Each day for 30 days, we'll add a gift idea that keeps shopping dollars in the community and offers a unique experience for both the giver and recipient. One more idea will be added to the collection each day.
Watch this space for great gift ideas
Now more than ever, it's important to our local communities that our shopping dollars stay at home. The facts are simple: When you spend your money at local businesses, it has a significant multiplying effect. About 75 percent of every dollar stays in your local community.
That means more jobs. More funding for things like schools and roads. More social investments that are made by successful businesses, including volunteerism, investing in local nonprofits, and direct donations.
We are committed to helping you find the local gems in our community to fill your holiday giving lists. We'll feature one southwest Montana gift idea a day for the next 30 days in this space. The items can all be found at multiple locations throughout our communities. Watch for each day's gift idea, and shop local!
Shop local gift #1: Local art
Artistic talent runs long and deep in southwest Montana.
In our communities, talent and unique, original beauty is everywhere you look.
Whether it’s a photograph; a hand-crafted ceramic or sculpture; or an abstract, landscape, or other painting, the local artists and artisans of our community capture the beauty that surrounds us in everything they create.
The local connection makes a gift all the more meaningful. Find a local piece of art — help your local artist and/or gallery and thrill the recipient of your gift!
Shop local gift #2: A gift of memory
The holidays often turn people's thoughts to family, including their forebears. A memorial gift honoring a departed family member in the name of the gift recipient is a chance to celebrate family, history and heritage.
There are many ways to honor the recipient's departed loved ones in our community. Any of them would make a thoughtful and unique local gift.
Shop local gift #3: The taste of local brewers' art
What’s more popular than beer? Local craft beer, that’s what.
We enjoy quite a variety of locally microbrewed suds in these parts for the beer lover on your list. The local options include beers brewed in Butte, Anaconda, Philipsburg, Deer Lodge and Dillon.
From the palest of pilsners to the stoutest of ales, there’s bound to be a local product that will hit the spot for holiday celebrating. Support your local brewery and give a growler from a southwest Montana brewer.
Shop local gift #4: A gift to a local nonprofit
On this day, Giving Tuesday, it's great to remember that many of our local nonprofit organizations depend on the holiday season to fill their shelves both real and metaphorical. A gift of charity will help any such organization provide assistance and sponsor events and programs throughout the year.
A charitable donation not only helps local non-profit organizations but it will also please the recipient in whose name the gift is made, and fill your soul with a sense of satisfaction that cannot be duplicated with any other material item. And it keeps your money right here.
Find one of the many local organizations to help this year with a personalized gift in a loved one's name.
Shop local gift #5: A plate of pasties is always a hit
Pasties have been around for hundreds of years, making a cameo appearance in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales in the 1300s. But they have special significance for Butte. Cornish miners referred to a pasty in the lunch box as “a letter from ’ome” because the meat and potato pies evoked memories of life back across the Atlantic.
Whatever your origins, pasties are the ultimate comfort food. And if you’re attending a holiday pot luck or hosting a cocktail party or dinner, you’d be hard-pressed to provide anything more welcome than a warm plate of pasties.
You can’t get more “local” than this Butte staple that will bring holiday cheer to any table.
Shop local gift #6: Holiday wreath, plant or table arrangement
Both evergreen and ever-popular, a wreath for the front door or a piney centerpiece for that holiday party will help put everyone in a holiday frame of mind.
Maybe a poinsettia or a strategically placed sprig or two of mistletoe might be even more to your gift recipient’s liking. The choices are many — but a gift of holiday foliage will show your thoughtfulness, good taste and Christmas spirit!
Shop local gift #7: Denim
Just a few years after mining began in Butte, jeans became a staple of the working wardrobe.
Now, denim is part of everybody’s wardrobe – particularly in Montana. It never goes out of style, and its quality and durability are big pluses in a place where we ask a lot of our apparel.
Whether you prefer Wranglers or Levis or designer jeans, a pair of pants, a shirt, or a jacket from this timeless fabric will be a sure hit on Christmas morning, and there are plenty of local sources.
Shop local gift #8: Winter sports garb and gear
If you are from Montana, you have a special understanding of what “Montana winter” really means.
So you want your loved ones to be warm and well-equipped while they enjoy our incredible outdoor environment all year long. Everything from winter coats, gloves, and hats to skiing and snowshoeing gear will be much appreciated and put right to use after the present is opened!
Many local businesses offer the necessities we need to enjoy chilly days under the Big Sky.
Shop local gift #9: A copper mug
You’d be hard pressed to find a better selection of this unique item, made with 100% copper and known as the only correct vessel for the Moscow Mule drink, anywhere but Butte.
It’s a perfect way to celebrate the copper-clad heritage of The Richest Hill on Earth.
