13 days till Christmas... I know, I'm not finished shopping either! If I'm not careful, panic may set in and then I'm really in trouble. When that happens you drive from store to store, wandering the aisles hoping that something will "come to you." It usually doesn't and you end up buying that person a scarf that they never wear or a coffee mug that they put on the top shelf in the kitchen, back behind the fondue pot. So, let's get smart about this whole gift giving problem and use the old noggin' to think of some really great gifts. The kind that say, "I really wanted to buy you something you'd LOVE!" Not just any old gift, these gifts are Made in Arkansas, how great is that?
A gift from the new Crystal Bridges Art Museum at Bentonville is at the TOP of my list! They have a great collection of one-of-a-kind gifts, in all price ranges. Their online site isn't set up yet to order, but it is in the works! Another great place to find art in all forms is Eureka Springs. If you can't find the time to go, here's some great links to several stores and artists.
Zeek Taylor, watercolorist, Watercolors by Zeek Taylor
Edward C. Robison III, nature photography, Sacred Earth Gallery
Denise Ryan, fine art painter, Denise Ryan Studio
Michael Schwade, jeweler, Michael Schwade Designs
Doug Stowe, wood artist, Doug Stowe Woodworker
Hank Barnes, stained glass items, Heirloom Stained Glass
Mark Hughes, fashion artist, Regalia Handmade Clothing Studio
Blakley Wilson, folk art, Wilson & Wilson Folkart
At Home in Arkansas and Celebrate Arkansas are wonderful publications and a yearly subscription costs about what you'd spend on a burger and fries for two.
This is the gift that keeps on giving, Arkansas based Heifer International. We like their "Chicken Gift," for only $20 it buys a flock of chickens for a family in a poor country. That gift grows and multiplies, feeding their family, providing income and increasing in size year by year. It's a good thing. Where do I start? How about with MY favorites!
A.G. Russell Knives - The knife authority since 1964, Rogers based A.G. Russell has been designing knives since he was nine years old. In the 1960's, he started selling them out of his Springdale home where he managed the company at his kitchen table! The business has outgrown several locations now, in 2002 it moved just off Interstate 540 at Rogers. He and his wife Goldie, along with a staff of 50 turn out some of the finest knives made. They offer distinctive gifts in their various catalogs for the hard-to-buy-for person on your list!
Buffalo River Honey- Eddie and Carla Watkins operate only 100 hives at their Newton County aviary, each season bringing a harvest of honey that varies in taste and fragrance. If you're trying to give gifts made in America this Christmas, this Ozark honey would be perfect!
Cavendar's Greek Seasoning - family owned and located in Harrison, created originally as a meat seasoning, but it's the "secret ingredient" in many other recipes.
Kate Austin Jewelry and Gifts - My favorite jewelry store in NWA! Jewelry by Pandora, Firefly, Baroni Designs and a wonderful selection of faith-based gifts. It's my "go-to" place for gifts that everyone loves!
Martin Greer's Candies -- Since 1925 the Greer's have made homemade candies, hand-dipped chocolates using original recipes from Ribgy's Reliable Teacher of 1897. The fudge recipe dates to the 1820s with others dating to the Civil War. Only the finest ingredients are used. Located in the tiny NWA community of Gateway.
McClard's Bar-B-Q Sauce - Family owned and operated, McClard's Bar-B-Q was established in Hot Springs National Park in 1928. Travelers from across the country visit McClard's for a meal and a bottle of their famous Bar-B-Q Sauce. A personal favorite of former President Bill Clinton.
My Brother's Salsa - I've been on a mission to get this great product at my local Sam's Club since sampling it last year at the Bentonville location. Man oh man, is this good! Helen Lampkin is a genius, she got the recipe from her brother, hence the name, then tweaked the recipe to perfection. Go to the website for great recipes too! You can find My Brother's Salsa in Fort Smith at Jennifer's at Sparks Hospital, Creative Kitchen, Honey Baked Ham and Paul's Meat Market.
No Ordinary Broom - Handpainted and signed by artist Helen Lampkin (yes, she also operates My Brother's Salsa!), No Ordinary Broom™ is available in several original patterns in a variety of color combinations. It makes a unique gift for weddings, housewarmings, holidays or birthdays!
Ozark Mountain Smokehouse - an Ozark Mountain and Arkansas tradition for over 50 years; smoked hams, turkeys, cheeses, mustards, jellies; gift baskets, sampler packs.
Petit Jean Meats - one of the best-known food products in The Natural State, Petit Jean has been in business since the 1920s; hams, sausages and hot dogs.
Post Familie Wines - an Arkansas River Valley tradition since 1880; family owned and operated business produces world-class wines, juices, jams, jellies.
RoZark Hills Roasterie, Inc. - Located at Rosebud, they have coffees from Mexico, Tanzania, Panama, Kenya, Guatemala, Brazil and Columbia. Other gourmet specialties include black, Oolong, green, herbal and real fruit teas, along with chocolate covered coffee beans and chocolate covered fruits.
War Eagle Mill - The very best artisan quality organic flours and cornmeal, shipped direct to you. Stoneground flours, cornmeal, gourmet baking mixes, naturally gluten-free flours ground daily in a 170 year old working mill. Just up the road from my house on Granny Mountain!
House of Webster - Old fashioned jams and jellies. Ozark specialties like Wild Huckleberry Preserves, Gooseberry Jam, Pear Preserves, Blackeyed Pea Salsa, Country Sorghum, Pumpkin Butter, Elderberry Jelly, Hot or Mild Chow Chow, Watermelon Pickles, Pickled Okra, Beet Pickles, Dilly Beans, Bread & Butter Pickles, Green Tomato Sweet Pickles... all just like Grandma used to make.
Wiederkehr Wines - The oldest and largest winery in the Midwest, Wiederkehr Wine Cellars is located in the Ozark Mountains. The Wiederkehr family carries on a tradition begun in 1880.
I almost forgot ArkansasRazorback.com - the mecca for all things Razorback! Everything you've ever seen, ever wanted or didn't know existed lives here on these pages waiting to be under some lucky fan's Christmas tree!
Get those fingers typing right now and wipe out a big part of your Christmas list with gifts everyone will love!