December 5, 2013

A Southern Holiday: Gifts Made in the South

There are so many talented and creative folks who call the south home. This is why I've decided to buy local, southern-made goods and items this holiday shopping season. Not only does it support southern purveyors, artisans and merchants, but it's also a fail-safe way to make sure the people on my holiday list are delighted with what they receive.

Since I'm visiting my pals at Knoxville's WTNZ Fox43 this morning for a segment, I decided to share some of the southern made holiday gift items that I've gotten so far. 

1) Hostess Gifts & Stocking Stuffers 

You should never show up to a party empty-handed, whether you bring a covered dish, flowers or a plant, or a bottle of wine. For some folks in my family, a bottle of wine could be substituted for a jar of moonshine, but you get the idea. 

Here are some great options for southern made hostess gifts, which could also double as teacher gifts, stocking stuffers or items for a white elephant gift exchange. 

1) "Christmas Candle" from oil & wax soy candles {made in Nashville} Available at Knoxville's Rala or online
2) Original Salted Caramels from Shotwell Candy Co. {made in Memphis} Available at Rala or online
3) Sea Salt Chocolate Bar from Olive & Sinclair Chocolate Co. {made in Nashville} Available at Three Rivers Market or online 
4) Muddy Pond Sorghum from the Guenther Family {made in Monterey, TN} Available at Blackberry Farm
5) Baby Buns Lavender Soap from Wild Hare Soap Co. {made in Knoxville, TN} Available at Three Rivers market or online

2) Gifts for the Foodie

Not sure if you're shopping for a foodie? If you have someone on your holiday shopping list who reads cookbooks for fun, subscribes to a zillion food blogs, and loves eating local, it's a safe bet a foodie is in your midst. I highly recommend this cookbook by my friend Carrie Morey. Pair it with a package of her famous Callie's Charleston Biscuits (available at Fresh Market and other retailers) to make the foodie on your list oh so happy.

3) Gifts for the Fashionista

Europe and NYC no longer corner the market on high fashion. Make those fashionistas on your holiday list pleased as punch with the gift of custom denim and jewelry made right here in the south. 

Marc Nelson Denim is based in Knoxville, Tennessee and creates custom fit and small-batch run denim made in America (in the south). The men’s and women’s collections can be found in boutiques and specialty retailers across the U.S. as well as the company’s online store

Knoxville shoppers can find Marc Nelson at Bliss as well as other area retailers. I just got my first pair in the slim boot style and they make me feel like a rock star.

Another great southern made item for the style-setter on your holiday shopping list is Lenny & Eva jewelry. Now in boutiques all around the country, this brand was started by a sweet gal from my hometown. She's even graced the blog before when I featured her photography from a vintage southern wedding (to die for). 

Knoxville folks can find a wide selection of Lenny & Eva at Bliss (or you can check for a store near you using the store locator). 

4) Gifts for the Art Lover 

The gift of art is always a good idea because it allows you to present someone special with a one-of-a-kind piece that you chose just for them. The south is home to lots of talented artists, but two I happen to really like are Beth Meadows and Brian Pittman

Beth is known for her colorful mason jar art while Brian's pen and ink drawings center around cathedrals and other architectural marvels. Beth Meadows and Brian Pittman are extremely talented and I love supporting their creative endeavors. 

Both have work available at Knoxville's Rala and Brian will be on hand Friday, Dec. 6th for a First Friday event.

These are just a few of the locally made items that caught my eye this holiday season. Are you supporting local merchants and artisans? I'd love to hear what some of your favorite items are! 

For more southern gift ideas, check out these other posts featuring local and DIY holiday gifts