Even though in-person Black Friday bonanzas may be cancelled for 2020, there’s still plenty of holiday shopping to be done. And a commitment to buying local as much as possible can go a long way in lending much-needed support to the numerous businesses throughout Wisconsin which have been impacted by COVID-19. Here’s a curated gift guide to get you started on a shop small spree this holiday season.
Wine Club Membership
“Our Under the Table wine clubs are an opportunity to discover and enjoy new wines that might not be on our shelves,” says Table Wine owner Molly Moran. “The wines are selected with our members in mind and include tasting notes, plus food pairing ideas. We also provide additional discounts, a biannual member sale and other members-only exclusives.”
GIRL STRONG Beanie
This affirming apparel item is a “one size fits most” for both youth and adult according co-founder and chief creative officer Elizabeth Medina. “GIRL WONDERFUL is a mother-daughter-owned and -operated small business based out of Madison,” Medina says. “When the brand launched back in 2014, the goal was to create products that inspired meaningful conversations for girls centered around her interests, goals and ambitions. With a range of products including T-shirt, mugs, greeting cards and more, you are sure to find a gift that speaks to your favorite girl.”
Spa Gift Cards & Getaways
“People are in search physical wellness and mental wellness too—and Sundara delivers on both (in the Wisconsin Dells),” says general manager John Morris. “There is easy social distancing here, given we’re tucked back in an 80-acre pine forest and have 80,000 square feet to roam yet with just 34 suites. Guests love to be outside on the hiking trails and to swim in our outdoor pools which are heated year-round. Sundara is a gift of stress relief and a chance to energize body, mind and soul.”
“Old Sugar Distillery has many gift boxes for $50 and under,” says owner Nathan Greenawalt. “The wildly popular Brandy Old Fashioned Box includes a bottle of brandy, homemade cocktail cherries, bitters and a cocktail book—all packaged in a nice metal tin.” Old Sugar is also selling a pre-bottled version of its popular Gringo (Honey Liqueur and Horchata) through Christmas, plus a new Honey-Cap cocktail set with fresh-squeezed lime juice and local honey.
Regional-Themed Advent Calendars
“The Delicious Wisconsin Advent Calendar and 12 Days of Milwaukee Countdown Calendar make great gifts because each purchase supports multiple small businesses in Wisconsin and allows the recipient to still enjoy the iconic flavors of the state even if they aren’t able to travel home for the holidays,” says Milwaukee Food & City Tours founder Theresa Nemetz.
Good Day Shop founder Sarah Artz recommends perusing the selection of local, handcrafted products available online via her boutique or during private shopping hours. Gifts like a Fern & Nettle bath and body set—or a Mad Maiden Shrub Tasting Set—might be the unique present you’re hunting for. “Made by Janet Chen in Madison, shrub is a drinking vinegar offering a tart and fizzy palate. Mix with sparkling water to level up an everyday beverage or experiment with your favorite spirits and accompaniments for your next cocktail hour. Perfect for gifting to a foodie, health nut or amateur mixologist,” Artz suggests.
Created by sustainable fashion label Fair Indigo, The Joobles are organic cotton stuffed animals, hand-knit in small cooperatives throughout Peru,” says designer Stacy Imhoff. “These playful characters bring children joy and reflect the talent of the artisans who lovingly make each one.” And now there is a bilingual picture book illustrated by Madison artist Emily Balsley to help bring the story of these adorable creatures to life for littles. (One additional perk: The brand provides free shipping for every online order!)
Social Justice Swag
Defending Black Girlhood founder and podcast host Lilada Gee is also a talented visual artist. While her nonprofit in Gee’s own words is “committed to insuring that Black girls are safe in their homes, schools and churches (to live, learn and be loved),” her vibrant creations embody the essence of Black beauty and joy. If looking for an ideal gift that symbolizes a loved one’s commitment to anti-racism, check out the items available in her Etsy shop. She says, “Drink your favorite warm beverage in my mug that artfully displays a commitment to social justice.”
The specific projects in the Gratitude Art Box are a Gratitude Tree; Zentangle Thankful Hands; and A “Stained Glass” Heart. Each of these projects were designed by MSAC’s lead art instructor Jess Jacobson and is accompanied by a video on our YouTube channel during which she walks kiddos through the process of creating the included projects,” says Monroe Street Fine Arts Center executive director Carey Zawlocki. “This particular kit raises funds for Second Harvest’s Food for Thought program, while encouraging the practice of gratitude within our community and our homes. And our December art kit will be A Christmas Carol-themed created in partnership with Children’ Theater of Madison.”
Holiday Gift Boxes
According to The Heights proprietor Evan Gruzis, the following items from local vendors and specialty producers are included with a limited-edition tote bag: “Heights incense called Chai High, a custom tote bag and some of our favorite products including WM Chocolate, Foxglove Chocolate, Ruby Coffee, Burlap and Barrel spice, Jacobsen Hot Honey and Heartbeat Hot Sauce.”