Here is a list of holiday gifts made by folks from Maine and/or have some sort of connection to the state. I am offering it as a service to you because you don’t want to go to the Mall on the day after Thanksgiving. Doing that is just stupid. Sure, you can get a new Blu-ray player for like $20, but you’ll also be at the mall on Black Friday and that’s like having your fingernails pulled out with a pair of needle nose pliers. I should know, as I worked there for about 7 years.
You can buy all of these gifts online or at local shops and craft fairs (like PICNIC, one of my very favorites), so that’s cool too. Also, by spending locally, your money stays here in the state and it doesn’t get laundered through some off-shore tax haven before going into the pockets of a cabal of corporate criminals.
Many thanks to the dozens of people who contributed to this list via Facebook and Twitter.
ALSO: I will be discussing this list on MPBN Maine Calling on Monday, December 2nd.
Note: I reached out to Kate McAleer, Founder of Bixby and Co., to ask her about the significance of being a young, emerging business owner in 2013. She responded:
“The significance of being a young, emerging business owner now is that I have an ability to forge ahead and be able to take risks in order to try and effect much needed change, largely as a result of my life experiences. A great area of interest in making that change is in the food system and in particular confectioneries. As an entrepreneur, I have the ultimate flexibility to shape my business into the areas that are important to me. I am not alone—I am part of a network of other young entrepreneurs. Clearly there is an awakening in our country to the fact that our food system and is broken and our environment is challenged and needs to be fixed. I am proud to be a part of this movement in our society and its acceptance of youth stepping to the plate to make a statement through their ethical and sustainable businesses. The State of Maine, in particular, is very supportive of young entrepreneurs.”
Note: I reached out to Alison Thibault of Five Elements and asked her what made her leave a comfortable job in the corporate world to come to Maine and open a gallery.
“I had spent most of my childhood summers visiting my grandparents on Vinalhaven and I was always looking for a way to get back here. Vinalhaven is home for me – no other place has ever resonated so deeply. Life on Vinalhaven is a perfect balance for me: the hectic busyness of summer and the slower pace of fall and spring with the comfortable solitude of winter. The distraction free space, the amazing light and the spectacular colors all influence my work and my life.”
Note: I own one of these plaid Maine hoodies and I have never, EVER worn it without encountering someone who wants to know where they can get one for themselves. It’s a pretty hot commodity.
Note: These guys are super, super legit. They’re wonderful people, and their Maine-appreciation products are some of the very best out there. Accept no substitutes.
Note: I reached out to artist Jennifer Judd McGee and asked about her favorite part of living in Maine during the holidays.
“I love living in Maine because we are so lucky to have so many talented artists and craftspeople making diverse and interesting gifts. I love how easy it is to shop locally, support our own communities and be able to give great gifts.”
Who are some of her favorite Maine artisans?
Note: I asked Ray Pare a couple of questions about Dofähn and his dog beds.
What do you love most about your product?
“They are handmade in Maine by stay at home moms! The durable dog bed duvet covers and inserts are removable for washing. We guarantee your dog sweet dreams on every Dofähn Designer Dog Bed.”
What would be a great sister gift to your custom dog begs?
“Since all of our products are sold as a collection, then a set of matching Dofähn pillows, a Dofähn dog bowl, or even a Dofähn dog bandana.”
Note: I reached out to Sean Sullivan of Buoy Local to ask him a couple of questions about the gift card.
What’s the elevator pitch for Buoy?
“The Buoy Local gift card is your passport to fun in Portland. A single card redeemable at a variety of local businesses and a satisfying way to support the city’s local economy. We offer a great opportunity for people who love this city to gift their love of Portland and support the city’s small businesses,. It’s more personal than cash or check, and still allows the recipient some flexibility on how to use it. Plus, it fits easily down chimneys.”
“Because you’ve got a lot of great options on how to spend it and all of them will give you an authentic Portland experience. We’re talking cobblestones and bricks here, not big box and fluorescent lights. With one card, you can dine at one of the best restaurants in town, shop at some of the coolest boutiques, and even rent a stand up paddleboard rental or go on a brewery tour! A lot better than a traditional gift card where you’re forced to spend it at one business that you may or may not like.”
“The local business community has been extremely supportive. We’ve got about 30 businesses already signed up, including some of the most notable names in town, and we’ll likely sign on about 30 more before the end of the year. Portland business owners are pretty savvy – they know this is a great opportunity to market themselves, drive traffic, and support something that will strengthen the community. Plus, some of the bigger employers around town are purchasing cards to use as presents for colleagues, employees, and friends. You can only give out so many bottles of wine.”
“Two reasons: First, I love showing visitors around Portland, bringing them to those hidden spots and local gems that make our city great, and this gift card program allows me to do that on a much bigger scale. I love this city and it’s a pleasure to be able to share my passion for it. My second reason is that I know it’s all the unique shops, world class eateries, and experiential type of businesses that make Portland great. Buoy Local gives me the chance to support these businesses and ensure they’ll stay strong, and continue to be the mortar that holds together our city by the sea.”
Note: Read my interview with Jack Tar 207 founder LK Weiss here.
Note: Read my interview with Weft and Warp’s Erik Desjarlais here.
- Most everything tagged “Maineteam” on Etsy
- Scrap. Wood. Renaissance.
- New Balance
- Casco Bay Butter
- Vintage Photo Reproductions
- Northwoods Gourmet Girl Jams
- Lakonia Dafni Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Little Beach Books
- Pottery by Celia
- Mod Mud
- Art by Kimberly Convery
- Allen’s Coffee Brandy
- Goods from Cape Porpoise Trading Co.
- Portmanteau Canvas Bags, Totes, Capes and Cloaks
- The Rock & Art Shop [Bangor]
- Met Soul [Bangor]
- Daytrip Society [Kennebunkport]
- LeRoux Kitchen [Portland and Scarborough]
- Bunker Brewing [Portland]
- Portland General Store [Portland]
- Bull Moose Music [Brunswick, N. Windham, Waterville, Sanford, Portland, Bangor, Scarborough, South Portland and Lewiston]
- Oxbow Beer [Newcastle]
- Find [Portland and Scarborough]
- Black Point Mercantile [Portland]
Buy Local Guides