Shop Local Holiday Gift Guide

This year while making your list and checking it twice we want to encourage you to think local! Local First is thrilled to bring you the 2017 holiday gift guide, featuring gift items and experiences from some favorite local businesses. Click the links below for additional details.


For those on the “nice” list I have a basket of a few of my favorite things including:

  1. A beautiful sugar skull mug handcrafted at Jean’s Clay Studio along with some Lemon Spearmint Energy tea from Urbal Tea and hot cocoa from Tabal Chocolate to warm you up.
  2. To create a cozy atmosphere, a Victorian Christmas candle with the scent of fir and pine needles combined with cinnamon and clove for the perfect holiday scent made by Aglow Soy Candles by The Garden Party – Wisconsin.
  3. This 3-soap gift box from Conscious Bath Company is adorably ready for gift giving. The reusable gift box is adorned with a vintage postcard and includes re-purposed ribbons and is customized with your 3 favorite scents.
  4. One of my new favorites is the Goat’s Milk Lotion from Green Goat Apothecary Products. Did you know goat milk contains lactic acid which helps remove dead skin cells from your skin’s surface, and results in smoother, younger looking skin? The lotions come in a variety of fantastic scents.
  5. I love giving cards from Artery Ink! They are all about combining art & wellness to inspire us to take care of our bodies and thus become happier people. They are perfect to have on hand for Birthdays and Thank You’s and the holiday cards are really fun!
  6. This year’s Milwaukee Art Museum exclusive holiday ornament created by beloved local artist James Steeno. The ornament was adapted from a watercolor painting James created this past July, “Museum Under Starry Aurora Borealis.” This is the perfect gift to display all year long!
  7. Finally, an indulgent gift of Indulgence Chocolates. I keep these on hand for hostess gifts, they are tasteful and tasty. The beautiful handcrafted holiday truffles are a perfect gift or treat for yourself!


St. Nick is slipping a new Rep Wisconsin hoodie in my hubby’s stocking along with a City Tin – it is tradition and some bold, bright Happy Socks from shoo Boutique. Lastly it is only fair that he gets some Salted Vanilla Caramels homemade by Cream City Caramels and Confections, since I kept the last package all to myself.


For my brother the Adventurer the perfect gift for him is a gift certificate from Milwaukee Kayak Company to enjoy a unique experience on the river. After his outdoor adventure, things move indoors for the Blacksmith 101 – School of Iron at Milwaukee Blacksmith. Gift certificates can be purchased for workshops.


My mother ever the Fashionista is getting this one of a kind Milwaukee made one-of-a-kind jacket and bag from Gearhead Fashion available exclusively at Indigo Blu Mercantile.


My father-in-law always enjoys edible treats. This year I am putting together a gift box of locally produced items especially for him! I have included homemade cheese and sausage from Kettle Range Meats, Martha’s Pimento Cheese, Salsa and chips from That Salsa Lady and spiced pecans from Treat Bake Shop to top it all off. He will be ready to host the next party.


For my mother-in-law I wanted a sophisticated gift that is as classic and timeless as she is! I decided on a colorful scarf and these stunning felted flower pins to brighten her coat on these dark winter days. Both items are made by local artists and are available at shoo.



My brother-in-law, the Audiophile is getting an exceptionally unique gift this year. We are gathering all his old concert t-shirts and Blue Whale Quilt Studio is handcrafting a quilt just for him.

Blue Whale Quilt Studio T-shirt quilt


I have 2 special Sisters in Law. I love to package up a bunch of special items for them. I have included the Small Shops United Family Pack, offering fantastic deals at a wide variety of family friendly attractions, stores, shops and eateries. The beautiful, locally made chenille cowls and arm warmers to keep toasty this winter from shoo Boutique, these darling owl necklaces made by Steenhagen Studios and available at Sparrow Collective. Finally, a gift certificate to be used to shop for merchandise at Barcelona MKE or a creative workshop at Studio Barcelona.


For the kiddos on my list, to get in the holiday spirit we will be hitting the streets with our favorite elf, Anna and check out the Holiday Lights tour with Gothic Milwaukee. Under the tree there will be cool, educational games from Ruckus and Glee, sweet stuffed friends by Plushzilla and the gift of nature. A gift membership to the Schlitz Audubon Nature Center to enjoy all year long.


My furry friends cannot be left out. Homemade dog treats baked to order from My Puppy’s Secret for the pampered pets. We are scheduling a photoshoot with Stephanie Bartz Photography, Milwaukee’s best pet photographer to capture the colorful personalities of our canine friends.

I recently had the pleasure of hosting a group of amazing, inspiring women for a pre-holiday dinner party. Thanks to MOD GEN I found the perfect book for each place setting that captured the spirit of each of my lovely guests.


To make my home look festive, I am attending the open studio wreath making at Wood Violet Floral Design. This sounds like fun and I get to leave with a wreath for my front door!


To plan my Christmas dinner, I rely on a little help from my friends at Larry’s Market. Their holiday menu covers all my bases. For the open house/cocktail party for all my crazy friends, Tall Guy and a Grill is providing an abundance of perfect appetizers. Bar Stars Bartending will be on hand to mix signature holiday cocktails and concoctions alike served up in these cool glasses designed by Jenny Kyle Smith for Local Change and darling Wisconsin Party Know How beverage tray by HANmade Milwaukee.


I needed to consider a holiday outfit for all this party hosting.  I am planning around this beautiful shibori scarf made in Milwaukee, available at shoo. A beautiful pair of art deco brass earrings from Cival Collective are the perfect complement to my party ready red dress from Lela Boutique.


Lastly, I would be remiss if I forgot the Local First Board. I think the perfect activity is to head to Stepping Stone Farms for their new Corporate Team Building – Out of the Board Room and into the Barn. Stepping Stone Farms Corporate program focuses on problem solving, communication, critical thinking, teamwork, managing success and learning through interaction with horses.


Whew after all that holiday fun I need the gift of self-care before I settle down for a long winter’s nap! This would include a Float followed by a nourishing lunch next door at Bowls. At last, especially for me – the gift that keeps on giving is meal delivery from The Real Good Life.


This holiday season consider shifting as much of your holiday spending on gift giving, celebrations and other necessities to local business!


We extend our gratitude to our Shop Local Sponsors!