8 Holiday Gift Ideas for the Michigan Enthusiast on Your List

Looking for the perfect holiday gift with a Great Lakes touch?  Finding the perfect Michigan-made gem is a battle within itself. To help with some of your gift decision making, guest blogger Hailey Anderson from the MEDC, has compiled a list of some of the most novel items on the Michigan market as well as the benefits of buying local.

There are a number of reasons to consider Michigan-made products when holiday shopping this season, but here are just four specific appeals:

Buying local:

  1. Keeps your hard-earned cash in the state, which boosts Michigan’s economy.
  2. Lets you join the season of giving by supporting talented Michigan craftsmen and entrepreneurs that appreciate your business more than corporate companies.
  3. Lets you share your love of Michigan with the people who matter most, and gives your out-of-state relatives a little taste of where you’re from.
  4. Enhances the uniqueness of your gift, making it more meaningful to loved-ones.

With this in mind, here are just a few gift ideas to keep in mind when shopping for that Michigan-lover this holiday season.

coasters

Iconic Detroit Coasters ($10)
Iconic Detroit’s coaster collections feature images of everything to love about Michigan, from popular tourist destinations to vintage logos of beloved local companies and much more.

michigan crate

 

Mitten Crate ($99/3 months)
Mitten Crate will deliver a wide of assortment of Michigan-made food items right to your loved one’s doorstep. These attractive gift-boxes include products ranging from gourmet popcorn to mini cocktail mixers and everything in between.

 

Classic Stormy Kromer Cap ($39.99)StormyKromerCap
Based out of Ironwood, this baseball-style winter cap has been a favorite among outdoorsmen for more than 110 years. Each Stormy Kromer hat is hand-stitched with quality wool and made to last for years to come. This item will keep the outdoor-enthusiasts on your Christmas list cozy all winter long.
 
 

 

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LoveBook (From $33.96)
LoveBook is a Detroit printing company that gives anyone the power to be a romance novelist. With their easy-to-use online building system, you can create a personalized book to tell your significant other all the little reasons why you love them. The book is then printed, laminated, professionally bound in either hard or soft cover, and mailed right to your doorstep.

frankenmuth brewery

 

Christmas Town Ale, Frankenmuth Brewery
This festive, Michigan-brewed ale is the ideal Christmas gift for your friend that’s a craft beer connoisseur. Christmas Town Ale is the seasonal favorite among Frankenmuth Brewery’s devoted fan-base for its subtle hint of nutmeg, ginger and cinnamon. Grab a case at select liquor outlets or from the brewery’s store in downtown Frankenmuth.

 

alphabet

Classic ABC Blocks, Uncle Goose ($38)
This children’s gift is a throwback to simpler times. Uncle Goose’s Classic ABC blocks are crafted from Michigan basswood, and then beautifully printed with a colorful assortment of letters, animals, numbers and math symbols. Pick them up today from one of their retail locations or from their toy store in Grand Rapids.

wine

 

Mint Chocolate Cream, Round Barn Winery ($24.99)
Nothing says happy holidays like a glass of delicious Michigan-made wine. Round Barn Winery offers a large assortment of wine varieties including this festive crème wine that’s basically a mint chocolate cookie in a glass. Cheers!

mittens

 

Isle Royale Michigan Mittens ($24.95)
There isn’t a more fitting Michigan Christmas gift than a pair of knitted mittens, unless those mittens were to have a map of the Lower Peninsula on one hand and the Upper Peninsula on another. Yes, these mittens actually exist and you can order them in a variety of colors including this stunning royal blue, properly named after Isle Royale.

 

What are your favorite Michigan-made gifts? Don’t forget to also check out the Pure Michigan store, which sells a variety of merchandise including apparel, headwear, coffee mugs and more!

Have you ever given or received a memorable Michigan-made gift? Share with us below!

hailey

Hailey Anderson is a travel intern with MEDC. She is a senior at Michigan State University studying advertising and public relations. When Hailey has free time she enjoys traveling to her favorite Michigan getaways and cheering the Spartan football team to victory. Go Green!

 

Pure Michigan Provides a Helping Hand this Winter

After much discussion over which state was the real Mitten State, Pure Michigan and Travel Wisconsin are joining together to encourage folks to ‘shake hands’ and unite for a great cause.

We are encouraging people to put their Michigan pride toward a good cause by donating new or gently used mittens to local charities around the state. If you or your business donate mittens, we want to hear about it – leave a comment on this post or head over to the Pure Michigan Facebook page and share your story.

