We all know that buying local and supporting independent retailers can help boost our state and city economies, support downtown retail districts and encourage more entrepreneurs to step out on their own.
But sometimes during the holidays, it can be tempting to avoid the search for the perfect present, and instead settle for a gift card. Or to order everything from an online supermerchant. Hey, no judgment. We've been there, too.
So for this year's holiday gift guide, we looked for gifts that represented the best of Michiganders' craftsmanship and originality; either from companies based in-state or available at independent Metro Detroit stores.
We're delighted to point out that buying Michigan-made doesn't mean settling for a funny t-shirt or tchotchkes shaped like mittens -- although we love those too! These local picks will satisfy every entry on your list: from the denim snob to the bar sports champ, the vinyl collector and maybe even the future Berry Gordy or Diana Ross.
The best part: almost all of them are available online.
For more Mitten-made holiday shopping ideas, head over to Buy Michigan Now, which supports independent products and producers keeping Michigan retail alive. You can even take a pledge to support more of our state's local businesses. And really, why wouldn't you?
As you're doing your last-minute holiday shopping, it's also a good moment to think about the needy individuals who could really use gifts this season -- gifts of time and money. Check out the HuffPost Detroit list of charities deserving of your donations.
Happy, happy holidays!
For Your Hip-Hop Lovin' Little Bro
Rappers spend a lot of time talking about "ice," but Canada's gift to the world really hasn't been part of hip-hop fashion since Tupac rocked a Wings jersey. That is, until now. The <a href="http://www.undergroundhiphop.com/rocksmith-x-wu-tang-clan-wu-wing/RS22WU0809BHT/">Rocksmith Wu Wing Snapback hat</a> integrates Detroit's winged wheel logo with the marking of rap's greatest group. $33.97 Also works for: Wayne State grads (go Warriors!) Depressed NHL athletes interested in a music career. Hat tip (literally) to <a href="www.heyangela.com">Heyangela.com</a>
For The Urban Woodsman
The spirit inspired by Michigan's wild backwoods have never been more practically (or fashionably) reinterpreted for the urban denizen. Michigan's own Stormy Kromer designed this <a href="http://www.stormykromer.com/new-products/the-stormy-kromer-sidekick">Sidekick messenger bag</a>, which arrives hand-stitched with a heavy-duty wool and nylon blend. Comes in four colors. $149.99 Also works for: Hunters who carry briefcases <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bugsy-sailor/plaidurday-a-holiday-to-c_b_1933184.html">Michigan's Plaidurday enthusiasts</a>
For Your Dad, Who Grew Up In Detroit
Bethany Shorb's Cyberoptix fabric lab, located in a gritty Eastern Market warehouse space, conjures up this silk necktie screenprinted with the original 1917 blueprints to the historic (and now demolished) Cass Tech High School. Cyberoptix Detroit Blueprint Necktie svailable online at the <a href="http://www.etsy.com/listing/62013616/detroit-blueprint-silk-necktie-cass-tech">Cyberoptix Etsy shop</a>. $40 Also works for: Architects Dapper urban explorers
For The Gamer
Way before Madden and NBA Live, we remember the pokey, primitive graphics of the best EA Sports games --- hello, NHL '94?! Relive your old-school gaming glory with these EA Sports tees, available at <a href="http://www.facebook.com/CarusoCarusoMI">Birmingham's Caruso Caruso </a>at 166 W. Maple. $34 Also works for: Anyone who loved the '90s
For The Old-Fashioned Working Man
Wolverine might be better known for its heavy-duty work gear than stylish duds. But this Michigan company's <a href="http://www.wolverine.com/US/en-US/Product.mvc.aspx/27371M/0/Mens/Seger-Wolverine-Engineer-Boot?dimensions=0">Seger engineer boot</a> melds fashion and function perfectly, combining a practical rubber sole with vintage-inspired denim and leather uppers. $180 Also works for: Train conductors
For The Tough Guy
