Want to give your loved ones a holiday gift that connects to that summer trip up north or the fall color tour you took together?
Or maybe you have a trip planned for after the COVID-19 vaccines have been distributed and want to give them something to remind them they have something to look forward to.
Try these gifts from a variety of places in the Great Lakes region in our selected categories of markets, food and drink, potato chips, books, home decor and wearables:
Do you regret not stopping at that mom-and-pop store you drove by during your summer road trips? Or are you looking for a more personal gift to remind someone of those road trips?
Stop by one of the many holiday and craft markets that have popped up this month. It’s also a great chance to support some of the smallest of small businesses.
Check out what markets there are in your area, or try one of these:
- Southeastern Michigan’s Eastern Market or Rust Belt Market
- Traverse City, Michigan’s My Secret Stash (you can also order online)
- Holland, Michigan’s Kerstmarkt
- Canada’s One of a Kind online winter show
- Canada’s online Indigenous Artisan Marketplace
Food and Drink
If we started listing Great Lakes brews and associated merchandise, that’s all that would fill this guide.
- Most people already have a favorite, but if you’re looking for something new, most towns and cities have a local brewery or distillery like Great Lakes Distillery in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
- If you want a non-alcoholic brew, grab a bag of beans from Michigan’s Great Lakes Coffee Roasting Company or Minnesota’s Northern Coffeeworks.
- American Spoon offers plenty of cooking and baking accessories along with Michigan-made jams with Michigan fruit.
This should fall under food and drink, but potato chips are such a big part of Great Lakes region eating culture that they deserve its own section. Who doesn’t have their favorite local or regional brand of chips? If you don’t, it’s time to discover what’s popular near you.
- Get some potato chips to accompany your brews! They were invented in 1853, in Saratoga Springs, New York. Get this book about the history of the potato chip, written by Ohio-born Dirk Burhans and published by the University of Wisconsin Press.
Though there’s sure to be many more delicious brands, here are some of the more well-known in the region:
- Detroit, Michigan’s Better Made
- Traverse City, Michigan’s Great Lakes Potato Chips
- Wisconsin’s Door County Potato Chips
- Ohio’s Ballreich’s
- New York’s New York Chips
- Syracuse, New York’s Terrell’s
- New York’s The Original Saratoga Chip
- Minnesota’s Old Dutch Potato Chips
- Eating with the Seasons, Anishinaabeg, Great Lakes Region by Derek Nicholas; Try this field guide to seasonal eating, mixed in with Anishinaabemowin language and cultural lessons.
- Best Of The Best From The Great Lakes Cookbook by Gwen McKee and Barbara Moseley; For someone interested in Midwestern food, try these selected recipes from the favorite cookbooks of Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin.
- Ships of the Great Lakes Cookbook: Discover Their Culinary Legends by PK McKenna; This fascinating book offers historical insights into various Great Lakes ships, the culture on those ships and the recipes cooks on those ships used.
- The Death and Life of the Great Lakes by Dan Egan; Egan offers a comprehensive and engaging view of the journey the health of the Great Lakes has taken, helping readers understand the state of the lakes now and how that happened.
- Copper Harbor: Michigan’s Northernmost Outpost by Steve Brimm; This coffee table book showcases the small village of Copper Harbor, Michigan, a craggy finger of land that juts 80 miles out into Lake Superior.
- Great Lakes Surfer Magazine; This magazine was created to build community and progress surfing across the Great Lakes region, in the form of curated stories in a zine.
- This 3D-printed map of Lake St. Clair by DanielsDDDesigns shows the depth and topography of the lake and immediate surrounding area in striking shades of blue and green.
For a more rustic map, this carved wooden map by thirtyAXIS shows the depth and layout of the five Great Lakes, and you can choose whether you want a one-dimensional, two-dimensional or three-dimensional carving.
- Coasters made of petoskey stones by HANNI offer a colorful and familiar sight to grace your coffee table.
- Holland, Michigan’s Fresh Coast Candles will light up your house with fragrances like Sleeping Bear, Harbor Harvest, Dew of the Lake, Lake Effect, Snow Birds and more.
- Holland’s Lake Effect art gallery offers a wide range of lighthouse paintings that will match the rest of your lake decor.
- Lake Superior Photo and photographer Shawn Malone have prints of the Lake Superior region showcasing the gorgeous natural wonders of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and Lake Superior. The photography was featured in Great Lakes Now monthly show Episode 1019 segment “Shooting Superior Skies.”
- Harbor Wear for Lake Michigan-themed shirts and apparel
- Peninsulas for Michigan wilderness-themed gear, including a T-shirt explaining to people what each of the letters of HOMES means
- Stormy Kromer for that classic Great Lakes look even if the products aren’t emblazoned with the name of a lake. For that 2020 vibe, get their flannel face mask, available in a variety of plaid patterns
- The Brave Wimp for ecofriendly accessories like these wood Great Lakes earrings or necklace
Great Lakes Now is not receiving any money or sponsorships from these companies or products.
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Featured image: Small snowman figure next to small wrapped present (Photo by Michael Pardo via Flickr CC0 1.0)