4th Annual American Made Gift Guide

11/19/2017 09:41 pm ET Updated Dec 15, 2017

First off, I want to start by recognizing how many companies are already out there, making things in America. They are the pioneers in the maintenance and revival of American made. That being said, you can pretty much find a gift for anyone that is made in USA. The issue lies in finding one resource that has this information pulled together. This is what inspired me to start my guide 4 holiday seasons ago. As the years have passed, I have also made it a point to try and find companies that have a green or additional socially responsible aspect. Being American made is a start, but brands that are eco-friendly or have a give back/charitable arm, certainly win me over even more. I also want to point out that while some products are 100 percent made in USA others are not. Some products have no other option but to use parts that are not locally sourced. Unfortunately, because we lost so many manufacturing jobs to overseas over the last 2-3 decades, many factories were forced to close. We no longer have access to certain tooling or resources needed to make a product in its entirety, using solely made in the US components. Hopefully, as consumers continue to seek out and purchase “American made”, the demand will grow and America will continue to reinvigorate.

Now that I have made these points, lets start shopping! Please keep in mind many of the below items can cross categories. For instance Liberty Bottles, makes water bottles for all ages and they’re totally rad! Bears for Humanity would be great for an infant, toddler, pre-schooler or elementary child and even a pet as some of their bears have sewn in eyes. And many of the clothing brands listed have adult clothing too!

P.s. I have added a few new categories this year including a pet section. With the addition of our newest family member, Navy the Wheaten Terrier, I just couldn’t resist. I feel this year’s guide is by far the best. I started my research in April! Hope you enjoy... and Happy Holidays!

For Her:

1. Paige Denim- Every woman loves a great fitting pair of jeans and until this year I had been loyal to only one brand. That changed the day I went into the Paige store in Soho. Pocket position is key, depending on what type of derrière a woman has. With various waist options and oodles of colors and patterns to choose from, Paige denim is worth serious consideration. My pick is the Hoxton high waisted skinny, made in LA. Bonus, they have a men’s line too.

2. Kristen Elspeth- Jewelry never disappoints. Some gals like something delicate and others like something with a little more bling. This line definitely leans dainty with super interesting designs. I personally love the knife edge Talon bracelet, Talon Ear Threader and African Post Quill Earrings. Personalized options are available should you desire something more one of a kind.

3. Simon Pearce- My husband still buys me flowers after 13 years of marriage. He is a good man indeed. However, me being the frugal one, I have suggested Whole Foods over expensive flower shops that continue to deliver sub par bouquets in cheap glass vases. Believe it or not, I find their flowers consistently the freshest of all. That being said, a beautiful vase is always needed, and so I came across Simon Pearce who crafts theirs in Vermont. Simon Pearce offers other products as well. Their Love Your Brain collection honors Simon’s son, who had a traumatic brain injury while training for the 2010 winter Olympics. 20 percent of the sales from this collection is donated to the Love Your Brain Foundation, which was started by the family.

4. D.S. & Durga- Cofounders D.S. and Durga(husband and wife team), started this gem of a fragrance brand on a table in their Bushwick apartment in 2008. By 2009 they were up and running in a real facility in the Bronx. Their fragrances can be experienced at their retail location or at select specialty stores including Barneys. Each fragrance has a story with a unique scent to match. My pick, Debaser, which is a medium bodied fragrance described as fresh, fruit and green with notes including pear stem, fig and moss. As we know, fragrance is a very personal choice, so if unsure go with a sample pack of testers, containing four selections of your choosing and a gift card so your loved one can select the one they like best. A lover who shops beyond the mainstream fragrance brands, to find something more special, will definitely gain some major bonus points.

5. Blackberry Farm- Located in the smokey mountains of Tennessee, a trip to Blackberry Farm is a gift that will certainly wow! It is definitely a splurge gift. If your looking to really make an impression, this will do the trick. We had the privilege of staying here this summer. The grounds are absolutely stunning and the accommodations both lavish and cozy. Our cabin had a fireplace and huge bathroom with an oversized tub and separate shower stall. Their adults only restaurant, “The Barn”, not only creates spectacular cuisine, it was one of the most romantic places we have ever dined. The evening after we dined guest Chef Daniel Boulud arrived to host a private event, a common occurence, attracting some of the world’s best chefs. The farm is both family friendly and also great for a couples retreat. Activities include skiing, cooking, archery, tennis, spa and so much more, but anyone would be just as content, soaking up the atmosphere.

