacific Northwest for over 10 years. Our tea is currently available for purchase online and we would be happy to ship it to everyone on your Christmas list!

  3. Julie Benson says:

    I made several dry spice mixes from recipes for meat, seafood & vegetables – using bulk spices – filled small plastic re-sealable bags & put on a holiday label with recipe – very easy and appreciated!

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