We’ve all had a heck of a year in 2020, right? I can’t be the only one feeling that those on my gift list deserve something far more meaningful this year. With that in mind, I’ve curated my 2020 holiday guide with unique, locally-produced items that just can’t be found anywhere else. Purchasing these items not only puts you on the “Nice List” with your friends, but gives back two-fold in supporting those who’ve curated, crafted and created these wonderful gifts. And now, in non particular order, a few of my favorite things:
BEAN TO BAR TO MOUTH
Tucked in Pike Place Market’s new Marketfront is indiChocolate. Listed as one of Eater’s 24 Best Chocolate Shops in America, owner Erin Andrews’s blood type is undoubtedly chocolate. Erin works with small cacao farmers around the world to make indi chocolate’s bean to bar chocolate. Head down to Pike Place Market – the entire process from roasting beans to finishing chocolate can be watched in person. Her passion for chocolate is everywhere within this shop – tucked between a brewery and a biscuit shop. From bean-to-bar chocolate to cocoa butter-based lotions, indi’s doors are open for pickup, takeaway, online ordering and shipping nationwide.
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JOY IN A BOX
Angela Shen should be crowned the Queen of the 2020 pivot. 🙂 Her company, Savor Seattle Tours, literally came to a standstill when COVID hit and tourism plummeted. Quick to find a solution, Angela worked with vendors at Seattle’s Pike Place Market to bring the Market home – literally. Savor Seattle’s iconic, curated food boxes, were initially curated each week with fresh produce and delicious items from Market vendors. Their evolution throughout the year, offering a broader range of items, may be the ultimate way to show those on your gift list how much you care. Choose from thematic weekly offerings, to one-off kits – all offering Seattle’s bounty for pick-up or delivery. Special to the upcoming holiday season, Savor’s Holiday Boxes offer everything from breakfasts or sweets, to iconic Market specialties and New Year’s party boxes. Choose one, or give the ultimate gift of a weekly subscription! More ideas? Peep their Holiday Gift guide here.
Orcas Island Leather Goods is more than just a a leather shop. Owners Mindy and Mike offer all the tools for you to to create one-of-a-kind leather items for your friends and loved ones. As is the case with many people and businesses this year, 2020 forced this creative couple to re-evaluate their plans to open a retail store on Orcas Island. Instead they transitioned to creating DIY leather kits that are able to be crafted by others for their gift-giving needs, or gifted as a hands-on project with beautiful and fulfilling results. With everything from purses and clutches to billfolds and totes, they have something for practically everyone on your gift-giving list!
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If you’re on Instagram, you’re in luck! @sweeticiclecreek – nestled riverside just outside the Bavarian hamlet of Leavenworth – turns repurposed finds into crafty treasures. I bumped into the creative brain behind this tiny business – Lynn – at a roadside sale (but you can connect with her on The Gram for pricing and shipping information). Her tufted coasters, crafty up-cycled display boxes and adorable mini-tile shelf sitters give lots of options for holiday giving. Even better? Knowing you’re supporting a unique, local, creative business. 🙂
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Eric Rivera is another Seattleite who is a genius at “the pivot”. When Pandemic 2020 hit, his uber-successful restaurant, Addo, felt the brunt immediately. With an eye to marketing, and a sense of the community’s need for fresh pantry items, Eric quickly came to be the foodie’s go-to for all things delicious. Grains, sauces, even multi-course meals are offered through Addo Pantry. Offering local pick-up, delivery, and nationwide shipping (on some items), Eric’s pasta has been a staple in my COVID pantry. Order yours in time for the holidays – your friends will clamor to get on your list in 2021!
Bonus: If you’re really looking to up your game, check out Eric’s cooking classes online, too.
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MAKERS GONNA MAKE
If you know me, you know I’m all about homemade. From sourdough starters to whimsical watercolors, and everything in-between. The Works Seattle began as a DIY school for adults, offering in-person experience-based learning. COVID threw a wrench into their structure, but was also the spark for shifting to DIY kits – complete with detailed instructions, video tutorials, and just as much passion for creativity. Two of their new offerings really jumped out at me when researching this year’s holiday guide: Their beeswax wraps kits fill a fundamental need for food storage, while reducing single-use plastics; their Make Your Own Mochi kits sate your sweet tooth – and they’re naturally gluten-free (and 100% delicious!). Recipients receive step-by-step instructions, recipes, and the necessary know-how to create useful and/or delicious items on their own. Gifts from The Works are definitely those that keep on giving!
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This West Seattle-based business jumped on my radar through a love of succulents. Cutieplants owner/founder Katy Hart is all about spreading joy to others. Her business, like many, was started due to the pandemic – yet her mission is clear: Deliver simple, rewarding plant kit experiences that create purpose and sprout joy. Cutieplants kits include everything those on your gift list will need to successfully plant their own indoor succulents and watch them grow. What’s great about succulents is how easy they are to maintain, and are suited to most every home. And just think – your gift will keep giving for years to come!