For Him:

1. Shinola- This brand is certainly doing their part to create jobs here in America. What started as a watch brand has quickly extended into leather goods, accessories, bikes and more. They make products that are 100 percent made in America and when they can’t, they do the best they can. Their journals are purely American made and their leather wallets a close second, with only the thread being non US made.

2. Lotuff- A well dressed man is always a pleasure to see. My husband has been wanting a leather briefcase for sometime now and I looked extensively before finding this one. Yes, it’s an extravagant purchase, but guaranteed for life. And if one should so desire to splurge further, Lotuff offers bespoke services as well. Lotuff also designs a women’s line with options for both him and her to be considered.

3. Woodchuck USA- A credit card bottle opener is what grabbed my attention. Slips right into a man’s wallet, so should the need for a cold brew call, he will totally be prepared. All their items are made of wood. There are so many super choices available such as cuff links, money clips, flasks and iphone cases too. Many of the items can be laser engraved giving this gift an added special touch. Bonus, for every product purchased, they plant a tree. It’s their way of making a better world for future generations.

4. American Giant- They make a great variation of the traditional sweater. Cut from specially-patented fleece, manufactured only in North Carolina, it’s rugged on the outside but soft on the inside. Sewn like a classic crewneck, but with 5-thread cover stitching for extra durability, weekend comfort and style awaits.

5. Xtreme Xperience- Many men dream of a day where they might have the opportunity to take to a race track and test out their driving skills. Xtreme Xperience schedules events around the country throughout the year. With a variety of sports cars to choose from, this gift is certain to be the ultimate for many. It’s also worth noting their charitable efforts. Xtreme Xperience helps host a few different charity events throughout the year, including a Toys for Tots program in New Orleans, where toys are collected and then filled up into their fleet of Supercars to be brought to the Ninth Ward and handed out to children. Another program Xtreme hosts is a Chicago based program called Honor Roll. Every year on the first day of school they work with Wells Community Academy in bringing a handful of students who make the Honor Roll to school on their first day. These students are surprised by Xtreme on the morning of and a professional race car driver takes them to school.

Teens-College:

1. Katin- In-the-know surfers have been wearing Katin for years and if they haven’t been, they should. Katin was founded in 1954 as California’s first original surf company. They started out making boat covers, but soon discovered the material being used was bullet proof and so they changed direction. Champion surfers including, Shaun Tomson, Peter Townend, Reno Abelliro and Gerry Lopez, to name a few, wore Katin surf trunks out of passion for their durability and a deeply rooted respect for these impressive trunks.

2. Lauren Moshi- Girls, who are into clothing that is both fun and stylish, will love the whimsy of Lauren Moshi’s line. Made in Los Angeles, this brother and sister team started their collection for the female with a discerning taste for the finer things. Lauren Moshi creates unique pieces that are meticulously crafted in limited quantities. Every mark and line, on every piece, is hand drawn by Lauren personally.

3. DSPTCH- Backpacks and Travel Bags for everyday. They are both functional and durable... built to last. Their philosophy is a “buy it once” mentality, ensuring that their items last a lifetime and they back it up with a guarantee against workmanship and defect.

4. Steamer Trunk- Many reading this guide have kids going off to college. Why not consider a gift that will turn into an heirloom over time? This elegant handmade steamer trunk is custom and handcrafted. It is a pricey gift, but one that can be used into adulthood and beyond and it would be a lovely item to be passed down from generation to generation. I also love this gift as a romantic gesture, for a spouse, to be filled with all your most treasured memories. Handmade in Lancaster, PA with genuine leather handles. Available in oak, maple or hickory, in a variety of finishes.

