Holiday gift guide

Updated: December 12, 2016 - 5:02 pm

It’s crunch time, holiday shoppers, and we’re here to help.

We scoured Downtown and Northeast Minneapolis for great gift ideas, from Broadway & Central to the North Loop.

You may not find exactly what you’re looking for on this list, but hopefully it will inspire you as we rush headlong into the heart of the holiday season.


North Hat

For the past few years, Askov Finlayson has perfected the traditional winter stocking cap with its own North hats.

The minimal acrylic hats are made in Cloquet, Minn., and come in both adult and youth sizes and in nearly 10 colors, including a new line of blaze orange hats for hunters and the new blue- hued holiday edition.

And, depending on the color, there are also matching mittens ($24) so North fanatics can really rep their region.

Plus, for each North product purchased Askov Finlayson makes a donation to Climate Generation, a nonprofit supporting climate change education.

Price: $27-$29

Where you can find it: Askov Finlayson, 204 N. 1st St.


Sig Notebook

A creative mind sometimes needs a lot more than a paper napkin to flourish.

Wilson & Willy’s carries an exclusive line of notebooks that could fit snugly in a stocking or make for an easy add to a workplace gift-giving game.

The notebooks, which are letter- pressed and bound in Minneapolis at Studio on Fire, come in white, black and red and feature the last words from Midwestern writer-adventure Sig Olson: “A new adventure is coming up and I’m sure it will be a good one.”

Price: $14

Where you can find it: Wilson & Willy’s, 211 Washington Ave. N.

MILKWEED BOOKS recipes from the woods 2

Recipes from the Woods

For the would-be foragers or hunters in your life, check out “Recipes from the Woods: The Book of Game and Forage,” a new cookbook from French chef and photographer Jean- François Mallet.

The collection of 100 recipes covers a wide range of foraging abilities, from a wild boar sausage recipe that could’ve been pulled from “The Revenant” to a wild mushroom pizza made with freshly picked fungi or — even tamer — a wild blackberry jelly with backyard gems.

With page after page of beautiful nature photography, the book also makes for a unique addition for a coffee table or office.

Price: $45

Where you can find it: Milkweed Books, 1011 Washington Ave. S.


Staub Cast Iron Cocotte

Giving a friend who cooks some cookware is a gift that keeps on giving, but you don’t have to tell them that.

Cooks of Crocus Hill is offering a deal through the end of the year on nearly indestructible enameled cast iron cocottes from Staub, which are pretty enough to go from the oven to the holiday dinner table.

These French-made French ovens will probably last longer than any gift your foodie friends will ever receive, so they’ll be serving roasts and stews for holiday gatherings for years to come.

Price: $99.99 (originally $321)

Where you can find it: Cooks of Crocus Hill, 208 N. 1st St.


MiO Collection

For kids or families with young kids, Pacifier’s new North Loop boutique has you covered with a wide array of toys for children of all ages.

With all the things kids are playing with now — phones, apps and more — Minneapolis-based Manhattan Toy offers an alternative: A natural wood playset to inspire any young builder’s imagination.

This 12-piece MiO collection set offers simple, but durable wood pieces and beanbag dolls to get a child started.

Plus the set, recommend for ages three and up, can be added on to with the company’s other sets, from a full miniature town to collections of animals and more.

Price: $32

Where you can find it: Pacifier – North Loop, 219 N. 2nd St.

JEROMEO puromeo oils

Essential Oils

Essential oils make for practical gifts, whether they’re used in the bath, in oil diffusers or for their wellness properties.

Jeromeo, a massage and wellness center in downtown Minneapolis, offers its own collection of essential oils, dubbed PurëomEO, from owner Scott Johnson.

The shop carries a wide array of oils, from popular scents like lavender and peppermint to cedarwood and frankincense, in several sizes.

A one-third-ounce bottle generally runs about $4-8, a half-ounce bottle goes for around $10-$25 and many 1-ounce bottles cost $20-$40, so you can mix and match to make your own set or help a friend stock up with their favorite kind.

Price: $4-$40

Where you can find it: Jeromeo In The Loop, 250 3rd Ave. N.

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Leather leash

MartinPatrick3 carries just about anything a guy could want — but what about man’s best friend?

While browsing around the ever-expanding North Loop men’s boutique, be sure to check out a new dog display in the back next to the barware.

The store offers leather leashes from Hartman & Rose, which will make walking the dog all the more stylish with the added benefits of durability and the natural give of leather.

