With the supply chain issues of this Christmas, it’s essential that we shop local (and to be honest, we should be doing this every year). Sure, it’s easy to order from big box stores (that’s why they exist). But it takes fractions of seconds of more effort to order from the small business down the street, and it can mean the difference between success and shuttering doors for them. Most of these products (with a few national exceptions) are made and can be purchased within a 20 mile radius of our home of Mobile, Alabama. This 2021 Gulf Coast Gift Guide is chock full of meaningful and whimsical gifts for everyone on your list. All products are linked within the description (hover over the bold letters to be directed to purchase), so happy shopping!
Hostess Gifts from Local Makers
‘Tis the season of merriment and joy, and we’ve got the booked social calendars to prove it. You’ve always heard the expression “don’t show up empty handed” and armed with one of these from this 2021 Gulf Coast gift guide, you won’t have to.
1. Wine Advent Calendar from Domke Market
Forget the cliche bottle of wine for the hostes! This fabulous wine advent calendar from Domke Market ($145) is sure to wow the wine connoisseur in your life. Give this box of 25 vino splits/minis as an early Christmas gift to make the most of the advent season, or treat yo’self (you know you want to).
2. Feather Coasters from M.A. Simons
These unique feather coasters (right) from the classic Mobile gift store M.A. Simons (set of 4 for $34) will wow her.
3. Pecan Butter from Dee’s Pecans
Dee’s Pecan Company, a Grand Bay staple since 1925, offers a whole host of pecan goodies such as pecan butter, candied pecans, pecan pies, and (of course) pecans for all of your holiday baking needs. And they ship! Prices vary.
4. Arabelle’s Candied Jalapeños
These addictive sweet-hot candied jalapeños ($8.99) by local marvelous maven Sheridan Hinton dress up deviled eggs like nobody’s business. Gift a jar (and keep one for yourself) of Arabelle Foods “locally and lovingly made in the time honored traditions of the South and the Gulf Coast.”
5. Oyster Shell Ornaments by the joyfundproject
Local maker joyfundproject does some beautiful things with oyster shells, and these 12 Days of Christmas ornaments ($180 for the set of 12) are no exception. She also offers a gorgeous nutcracker series ($18 each or 3 for $45).
6. Mobile Toile from Southern Toile
Ever since I fell in love with all things French in about seventh grade, I’ve loved everything toile. Imagine my delight when I discovered Mobile Toile, which is now Southern Toile, with the addition of prints of New Orleans and 30A. It has all the timeless elegance of classic toile but local. Prices start at $8.
7. Joyce’s Cheese Straws
8. Coop’s Hot Cocoa Bombs
Born out of the entrepreneurial spirit of one little boy and his mama, Coop’s Hot Cocoa Bombs (4 for $25) are truly the gift that keeps on giving (especially once you pour some hot milk and melt one in a mug).
9. Wooden Stag Coasters
These wooden stag coasters from M.A. Simons ($20) are a fabulous hostess gift for the friend who loves to hunt or enjoys a rustic lifestyle.
Gifts for the Dudes on Your List
Men can be notoriously difficult to shop for, but pick one of these special and unique gifts from this 2021 Gulf Coast Gift Guide and he’ll smile from ear to ear.
1. Oyster Bed
The best gift around for any seafood griller, the Oyster Bed (left, $45-$145) is handmade in Hammond, Louisiana. It was originally intended to cook chargrilled oysters without shells, but you can also freeze it and serve raw oysters on it as well. They also offer vessels for BBQ shrimp (try the “Pirogue”) or meat (the “Steak bed”).
2. South in Your Mouth Tee from Nutria Rodeo
For the Jag fan in your life, look no further than this ‘South in Your Mouth’ tee from Nutria Rodeo ($26). “The tri-blend fabric creates a vintage, fitted look. And extreme durability makes this t-shirt withstand repeated washings and still remain super comfortable.”
3. Crab Tie from Mobile Bay Shop
Okay, so ties can be a little lame, but hear me out. For the guy who needs to wear a suit to work on the reg, this adorable 100% silk blue crab tie ($65) from the Mobile Bay Shop will stand out in a sea of boring stripes.
4. Braves Pennant Art from The Old Try
I’ve been a huge fan of The Old Try ever since I was gifted one of his letterpress prints about ten years ago. Make the Braves fan in your life’s day with this pennant piece (left, $42) or browse the hundreds of other unique and memorable gifts for your favorite Southern man.