5. Smith Goggles- Winter Enthusiasts will be stoked to get a pair of Smith goggles for their upcoming ski/snowboarding trips. All Smith goggles are manufactured/assembled in Smith’s facility in Clearfiled, Utah. They are currently offering a collaboration with the High Fives Foundation on their I/O7 goggle. Based in Lake Tahoe, California, the High Fives Foundation is a non-profit organization supporting the dreams of mountain action sports athletes by raising injury prevention awareness and providing resources and inspiration to those who suffer life-altering injuries. Since 2006, High Fives has helped almost 100 athletes across 20 states regain their passion, positivity and performance doing what they love. Smith has teamed up with High Fives to support the effort and make meaningful product close to the heart. Sales of the co-branded I/O 7 goggle and Maze Helmet with MIPS liner will go to support the foundation and their effort to create a safety net for those pursuing their passions outdoors.

Tweens:

1. The Spooner Board- Good for core development for the physically active child. Great for skateboarders, Snowboarders or anyone who loves sports. A great way for kids to improve their balance and agility. Their new board launching end of month(The Spooner Groove) will be their first one made in recycled plastic. Together with the launch they plan to also give back some of the proceeds to a clean water project.

2. Unicorn Bowl- I know for sure this darling bowl will bring a smile to my daughter’s face. Perfect for cereal or ice cream with a mug to match, artist JoAnn Stratakos, creats these delights in her studio in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania. Her unicorn series sells exclusively through Uncommon Goods, however she has other selections through her own site.

3. Hockey Sauce Kit- I am partial to hockey, with a son who lives and breathes it, so I wasn’t surprised when he brought this product to my attention. It is nice to have a little helper out there working to make my job a little easier and I love the fact that my kids understand the importance and value of American made. This set can be used indoor or outdoor, on land, sand or even in the pool, if you purchase the floating attachments. So far they focus solely on hockey, but there are plans to develop kits for other sports in the future.

4. Wonder the Book- I absolutely adore this book. My son and I read it together when he was in the fifth grade. When we discovered it was being released as a major motion picture, we immediately set a date to see it together. Ironically, it is a required reading for him this year at school and they arranged a field trip for the class to see the film together, so naturally I planned to chaperone :). Additionally, the recent release of 365 Days of Wonder, will make a perfect coffee table book(a great hosting gift) and I will encourage my kids to open it daily.

5. Wilson- The NFL is the only sports league that uses balls manufactured in the USA and they are made by Wilson, in Ada, Ohio, where 3000 footballs are made per day. They also produce wooden bats, in you guessed it, Louisville, KY, where over 1 million bats are produced annually in the Louisville Slugger Factory! Either of these would make a great gift as is, however both factories are upping the ante and offering the option to customize a ball or bat for your loved one. Alternatively, you can offer them “the experience of creating a custom product” themselves, with the purchase of a gift card.

Toddlers/pre-school/elementary:

1. Tobo Toys- For little train afficionados, this train set is sure to be a hit. Tracks connect to Lego, Thomas the Train, Brio and Megablocks and are made of eco-friendly wood that is upcycled from waste. Tobo has won multiple industry awards for their innovation and will surely generate excitement upon opening.

2. Green Toys- I discovered Green Toy’s frisbee and jump rope at Play for Keeps Toys, only to find there are so many other toys to consider, made by this environmentally friendly brand. Whether the child your purchasing for is super active, loves to play with trucks or is a bath time guru, there seems to be something for every kid on earth.

3. Sol Angeles- Comfy and cute clothes for your little ones... oh and for you too! As the Killer song goes, “Smile Like You Mean It”, this adorable sweatshirt, Made in Los Angeles, immediately caught my attention. Love this top and there are matching leggings to complete the look.

4.Edible Chemistry Kit- My kids and their friends love experimenting with food and other substances. I came across this set and was instantly sold. The box notes non toxic and made in the USA. I always scratch my head when I come across a toy that has edible components and is made overseas. I know if this is the case, it’s not coming home with me, but this set on the other hand, will be.

5. Illustory- Creative writers will enjoy the experience of drafting, illustrating and publishing their very own book and there is a comic book option too. Everything in the box is made in USA except for the markers. I see an opportunity for a collab here! Calling all American made markers.

Infants:

1. Begin Again- Teething keys, toys and more. Begin Again uses water based stains, rubberwood, natural rubber and bio plastics to make their products. Their toys can be found online or in stores such as Target. I no longer have babies at home, so I can not attest to them personally, but I am happy to see things have come along way since my kids were infants.

