More than ever, people are shopping with their hearts this holiday season. After two Decembers of limited travel and social distancing due to the pandemic, friends and family gathering together is seen as the greatest gift.
And instead of a pile of presents, people are taking home a meaningful memento of their shared experience.
In Oregon, store owners are stocking shelves with candles scented of pine and fir trees, glassware with images of the Cascade mountains, and casual jewelry like a pendant with opalized petrified wood or a sunstone, the state’s official gem.
Gifts made by local artisans add to the memory, and creators of Oregon apparel to apothecary, shoes to stationery (start at Oblation Paper and Press in Portland) are easy to find, in person and online.
There are many holiday crafters and makers markets — the outdoor Portland Saturday Market continues until Dec. 24 — as well as year-round farm stands and stores dedicated to locally designed and produced items.
Buying local sidesteps supply chain delays and reduced inventory at chain stores. Supporting neighborhood shops and family farms keeps funds, limited by inflation and rising interest rates, circulating in the region.
Lauren Stumpf, who manages the MadeHere gift shop in Portland’s Pearl District, says another benefit of supporting local makers is they are available to answer questions, and some are willing to customize items.
“People feel a connection rather than just getting a mass-produced product they can buy anywhere,” says Stumpf.
Orox Leather Company, owned by a family with four generations of leather makers, invites people to its Portland store at 914 S.W. Morrison St. and workshop at 450 N.W. Couch St. to learn about handmade leather bags, belts and wallets.
Designer Lizzie Everson’s stylish purses, totes and backpacks are displayed at her Primecut Studio at 2134 N. Flint Ave. in Portland, which is open Monday-Thursday.
“We love meeting with customers in person,” says Everson. “It’s super fun to watch people experience the tactile nature of all of our bags.”
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MadeHere’s half-block-long store has thousands of items from more than 150 regional producers, priced from $3.50 to $1,000, and Stumpf says something will be reminiscent of the area: a flavor, scent, fabric.
“It’s not about receiving a thing, but having an experience and receiving something special tied to the Pacific Northwest’s natural beauty and residents’ creative and entrepreneurial spirit,” she says.
Stumpf points to North Drinkware’s handblown Mount Hood Tumbler, which has U.S. Geological Survey data of Oregon’s highest peak molded into the base of the eight-ounce pint glass ($53).
“Maybe someone saw Mount Hood as they flew in and went skiing at Meadows [resort], then enjoyed a craft beer at Breakside Brewery or Von Ebert Brewing,” she says. “Imagine if they take home glassware made here that reminds them of the landscape?”
She adds, “You can’t ship wine or beer easily, but you can ship glassware and food.”
On display at the MadeHere shop at 40 N.W. 10th Ave. (also at madehereonline.com) are ceramic fruit bowls wheel thrown by Theresa Arrison ($95, 9.5 inches in diameter, 4 inches tall), recycled cotton knit throws in a range of patterns and colors by House of Castellon ($185, 60-by-69 inches), and scented Cabin Candles by Wild Mountain Wax ($30 for 8 ounces).
Stores have already seen a shift to pre-pandemic traffic with more tourists and locals, Stumpf says. “People want to have their day out,” she says, “and unlike going online, it’s exciting to shop in person for specialty goods.”
Another one-stop shop for local goods are the Made In Oregon stores in Portland’s Pioneer Place, Beaverton’s Washington Square, Clackamas Town Center and Salem Center shopping malls as well as the Portland International Airport and the coastal city of Newport.
Made In Oregon gift boxes, constructed with earth-friendly materials, hold sockeye salmon to sharp cheddar cheese, roasted hazelnuts to honey mustard as well as wine such as Eola Hills’ Rudolph’s Red Pinot Noir.
In a panic, there’s always Big Foot Toe Jam’s Oregon marionberry ($8.95 for 12 ounces).
In addition to speciality foods, sold online and in person, Made In Oregon stores have a ballpoint pen made from natural Myrtlewood, 2023 Oregon Coast Calendar, and, of course, Pendleton blankets, scarves and gloves, which are available across the country.