Hey, tough guy. This <a href="http://www.carhartt.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?catalogId=10101&storeId=10051&productId=219716&langId=-1&categoryId=63111&top_category=15606&quickView=false">badass Carhartt jacket</a> unzips to reveal your 313 street cred -- a map of downtown Detroit is stitched into the back lining. A limited edition selection from Carhartt's new Detroit-themed apparel line. Quilted nylon lining and attached hood will help block out those cold gusts of winter wind. Not that the cold bothers YOU, but still. $175 Also works for: Boxers and people who dress like them
For The Zooey Deschanel Wannabe
All she's ever wanted was to play the part of the ingenue. Or maybe sing on stage. May we suggest a found frock from Royal Oak's purveyors of timeless style, <a href="http://www.lostandfoundvintage.com/online_store/online_store.html">Lost & Found Vintage?</a> This full-skirted 1930s coral beauty is lined with black lace and dotted with rhinestone accents. Best of all, it can be <a href="http://www.etsy.com/listing/101686962/1930s-floor-length-dress-coral-belle">ordered online</a>. $228 Also works for: Country singers
For The Denim Snob
Made in a small factory in Detroit proper, the first design from <a href="http://detroitdenim.us/">Detroit Denim</a> is an updated classic straight leg finished with hand-hammered copper rivets. Everything from the copper to the cotton, which is sourced from North Carolina, emphasizes craftmanship and American manufacturing. $250 Also works for: Rock stars
For The One Who's Always 15 Minutes Late
<a href="http://www.facebook.com/VinylSurfariKlocks?fref=ts">Vinyl Surfari LP Klocks</a>, made in Ferndale, combine a practical aim (telling time) with one of our favorite ways to spend time -- listening to music! Bonus: these Klocks are made from original LPs. $20-$35 Also works for: Vinyl collectors
For The Blue Collar Sommelier
Who says the art of wine has to be so Old World? <a href="http://ldvracks.com/">LDV racks</a> bring a fun, colorful and altogether un-stuffy twist to wine storage. These Michigan designers fashion each Crayola-colored wine rack by laser-cutting a single piece of Detroit-sourced steel. Starts at $50
For The Next Diana Ross Or Berry Gordy
Stare into your chart-topping future with this <a href="http://www.diashop.org/servlet/the-564/45rpm-Motown-Mirror-Home/Detail">45 RPM mirror </a>available in the Museum Shop at the Detroit Institution of Arts. Created from a selection of 12 Motown vinyl records. Comes assembled, spanning 22" across and just begging to be hung next to your first certified-gold record. We're channeling "Reflections" by Diana Ross & The Supremes, ourselves. $145, $130.50 to DIA members Also works for: Vinyl freaks Actual divas
For The Animal Lover
There's an animal hiding in every cup! Brew a healthy dose of tea or a hot cup of joe, and enjoy the hand-crafted ceramic friend that eventually reveals itself inside. Buy it at <a href="http://store.shopshine.net/product_info.php?cPath=275_293&products_id=1389">Shine in Royal Oak.</a> $24 Also works for: Surprising guests
For Your Favorite Hockey Fans
Bingo Bango! This <a href="http://www.etsy.com/listing/94158709/detroit-red-wing-mickey-redmond-isms?ref=sr_gallery_9&ga_search_query=detroit&ga_view_type=gallery&ga_ship_to=US&ga_ref=auto2&ga_explicit_scope=1&ga_search_type=handmade">subway-style wall sign</a> is lettered with all the greatest sayings from Canadian-bred Detroit Red Wings TV commentator Mickey Redmond. Feel free to custom-add your own favorite Mickey-ism. $75 Also works for: Mickey Redmond
For The Interior Decorator
Husband-and-wife team Bryce and Kerry Moore combine their woodworking skills with an eye to graphic sophistication in the heart of the Motor City. Witness the grace and modern accents of the William & Mary side chair. More home furnishings available at <a href="http://contextfurniture.com/wmsidechair.html#">Context Furniture</a>. Also works for: Envious woodworkers
For Your Favorite Dinner Party Host
When it comes to entertaining, he or she is definitely on your map. Show your appreciation by giving this glass serving tray covered in a translucent image of the Motor City map. It's food-safe and the glaze is water-resistant. Available at <a href="http://www.etsy.com/listing/80475061/detroit-map-platter">City Bird.</a> $30 Also works for.. Road Commission employees
