A Michigan-Made Gift Guide for Holiday Shopping in the D

By: Toni Cunningham | December 15, 2014
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The holiday season begins earlier every year, which was evident with stores opening at 6 p.m. this past Thanksgiving. Forget Black Friday, let’s start the gluttony on the day in which we give thanks! Christmas is the season of giving, and if you’re still working your way through your shopping list (or have yet to start), there’s no need to fret.

There’s also no need to drive to the shopping mall, either! Save yourself some stress, stay away from the crowds and shop locally instead. Whether you choose to purchase a Michigan-made product from the list below, or simply visit a mom and pop store instead of a chain, I think you’ll find yourself a little more relaxed and your gifts a bit more special.

I guarantee you’ll find a present for at least one person on your list from the following selection of Michigan gifts:

Michigan Mittens

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Michigan Mittens are just about the cutest winter accessories I’ve ever seen. As Michiganders, we know that we’re going to spend the large majority of now through April bundled up, so we might as well do so in style. Purchase your mom or girlfriend a pair of Michigan mittens and she will be smitten.

You know how we always point on our hand to show people where exactly we’re from? Well, with these mittens, you can be precise. They’re just $24.95 and come in a variety of colors, including “Fog Grey” Michigan Day, “Olive” You Michigan, Michigan “Cherry” and more.

Mitten-shaped cutting boards

Michigan Mapleworks is a company located in Gaylord that creates chopping blocks, cutting boards and wooden spoons out of a farm workshop. The Michigan collection includes items like a Michigan mitt cutting board, U.P. cutting board, Michigan cheese board and small, medium and large chopping blocks.

Michigan collection products range in price from $19 (the cheese board) to $139 (the large chopping block). If you’ve got a serious chef on your list, Michigan Mapleworks also crafts resting spoons, traditional wooden spoons, spatulas, servers and more. One can never have too many kitchen utensils!

Michigan-made jewelry

Rebel Nell, a Metro Detroit-based jewelry company, makes unique pieces of wearable art out of scraps of graffiti. If that’s already not one of the coolest concepts you’ve ever heard, the company employs disadvantaged women of Detroit and teaches them business and life skills.

Earrings, cuff links, pendants and rings are all great gift ideas for that special guy or gal in your life, and they’re all available for a reasonable price. Take a look for yourself at the shop here. No one will ever guess that this beautiful necklace you purchased for your sister was once a piece of graffiti in Detroit.

Smell good, courtesy of the Motor City

Cellar Door Soap & Skin, based in Plymouth, is a local company that handcrafts its own vegan soaps. This year’s holiday collection includes heavenly scents like Bayberry Lane, Chestnuts Roasting, Christmas Cookies, Peppermint Mocha and Winter Plum.

There are bars for men (including English Gentleman, Midnight Rider and Dapper Dan) and women (such as White Amber, Moxie and Tickled Pink), as well as aromatherapy scents (Green Tea Lemongrass, Lavender Mint and Orange Clove are a few).

Each bar costs $6, and you can make your purchase online or at a local store that carries the brand. Check out this handy store locator to find one near you.

The gift that keeps on giving: a beer membership

The Michigan Brewers Guild, which is responsible for putting on the 2015 Winter Beer Festival in Grand Rapids, has a Michigan Brewers Guild Enthusiast Club. If you know someone who really, really loves Michigan beer, this is a great gift!

The membership includes a t-shirt, VIP status and early admission to all MBG festivals, presale ticket opportunities for all events, VIP tours, tastings and discounts at participating brewpubs. All of that for an entire year for just $45! You can preorder now, as 2015 membership packs begin shipping on Wednesday.

Winery tour

Who doesn’t love Michigan vino? There’s got to be someone on your list who loves wine, and whether it’s your mom or your brother, they will love taking a tour and indulging in a wine tasting at DeAngelis Cantina del Vino in Ann Arbor. I can personally attest that it was a wonderful and fun experience, and a great gift idea.

Protect your table with Pure Michigan

Pure Detroit has a ton of Michigan and Detroit-based pride items for sale, but the tile coasters make great gift items for your cousin who just moved into a new house and needs a few homey touches.

There are so many different ones, you can customize which ones you want to purchase depending on the person’s favorite aspects of Detroit, including ones depicting the Detroit Tigers logo, Eastern Market, Lafayette Coney Island, Wayne State University and more. Coasters cost $12 a pop.

Deck your dude out in locally made duds

Your dad, husband, boyfriend and/or brother will all love the products from Cyberoptix TieLab. The Detroit-based company makes ties that are silkscreened by hand with all sorts of eclectic patterns. “Ties to Detroit” (see what they did there?!) include ones printed with various building blueprints, an outline of Detroit water towers, a map of Eastern Market, and one emblazoned with the Great Lakes.

Pashmina scarves, bowties and pocket squares are also available for purchase.

Keep your coworkers caffeinated

Everyone knows someone obsessed with coffee who loves trying out a new flavor of beans or roaster every once in a while. Instead of getting a lame-o Starbucks gift card or something local, think outside the box. Keweenaw Coffee Works is a boutique coffee roaster located all the way in the northernmost part of the U.P.

As much as I would love to take a road trip to pick the product up in person, if your vacation days don’t allow for it, you’re in luck! You can order beans online, including Elbow Grease Espresso, Yooper Blend, Da North Woods and So Suomi. You have your choice of whole beans, coarse, medium or fine grounds. There are also quite a few prepared gifts to choose from that will take the hard work out of gift giving.

A thoughtful gift for the friend who entertains

Everyone has that one friend who has a kitchen gadget for everything under the sun, as well as all kinds of cute things for entertaining purposes. If your best friend loves hosting dinner parties, these wine glass topper appetizer plates courtesy of Catching Fireflies might be a great option. How cute are they? They will allow your friend’s guests to balance a glass of wine and snack at the same time. Genius!

No matter what you end up gifting your loved ones this holiday season, all that matters is that you all get to spend time together. Shopping locally and purchasing Michigan-made products certainly does help, though!