Price: $32

Where you can find it: MartinPatrick3, 212 3rd Ave. N., suite 106

The Foundry mortar and pestle BY EB

Mortar & pestle

The Foundry Home Goods offers all things neutral and timeless in its North Loop store, and a ceramic flat mortar and pestle from John Julian is no different.

The elegant kitchen tool, which comes in two styles, spear and ball, is enough to turn a kitchen into a contemporary art gallery while also being useful for making spice mixes or putting together sauces from scratch.

The unique flat mortar design is ideal for home cooks to grind down tough spices.

Price: $148

Where you can find it: The Foundry Home Goods, 125 N. 1st St.

Awamaki Booties

Awamaki baby knitwear

Inspire, Smile Network International’s new retail store in Loring Park, offers all kinds of goods produced around the world, including some unique baby booties, mittens and hats from the Awamaki sewing nonprofit in Peru.

The Minneapolis-based nonprofit, which provides surgeries and healthcare services for children born with cleft lips and palates in developing countries, works with artisans in the regions it operates.

The sewing collective, named for the Quechua word for “empowerment,” produces extremely soft knitwear from alpaca fibers, including baby booties ($25), mittens ($20) and hats ($40).

Price: $20-$40

Where you can find it: Inspire, 108 W. 14th St.


Office binder

Giving the gift of organization may not warrant squeals of excitement, but come spring, you’re bound to hear some appreciation from uncluttered friends and family.

Now in the North Loop, stylish stationary store russell+hazel offers a simple and elegant mini binder, which you can then customize to a loved one’s needs, whether it be with an array of calendar tabs ($6-$12), contact pages ($6) or pockets for business cards ($8).

If a complete organizational overhaul is necessary, you can opt for an acrylic desk organizer ($24) or a gold-toned stapler ($18) to round out a gift.

Price: $10

Where you can find it: russell+hazel, 219 N. 2nd St.

Aquavit Large-RT

Tattersall aquavit

The holiday season puts one in mind of family traditions, and if your family hails from Scandinavia there’s a chance you’ve had a nip or two of aquavit, the flavored spirit that puts a Northern European spin on gin.

Caraway steps out in front of the blend of botanicals used in Tattersall Distilling’s aquavit, which also includes citrus and fennel. Sip it neat or sub it in for vodka in cocktails.

Tattersall sells half-sized, 375-ml bottles at its Northeast distillery and cocktail room ($20 plus tax; limit one per person per day), but full-sized bottles are available at liquor stores across town, including South Lyndale Liquors, Zipps Liquors and France 44.

Price: About $30

Where you can find it: Various locations, including Tattersall Distilling, 1620 Central Ave. NE


The Dylan Tee

Urban Violet is restocking one of its most popular items from the past year, The Dylan Tee from an Etsy designer who goes by skylinefever.

Jess Elkington, who runs the boutique with her mother, Laura, came across the blended-cotton T-shirt while searching the online marketplace and ordered some for their shops in Minneapolis and Stillwater.

The evocative combination of words printed on the gray tee — “CAMPFIRE/MOONLIGHT/WHISKEY/DYLAN” — must have struck a chord with their Minnesota customers, because that original shipment quickly sold out.

Price: $28

Where you can find it: Urban Violet, 512 Central Ave. NE


Minnesota Nice Spice seasoning blends

Minnesota Nice Spice hand-mixed organic seasoning blends are available in more than a dozen varieties, from Lake Superior Instant Salsa Spice Mix to St. Croix Curry to Twin Cities Grub Rub.

It’s not just the flavor that makes them a great holiday gift, it’s Minnesota Nice Spice’s story.

Sisters Debb Masterson and Lucy Johnson founded the company and donate a portion of their proceeds to Interact Center, a St. Paul-based nonprofit dedicated to working with performing and visual artists with disabilities, including Johnson, who also designed the company’s logo.

Price: $7.95

Where you can find it: Various locations, including local Target and Whole Foods stores and I Like You, 501 1st Ave. NE


Black Spoke Leather Co. leather goods

Alongside its well-curated selection of 20th-century clothing and accessories for men and women, The Golden Pearl Vintage at Broadway & Hennepin stocks stylish new items like the spiked leather bracelets, key chains and purses from Black Spoke Leather Co.

The line of accessories, produced by local fashion designer Sarah M. Holm, is produced with vegetable-tanned leather, which means they have a lighter environmental impact and should age gracefully.

