With the holidays steadily approaching, I've put together a little guide for you to help find your way through the maze of products being shoved into our faces the next couple months. The vast majority of what you will see here is made by small companies and craftsman who truly love what they do, and it shows in their work. With the economy still limping along, it makes all the difference when you support small local businesses rather than the large conglomerates. I also have a list of charities at the end of the post that are very deserving of assistance, a little donation in someone else's name makes a great gift tucked into their Christmas card, as well. I hope you enjoy this assemblage of creativity, form, and function, and savor the beginning of the holiday season!
For the Distinguished Gentleman
1 Saint James of London Pure Horn Badger Brush and Safety Horn Razor, $39 and $75
Beautifully handcrafted, the safety razor gets a closer shave than a straight razor, and the badger brush lays on the shaving soap nice and smooth.
2 Daneson Flavored Toothpicks in Single Malt and Bourbon, $35.99 for a pack of 4 bottles
These are deeeelicious. Great gift for both lady and gentleman whiskey fans, alike.
3 Bigelow Bay Rum Aftershave Balm, $19.50
This has the most wonderfully warm and soothing scent, and it makes the skin feel so smooth afterwards (yes, I may have enjoyed the smell so much that I put some on my legs).
4 Los Poblanos Man Bar and Handcrafted Shaving Soap, $12 and $20
Both products are all natural and are made with lavender grown at Los Poblanos, but still have a very masculine scent to them. Nourishing to the skin and the nose.
5 St. George Spirits Terroir Gin, $35
This small batch gin draws inspiration and ingredients from the forests of California. With notes of douglas fir, laurels, and sage, it makes for the perfect evening refresher.
6 Tangent Garment Care Small Shoe Care Set, €55
The perfect kit for keeping your shoes in tip-top shape. Adds the most wonderful supple look to any leather goods.
For The Curator
1 Rogue Journals Hemingway's Favorite Heirloom Journal, $85
This hand-bound leather journal is truly one of a kind, with sheathes of beautifully natural paper bound inside. Perfect for the illustrator or writer.
2 House Spirits Distillery Krogstad Gamle Aquavit, $37.99
With notes of anise, vanilla, and cinnamon, this aquavit is the perfect addition to the fall and winter bar shelf. Delicious for sipping on its own or in a cocktails. Distilled in Portland, Oregon.
3 West Third Brand Grit & Poise, $26
A deliciously unique scent that combines amber, incense, vanilla, and lemon, it is as once both refreshing and catching. Gives you the grit & poise you need to get through the day.
4 Winter Session Slash Wallet in Tobacco Dublin, $70
This hand-stitched leather wallet combines form and function perfectly. The v-shaped grooves satisfy the graphic-driven mind and the natural leather feels sturdy and supple. Great for gentlemen and gentle ladies alike.
5 Minnie & George Hand-Stitched Envelope Wallet, $76
The hand-stitching on this piece is an essential part of its design and beauty. Big enough to fit a little wallet as well as a few cosmetic items, but small enough to fit in your coat pocket. The leather is of a heavier weight that will stand the test of time.
6 Etsy Barn Stationary Custom Library Stamp, $26.20
Perfect for the bookworm, this stamp allows you to know for certain which books are yours. With an array of beautiful designs, there's one for every type of home library. Use the code FALL1420 to save 20% off any order over $18.55 at checkout (expires December 14th).
7 Fortress of Inca Cameron Boots, $210
Handmade in Peru, these boots are fair-trade and combine the style of the Peruvian people with the more traditional form of a boot. The result is an incredibly unique and eye-catching design that adds an extra spring to your step.
For The Foodie
1 Cocanu Chocolates in Abeja and Gardel, $5 per bar
With bee pollen as an ingredient, the flavors here don't get much more local, unique, and delicious. Made in Portland, Oregon.
2 Artifact Bag Co. No. 215 Waxed Canvas Lunch Tote, $65
To keep your delicious foods in a portable container that's as lovely as they are, pick up this stunning and rustic waxed canvas lunch tote. The other, larger bags they make are just as stunning.
