Want to get a unique gift for a friend or a loved one? Shop local! Arizona has so many local businesses that can cover most, if not all, of your holiday needs. A few years ago I challenged myself to buy my holiday gifts from only local vendors, and I did it! It took a little creative thinking, as most people ask for items that you would typically get at big box stores, but it can be done.
Below is a gift guide with some of my favorite Arizona gifts:
1. Succulent Garden: Succulents are a great alternative to cactus. And there are so many varieties in shape, color and size. Head to the Desert Botanical Garden for the best selection in town (and check out their latest exhibit while you are there).
2. PB Americano Peanut Butter: PB Americano is a Wilderness Girls favorite – locally made, limited ingredient peanut butters in flavors ranging from classic to cinnamon honey to dark chocolate. You can order from their website, or check out their Facebook page to find out which farmers markets they will be attending.
3. Arizona Wine: Cottonwood houses several Arizona wineries that are producing some amazing wines. Arizona Stronghold “Tazi” (a white blend) is pictured here (and available at Safeway and Total Wine), but also check out Pillsbury Wine Company.
4. Millie’s Sweet & Savory Caramels: The owner and creator of Millie’s Caramels, Jill McNamara, is a “Jill of all trades.” In addition to making some of the best caramels in town, she is also a stellar photographer. Her flavors range from peanut butter & honey to my favorite, rosemary & cracked pepper. Check out her website to order.
5. Arizona Olive Wood: Michael McNamara, the creator of these stunning boards, is the husband of Millie’s Caramels’ Jill, and also an amazing photographer. He uses locally sourced wood and hand crafts these amazing wood boards. They are the perfect gift for anyone who likes to entertain as they are gorgeous as serving pieces (heck, forget serving pieces, these are truly art). Check out his website to order.
6. Arizona Wood Plaque: Keeping with the reclaimed wood gift theme, Citizen Home Decor has an etsy site that features many locally made wood products, including this plaque. They make other states too, so you can give far-flung loved ones an Arizona-made gift featuring their own home state.
7. & 8. Arizona Accessories: One of our favorite boutiques in Phoenix is Bunky Boutique. If you haven’t been there, go now! For the localist in your life, they have really great swag including t-shirts and necklaces.
9. I (Cactus) AZ Tote Bag: Holy Piñata offers a full line of the “I (Cactus) AZ” merchandise. And the best part? They donate $2 of your purchase to a local charity of your choice from their list of charitable partners including Florence Crittendon, Phoenix Children’s Hospital and Desert Botanical Garden. Your gift not only helps your Arizona fan to proclaim their love, it helps to support the Arizona community at the same time.
10. Marlowe Designs Jewelry: I own a ridiculous amount of Marlowe Designs jewelry (Laura is my work colleague ). What I like about her style is that she not only does intricate beaded work that a lot of people love, but she also does a lot of jewelry featuring large, more organic/raw stones, which I love. Check out her website to order, or her Facebook page to find out what art festivals she will be at this season. She is also an avid wine fan, and has cork reindeer and necklaces around the holidays.
11. Runner’s Den: When I was training for my half marathon, I needed new shoes, but I was kind of intimidated to go into Runner’s Den, fearing that it would be too expensive. I was wrong. The prices are on par with bigger stores, and the staff is friendly and incredibly knowledgeable. They are also supportive of the local running community by featuring training videos on their site and running get-togethers at their store. If you need a gift for the runner in your life, I highly recommend either getting their gift there, or getting them a gift card.
12. I Am a Localist: This is one of the most unique gift ideas out there, and only $20 for a year-long membership. The recipient’s membership includes local discounts and freebies, as well as VIP and event opportunities (one of the sample experiences on the site is a personal styling session by the team at Frances). It’s the perfect gift for the localist in your life, and a great way, like so many of the gifts mentioned, to also benefit your local Arizona businesses.
This year, challenge yourself to get at least one gift from a local Arizona vendor. Every purchase helps to support the community by keeping our small businesses alive.
What are some of your favorite local Arizona shops to buy gifts from? Share them in the comments below.