Ally's Sweet and Savory Eats: Made in Iowa Holiday Gift Guide

Monday, November 26, 2018

Made in Iowa Holiday Gift Guide

I love helping my readers shop for treasured holiday gifts!  Especially ones locally made.
Have you started shopping yet?  

This post is sponsored by the Iowa Department of Economic Development
but all opinions are my own.

Made in Iowa Holiday Gift Guide...hand crafted products perfect to gifts this holiday season {food, clothing, toys, soaps, candles, and so much more}.  Take a look at this sample list and purchase from a small business this Christmas season. (sweetandsavoryfood.com)

I've lived in Iowa my WHOLE life and I love it here.  We have four beautiful seasons {I'm writing this as we are having a blinding snowstorm}, the people are beyond gracious and nice and I can think of no reason that I will ever leave.

Yep, I'm bragging about this place a bit!  

We're home to the largest cereal company in the world {Quaker Oats}, we are home to the largest Amish community west of the Mississippi River {Kalona}, we are the only state whose east and west borders are surrounded entirely by water {Missouri River and Mississippi Rivers}, we are home to the nation's 31st president {Herbert Hoover}, we lead the nation in production of corn, soybeans and pork and are 2nd to a popular breakfast dish {eggs} and we have a handful of actors and actresses among us {John Wayne, Donna Reed, Ashton Kutcher, Tom Arnold, Andy Williams, Johnny Carson, Lara Flynn Boyle and Elijah Wood to name a few}.

Still bragging.

Beyond all of this, we also have many tremendous small businesses.  Businesses run by single moms, recent college graduates and three generational families.  All very different, all very successful.

Each and every holiday season I do my best to promote these small businesses and/or products that are made right here in the great state of Iowa {I'm sure your state has some great ones too, I just happen to be promoting mine!}.  

So let's take a look at some of these fun items.  Everything from food to toys to clothing.  Grab a pen and paper and be sure to jot down your favorites.  Then grab your wallet!

Made in Iowa Holiday Gift Guide...hand crafted products perfect to gifts this holiday season {food, clothing, toys, soaps, candles, and so much more}.  Take a look at this sample list and purchase from a small business this Christmas season. (sweetandsavoryfood.com)

The complete list of gifts can be found here, but let's break things down a bit shall we?  


Made in Iowa Holiday Gift Guide...hand crafted products perfect to gifts this holiday season {food, clothing, toys, soaps, candles, and so much more}.  Take a look at this sample list and purchase from a small business this Christmas season. (sweetandsavoryfood.com)

So many cute and adorable items for those young ones in our lives!  I personally love the Butter Cow Onesie.  The Butter Cow originated in my hometown of Toledo, Iowa.  Norma Lyon became famous for sculpting first the cow out of butter at the Iowa State Fair and then each year after that whatever public figure was in the news or whichever movie character was in our homes.

And that pair of sock monkey mittens?  Or handmade wooden peg toys or rattle?  When my kids were babies they loved tag blankets {whichever Mom realized that sewing small tags to the ends of blankets keeps babies entertained is genius} and personally can I get that Iowa-Dorable shirt in my size?


Made in Iowa Holiday Gift Guide...hand crafted products perfect to gifts this holiday season {food, clothing, toys, soaps, candles, and so much more}.  Take a look at this sample list and purchase from a small business this Christmas season. (sweetandsavoryfood.com)

Let's move on to the next category, do you have a Nature Lover in your life?  Someone who would rather spend their free time outdoors exploring?

I have a really close friend who LOVES to hike.  Anywhere really.  I wish I had the knack for it like her!  Anyone who loves nature can find a fun item in this group.

Made in Iowa Holiday Gift Guide...hand crafted products perfect to gifts this holiday season {food, clothing, toys, soaps, candles, and so much more}.  Take a look at this sample list and purchase from a small business this Christmas season. (sweetandsavoryfood.com)

So many items in this category remind me of growing up in Iowa.  My Dad was and has always been a big hunter.  Most Saturday mornings he was off hunting pheasant or deer and often taking trips even further south to hunt quail.  We always had hunting dogs {so many, I cannot even remember all their names} so it was just a part of our life.  Did you know you can purchase Hunting and Fishing Licenses online?  And that Iowa Outdoors magazine?  It always graced a table in our home, in my opinion nothing is better than a magazine subscription.  It keeps giving all year long!

Personally, I'd take the Iowa Reclaim t-shirt in a heartbeat.  And those bandanas made by Iowa Parklands that also serves as a map of individual state parks is pretty cool and stylish.

I also enjoy when relatives give my kids "experience gifts".  Gift certificates to use on long winter days when we are stuck at home.  Why not got skiing and snowboarding?  Yes, we do have those resorts in Iowa!  We're not as flat as you think.


Made in Iowa Holiday Gift Guide...hand crafted products perfect to gifts this holiday season {food, clothing, toys, soaps, candles, and so much more}.  Take a look at this sample list and purchase from a small business this Christmas season. (sweetandsavoryfood.com)

Ready for the next category?  It's Home Goods!  Most people love to decorate their home or enjoy giving gifts that they know people would love to stage in their home.

