Last year’s gift guide featured kitchen products, but this year I wanted to focus on some of the great local brands and products I’ve discovered right here in the Berkshires of western Massachusetts. I enjoy keeping my money local whenever possible and I’ve been doing my best to purchase gifts from local vendors and independent retailers. As I know Berkshire area gifts don’t make sense for many of my readers, I’ve grouped the ideas by category with links to Berkshire specific options; the overall category ideas should work for local gift giving no matter where you live. Also, it goes without saying that my local recommendations are by no means complete, I’m just sharing some of my favorites. Feel free to share your favorite Berkshire gift ideas in the comments below.
“Art” can be a lot of things and be found at a lot of different places. In my area, we’re lucky to have stores that carry locally made products, as well as holiday farmers markets and consignment shops that make these items fairly easily accessible. In addition, most of the businesses listed below have online stores you can order from, no matter where you live.
In the Berkshires: MVB Printmaking and Book Binding, Amrita Lash Pottery, Moho Designs hand-screened apparel, Blue Q, The Petal Collection fabric poppy flowers, KnitSquid Fiber Arts, Alice Eyes Design Company jewelry
This can be interpreted a million different ways, but I think that packaged, preserved goods make the best gifts. It gives the recipients the opportunity to use the product whenever they’re ready and makes them easier to store.
Memberships or Tickets to Local Museums, Theatres or Music Venues
I’m a big fan of local venues in all aspects of the arts. In my life, there seem to be two groups of people: those who never take advantage of the opportunities in their own town and those who attend an incredible number of performances and the like each year. Memberships or tickets are the perfect local gift for people in either of those categories.
In the Berkshires: The Norman Rockwell Museum, Mass MoCA, The Clark Art Museum, The Berkshire Museum, The Susan B. Anthony Birthplace Museum, Barrington Stage Company, Tanglewood, Shakespeare and Company
Local brews are hugely popular at the moment. It seems like anywhere you go there are local breweries and distilleries with unique and delicious drinks available. Local beverages make great host gifts.
Many states, counties and cities now have their own magazines. A great way to help people connect with their communities is to provide them with a magazine about a place they live or love.
Happy holiday shopping!