2. Adooka Organics- Clothing Made in USA of 100 percent organic cotton, Adooka Organics is manufactured in Philadelphia. In addition, the owners have their own e-commerce site called Two Crows for Joy, where they sell other items all of which are made in USA and organic too! My top pics are their winter peonies and robot rompers.

3. Bears for Humanity- This company is overflowing with kindness. I actually got the chills when I came across their site. Not only are they made in USA, but they employ at risk mothers, fathers and caregivers. All their stuffed animals are made of organic cotton and for every bear sold a bear is given to a child in need. There is just so much good going on here. It’s one of my top picks!

4. Little Pitterpat- These vegan shoes are a great little gift. They have options in organic cotton, cotton and eco-canvas and one can choose slip or non-slip, depending on the age of the child you are buying for. These slippers are both durable and machine washable. Baby tested and mother approved.

5. Brahms Mount- Organic cotton, cotton, and linen and wool hand woven baby blankets. Their textiles are woven on antique shuttle looms by local artisans in Maine, a centuries-old manufacturing tradition that they carry on with pride.

Fur Ball Gifts:

1. Basis Pet- Dishes and risers made to be simple, minimalist, discreet and high quality. Natural materials and stainless steel bowls to keep pets safe.

2. Upcountry- Dapper and Dainty leashes, collars and harnesses in a host of different patterns. See Navy pictured below in the North Star pattern. Their products are high quality and durable. We have had this leash and collar since June and it’s still in great shape. 25 percent of sales from every Texas collar and leash will go the the Houston SPCA for a year. Additional prints on the site are linked to other charitable efforts as well.

3. West Paw- This is a brand I share with pet owners often. They make their products in Montana including toys, beds and blankets. Navy has tested all 3. He absolutely loves hid bed, manufactured of IntelliLoft®, which is their exclusive eco-fiber, made completely from recycled plastic. Love, Love, Love this company!

4. Bravo Bully Sticks- A perfect stocking stuufer gift, these bully sticks are made in USA and are odorless. Bravo became the pioneer of the raw pet food category by introducing their Bravo Blends line in 2002. All their products are made from the finest, most nutritious ingredients such as antibiotic-free poultry, responsibly harvested fish and select cuts of meat.

5. Susan Lanci Designs- This sports sling saved me in the early days of puppy training. As an urban mom that has a 15-20 minute walk to school in the a.m., leaving our pup at home wasn’t an option and this helped immensely. They also design collars, fur insulated slings, coats and more.

Hosting Gift:

1. Sea Bottle- Hand wash in beautiful frosted glass bottles. Ocean-inspired, 100% eco-friendly and natural, with refills available. All you have to do is switch out the pump. A lovely hosting gift option.

2. Mah Ze Dahr Bakery- I discovered these bars last New Year’s Eve. With every bite, they became a little more addictive. Ironically this statement is present on their website: In Urdu, the word mazedar describes the taste essence of food, its flavor and magic that make it delicious. It represents something that one cannot describe but wants to experience over and over again. This Thanksgiving I await this experience all over again as I discover some of the other delectable items they have become known for.

3. Humility Red- Granite Heights Winery, a two hundred acre winery, with a historic 19th century farmhouse tasting room and state-of-the-art production facilities located in Opal, Virginia, specializes in small batch production of high quality wines (award winning Bordeaux style reds, Petit Manseng, and Chardonnay, and port-style wines). Most of the vines are French certified ENTAV clones and their wines are produced on site. GH has already been recognized by the Washington Post and other wine reviewers for its high quality wines. My pick... the Humility 2012 and the 2014 Petit Manseng.

4. Workshop the Granite- These salt and pepper bowls are adorable. Wrap them up with some sea salt and peppercorns and you’ve got yourself a great hosting gift. All their products are made in Portland, Oregon, and the glaze and clay they use is American made too. Other handmade items include vases, lighting, bowls and votive candle holders. I have my eyes on the Epoca Vase with hand painted which will add some whimsy to my autumn flowers.

5. Baked Bouquet- For a party where kids are invited, all with marvel at these beautiful cupcake bouquets that look identical to flowers. I served them on my daughters birthday and everyone was super impressed. And they taste great too! You and they will certainly be a hit at the party.

