Where to Shop For Minnesota-Made Gifts This Holiday Season
By Lisa Meyers McClintick
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From buttery leather moccasins to rugged adventure gear, Minnesota offers a wide range of locally made goods that'll appeal to just about anyone on your gift list. Here are some worth seeking out this holiday season.
Clothing & Outdoor Gear
Bemidji Woolen Mills has stitched lumberjack-worthy coats, shirts, pants and hats in bold buffalo plaid since 1920. Shoppers can also find blankets, hats, mittens and more at their downtown Bemidji store.
Canal Park’s Duluth Pack has crafted beautiful canvas bags for outdoor enthusiasts since 1882, as well as plaid totes and purple canvas purses — a nod to the Minnesota Vikings and Prince. Machines hum through the upper floors of Duluth’s Frost River store in Lincoln Park, where it also crafts waxed canvas and leather goods such as growler bags, fat bike packs, and duffels.
On the cusp of Minnesota’s famous Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, Ely shoppers can find locally made ribbon-trimmed anoraks and coats developed by dog sledders at Wintergreen Northern Wear and traditional moose hide boots at Steger Mukluks.
The leather gleams at the flagship shop and museum of Red Wing Shoes, a company in downtown Red Wing that has built footwear for tradesmen and women for more than a century. Its full line of sturdy boots and shoes appeals to both style mavens and weekend adventurers.
Red Wing Pottery fans and collectors also head to this city along the Mississippi River to find crocks and more locally made stoneware at Pottery Place and other antique shops.
Give the gift of toasty-warm hands and Scandinavian style with a pair of Nordic Mittens from Steller Handmade Goods. Each pair is lovingly handmade in Minneapolis using upcycled Norwegian vintage sweaters, high quality polar fleece, and leather palms.
Itasca Moccasin's candy-aisle colors coax people into its factory outlet, where they make soft and supple shoes and wallets a few miles east of Itasca State Park.
Home Goods & Kitchenware
Famous for its Bundt pans, Nordic Ware has catered to bakers for 70 years with hundreds of holiday-oriented molds, specialty pans, and innovative kitchen wares. Factory store finds are on sale at the brand's St. Louis Park shop from Monday through Saturday
The looms at Faribault Mill have been weaving classic wool blankets since 1868, along with stadium-ready Pak-a-Robes, shawls, and even buffalo plaid placemats. Factory tours are offered on Fridays and Saturdays at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., and an annual tent sale is held every summer featuring rare deals on discontinued, overstock and one-of-a-kind items.
For the Kids
Kellogg’s LARK Toys offers its own line of imaginative wooden toys, along with an expansive selection of games, nostalgic Christmas exhibits, and the state’s most whimsical carousel.
Plush, fashionable and whimsical, Edina-based Oh Baby makes everything from crowns and wands to party dresses and masks for superheroes in training.
The gift shop at Austin's SPAM® Museum lets guests stock up on several rare flavors of its signature canned ham, as well as everything from hockey jerseys to hoodies.
Looking for spirited hostess gifts? Check out regional distillers, craft brewers and vineyards that make holiday wines, beer, and small-batch spirits that draw on ancestors’ Old World heritage. Add flavor twists to other food and drinks with spice and salt mixes, infused vinegars and sugars from Golden Fig in St. Paul.
For sweet stocking stuffers, look out for Salted Nut Rolls and Peppermint Patties from Pearson Candy Co. and handcrafted truffles and caramels from BT McElrath Chocolatier. More regional treats include crunchy caramel corn from Candyland in St. Paul and Stillwater; “chippers” (chocolate-covered potato chips) from Widman’s in Crookston; chocolate-covered sponge candy and buttery brittle at Virginia’s Canelake’s Candies; pistachio bark and coconut brittle at Knife River’s Great Lakes Candy Kitchen; and fudge and nut rolls at Tremblay’s in Stillwater.
Lisa Meyers McClintick is a prolific travel writer for outlets including USA Today, Midwest Living, the Star Tribune and her website lisamcclintick.com. A mom of three, she especially enjoys family travel, hands-on learning vacations, local food and farms, living history and outdoor adventures.
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