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JAM IS MY JAM
Watkins Farms caught my eye years ago. They’re a mom-and-pop business in the heart of the upper Wenatchee Valley – creating lovingly-curated jams, jellies and snacks. Whether you’re craving sour cherry jam (for toast rounds or to upgrade your chocolate cake into a Black Forest cake), creamy apple butter (like my mom used to make), or looking for a guilt-free dried-apple snack, they’re a tasty solution to fill holiday baskets for friends. A staple in my kitchen year-round, a go-to when I’m looking for delicious treats to share with friends and family, I’m thrilled to share these gems with you all!
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I bumbled onto True Ewe’s Caramel Bourbon sauce through a dinner with the American Lamb Board. Through this, I learned more about Dayspring Dairy in Galant, Alabama. Nope, they’re not from Washington state – and that is my premise for this year’s guide, but I’m making an exception because this product is just that delicious! Made in the style of a classic Dulce de Leche by slowly simmering fresh sheep milk with raw turbinado sugar, then spiked with Kentucky bourbon, the depth of flavor makes it almost good enough to eat on its own, but it’ll last longer if you spoon onto your favorite ultra-creamy ice cream.
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I first fell in love with Kristoferson Farms on Camano Island when they opened their popular ziplining tours – Canopy Tours Northwest – years ago. The Kristoferson family is hardly new to the area however, having settled on 1,400 acres of farming land on the island in 1912. Today, the 4th generation of Kristoferson family members steward the farm and continue their family tradition of innovation and passion for the environment. Along with a robust hay, lavender and apple business, timber sales, farm-to-table events and ziplining, their adorable farmstand offers grown-on-the-farm products right on site. Should you prefer letting your fingers do the clicking/shopping, their online store boasts a wealth of items shipped right to your door as well.
Bonus: If you’re heading up to the farmstead, check out these other options for holiday giving in the Whidbey/Camano area, too!
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TASTY AND BEAUTIFUL
When it comes to cookies – and really all things, if you’re asking – what matters as much as the taste is the story behind each bite. Hot Chocolat in West Seattle is Michael Poole’s baby. We could talk about his varied past – from being a 3-time grand-prize winner in the Firefighters Annual Seafood Cook-Off, a master’s award recipient at the International Chocolate Salon, or his receipt of the coveted Grande Diplôme in Cuisine and Pastry from Le Cordon Bleu in Paris (and class valedictorian) – but what matters most right now is his expertise with chocolate. Macarons and chocolates are his newest passion – available for take-out or shipped nationwide. Send a few to friends this holiday season, or stop by to pick up a few for yourself. Mouth-watering. And as Michael encouragingly suggests: “Have just one …” again and again. 😉
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WELL, THIS IS AWKWARD …
If you’re paying attention, you’ll see I’m promoting “12 Gifts You’ll Love …” – but if you’re doing the math, you’ll see I’m already up to a baker’s dozen. I’m adaptable, and this guide should be adaptable too! If and when I find new items that feel ‘blogworthy’ to me, you can bet I’ll share it with you. 🙂
So with that said, the beautiful item in the photo above is … well … a little awkward! That said, it’s also something I’ve loved since I purchased it earlier this year. It’s called a ‘Kula Cloth’ – and it’s essentially very first of its kind. Technically, it’s an antimicrobial pee cloth for anybody who squats when they pee. It has an absorbent side and a waterproof side (and snaps to fold and keep things sanitary. In practice? It’s a lifesaver if you’re an outdoorsy gal like I am. I’ve used it after squatting behind bushes while fly-fishing. I’ve used it in primitive toilets high in the Alpine lakes. I’ve even used it after doin’ my lady business in a small drift boat while instructing the two guys in the front not to look back under any circumstances. This genius cloth is true to the leave-no-trace and couldn’t be more environmentally friendly. Trust me – you give this to your outdoorsy gal-friends and they’ll dig it.
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IT’S A WRAP!
Looking for a way to wrap gifts that’s much, much more interesting than traditional, wasteful wrap? Tokki has not only the coolest-looking reusable gift wraps, but they’ve added a tech piece that allows you to include your own personal message right along with it! Mess-free, tape-free, reusable … all the things that’ll make the wrap just as popular with the gifts. From wraps to bags to fun inspirational candles, you can make it a quick pick from their cover-up options, or peep deeper into their shopping website and make it your one-and-done destination!
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Enjoy your holidays, friends. 2020 has been a challenge, but we have an opportunity today to turn things around. Shop local. Mask up. Be kind. Leave the partying for 2021 when we can all celebrate together as our world, hopefully, will begin to feel a little safer.