Whatever size or design you choose, the mug – or a set of them – is bound to be a popular item in any household, especially around the holiday season.
Shop local gift #10: Montana Tech gear
Do you bleed copper and green?
These two colors live within many in our community.
If someone on your Christmas list is an alumnus of Montana Tech, a community supporter, or perhaps a future student, they’ll love the chance to put on the Oredigger colors and show their allegiance to the Mining City’s institution of higher learning and all it represents.
Shop local gift #11: The Montana Standard
We may be biased — but we believe The Montana Standard is a great place to buy a local gift. What would be more local than a subscription to The Montana Standard at a special gift rate? Also, for the history buff on your list, you might consider a subscription to The Montana Standard's Archives.
The recipient will get access to more than a century of Butte newspaper archives at their fingertips. The prodigious amount of data is fully searchable.
Shop local gift #12: The magic of giving toys
Christmas is for kids, they say, and "they" are right. And there's nothing more fun to give for Christmas than toys.
It's always a plus if the play items have some educational and developmental benefit — like the Melissa and Doug line, available locally.
Yes, there are plenty of toys available online, but when you buy from a local store, you will have the item you're buying right in front of you — eliminating Christmas Morning disappointments.
So channel your inner child and buy some toys! Buying a kid a toy is the most fun you can have as an adult.
Shop local gift #13: Give knowledge
Why not give the gift of knowledge?
Maybe someone on your list wants to know how to throw a pot. Or find out more about Butte history. Or learn how to weld. Or find out more about poetry, or music, or gunsmithing, or arrowheads.
Perhaps there's a desire to finish high school, or earn a college degree, or learn how to swim. The opportunities are endless with Butte Adult Community Education, the YMCA, Montana Tech and Highlands College, and more. There's not a more thoughtful gift.
Shop local gift #14: Antiques
In a place where history roars rather than whispers, something old might be just the ticket for a Christmas gift with special meaning.
Several stores in all of our communities offer not just items from yesteryear but pieces that connect us with our Montana past, whether it be mining, ranching, or homesteading.
An old sign or a button, a prized carpet or piece of furniture, or an item of clothing or jewelry allows us to share our history with those who went before in a tangible way.
An antique, whether modest or grand, will become a treasured heirloom in the recipient's family, giving it new life.
Shop local gift #15: Meat from local butchers
Meat. It's what's for Christmas.
Well, it could be, if you were to take advantage of local butchers' meat bundle offers.
A cook would like nothing better than steaks, chops, links, and roasts and would be happy to receive their present in the fridge instead of under the tree.
Various holiday packages are on offer from our meat cutters, and there's bound to be one that matches your pocketbook and your gift recipient's tastes. Best of all, the person to whom you give this gift is bound to cook you dinner out of gratitude!
Shop local gift #16: Pamper those wheels
How is your loved one's car doing this winter?
We're not suggesting buying a new car, necessarily, although that's certainly a good local option!
We are thinking, though, that perhaps the existing ride could use a detail, or an oil change, or a new bed liner, or perhaps a new seat cover for the pooch to use. (A new scraper could make a great stocking stuffer).
Or even some snow tires, or that winterizing service the owner never got around to in the fall. If something's going to break on a car, we know from experience, it's likely to happen in the cold. So some preventive maintenance could be vital -- and much appreciated on Christmas morning.
Shop local gift #17: Visions of sugar plums
What does Christmas have in common with Valentine's Day, Easter, and Halloween?
Candy, that's what.
If those on your Christmas list have sweet teeth (and odds are they do), southwest Montana has a delicious assortment of places where you can get, er, a delicious assortment of candy.
Nobody has ever said, "I don't want any candy in my Christmas stocking." Or, at least, nobody's ever meant it.
Larger gift boxes will look great wrapped under the tree — and likely not last until New Year's.
And better yet, gift recipients will clearly get the idea that you're sweet on them.
Shop local gift #18: A bottle of something warming
Many of the adults on your shopping list would probably appreciate a bottle of something to brace against the chill.
Whether it's opened and shared at a holiday gathering or savored for the cold winter evenings to come, consider buying a jug of someone's favorite libation.
Whether it's distilled right here (the most local gift of all), in Kentucky or on a Hebridean isle across the Atlantic, your spirited gift is bound to be appreciated.
And while you're in your local grog shop, it might be a good idea to pick up a bottle for yourself, since those giving you gifts might not be as considerate as you are.
Shop local gift #19: The flavors of home
There are some flavors that just evoke "home."
Maybe for you it's lovingly made sarma or povetica or raviolis or tamales or pasties or pork-chop sandwiches.
Maybe it's homemade caramels and pan candies. Maybe it's custom-made wild game sausages, just like you like them.
Whatever the flavors that tell your palate you're home for the holidays, you can be sure they'll be a big hit under the tree.