They’re blackened with vinegaroon instead of dye, hand-sewn and finished with olive oil in a traditional multi-step process described on Black Spoke Leather Co.’s website.

Price: $30–$125

Where you can find it: The Golden Pearl Vintage, 507 E. Hennepin Ave.


Amy Rice Art 2017 Coloring Calendar

Amy Rice isn’t just cashing in on the adult coloring book craze with her 2017 coloring calendar, a kind of “greatest hits” collection of the local artist’s distinctive (and typically colorful) work translated into black-and- white line art.

Rice makes a calendar almost every year, and when she doesn’t she hears from disappointed fans — like her grandmother, who, it turns out, “is really into the coloring craze,” she said.

Springtime and flowers come easily to Rice, but every calendar challenges her to come up with “something December-y,” she said.

Most of the images in the 2017 calendar are drawn from her 15-year career, but she came up with something new for the 12th month.

In addition to various stores around the Twin Cities, you can find Rice’s coloring calendar in her Etsy shop. Or purchase it in-person at Rice’s workspace in the California Building, which is hosting an open studio event Dec. 10.

Price: $30

Where you can find it:, plus various real-world locations, including I Like You, 501 1st Ave. NE

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Spyhouse Coffee insulated Klean Kanteen

The coffee lover in your life already knows about Spyhouse Coffee, the local roaster and café mini-chain with four locations around town (and a growing national reputation for its beans).

Spotted on the shelves of the always- bustling Central & Broadway location: an insulated Klean Kanteen emblazoned with the Spyhouse Coffee logo.

That logo gets the canteen’s owner 50 cents off any prepared beverage at Spyhouse, so it’s the gift that keeps on giving.

Pair it with a pound of Spyhouse beans, and you’ll make any coffee connoisseur very, very happy.

Price: $32

Where you can find it: Spyhouse Coffee, 945 Broadway St. NE


Food Building Gift Blocks

Northeast’s multi-faceted Food Building hosts a miller-slash-baker, a salumieri and a creamery (not to mention a restaurant, The Draft Horse, and several event spaces).

Now there’s a way to bring those Food Building flavors home for the holidays. Three holiday “gift blocks” package treats from Red Table Meat Co., The Lone Grazer Creamery and Baker’s Field Flour & Bread.

The Whole Acre gift block includes a full pound of Red Table salami, a wheel of The Lone Grazer’s Hansom Cab cheese and a loaf of holiday bread and a half-dozen cookies from Baker’s Field.

Those with more modest appetites can opt for either the Quarter Acre or Half Acre gift blocks.

Price: $30, $40 or $75

Where you can find it:


MPLS/STP Clothing Co. knit hat

A knit hat from MPLS/STP Clothing Co. is the rare holiday-gift trifecta: it’s useful (keeps your ears warm!), it’s made in Minnesota (at Cloquet’s Wear-a-Knit factory) and each purchase contributes to a good cause.

For every knit hat they sell, MPLS/STP Clothing Co. donates one hat to Urban Ventures, a Minneapolis-based nonprofit that works to end cycles of poverty.

Clint McMahon, one of the company’s co-founders, said the relationship began when they were looking for a way to honor Prince after the musician’s death this spring; they produced a purple teardrop T-shirt and donated proceeds to Urban Ventures, whose music program had also been a recipient of The Purple One’s generosity.

Choose from a variety of hat designs, including “DULUTH,” “MPLS” and a hockey- stick pattern.

MPLS/STP Clothing Co.’s Northeast studio space will be open for retail sales at least one day each weekend through December, but the hats area also available online.

Price: $30

Where you can find it: or MPLS/STP Clothing Co., 610 9th St. SE, Studio 107


MayaMade Apothecary handcrafted soaps

The handcrafted soaps produced by local herbalist and aromatherapist Maya Brown are made with all-natural ingredients (organic whenever possible), but what you notice first is just how striking they are, visually — like little blocks of marble with rough-chiseled edges.

We found MayaMade soaps at Northeast’s Gumball Boutique, a storefront cornucopia of gift ideas, stocked with handcrafted items from more than 100 local artists and artisans.

The soaps just about jumped off the shelf with their surprising colors: one a speckled coral; another creamy yellow, like a block of fresh butter; another jade; and yet another a swirl of blue and amber.

Price: $6.50

Where you can find it: or Gumball Boutique, 158 13th Ave. NE