3 Villa de Patos Maguey Sweet Sap, $12.99
An amazing sweetener that is made from the sap of the maguey plant and is completely unrefined. Full of vitamins and minerals, this alternative sweetener is completely organic and has a wonderfully caramel and brown sugar-flavor to it.
4 Turnco Wood Goods Walnut French Rolling Pin, $58
Hand made in Whidbey Island, the simple elegance of this rolling pin makes it a great display piece for your kitchen countertop when you're not using it to evenly roll out sheets of dough.
5 Turnco Wood Goods Hand Blown 32 oz. Mason Jar with Walnut Lid, $39
Another gorgeous piece from the talented Washington pair, the glass is hand-blown and has a wonderful rustic look to it, plus the beautifully carved walnut lid makes whatever you end up storing in the jar look incredible.
6 Finex 12" Cast Iron Skillet, $195
This is a must-have for any cooking enthusiast. Made in Portland, Oregon by one of the biggest cast-iron enthusiasts you will meet, its smooth polished interior makes clean-up for cast iron cooking easier that its ever been, plus the years of seasoning you'll add to it will make every dish taste as delicious as the one before. Lasts for generations.
7 Clever Hen Afternoon Tea Basket, $49.95
Just one of a wide selection of natural and organic foodie gift baskets, the shortbread oatcakes here taste amazing dipped in the Smith Teamaker tea, and the variety of organic honeys make for tasty natural sweeteners.
For the Home
1 Fauribault Woolen Mills Lodge Stripe Wool Throw Blanket, $145
The coziest, warmest, and most stylish blanket around. Made in the USA with American wool, their scarves are amazing, too.
2 Murchinson-Hume All Natural Cleaners Classic Six Boxed Set, $65
These cleaners are *amazing*. The 'Original Fig' scent is everything I want a clean home to smell like, not harsh but gentle, and not annoyingly sweet or lemony, but warm and refreshing. Plus they're all natural so you don't need to worry about bringing toxins into your home when you attempt to clean it.
3 Gingher Gold Handle Shears, $39.99
These are the most lovely scissors I've ever encountered. Great for everyday use, but made for cutting through fabrics.
4 Pigeon Toe Ceramics Bound Pitcher, $130
Such a simple and elegant piece for the home. Perfect for a cool glass of water or a refreshing iced tea.
5 Merchant & Mills Tailor's Roll Sewing Kit in British Oilskin, £44
This is hands down the best sewing kit ever. It comes in this incredibly nifty roll-up oilskin cloth that has little pockets in it specifically sized for each piece of the kit. With pins, needles, measuring tape, and a wee pair of scissors, it has everything you need for mending.
For the Herbalist
1 May Lindstrom Skin The Jasmine Garden and The Blue Cocoon, $60 and $160
Both products are all natural and organic, and have a strong focus on aromatherapy. The Jasmine Garden is my favorite beauty product, ever. It smells like sticking your face in a pile of 100 jasmine blossoms and I want to live in it.
2 Juniper Ridge White Sage Smudge, $10
Perfect for clearing the air of any bad odors or vibes, and altogether pleasant to look at, too.
3 Art in the Age Spirits Sage, $30
A deliciously herbal liqueur that's inspired by the Lewis & Clark expedition. Full of fresh botanical flavors, it goes well on its own or in both savory and sweet cocktails.
4 Art of Tea Summer Peach, $13 for 4 ounces
Entirely organic and made from the highest quality sourced teas in the world, this loose-leaf blend combines the rich, dark flavors of black tea with vanilla and peach. The best way to start your day. And their Earl Grey Creme is a real winner, too.
5 Mountain Rose Herbs Facial Steam, $5.90 for 3 ounces
Leaning over a piping hot bowl of dried herbs and flowers and letting the steam refresh your skin is pure relaxation at its finest. All natural and organic, and it lasts a really long time.
6 Soul Vessel Designs Ceramic Tumblers, $42 for the pair
These large handmade cups are even more beautiful in person. Perfect for keeping hot drinks hot and cold drinks cold.
