Skip the overwhelming department stores this holiday season and get your favorite people thoughtful gifts made right here in the Commonwealth! From handmade jewelry, clothing, and handbags to all sorts of delicious food, spirits, and brews, we’ve got a few of the must-have gift ideas that your family, friends, and coworkers will absolutely love.
A Mid-Winter Getaway
While we can’t argue that physical presents are nice, a mid-winter getaway is a memorable present that is perfect for those on your list that could use a little R&R. Take them to Nelson County for a stay at Wintergreen Resort, where you can spend the days skiing or hiking scenic mountain trails and sampling all the craft beers, wines, and spirits along the Nelson 151 Craft Beverage Trail. Or head further south along I-81 to explore Roanoke and Virginia’s Blue Ridge, known as the mountain biking capital of the East Coast. And if you’re a beach lover, make a trip to Virginia Beach for an off-season vacation, where you’ll find great deals on hotel rooms, quiet picturesque beaches for morning walks, and lots of indoor activities that allow you to make the most of a coastal Virginia getaway in the winter.
AR’s Hot Southern Honey
Sourced from bee hives in Virginia’s Appalachia and produced in the Shenandoah Valley, AR’s Hot Southern Honey is a favorite for many Virginia restaurants, including the kitchen at Upper Shirley Vineyards in Charles City, Max’s on Broad in Richmond, and Tilman’s Cheese and Wine in Charlottesville. With their honey products starting at just $6.99, you can buy a bottle for all your friends and family (and a few bottles for yourself) without breaking the bank. Looking for more Virginia-made culinary gift ideas? Check out the VA Foodie Gift Guide to see their picks for the foodies on your list.
Whitley’s Virginia Peanuts
Since 1986, Whitley’s has been roasting Virginia-grown peanuts in the small town of Gloucester along the Chesapeake Bay, and their dedication to high-quality peanuts means you can trust them to send you reliably delicious holiday gifts. Stick with the traditional salted or unsalted peanuts, or try some of their flavored nuts, like the Bacon Maple Virginia Peanuts or the Crabby Chesapeake Bay Virginia Peanuts.
Looking for a sweet holiday treat? Grab a box of Gearhart’s Fine Chocolates, artisan chocolates that are handmade in Charlottesville, Virginia. The 16-piece assorted box is a best-seller, with flavors like Mint Julep, Brown Butter Caramel, and Malted Milk Hazelnut.
Virginia Craft Beers, Spirits, & Wines
For those adults that really get into the holiday “spirit”, consider getting them their favorite six-pack of Virginia craft beer, a bottle of locally-made wine, or a distilled beverage produced in the Commonwealth, such as a bottle of aged whisky from The Virginia Distillery Company. As an added bonus, they may be willing to share some of their present with the gift giver, so you can’t go wrong with this thoughtful holiday gift.
Red Truck Bakery Cookbook
There is a lot of interesting food products to get your friends and family for the holidays, but if you’re shopping for a more DIY foodie, pick up a copy of the Red Truck Bakery Cookbook, written by owner and chef Brian Noyes. The baked goods from this small-town bakery have been recognized by everyone from President Barack Obama to Oprah, and the cookbook is packed with all of the flagship recipes that can be sampled at the charming Virginia bakery.
Ledbury Custom Shirts
If you’re looking for a little luxury for the men in your life, get them something from Ledbury, a Richmond-based clothier that carries a selection of well-made menswear, including sport coats, ties, and custom-made shirts and suits. The off-the-rack items are all high-quality and beautifully crafted, but if you’re willing to splurge, consider getting something made-to-order.
Red Rooster Coffee
Roasted in downtown Floyd, Virginia, Red Rooster Coffee will perk up even the biggest Grinch this holiday season. Plus, the coffee beanery isn’t just known for their world-class coffee; they use Organic and Fair Trade coffees for all of their signature blends, strive to operate sustainably with biodegradable coffee bags and composted chaff, and are a community-driven business that contributes to local charities and supports the surrounding rural population.
North End Bag Co. Bags
Based out of Virginia Beach, North End Bag Co. cuts, stitches, and rivets every single bag right in their shop, and if you’re in the area, you can even stop by to see it done. Order The Murray bag for the students on your list, or one of their canvas and leather purses for all the ladies that prefer a stylishly simple bag that’s made in Virginia.
