My mom once told me that if I ever fell on my face doing my current job I could always make a living being a personal shopper because she thought I gave the perfect presents. I don't know exactly what that meant, but I do know I enjoy finding the the right gift for people. My strategy, though, is straightforward...find something that the person really wants but would never buy for themselves. A simple rule, but sometimes easier said than done.
Yesterday I wrote an article about the power of spending your money this Christmas season at a small local business instead of the big box retailer on the edge of town or the chain store in the mall. I could hear people grumble and say, "Yes, but all the cool stuff is at the national chain stores. What is there to buy locally?"
Well my friend, I have the answer for you right here.
This Christmas season I decided to put together a list of Montana made gifts for the holidays. These are those things that are positively Montana and will make anyone from Montana happy. They include:
3.) Pants and work wear for women from Red Ants Pants (White Sulphur Springs).
4.) This one is a killer gift for men wanting something special for their wives or girlfriends (guaranteed to work every time)...rent a local limo to take your wife or girlfriend AND A FRIEND (yes, it needs to be for two) to a salon and spa for a hair styling, massage, manicure, and skin treatment.
5.) Hand-forged custom knives from Montana Hammer Knives (Havre).
7.) Locally made beer or spirits from any of the many different breweries and distilleries in Montana. My favorite? Moose Drool from Big Sky Brewing (Missoula), Pigs Ass Porter from Harvest Moon Brewing Company (Belt), Beltian White also from Harvest Moon Brewing Company (Belt), and Fresno Wheat from Triple Dog Brewing Company (Havre). And although you can't get beer from Triple Dog Brewing Company to go, they do sell gift certificates.
8.) Big Bud toy tractors or T-shirts from Williams Big Bud Tractor (Big Sandy).
9.) Norwegian lefse from Granruds Lefse (Opheim). And don't forget Montana made butter from the local Hutterite colony and GW sugar made with real Montana sugar beets from Western Sugar Cooperative (Billings).
11.) Authentic Montana Yogo sapphire gemstones from The Gem Gallery (Bozeman).
12.) Wildlife and western-themed sculptures from Eric Thorsen Gallery (Big Fork).
13.) Handmade artisan soaps and bath products from Anchors Aweigh Farm (Fort Benton).
14.) A boot and shoe brush (what cowboy or farmer doens't need one of those?) from Bitterroot Boot Brush (Hamilton).
15.) Traditional native American arts, crafts, and jewelry from Sundog Fine Art (Havre).
16.) A weekend getaway for your honey to Grand Union Hotel (Fort Benton).
17.) Pottery and stonewear from Eve Pottery (Great Falls).
19.) Portable sheds, garden sheds, and gazebos from Montana Shed Center (Great Falls).
20.) Professional landscaping from any of the many different landscapers in the state.
21.) Mobile telephone service from Triangle Mobile (Havre).
22.) Gourmet popcorn from The Popcorn Colonel (Great Falls).
23.) Books about Montana by Riverbend Publishing (Helena).
24.) A gift certificate to a favorite local restaurant.
25.) A fly fishing adventure with a professional outfitter on the Bighorn River or Missouri River from one of the many fine fly fishing outfitters in the state of Montana.
27.) Handcrafted wood furniture from Black Timber Furniture Company (Bozeman).
28.) Women's totes, wallets and clutches from T Bird Leather (Whitefish).
29.) Anything made with huckleberries from The Huckleberry Patch (Hungry Horse).
30.) Antler chandeliers and lighting from Antler Chandeliers and Lighting Company (Polson).
31.) Belt buckles from Wild Horse Steel Works (Bozeman).
32.) Beautiful pottery from Whitefish Pottery (Whitefish).
You honestly didn't think I would let you get out of here without some shameless self promotion, did you? :)