For the Gardener
1 Joseph Bentley Three-Piece Garden Tool Gift Set, $39.99
For the yard-enthusiast with taste, these gorgeous stainless steel + wood-handled gardening tools (hand trowel, transplanting trowel, and hand fork) look ridiculously beautiful and will last you years and years. Incredibly strong and well-built.
2 Victory Seeds Buttercrunch Bibb Lettuce & Delicata Squash $1.95 per packet
The wide range of near-extinct heirloom seeds housed here is incredible. The main focus of the company is to preserve heirloom plant varieties, so every dollar is well spent.
3 Atomic Garden Bishop Twine Stand, $24
I am so, so in love with this thing. Not only does it look stunning, it's also very functional. The little bishop's head at the top actually has a razor in the slit so you can pull and cut in one fluid motion. Super useful when you need to keep one hand on the plant.
4 Womanswork All Leather Gauntlet Gardening Gloves, $46
These gorgeous gloves are incredibly thick and rugged, keeping out all sorts of rose thorns. Plus they're actually made for a woman's hands, so you can get a nice solid grip on whatever you're working with without worrying about your hand sliding around in a giant man-glove.
5 Portland General Store Apothecary Wood Super Thick Hand Cream, $14
This cream is the best for dry, scratched gardeners' hands. Thick and moisturizing without feeling greasy, it has the most refreshing woodsy scent.
For The Gatherer
1 Ohio Wood and Iron Works Hand Forged Herb Drying Rack, $22
This stunning piece of craftsmanship is the perfect addition to any herb-enthusiast's kitchen. It hangs down gracefully and comes with several hooks to tie your herbs onto, letting them dry out with plenty of air flow around them.
2 Rifle Paper Co. Honey Bee Wall Calendar, $18
For the honey enthusiast, or anyone who likes good illustrations, this calendar is full of beautiful drawings of bees, honey, and the like.
3 Happy Cat Farm Mushroom Foraging Knife, $27
If you're thinking about foraging for mushrooms this fall, take a peek here and make an investment in a solid foraging knife. Being able to cut cleanly through the stems of the mushrooms and quickly brush off any debris will safe you time and keep your mushrooms nice and sanitary for the trip back to your kitchen.
4 Burstenhaus Redecker Mushroom Brush, $9.95
For larger mushrooms such as portobello, I recommend getting a big brush like this one. Brushing mushrooms, even those you buy from the store, is much better than washing them because it keeps the mushrooms from absorbing excess water and getting too spongey.
5 Tieks Ballerina Pink Leather Flats, $175
For simple footwear that allows you to feel the texture of the earth beneath your feet, but will last for an eternity with proper care, I highly recommend investing in a pair of tieks. They're super comfortable and have a simple elegance that goes with pretty much everything.
6 Pacific Merchants 5 Liter Pickle Pot, $55.50
What to do with all those foraged fruits and veggies? You can pickle that. This fermentation crock is perfect for homemade goodies like pickled carrots, kimchi, and sauerkraut. I've got a batch of a kimchi-sauerkraut hybrid fermenting right now and this pickle pot does it perfectly. It's like the ultimate slow-cooker, plus it fills your food with healthy probiotics!
7 Dadant Beginner's Hobby Beekeeping Kit No. 2, $179.50
If you're really interested in bees, first read this, then invest in this beginner's bee-keeping kit. Full of the basics like bee-housing, comb walls, gloves, a smoker, fuel, bee-cap, and a bee-keeping guide, this has everything you need to get started except the bees themselves.
For The Portlander
1 Mazama Small Camp Cup in Cloud with Ink Speckle, $34
The most charming ceramic mugs you'll ever see, each one is hand-thrown here in Northeast Portland. Their range of glaze colors is stunning, and the simple but elegant design classes up any beverage your decide to pour inside of it.
2 Chemex Classic Series Three Cup Coffee Maker, $37.50
For the ultimate coffee-snob, nothing brews better than a chemed of your very own. This small model does a great job for petite households or the single coffee enthusiast.