Need a candle?  Got it.  An adorable tea towel that would go perfect with a bottle of wine?  We have that too.  Maybe a few hand crafted wood items?  Yep, have those too.

Made in Iowa Holiday Gift Guide...hand crafted products perfect to gifts this holiday season {food, clothing, toys, soaps, candles, and so much more}.  Take a look at this sample list and purchase from a small business this Christmas season. (sweetandsavoryfood.com)

Nothing screams a cozy winter home more than a candle.  I've actually been working closely with Michelle at the Dirt Road Candle Company.  These candles are AMAZING.  If you are long time reader you know my 12 Days of Holiday Giveaways starts December 1 and her company is a part of it!

I'm also digging the Custom Photo Wood Prints.  Take a photo you love and they will print it on rustic wood.  What a unique gift to give someone this holiday season.  The same goes for Red Check Throw Blanket made by the Amana Woolen Mill here in Eastern Iowa.  Everyone needs a statement piece that screams, "where did you get that?" when a visitor walks in the door.

And have you seen Iowa's world renowned Isabel Bloom sculptures?  They are gorgeous.  Pretty much one for every occasion in a person's life {weddings, anniversaries, life-long friendships and more}.


Made in Iowa Holiday Gift Guide...hand crafted products perfect to gifts this holiday season {food, clothing, toys, soaps, candles, and so much more}.  Take a look at this sample list and purchase from a small business this Christmas season. (sweetandsavoryfood.com)

Moving on!

I don't know about you but sometimes I love seeing what's in my stocking more than my actual gifts under the tree.  There's something about unwrapping little fun treasurers that you otherwise may never purchase for yourself.

Items you can stick in your purse or in your mouth!

Made in Iowa Holiday Gift Guide...hand crafted products perfect to gifts this holiday season {food, clothing, toys, soaps, candles, and so much more}.  Take a look at this sample list and purchase from a small business this Christmas season. (sweetandsavoryfood.com)

Here in the Midwest there are a few things you need to get you through the harsh winter.  Chapstick {your lips take a beating}, a good soap {your hands get so dry}, artisan coffee {it warms you up on cold mornings} a sweet treat {why not?} and a good bloody mary mix {because we love our brunches on Sundays}.

Pretty much my perfect stocking would be filled with chapstick, coffee grounds, soap, chocolate covered caramels and bloody mary mix.

All items hand made in Iowa.  Did you know some of the best chocolates in the world are made by nuns at a Northeast Iowa monastry?  Or that some of the best coffee in the state started it's production in a garage?  All small businesses have to start somewhere!


Made in Iowa Holiday Gift Guide...hand crafted products perfect to gifts this holiday season {food, clothing, toys, soaps, candles, and so much more}.  Take a look at this sample list and purchase from a small business this Christmas season. (sweetandsavoryfood.com)

And now, in my opinion, I've saved the best for last.  The Food and Cooking category!  Cut me some slack, I'm a food blogger.  Nothing excites me more than fun food.

A little bit of everything in this batch.  If you aren't fond of one thing, I have no doubt you'll love another.

Made in Iowa Holiday Gift Guide...hand crafted products perfect to gifts this holiday season {food, clothing, toys, soaps, candles, and so much more}.  Take a look at this sample list and purchase from a small business this Christmas season. (sweetandsavoryfood.com)

I hate to say this, but I'm again pretty partial to one of these food companies.  I grew up going to Rube's Steakhouse in Montour, Iowa, which was about a 10 minute drive from my house.  Special occasions or not, it was a fun place to go {and still is!} as you walk in, pick out your steak, find your table and then go grill it yourself!  Remember those Grilled Ribeyes with Corn and Tomato Relish I made last year?  I used Rube's Steaks.

Each product in this category has quickly become a favorite.  Maple syrup?  You bet, I drizzle a bit in my coffee each morning.  Beer bread?  It's a great side with a bowl of warm soup.  Dutch Letters from Pella, Iowa?  A complete weakness for me.  Sterzings Potato Chips?  The only chips my Dad will eat.  Artisan Pasta?  Please, I'd eat pasta for every meal if it wasn't frowned upon.

Clearly, food is my weakness.


Made in Iowa Holiday Gift Guide...hand crafted products perfect to gifts this holiday season {food, clothing, toys, soaps, candles, and so much more}.  Take a look at this sample list and purchase from a small business this Christmas season. (sweetandsavoryfood.com)

I hope you've found some fun and unique items for your holiday shopping, made right here in Iowa!  Biased I am, but I've always believed we live in a pretty special state.  So many hand crafted products that are just waiting to find a way into your homes.

Which product is calling your name?

Which fun find screams "I need to purchase this for _________ "?

And don't forget to just buy something for yourself this holiday season.  You deserve it and these small businesses will thank you.

Thank you to the Iowa Department of Economic Development for sponsoring this post.

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