Stores with local and national brands will have sales and specials this season, sometimes codes for free shipping, offered for a limited time.
Be alerted to discounts by following favorite brands on social media and attending in-person events, says Deborah Weinswig, CEO and founder of Coresight Research, a New York-based retail research and advisory firm.
Nationally recognized brand Jacobsen Salt Co. is hosting pop-up shopping events Dec. 2, 3, 9, 10, 16 and 17 at its headquarters at 602 S.E. Salmon St. in Portland.
The company’s Netarts Bay Gift Shop, at 9820 Whiskey Creek Road in Tillamook, near its Salt Works harvesting and production site, is open year-round.
Handmade Oregon gifts are also offered on Etsy, eBay and Amazon.
Artists and Portland natives Lyn Nance-Sasser and Stephen Sasser superimpose a drawing of a Portland landmark like the Thompson Elk Fountain over a street map and sell the art on heavy printmaking paper ($29.95, 11 by 14 inch mat size) through their website YouAreHerePortland.com and Amazon.
Assemblage, formerly Makers Union PDX, will host Makers Fair Holiday Markets noon to 6 p.m. Nov. 26, Dec. 10 and Dec. 17, featuring the works of 30 makers, 10 each day, inside Hammer & Stitch Brewing Co. in Northwest Portland’s Slabtown.
The U.S. Post Office, UPS and FedEx have shipping deadlines to send holiday cards and gifts for Hanukkah (Dec. 18–26), Christmas (Dec. 25), Kwanzaa (Dec. 26–Jan. 1) and other holiday traditions within the U.S. as well as internationally and military outposts. Schedule a free package pickup.
Here is a sampling of Oregon-made goods:
Many Oregon family farms and nurseries have prepared all year to put out handcrafted, locally made gifts, seasonal baked goods and holiday decor, including Christmas trees, wreaths and garlands.
Charles Little & Company flower farm in Eugene has fresh winter greens and dried flowers and foliage that can be shipped nationwide, and gift certificates for wreath-making and flower design workshops.
Godfrey Nursery in Aumsville, east of Salem, grows a variety of trees and plants in more than 35 climate-controlled greenhouses, and during the holiday season, offers poinsettias, hanging baskets, and live and fresh-cut trees.
Park Place Perennials in West Linn and Barn Owl Nursery & Lavender Farm in Wilsonville have fresh and dried lavender bundles, essential oils and other gifts.
Flying Bee Ranch offers a wide varietal selection of pure, raw artisan honey at its Salem tasting room as well as beekeeping supplies and classes.
Pennington Farms in Grants Pass has made-from-scratch baked goods and jams from berries harvested on the land.
Gift boxes can be ordered at pennington.farm and shipped. The Breakfast Sampler has buttermilk pancake mix, syrup, coffee and two jars of jam ($45). The Fall Butter Collection ($20) includes pears, apples and pumpkins slow cooked into spreadable jams.
The Kitchen at Middleground Farms, a recreational cooking school in Wilsonville, has gift certificates for classes, date nights, winemaker dinners and locally produced wine and food.
Meet champion alpacas at Marquam Hill Ranch in Molalla, take a tour of the farm and, in the large store that is open daily, find warm blankets, clothing, hats and socks as well as specialty yarn made from quality alpaca fibers.
Watch camels, llamas, goats and donkeys at Frog Pond Farm in Wilsonville, then stop at its gift shop.
Swan Island Dahlias, one of the largest dahlia growers, has gardening supplies, growing guides and gift certificates at its Canby farm and at dahlias.com.
Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm in Woodburn is selling 2023 Tulip Fest Season Passes at woodenshoe.com or at its gift shop filled with fall and holiday decor.
Small-batch specialty foods can add a big punch to dishes: Portland-based Flavor Society’s bagel- and pizza-flavored chili crunches are toasty and spicy, and floating in garlicky oils ($15 for six ounces, theflavorsociety.com).
Rogue Creamery donates to southern Oregon food banks with each purchase of its extra-aged cheddar labeled Cheese Is Love, which won a bronze medal at the 2022 World Cheese Awards ($14 for an eight-ounce block, roguecreamery.com).