5. Fish Corkscrew from M.A. Simons
Need a small gift for your favorite angler? One can always use another corkscrew, and this metal and wooden fish corkscrew from M.A. Simons ($14) is just perfect. Tell him to keep it in the tackle box in case a beverage emergency arises.
6. Dr. Squatch Soap
You know how boys can be. If your son or nephew is starting to smell a bit ripe, give ’em a subtle hint with a bar of this Dr. Squatch organic, all-natural soap, or check out the entire line of shampoos and deodorants.
7. A History of Mobile in 22 Objects from The Mobile Bay Shop
For the history buff on your list look no further than this book from the Mobile Bay Shop (right, $30), published by the History Museum of Mobile, which highlights “twenty-two unexpected and compelling objects weave together over 300 years of Mobile history, from the pre-Colonial era to the twenty-first century port.”
8. Game Cookbook from M.A. Simons
For the avid hunter, this book is a game-changer. As proclaimed, “this is not your father’s venison cookbook. Buck, Buck, Moose is the first comprehensive, lushly photographed, full-color guide to working with and cooking all forms of venison, including deer, elk, moose, antelope and caribou.” Special order it from your local bookstore (might I suggest The Haunted Bookshop or Page and Pallete).
9. Thrive by Chef Jonavin Murray Cutting Boards
Beautiful woodwork is true art, and this Bolivian rosewood and maple cutting and serving board ($40) is no exception. Chef Jonavin Murray hand crafts these from his studio in Mobile, and they’re food safe and finished with beeswax and orange cutting board oil.
Gifts to Delight the Little Ones
Some kids can be a bear to shop for (one moment they love My Little Pony and the next year are ‘too cool’) but the delight in watching a child light up after receiving a gift is priceless. One of my favorite Christmas memories was when my cousin, then about five years old, surveyed all his gifts with stars in his eyes and earnestly said, “I’m overwhelmed!” One of these items from this 2021 Gulf Coast Gift Guide is sure to do the same for you and yours.
1. Tiny Tent Party
Would you rather spend money on an experience than a thing? Tiny Tent Party (left, $185+ for packages) is your answer. You provide the theme, and they do the rest, producing a magical sleepover experience for your little one and two (or more) of their best friends. Buy a gift certificate for the special little one on your list, and they’ll be over the moon.
2. Dino Lights from M.A. Simons
Every child goes through a dinosaur phase, so show them you care (and want to hear for the 8463th time that a plesiosaur was a carnivore) with these dino string lights from M.A. Simons ($18)?
3. Chefie Kit from the Cookery Project
Chefie Kit, the subscription kit for budding chefs ($39+), is a fantastic way to get kids from ages 6 to 14 in the kitchen. Each kit comes with the ingredients needed to make a kid-friendly and delicious recipe as well as an apron and a perfectly-kid-sized cooking tool. Additionally, your purchase supports The Cookery Project, a Mobile-area 501c3 charity that seeks to enrich lives through culinary arts and promoting food literacy in diverse communities.
4. Mobtown Merch Youth Tee
Got a niece or nephew who’s too grown-up for toys? This Mobtown Merch youth Mardi Gras tee ($20) with its recognizable Mobile Mardi gras flag will score the cool points come Carnival season.
5. Illustrated Harry Potter from Page and Palette
For the Potterhead, try one of these gorgeously-illustration editions of the Harry Potter books, (right, $45+) available from Page and Palette or whichever independent bookstore you frequent.
6. Crawfish Boil Play Set from Lil’ Boil
Whether you’re six or sixty, everyone loves a crawfish boil. Forget the play kitchen and get the tiny one who always wants to be in the thick of it a crawfish boil set of his or her own ($29.99). Comes with all the ingredients and accouterments necessary to laissez les bon temps rouler.
7. PJ Sets by Little Home Town
Down on the Gulf Coast, seafood is a way of life, so why not represent our Port City while we slumber? Gift the newborn babe on the way a little reminder of home with oyster and crab-themed bibs, swaddles, or pajama sets.
8. Bear Walker Skateboards
Bear Walker skateboards ($150+), hand-crafted right here in the Mobile Bay area, are so coveted by skaters and celebrities alike that some models (like his Pokemon collab) sold out in fewer than two days.
9. Illustrated Nutcracker Book
This beautifully-illustration edition of the time-honored classic ballet, The Nutcracker ($15), would be a perfect gift for the tiny dancer on your list. Available for order at your favorite indie bookstore.