For The Indoor Gardener
Defy gravity. Shock your visitors. This upside-down sky planter sold by Boskke frees up floor space, so you can keep your home green all winter long. Available at the <a href="http://mocadetroit.org/store/goods/boskke-sky-planter---medium.html">Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (MOCAD) store.</a> $75 Also works for: Design snobs
For The Future Craft Brewer
You're never too young to learn to love craft beer, right? <a href="http://foundersbrewing.com/store/bib/?av-submitted=true">Michigan's Founders brewery</a> makes their suds with hops and love. Velcro fastener. $8 Also works for: Grand Rapids residents
For Someone Who Needs Care
John Red Deer says their <a href="http://www.getmintshop.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=7&products_id=78&zenid=imu43sv9p6834bnlmg3bsj5b51">7 Grandfathers all-purpose salve</a> helps erase scars, cure infections, moisturize dry lips and treat insect bites. That's only a partial list. 7 Grandfather's soothing holistic scent is made with ingredients from the Crosby Mint Farm right here in the Mitten State. $18 Also works for: Faith healers People who eat peppermints
For The Skater
It doesn't get much more <a href="http://einfachskate.com/decks/politically-incorrect/kwame-pimp-mayor-of-d-town/">politically incorrect</a> than this skateboard emblazoned with a drawing of former Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and the slogan, "Pimp Mayor Of D-Town." The perfect gift to whip you in the shape should Detroit host the Summer X Games.. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org Also works for: This is wholly inappropriate for small children. But the <a href="http://einfachskate.com/decks/detroit-series/ambassador-bridge/">Ambassador bridge deck</a> is a solid choice for youngsters.
For Your Hipster Girlfriend
Let her wear that hard-earned hipster cred with pride. <a href="http://www.etsy.com/listing/115660421/avant-garde-anchor-banner-necklace">Chain Chain Chained</a> is the brainchild of Regina Pruss, whose delicate metal creations can be found at shops around town like City Bird. $65 Also works for.. Art school students Style-conscious sailors
For The Fashionable Detroiter
Never get lost, always be stylish. <a href="http://www.heavenlyhonies.com/">The Detroit Cuff</a> is manufactured in three styles -- choose the north-south artery of Woodward Ave., a map of the Belle Isle landscape or an East Side street grid. The creators say each etched steel armband pays homage to the Underground Railroad. $55 Also works for: People Who Don't Use GPS
For Your Goth Neice
Give your favorite spirit this <a href="http://www.etsy.com/listing/109999531/13-skulls-necklace-day-of-the-dead">Day Of The Dead necklace</a>. 13 delicate skulls commemorate the holiday celebrated 'round the world (not to mention, in Southwest Detroit). $80 Also works for: Medical examiners
For The Songwriter
Reware Vintage's line of notebooks made from classic records is our new favorite way to spin a to-do list or line of verse. From Dusty Springfield to KISS, Frank Sinatra to Billy Joel, Reware offers a sonic diary for every music-lover. $17 Also works for: Students People who still write things on paper
For Your Favorite Tigers Fans
An essential Tigers decoration for your home base. This<a href="http://www.etsy.com/listing/114284813/detroit-tigers-baseball-love-wreath-with"> handmade baseball wreath</a> arrives already scuffed. Other teams available for the other members of your fantasy league. $49 Also works for: That kid from "The Sandlot."
For The Bar Sports Champ
Who knew the <a href="http://www.belgiandarts.com/Package%20Sets.html">perfect Belgian dart set </a>was made in Michigan? Arthur & James VanHoutteghem of St. Clair Shores continue a tradition of dartboard craftmanship passed down through three generations. This 9' set includes one two-sided dartboard and two sets of piks. $60 Also works for: Belgians Playful marksmen
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