Portland chef Gregory Gourdet, who has become nationally known for his culinary prowess displayed on “Top Chef” and other televised cooking competitions, co-authored “Everyone’s Table: Global Recipes for Modern Health,” a James Beard book award winner ($37.50 hardcover).
Allanah Steen of Portland-based ACStextiles offers modern heirlooms made by hand on Etsy. An oversized and comfy light peach coat, made from an upcycled quilt, has an inside liner of white, peach and bright pink stripes ($175, etsy.com/shop/ACStextiles).
Steven and Elyse Douglas of The Sunstone Store in Grants Pass specialize in finding Oregon’s official gemstone, the sunstone, and setting the pale yellow to deep red crystals into rings, earrings and necklaces. The Tree of Life pendant is offered in several metals and stone colors (starting at $175, sunstonestore.com).
Sweet Skins Hemp in Eugene designs and makes easy-living fashions using hemp fiber and organic cotton. The soft, comfy, sleeveless Market Dress, in a handful of colors, drapes below the knee and has two big pockets ($125, SweetSkins.com).
Steelport Knife Co. of Portland, known for its carbon steel paring knife, chef knives, slicing knife and bread knife, has introduced an easel-style knife block ($450, steelportknife.com) made of Oregon black walnut designed to fully and safely grab the handle of each knife.
Punctuation Ceramics has handmade tumblers, candle holders and bowls as well as wheel-thrown mugs inspired by literary works, such as the Ursula K. Le Guin 10-ounce mug in speckled tan clay with cobalt blue ($36).
Visit PunctuationCeramics.com or see the ceramics at the Portland Bazaar Dec. 10-11 at Premier Gear & Machine Works Building, 1715 N.W. 17th Ave. in Portland. The holiday market continues Dec. 17-18 with more than 160 local makers, designers and purveyors.
Trailside Table has tips for cooking on a campfire and sells cast iron cookware care kits ($35, trailsidetable.com) with a natural fiber stiff bristle palm brush, a seven-inch stainless-steel chainmail scrubber and a 16-ounce jar of cast iron conditioning scrub.
Alex Tongue of Happy Valley, who founded Vango Toys, created the Upside Down Challenge board game, which is sold at Target and other national retailers for around $20. Players try to perform simple tasks like writing their name while wearing a special pair of goggles that flip their vision upside down.
Renée Watson, a Newbery Honor and Coretta Scott King Author award winner, released her latest book for middle readers, “Ways to Share Joy,” the third installment in the life of Ryan Hart, a fictional fifth-grade girl at the very real Vernon K-8 School in Northeast Portland, where Watson grew up ($16.99, powells.com).
“ABC’s of Oregon” is a handmade book by Andy Bauer with rhymes and illustrations ($24.99, etsy.com/shop/PuddleFootPublishing). And “A Kids Book About Love” and other topics such as racism and grief are $19.95 each at akidsco.com, a Portland children’s book publisher.
Find more children’s books about Oregon and by Oregon authors at Powell’s Books, including bestsellers by the late, beloved author Beverly Cleary.
WanderFreeAndQueer crafts multicolored crocheted dog and cat bandanas ($12-$14) and also sells LGBTQ+ flag car charms, small space decor and accessories at Assemblage PDX makers fairs and at etsy.com/shop/WanderFreeAndQueer.
The Northwest Dog produces handcrafted goods such as safe-to-lick Paw Balm made of organic shea butter and Oregon beeswax ($32 for three ounces, madehereonline.com).
Portland Pet Food Company makes bacon, beef, pumpkin and gingerbread-flavored Brew Biscuits Dog Treats ($10 for five ounces, madehereonline.com) using spent grains harvested from Portland breweries.
House Dogge of Portland offers safe, sustainable dog beds, apparel, walking accessories, wool toys and beds at housedogge.com. A percent of sales is donated to nonprofit organizations such as Eugene-based NorthWestDogProject.org, which rescues health challenged, homeless dogs.
— Janet Eastman | 503-294-4072
firstname.lastname@example.org | @janeteastman
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