Are you not freaking out about holiday gift-giving yet? Here, let me help with that!
Sure, you’ve just washed those Thanksgiving dishes, but Hanukkah starts in just 13 days, and Christmas isn’t far behind with only 16 to go before the big guy supposedly slides down the “chimney” with whatever you’ve… yet to find.
It’s high time you saddle up and head to your nearest purveyor (cough: small business and/or the web's nearer corners) of locally made, ethically sourced goods to start hunting and gathering for your loved ones.
We humbly suggest any of the below. All are righteous in both product and MO. And that, dear friends, is part and parcel with the season of giving, amirite?
You Betcha! Box
Here’s the thing about good gifts: In spirit, they’re useful, at least a little luxurious, definitely thoughtful, and last for a while. When Katie Sterns founded her Minnesota-centric gift box company, You Betcha! Boxes, the idea was to do all of that in one fell swoop, while providing a direct outlet for small-batch artisans with cult followings. Each hand-packed box is curated for a specific theme. Barbecue lovers will adore the “Minnesota Meat Raffle!” option, stocked with fixin’s for prepping meat, while folks with a sweet tooth may lean more toward “MinneSNOWda Land of Cocoa,” which teems with not just cocoa mix but small-batch mallows, chocolate bars made with local maple syrup, and other tiny sweet treats. Prices vary depending on each box’s theme and contents to maximize gift-giving ease and people-pleasing potential, all while introducing the best of our state’s goodies to any and everyone.
Lulu’s Brasilian Snacks
For the uninitiated, pão de queijo is the kind of snack you want to shovel in your face by the handful. The traditional Brazilian baked good is about the size of a ping pong ball and has the (non)heft of a mini-popover, with a slightly crusty outside due to a perfect balance of tangy cheese baked into the savory pastries themselves. This year, why not gift a batch of Lulu’s locally made naturally gluten-free cheese balls to everyone you know? These tapioca flour-based delights can be found in the freezer section of Twin Cities grocers, which make for an easy (and probably new) way to surprise those members of your family who may feel particularly deprived during this gluten-ful time of year.
Cookie Cart’s hand-decorated cookies
Related to the above: Your Aunt Betty may go on epic baking sprees executing 19 kinds of pinwheels in 72 hours, but that doesn’t mean you need to! Deliver hand-decorated holiday cookies anywhere in the world thanks to Cookie Cart, the north Minneapolis bakery founded in 1988 with the mission to employ and empower teens by providing them with lasting work in baking. From their new St. Paul kitchen, Cookie Cart’s teens baked 15,502 dozen of cookies between Thanksgiving and Christmas last year, and they’re hoping to reach 16,000 dozen before this Christmas. The least you can do is help—by letting them do the baking for you.
A whole entire gallon of Cry Baby Craig’s
Do you have friends who once called Minnesota home, but dared to leave? Have you ever witnessed them return for a visit only to make a pit stop at the grocery store on the way to the airport, to “quick grab some Cry Baby Craig’s”? I bet you have. You know what to do next. Get them a whole dang gallon of the Scovie-winning sauce. It’ll only set you back $90…. But can you truly put a price on love? (The answer here is "no.") Get them a gallon of joy. We, and Craig, promise tears will flow.