The holidays can be pretty stressful – largely in part to those friends and family members who prove to be impossible to shop for year after year. (I’m talking to you, mothers who have everything and also all in-laws.) Don’t fret, my present-buying Christmas darlings! Consider me your holiday shopping savior…at least in terms of Wisconsin-themed bestowment. I am here to help you impress with our holiday best: Here are 11 unique gift ideas straight from the heart of the Midwest: Wisconsin!
“Cheese Curds are my Spirit Animal” Vintage Tee
I am a proud owner of this crazy awesome “Cheese Curds are my Spirit Animal” tee. I get a lot of stares, smiles and giggles when I sport this one (and let us all assume it’s because of the shirt’s loud and proud yet quirky statement). It’s soft, has a vintage flare to it that I love and I mean, let’s be honest, the shirt really does say it all.
Kreative Kraftwerks Absolute Soap in Fond du Lac has been making cold process soaps by hand for over a decade. All of their soaps, scrubs and perfumes are 100 percent vegan and animal-friendly, deeming them a pretty safe pick when it comes to holiday gifts. Keeping with the philosophy that simple and natural beats complex and chemical, Absolute Soap products are minimally processed and use natural sugars, oils and salts, which supports Wisconsin farmers. This Something Special from Wisconsin member is definitely DW crew-approved!
Wisconsin Sweet Treats Gift Basket
Would it be weird if I bought and shipped this bad boy to my own home? Because it’s amazing… Any recipient of this “Wisconsin Sweet Treats” gift basket is going to fall over the mailman just to rip open this yummy holiday bounty. Their only concern will be deciding which treat to devour first. (For the record, I’d first pick the Chippy’s White Caramel Cashew Popcorn. Or the Door County Confectionery Homemade Caramels. Or the Baraboo Candy Company Original Cow Pie. Gah! Decisions.)
Silver Creek Alpaca
A 160-year-old farm, the folks at Silver Creek raise Huacaya Alpacas and harvest their fiber to produce the most beautiful and finest Wisconsin-made products. Speaking of Wisconsin-made, here’s a unique holiday gift item I love: They’re called Tundra socks. I don’t know about you, but they sound ridiculously warm to me. Silver Creek Alpaca also offers beautiful scarves, shawls, jackets, gloves, totes and purses.
Unisex “Discover” Hoodie
True happiness = one amazing, cozy, super soft sweatshirt. The “Discover” hoodie boasts air-jet spun yarn, double-lined hood, front pouch pocket, athletic rib knit cuffs and double-needle stitching throughout. Translation: It’s the absolute perfect holiday gift for anyone with an appreciation for both a one-of-a-kind hoodie and the best state in the U-S of A.
Hendricks Family Distillery
It ain’t all about the beer here in Wisconsin, people. The Hendricks Family Distillery in northeastern Wisconsin proudly handcrafts and bottles each small batch of this unparalleled vodka (which is gluten-free!). Meticulously perfected from select choice potatoes, Pür Class Vodka eloquently bestows a taste that is incomparably smooth and refined. Your gift recipient will love it so much, I wouldn’t be surprised if the bottle gets cracked open during your Christmas festivities.
Native Wisconsin Coffee Table Book
Wisconsin is home to the largest number of Native American Tribes east of the Mississippi River. Did you know that? I didn’t. Not until I cracked open the book currently resting on my rustic coffee table called “Native Wisconsin.” The state’s 11 sovereign nations are highlighted in this gorgeous book, in which you’ll gain a deeper understanding of the people who continue to practice the language and customs of their ancestors with honor, dignity and Native pride.
This gift is simple yet creative and it comes down to a playful map of Milwaukee's lakefront. The map’s original artwork was designed and screen-printed locally on USA-made cotton. If the guy or gal you’re shopping for has a deep connection to the Milwaukee area, he or she will get a kick out of the HANmade Milwaukee Souvenir bandana, jigsaw puzzles, notebook, pillow cover or apron.
2016 Discover Wisconsin Calendar
The Discover Wisconsin calendar is special to me for a couple reasons: 1. The stunning photos are submitted by our fans and each year, our staff selects the 12 that make the cut. (No small task, let me tell you!) and 2. It’s extremely affordable! The calendar is free – you just need to cover the $2 shipping and handling fee. This is the perfect gift to throw in with the Wisconsin gift you’ve already started. Just make sure you nab one for yourself, too! This year's calendar features our broadcast schedule, statewide events, Sargento coupons and of course, a dozen striking photos taken in Wisconsin.
Berres Brothers Coffee Roasters
This Watertown-based café boasts over 100 varieties of whole bean specialty coffees and gifts from flavored to non-flavored and regular to decaffeinated. Gift ideas range from the coffee itself to accessories including mugs, travel tumblers, brewers and grinders. (Psst! There are even coffee candles available.)
“Say Cheese” Gift Basket
Grant someone the merriest Christmas of all with a basket full of Wisconsin’s favorite appetizer: Cheese! The “Say Cheese!” Gift Basket features seven varieties of high quality cheeses from America’s Dairyland plus a cheese knife, Wisconsin-shaped cutting board, A Traveler’s Guide to America’s Dairyland and more.
I’m always on the hunt for interesting gift ideas with a Wisconsin twist so be sure to leave your ideas for me in the comments below or on Twitter or Instagram using #DiscoverWisconsin. Happy shopping and happy holidays!
Mariah Haberman hosts the nation’s longest-running tourism TV show, Discover Wisconsin. She hails from Evansville, where she was brought up in a family of seven in a small farmhouse outside of town. Some of her favorite memories include Lake Michigan fishing trips with her Dad, showing sheep at the Rock County Fair and buzzing around the farm on an ATV with her little brother. Watch Discover Wisconsin Saturdays at 10 a.m. on FSN Wisconsin’s outdoor block. (Twitter: @DiscoverWI)