Stocking stuffers for kids:

1. Made Good- Granola Bars and Rice Treats- My kids absolutely love their organic Chocolate Chip granola bars which also serve up a serving of vegetables, yes vegetables! I am mad for the rice treats(a healthier rice krispie treat) which also have the same. Made Good is no joke!

2. Liberty Bottles- These aluminum bottles are great for sports, school and work. They are easy to wash and don’t get moldy like those icky plastic ones. In addition, the caps are easy to clean. There are dozens to select from and you can even customize them with just about any design or image. Another option, choose from their Karma collection where each bottle represents a charity or program that they believe in. Every bottle purchased from this collection gives 5% of the profits to the represented charity.

3. Momax- When Max was just 8, he started mixing up hand sanitizers, lip glosses, lip balms, bath bombs and more. He knew two things for sure, he hated germs and he wanted healthy products, so he decided to take matters into his own hands... literally. 2 years later he has a thriving business. He sells online and in specialty stores around the country. And he is doing his part to create a better world. His products are green friendly, made in USA and have a give back component. He recently started doing school fundraisers where 50 percent of the sales go back to the school. Any interest? Check out his site and email them directly. Great products and money funneling into your school! It’s a win, win for sure.

4. Lake Champlain Chocolates- Chocolate coins, hot cocoa and so much more. Whether you spell it “localvore” or “locavore,” it means the same thing — seeking out the best and freshest ingredients from local farmers and producers. More than a trend, it’s now a national movement. And it’s what they've been doing for the last 30 years.

5. Crazy Aaron’s Thinking Putty- Kids are obsessed with slime these days, but there have been a lot of, shall we say, chemistry mishaps we have been hearing about! That being said, I think I will just purchase one of the dozens of Aaron’s puttys available online. Aaron started making putty in 1998 and he hasn’t stopped. He proudly continues to make his putty in Philadelphia and desired to give back to his community when he was able to. Today, the company works with seven Philadelphia-area vocational centers to employ many exceptional individuals with intellectual and physical disabilities. There are so many varieties to choose from. The one that has piqued my curiosity... the liquid glass.

Stocking stuffers for her:

1. Zoya- Non toxic polishes some with lip glosses and lipsticks to match. They literally have every color imaginable with frosted, glitter and solid choices in white, black and everything in between. Their gift sets would also make a fab Secret Santa gift. My top pick colors of the moment are Odette, Troy and Mona.

2. Liddabit Sweets- At Liddabit, they’re committed to using as many local and seasonal ingredients as possible to create fresh, delectable, responsibly made sweets for you to enjoy. Their products are delicious, unique, and made with pride. Their salted caramels stand on their own, but if your looking for something a little different, try their beer and pretzel caramels or chocolate covered honeycomb. Yummo!

3. Commando- Super comfortable, seamless and sexy. They come in cute little boxes so you won’t embarrass your partner or your kids when opening gifts. Selections include, satin, cotton, lace, solid and prints and come in a variety of styles from boy shorts to thongs.

4. The Cottage Greenhouse- The smell of their cucumber and honey rich shea butter handcreme had me at hello. And the Japanese Plum and White Tea Whipped Body Butter is divine. Inspired by fresh, wholesome ingredients & formulated with up to 98% natural ingredients. Each product is filled to the brim with botanic plant infusions and every product is Paraben Free & Never Animal Tested.

5. Foot Petal- We women wear heels even though they torture our soles! Whether it’s to impress our mate or to help us feel tall! So show a little compassion... buy us these! They have pads for every part of the foot that aches to help women be able to put their best foot forward! To validate that message, Foot Petals donates regularly to Dress for Success type and second-hand prom/homecoming events, where they help women and young girls feel comfortable and confident in heels (or flats!) during life’s big moments.

Stocking stuffers for him:

1. Burt’s Bees- Ultra Conditioning lip Balm with Kokum Butter has super duper conditioning power. I do love my lip balms and this is one of my faves.

2. Schmidt’s- All natural soaps, free of toxins, and they have a line of deodorants that actually work! I have personally tested and have been wearing ever since. The Charcoal+Magnesium is meant to smell like freshly fallen rain. For us ladies, I am loving the rose vanilla scented.

