This holiday season is proving to be as strange as the rest of 2020, but one thing is still true: I’ll always need last-minute Vermont gifts. Because I love my friends, and I love Vermont.
Like many Vermonters, I’m partial to buying local, and (lucky me) one of COVID’s legacies will be that shopping online is both easier and more prevalent. Thanks to the scrambling of many downtown businesses, shopping online and buying local are not mutually exclusive. And when you’re really out of time (or if face-to-face shopping is the only way to go for you), many crafters offer curbside or in-store service.
Holiday overload is different this year, but most of 2020 has been overloaded and the holidays are no different. So, who did you forget to buy a gift for – or even more embarrassing – who did you forget, until their gift to you showed up on your doorstep? Here are some of my fave last-minute Vermont gifts, that will delight the Vermont-iest of them all.
Created with beeswax from the Champlain Valley, these brothers in beards know how to grow a good one. Their starter set includes a choice of balm, oil, and a wooden comb to make your favorite bearded bro (or facial hair aficionado) smell and feel great, and apparently, at the same time, if the name is to be believed, feared.
FUNJ is an urban mushroom farm located in Saint Albans with a dual environmental stewardship and culinary mission. Founder and recent UVM grad, Kevin Melman, puts the fun into shrooms with an easy-to-grow mushroom kit. With a little light, air, and a spritz of water, your friends can become the mycelium masters that they didn’t even realize they want to be!
These adorable little glass ornaments get me every time. Handcrafted polar bears, snowmen, garden gnomes, and the cutest little Champ Lake Monster are featured, along with ornamental glass suncatchers stamped with a snowman, Namaste wishes, Bernie’s hairline, and more. These talented crafters also make the Vermont Whiskey Glass, a substantial hand-blown vessel with the shape of Vermont at the bottom for the serious drinker. Drink up has a new meaning.
A biochemist and marketing professional walked into a bar… a chocolate bar that is. New York City career men, Albert and Michael, started visiting the Champlain Islands in 2013 and after a few years, decided to stay (like so many of us). Their majestic truffles combine unexpected flavors like sweet corn, olive oil or sweet potato with caramel, or Vermont bleu cheese with Grand Isle honey. The best gift for the person who has everything is something they haven’t thought of – and this idea is a keeper.
Iconic Vermont travel writer, photographer, and podcast personality, Erica Houskeeper, launched a line of Happy Vermont logo wear this holiday season that’s as cheerful as its name suggests. Designed by her husband Dave Barron of Pluck, Happy Vermont’s hats, tees, and sweatshirts pair the tried-and-true Vermont forest green with an unexpected, vibrant turquoise. Poised and poofy, there’s something about the pom-pom hat in particular that raises my spirits!
I first met Craig Stevens, co-owner of Wild Hart, at the Hotel Vermont Outdoor Gift Market. I had heard about Wild Hart as part of the Shelburne food destination that also includes Shelburne Vineyard, Folino’s Pizza, Fiddlehead beer, and Douglas Sweets Shortbread. That day I made the tough choice between pear ginger and blood orange gin, and went straight home to mix a pitcher of Bee’s Knees cocktails served in my late father’s treasured brandy balloons. Amazing! Craig and his business partner, Naomi Clemmons of Clemmons Family Farm fame, have put together three beautifully simple gift boxes, Gin Lover, Treat Yourself, and the Vermonter. Or you could simply keep up your own momentum by, well, treating yourself to a bottle of Wild Hart gin. Here are some make-at-home recipes. Cheers!
Boston Post Dairy: Farmstead Greek Feta
Franklin County’s Boston Post Dairy, named after the former Boston Post Stagecoach Road that runs through the property, is a northern Vermont jewel. The multi-generational cheesemaking Gervais family sources its goat and cow milk right from the animals in the barnyard. In a world where Vermont cheese is often another word for cheddar, the tangy, award-winning farmstead goat feta is a new take on the Vermont cheese scene.
Sometimes you just need to cover the basics. A standard-issue gray Vermont sweatshirt is a great gift for anyone who loves Vermont, whether they live here or not. I like LoVermont802’s Vermont wear because they have extended sizes for all. If you’re in the vicinity of the University Mall in South Burlington you can check out their merch in-store, and drool over their extensive Burton line as well as the many different styles of Vermont wear.
Sustainably harvested wood, non-toxic materials, laser etching, and stacks of creativity make these wood products fun and functional. I love the woodzie beer koozie because it’s earthy and comes with your choice of many images, from the cutest camper to a flying snowboarder. Your favorite Vermont beer drinkers will seize the chance to hold their brew like it counts!
There are so many Vermont goody boxes out there with amazing quality products. When it comes down to finding a gift that is fast, easy, and will please everyone, I turn to Dakin Farm. They have a number of pre-made gift boxes at different price points that make gifting so simple – especially when I’m not in the mood to make tough choices! Categorized by collections like most popular and samplers, sending last-minute Vermont gifts is as easy as summer sausage and smoked ham. Plus, many Dakin Farm gift packs also include Cabot Creamery products.
There are almost as many memorable last-minute Vermont gifts as there are one-of-a-kind Vermonters. Three online gift guides, published by Vermont Business Magazine, the Vermont Department of Tourism and Marketing in partnership with the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, and right here at Vermont Mom, are also great places to look for Vermont gifts for this holiday season.
Like the Grinch, we could all, “Use a little social interaction.”
If social interaction is off the table, I’m going to try to connect with friends and family in other ways that will also support my fellow Vermonters and our local economy. Here’s hoping that your COVID-year gifting goes smoothly and that 2020 wraps up quickly and quietly – which may be the best gift of all for everyone. Whether you’re gifting presents or not, this curated selection of unique last-minute Vermont gifts has something for everyone- and would be perfect if you want to buy a treat for yourself!