The outpouring of support from Michiganders and our fans has been tremendous. What better way for the Mitten State to harness this state pride than by providing those in need with mittens to stay warm this winter?

In Traverse City, “In-between” Season Has Charms of Its Own

Traverse City resident Mike Norton used to dread the weeks between Halloween and Christmas, but now he’s learned to appreciate this “in-between season” for its quiet beauty, slower pace and lower prices. In Traverse City, especially, early winter is a time of relaxation, coziness and charm, he says.

I moved to Traverse City because I love being outdoors, and I still do. In the summer, you’ll find me walking this town’s beautiful beaches, kayaking on Grand Traverse Bay or hiking through the Pere Marquette State Forest. In winter, I’ll be out on my skis at Old Mission Point or snowshoeing around the Boardman Valley.

But there’s one time of year that I’m only beginning to appreciate. I mean the season we’re going through right now – these six to eight weeks between the end of fall color season and the start of snowsport season. It’s too cold for swimming, too early for sledding. Is it late autumn or early winter? And what in the world can you do?

Plenty, as it turns out. Over time, I’ve learned to appreciate and even welcome this odd “in-between” season – especially here in Traverse City, where it’s actually become one of my favorite times of year. It’s a quieter, friendlier time, I think, when the true flavor of this lovely place begins to re-emerge after months of overstimulation.
Once October ends, there’s a sudden shift in the rhythm of life in Traverse City. The hectic crowds of summer and fall dwindle to a more manageable level, even on weekends. Suddenly you’re not waiting in line to get a table at a restaurant. Suddenly, hotel rates are much lower, store clerks are much more relaxed, and everybody seems much happier to see you.

The Traverse City area has over 4,000 guest rooms and a wide range of choices, from large full-service resorts to cozy family-operated motels, from condominiums to B&Bs. There are unique winery chateaux, rustic Up North cabins, laid-back beach resorts and an elegant casino hotel. And it all seems just a little bit more relaxed this time of year.

Part of the appeal, I admit, is that there are fewer kids around. I love youngsters (really I do!) but there are some things that just aren’t much fun when you have to share them with the younger set. Once the little ones are safely back in school, Traverse City becomes a perfect setting for adults who want to slip away for a little fun of their own, whether that’s a romantic weekend, a holiday shopping trip, or a girlfriends getaway.

The truth is, I’ve learned to enjoy some of the indoor pleasures of this season. That isn’t hard in a place like Traverse City, which keeps picking up national and international praise for the quality of its restaurants and its outstanding wines. Dining out is much more pleasant when you can do it without feeling crowded or rushed  –  and I always try to get a table near the fireplace, just to enjoy the cozy snap and crackle of a real fire.

On the other hand, “quiet” shouldn’t mean boring — and fortunately, Traverse City isn’t the kind of resort town that shuts down in wintertime. If anything, I think its nightlife actually seems to improve as the weather turns colder — whether that’s a concert at the Interlochen Center for the Arts, some stand-up comedy at the City Opera House, or the gaming tables at the Leelanau Sands or Turtle Creek casinos.

And shopping? Things are still humming along nicely this time of year in Traverse City’s historic and pedestrian-friendly downtown with its fascinating boutiques, restaurants, coffee shops and galleries, and at the Grand Traverse Commons, a fascinating “village” of shops, eateries and homes in the turreted buildings of our 19th-century mental asylum. This is when all those places start running their holiday specials – and when their owners actually have the time to stand around and chat with you.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m still an outdoorsy guy, and I still prefer to be outside whenever I can. And I’ve learned to enjoy the austere beauty of this season, with its browns and maroons and dark golds framed by the electric-blue water of Lake Michigan and the increasingly dramatic skies of winter. I still like to get the kayak out and paddle across the bay, and I love to hike the deep forests of pine, spruce and hemlock that cover the hills south of town.

But the most fun of all, I think, is being able to combine indoor and outdoor activities by touring Traverse City’s legendary wine country.
Many of the 28 wineries on the Old Mission and Leelanau peninsulas are located on high hilltops with wonderful views of the surrounding landscape, and there’s something about that splendid setting that goes particularly well with their crisp fruit-forward wines.

So mark me down as a former skeptic who has mellowed in his opinions about this once-scorned time of year. Here in Traverse City, at least, I don’t think of it as “in-between season” anymore. Now it’s my new “relax-and-unwind season” instead!

Mike Norton, a native of Grand Rapids, spent 25 years as newspaper writer and columnist before starting a second career as media relations director at the Traverse City Convention & Visitors Bureau. An avid hiker, skier and cyclist, he lives in the village of Old Mission.