Shockoe Atelier Denim Pants
Perhaps the dress clothing is a little too formal for the people on your list; instead, get them a pair of handmade jeans from Shockoe Atelier. The denim shop, located in downtown Richmond’s Shockoe Bottom neighborhood, offers a free lifetime repair guarantee on all of their clothing for rips or tears, ensuring that your gift will be treasured for many years to come.
Hugo Kohl Jewelry
The jewelry made at Hugo Kohl is unlike anything you’ll find at the average jewelry store. The owner of this Harrisonburg shop is one of the only jewelers in the world using old-world craftsman methods and tools to produce his show stopping pieces. While you can peruse and shop online, we recommend visiting the store, if possible; you’ll get the chance to see them make the jewelry through the glass wall of the show room, and they even offer tours of the workshop at certain times.
Richmond Prints from Claire Hill
Residents of the capital city will love these hand-drawn prints of Richmond from local artist Claire Hill, which range from black and white portraits of the city’s most notable landmarks and hot spots to a vibrantly illustrated map of the city, complete with those same landmarks dotted throughout the streets.
The owner of Nectar Sunglasses, Sean Holmes, was raised in Richmond and went to Virginia Commonwealth University for college. Afterwards, he started a small company with a buddy from Radford aimed at crafting affordable yet stylish sunglasses. Initially assembling the sunglasses by hand one at a time, the company grew to be one of the most notable sunglass companies on the East Coast. While Sean has moved the company to Charleston, South Carolina, he’s still a proud Virginian at heart, using his love for the Commonwealth to produce high-quality shades at an approachable price point.
Yama Mountain Camping Gear
Based out of Charlottesville, Virginia, Yama Mountain Gear designs and builds tents, tarps, backpacks, and other camping accessories. The company strives to be environmentally responsible in all aspects of their business, reusing packaging whenever possible, supporting renewable energy sources, and utilizing materials that are more easily recycled. The staff are all experienced hikers and outdoor enthusiasts, testing their own products out on the trails before putting them out on the market for sale.
Anderson Neck Oysters
Anderson Neck Oysters grow their Eagle Flats oysters in offshore tidal flats along the York River, delivering a buttery oyster with a perfect balance of savory and sweet. Get these Virginia seafood delicacies as gifts, or order a few dozen to serve during your holiday parties. In addition to oysters, Anderson Neck Oysters sells oyster shuckers, shucking gloves, branded merch, and even craft beer growlers with their logo.
Pewter Jefferson Cups
Know someone who is both a fan of history and Virginia spirits? Get them a set of Pewter Jefferson Cups from Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello. These classic cups can be engraved with the recipient’s initials, adding a special touch to this already thoughtful gift.
Blue Ridge Outdoors Apparel
Carrying a selection of super soft and lightweight tees and hoodies, Blue Ridge Outdoors Apparel is a great option for outdoor lovers looking for everyday clothing options.
Virginia State Necklace
Share your love of Virginia with friends or family members with this Virginia state necklace, made in both gold and silver. Etsy shop owner Amy Houston is based out of Charlottesville, and handmakes her entire collection of simple yet stunning jewelry. In addition to the necklace, we also LOVE the petite heart stud earrings in her shop.
Mill Gap Farms Maple Syrup
Made in rural Highland County in the Virginia Mountains, Mill Gap Farms Maple Syrup is Virginia’s first and only producer of organic maple syrup. Snag a few bottles as gifts for your friends and family, and consider making a trek out to Monterey to visit the maple syrup farm yourself. In March, the Highland County Maple Festival draws thousands of people to the quiet Virginia community, and Mill Gap Farms is an integral part of that event. The farm also hosts visitors year-round Monday through Saturday for hands-on tours, where you can feed the animals, bottle the maple syrup, and even stay overnight in their “House in the Trees”.
Official Virginia is for Lovers Merch
Finally, check off your holiday list with Virginia is for Lovers branded merch, all 25% off from now until November 30, 2019! Find everything from tshirts with an array of branded slogans (think music, wine, history, etc.) to craft beer growlers and oyster platters.
Share your favorite Virginia-made products with us in the comments below!