3. Tate’s Cookies- The next best thing to homemade, if I don’t have time to bake them, these are the go to. Every type I have tried are super tasty, but my families preferred picks are the chocolate chip and double chocolate chip.

4. Altoids- This curiously strong mint is favored in the US!And although it was once manufactured in the UK, as the company grew, they moved production to Chattanooga, TN.

5. Malin and Goetz- We really, really love these products in our home. It is the only repeat brand from last year that made this year’s guide. I just could not, not include, as my husband’s section of the bathroom is filled with it. His most prized products are the peppermint shampoo, vitamin e facial moisturizer, and facial moisturizer with spf 30. Mine are the mojito lip balm and pettigrain parfume. Our pup even uses the Malin and Goetz dog shampoo!

NY Centric: *For those living in the great city of NY or perhaps coming in for a holiday visit… these are at the top of my list.

Snowdays- For the kids- a gift certificate or trip to Snowdays is a must. Did I say it was for kids? This shaved cream is a delight for anyone! It’s pretty much like eating flavored snow with amazing and unusual toppings. This is one of our absolute fave places to go as a family. My go to is the sweet cream topped with condensed milk, fruity pebbles and mochi.

2. Pulse- Women get ready for some serious and elevated spa time! The HydraFacial and Fire & Ice LED treatments are not your typical facials. Think more medical grade, in a spa like atmosphere.

The HydraFacial, MD – a celebrity favorite, is super hydrating. The HydraFacial is a four-step process that uses an exfoliating tool to buff away debris and infuse healthy antioxidants leaving your skin super hydrated and glowing. The last few minutes include and LED session. My husband instantly noticed a difference when I walked in the door.

Fire & Ice + LED – this is dubbed the “Red Carpet Facial” by celebrities – it’s a skin resurfacing treatment developed by iS Clinical Skincare and they add a 30 minutes session of LED for anti-inflammatory/anti-aging benefits. Having this treatment in 2 weeks so make a point to update.

*Update! I had the Fire & Ice Facial yesterday 12/14 and I absolutely loved it. My face is glowing and it’s not only me who noticed. My hubby commented 10 hours after I had the treatment, “You have a glow about you!”. They use two really innovative processes during the facial; 32 degree massage balls and 15 minutes under a LED Light created by NASA. Highly recommend this, it might just become my new guilty pleasure! Be sure to book with Ariel.

Besides these treatments, Pulse offers other services including laser hair removal and other skin treatments. There is definitely some pampering to be had here.

3. Corkbuzz- Founded by, Laura Maniec, one of 32 females to achieve the title, Master Sommelier, Corkbuzz offers wine courses that are both a fun and educational experience. The Wall Street Journal called Maniec the “It Girl” of the New York wine scene, Crain’s New York Business honored her as one of their “40 Under 40”, Food & Wine magazine named her one of 2013’s “Sommeliers of the Year” and Wine Enthusiast included her in their list of “Top 40 Tastemakers under 40.” Laura creates a comfortable and easy going atmosphere, where no one is left to feel intimidated. We had serious wine drinkers and beginners in our most recent class and Laura’s bubbly personality and carefree attitude took any apprehension away. Corkbuzz has 2 locations in NYC and 1 in North Carolina. Corkbuzz also offers and Airbnb Experience where Laura will personally help you identify the qualities that you like in a wine, so you'll know how to shop for your favorites with confidence and more. To learn more check out the link above.

Should you desire more gift ideas, check out my previous guides below:

Holiday 2016

Holiday 2015

Holiday 2014

*This guide is a combination of items I discover unintentionally and products I am actively searching for. Some brands find me and reach out based on my experience in this category. Many products were sent for review, with some rejected. I select what I find to be tasty, interesting, unusual, high quality etc. I review mostly everything, except for the in the case where I am unable to provide a genuine and authentic opinion, based on the category, as noted in the guide. This guide was created to give consumers a vast selection of American made choices and whenever possible a genuine opinion of the product.

This post was published on the now-closed HuffPost Contributor platform. Contributors control their own work and posted freely to our site. If you need to flag this entry as abusive, send us an email.
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