3 Annie Beedy Hand Carved Maple Spoon, prices vary
If you love hand-carved wooden kitchen tools, you need to look through Annie's online shop. She witless away wood into the most beautiful and detailed pieces, each one flowing perfectly with the grain of the original wood piece.
4 Studio ERG High Society Collection Necklace, $45
Handmade in Portland, they're beautifully elegant in and of themselves, but also serve as the classiest roach clips around. Perfect for the stylish herb-enthusiast in your life, and can also serve as the ideal celebratory gift for Measure 91.
5 Nell & Mary Napkin Set in Feather Cities Indigo and Brush Weave Indigo, $48 for set of 4
These gorgeous napkins are designed and printed here in the northwest by the talented Nell & Mary. The beautifully neutral shade of blue going with any server. Keep your eyes on the blog for an upcoming giveaway!
6 Toms Dark Grey Suede Women's Alpaca Boots, $119
For those cool fall, winter, and spring days, these boots are incredible detailed and well-made. The beautiful shade of grey suede looks stunning when paired with clothes of any color. Plus Toms gives a pair of shoes to someone in need whenever you make a purchase, and their community involvement in third-world countries is something to be emulated by other clothing companies.
7 Portland Growler Co. Ceramic Beer Growler, $65
With good beer flowing like water in the streets of the city, it's best to take some of that sweet tap home with you, and nothing will be more solid or stylish than keeping it in a modern and simple ceramic growler. Made in northeast Portland, and with a wide variety of beautiful glazing options.
For The Outdoor Enthusiast
1 Juniper Ridge Big Sur Cabin Spray, $40
Such a clean and refreshing scent, it smells like you've just walked deep into the most fragrant pine forest in the world.
2 Orvis Leatherbound National Parks Atlas, $59
This is a beautiful book that is filled with maps of every national park in the US. As stunning as it is useful and informative, it's a great piece to hand down throughout the family to chronicle different hikes and journeys.
3 Industrial Revolution - Light My Fire Titanium Spork, $14.99
Incredibly strong and lightweight, this simple design combines form and function, allowing you to bring a single utensil with you camping that is practically unbreakable.
4 Industrial Revolution - UCO Stormproof Matches, $3.99
For those hikes that catch you out in the rain and wind, nothing performs better than these storm-proof matches.
5 Eastland Shoe Wellesley II Suede Chukka Boots, $80
Incredibly comfortable and well made, these shoes are built to stand up to rough environments. With thick sturdy soles that have an iron grip on the ground, they make for great stylish outdoor footwear.
6 Happy Tiffin Raja Domed 3 Tier Tiffin, $39.95
The best way to transport food on hikes and camping trips. The handle on top allows you to clip it onto your hiking pack for easy access. Keeps a nice assortment of meals separated, and the steel housing is sturdy enough to survive the rough and tumble of the outdoors.
American Association of Caregiving Youth
This nonprofit helps provide financial and community support for children 18 years and under who provide significant assistance to relatives or household members who need help because of physical or mental illness, disability, frailty associated with aging, substance misuse, or other condition. Being the head of their households at such a young age makes keeping up with school work very difficult, especially if there are younger children in the family. The AACY helps these children care for those who depend on them so they can build a brighter future for themselves and their family.
Society of Women Engineers
If you find the fact that the Miss America Pageant, which requires contestants to parade around in bikinis, is the number one female-only scholarship fund in the US as horrifically depressing as I do, then make a bountiful donation to this organization. They provide scholarships to females going into engineering fields and helps with job placement and community support for those in this male-dominated career.
The number one provider of reproductive cancer screenings, they make regular check-ups affordable for those who otherwise would not be able to see a physician. The best way to beat cancer, especially in cases of breast cancer, is early detection, which PP makes available to everyone regardless of their economic standing.
Any animal lover can appreciate the care and dedication that goes into rescuing, rehabilitating, and caring for stray, injured, and disabled animals. The humane society of America makes sure creatures of all kinds lead comfortable lives and does it's best to place them with permanent forever homes.