It’s the most wonderful time of the year! In the coming days I’ll be sharing Olio in Iowa’s 2019 Holiday Gift Guide for every type of traveler on your holiday list. From the frequent jetsetter to the lover of all things local, I’ve compiled some of my favorite items so you can give a little bit of adventure to everyone on your list this holiday season.
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Travel Iowa. However, all opinions are my own.
In my opinion, there’s no better way to embrace the spirit of the season than to support an Iowa-based maker. When I travel, I make a point to eat a local restaurants and support small businesses in the communities I visit. When I’m home in Des Moines I do the same. So it should come as no surprise to learn that I love to shop small during the holiday season.
This year I’m excited to team up with Travel Iowa to share some of my favorite items from their 2019 Made-in-Iowa Holiday Gift Guide. The guide highlights a variety of products from seven shops across the state that specialize in everything from homemade foods to artisan jewelry and home decor items.
To celebrate some of my favorite Iowa makers, I’ve selected a few of my favorite items from this year’s Travel Iowa guide perfect for your favorite Midwesterner or lover of all things local.
Iowa is full of incredibly talented designers and screen printing shops, and The Side Garage is one of my favorites. Based in Des Moines, this unique shop has all sorts of Midwest-themed T-shirts, accessories and more. Two of my favorites are the custom The People Make Des Moines shirt they created as a collaboration a few years ago and their signature Iowa Nice shirt. No matter the age of the person you’re shopping for The Side Garage has the perfect apparel to help them show their Midwestern pride.
Guthrie Center-based Carver’s Ridge is an incredible family-owned, full-service engraving shop that creates a wide variety of potential gifts. One of my favorites is their handwritten recipe board, which can feature any recipe in any handwriting or font. These laser-engraved cutting boards are the perfect way to keep a favorite family recipe close year-round.
Carver’s Ridge Handwritten Recipe Board, $25.95
Housed in the former Madison County jail, 1st Avenue Collective is full of incredible gifts from artists and makers from around the county and beyond. I first experienced this incredible space earlier this summer when I spent a few days discovering all of the creative things there are to do in Winterset, Iowa.
During my visit I was lucky enough to make a hammered silver bracelet with Sandra Geronimo, one of the artists whose work is featured in the shop. Before leaving the collective, I picked up a few things, including a silver ring with a deep blue gemstone that Sandra made and has become a part of my regular jewelry rotation.
If you’re looking for a stylish, handmade gift, look no further. These dainty silver rings add a subtle touch to any outfit whether it’s a regular Tuesday or a special occasion.
Silver Gemstone Ring by Sandra Geronimo, $35
I first discovered Joanna’s Tonic Syrup at the Downtown Des Moines Farmers’ Market earlier this year and absolutely loved the concept. While I’m not a huge fan of sweet cocktails, Joanna’s syrups offer the perfect hint of sweetness with complex spices. I’d also never realized how many cocktail recipes could use a quality tonic and it has quickly become one of my favorite bar cart ingredients. These handmade syrups would make a great gift for the cocktail aficionado in your life or an easy host gift to keep on hand for last-minute plans.
Joanna’s Tonic Syrup, $12
While it may seem small, holiday tea towels have become one of my favorite ways to add a unique seasonal touch to my kitchen. Over the years I’ve amassed quite a collection of tea towels from Doe a Deer and they’re consistently one of my favorite items to pick up as small gifts. Not only are Regan’s designs bright and colorful but they also include charming sayings that are sure to make you smile. Each year, I look forward to getting out her “Still Keeping it Hot” thermos towel as soon as the weather starts to turn cold.
While I know it’s a controversial opinion, I’m fully on board with decorating for the holidays before Thanksgiving and leaving up seasonal decor into the new year. One of my favorite things about the signs and holiday decor from Rosella + Margaret is that many of her designs can seamlessly transition into the rest of the winter season. No matter how you celebrate, these sweet woodcut signs are sure to bring some holiday cheer to any home.
Wooden Signs by Rosella + Margaret, Prices Vary
Winter in Iowa is no joke. So why not use your gift giving to make the people on your list feel extra cozy? Not only is the Amana Woolen Mill an incredible piece of Iowa’s history but the woolen blankets it produces make absolutely beautiful gifts. For the Iowan who has everything, consider a cozy woolen throw to add to their living room or keep at the foot of their bed for the next polar vortex.
Amana Woolen Mill Woolen Throw, $140 – $180
I’m a huge fan of edible gifts, especially for those tricky-to-buy-for friends or family members. The jams that Clear Creek Orchard creates are delicious and can be used in so many different ways. Whether you’re gifting one of these jams on its own or creating an Iowa-themed food box for someone on your holiday gift list, a jar of jam from Clear Creek Orchard would be the perfect addition. If you can’t decide, my personal favorites are the red raspberry or the super berry jam, which combines blueberries, aronia berries and elderberries.
Clear Creek Orchard Jam, $5.95
Keep the Spirit of Giving Alive with More Made-In-Iowa Gifts
Shop the rest of the 2019 Holiday Gift Guide, or check out locally-made picks from 2018 and 2017.
Share Your Thoughts
I would love to hear from you! Where do you find made-in-Iowa gifts? Who are you favorite Iowa makers?