For the Girl Who Has Everything
Whether she’s your mom, your mother-in-law, your sister or your friend, she’s there for you through thick and thin, and you want to tell her how much she means to you with something that’s just so her. Here are some out-of-the box ideas from local makers and businesses around the 2021 Gulf Coast Gift Guide and beyond.
1. Custom Basic Bach Design Box
Basic Bach Design creates custom themed boxes ($100+) for parties, events, or “just because.” Sometimes you want to give someone a present that’s made just for them, and this is the perfect solution. Whether your bestie is obsessed with Winston from the New Girl or all things Harry Potter, Basic Bach Design has seen (and done) it all.
2. Tea Gift Set from Farmhouse Teas
Tea drinkers will love a customized gift set ($29) from Farmhouse Teas. “Farmhouse style and Christmas flavors wrapped and ready to gift in one box. Unique and creative teas not found anywhere else will deck the halls this holiday season!”
3. Two-Bottle Wine Tote
For the discerning fashionista who just so happens to be a wine-drinker, the grocery store tote just won’t do. This mb greene pebbled wine tote ($95) is so stylish you might just want to start stashing your wallet and phone in it and call it a purse.
4. Crawfish Earrings from Ball and Chain on Etsy
For the lady who’s always bellying up to the crawfish boil, get these handmade crawfish claw earrings $48, cast in bronze from real crawfish claws by jeweler Katrina Balling. No two pairs are alike, and ball and chain has multiple other nautical themed jewelry items, in case crawfish aren’t her jam.
5. Great Quotes from Great Women Book
“Throughout history women have inspired and motivated society towards greater strength, courage, and justice. If you had the opportunity to ask the greatest women of all time for advice, wouldn’t you jump at the chance?” The pages of this book contain nuggets of wisdom from the fabulous women who came before us, and it’s sure to inspire the women we know and love. Available from M.A. Simons and your favorite indie bookstore.
6. DIY Kombucha Kit from Farmhouse Teas
Got a woman in your life who loves to DIH? (That’s do-it-herself, for those not in the know.) Check out this homemade kombucha kit ($57) from Farmhouse Teas.
7. Gold Glassware from ELM Design
These gilded glasses from ELM Design are a great gift for the woman who loves a little bling here or there. Check here to find a retailer near you.
8. Mobile Bay Magazine Subscription
For Southern-style recipes from top chefs and home cooks, restaurant reviews, profiles and columns on community leaders and local historians, gift a subscription to Mobile Bay Magazine($22 for one year).
9. Twig Pot from Janet Reid Wood Turner
These beautiful pots ($20 for one and $50 for a set of three) from local woodworker Janet Reid stopped my scrolling in its tracks on Instagram, and they’re even prettier in person.
Stuff the Stockings with Joy
My favorite category of presents, stocking stuffers are (IMO) the most fun to buy. I like to go outside the box with this task, stuffing the stockings with things like chocolate oranges, mini hot sauces, miniature cocktails shakers, etc. Something on this 2021 Gulf Coast Gift Guide is sure to inspire you.
1. Printed Bandages from M.A. Simons
Kiddos hate skinning knees, but a cool adhesive bandage can make it worth the pain.
2. Stickers from Nutria Rodeo
Stickers on laptops and tablets are all the rage, so why not stuff the stocking with one of these local gems?
3. La Croix Ornament
Everyone has one basic B in their life, and she’d love this ornament, natch.
4. Buttercream Syrup from Mo’Bay Beignet
Enough said. Buy it here.
5. Kellerworks Soap
For the sweeties with sensitive skin, try this local soap. As seen on the Drew Barrymore Show. (Seriously).
6. Haunted Bookshop Merch
For the one who’s always nose-deep in a book, what about a gift card or a fun bookmark?
7. Oyster Dog Collar
Let’s not forget the furry ones. Here’s a friendly reminder that Fido needs a new collar for Christmas.
8. Zombie Repellent Soap
Put a smile on the face of that teen on your list who’s always playing those zombie apocalypse video game with this zombie repellent soap from Carol’s Botanicals.
9. Fly by Jing Chili Crisp
Chili crisp was the condiment of 2020, and its popularity hasn’t slowed down any. Zingy, zesty, and addictive, Fly by Jing’s is the best around.
2021 Gulf Coast Gift Guide freebie
My favorite Christmas recipes, all linked in one paragraph!
Favorite appetizer: Baked Brie with Pepper Jelly
Favorite dessert: Peppermint Bark Cheesecake
Favorite soup: Roasted Pumpkin Soup
Favorite cocktail: Homemade Limoncello
Favorite Homemade Gift: Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Caramels