I blink my eyes and I’m suddenly struck that I’m in my 10th year of curating unique, PNW-based gift ideas for my readers! This tradition is important to me – not only because it makes it oh-so-easy for you to find special items for your friends and loved-ones, but because it helps me to send you to creatives and businesses that aren’t always on the beaten path. This year’s guide will be a work-in-progress and I hope that you’ll all let me know of fabulous people and businesses (and why you love ’em) and I’ll update as I’m able. And, of course if you need a reminder (or even more ideas), my guide from 2022 is still available here.
Perfect for Pups
Y’all know I’m a huge dog lover, right? Well, when Ramsey Gear landed on my radar earlier this year, I knew it was something I’d love (and that my wheelie-pug, Anjou, would too). Ramsey – the company’s founder, designer, and namesake – is based in North Bend and has 30+ years working in the outdoor-gear industry. His expertise shows in Ramsey Gear’s well thought out, carefully designed dog gear that makes travel and adventure with your four-legged friend a little easier. The Grab-and-Go dog bag has everything you need for dogs large or small: A large tote, 4 dry bags (perfect for food, treats, etc.), 2 travel bowls, a cool hydration bladder with dog-friendly spray hose, a water-resistant travel mat, and a microfiber towel – perfect for wiping muddy feet, a quick once-over after a rainy hike, or for general spills. The convenience of having all of these items in one quick and easy bag makes travel near and far a little easier.
Looking for a stocking stuffer? Their poop-bag dispenser is smart-designed to both dispense and carry – with an easy clip to keep it out of the way.
One of my favorite stops just off Highway 2 in Cashmere, Washington, is Almond Blossom Nuts. They’re hidden in plain sight right at the roundabout on Cottage Lane and are just a couple of blocks from my veterinarian’s office. Tess, the owner, has been in this business for years and just keeps upping her game with the quality and variety of what she’s making. I’ve got a personal passion for her sweet/spicy Curry Coconut Cashews, but there’s so much more to choose from. Bonus: If you’re exploring eastern Washington, she’s open most days for breakfast and lunch, too!
Tough Travel Gear
Seattle-based Miir continues to create great products while doing good things for others. I fell in love with the simplicity of their pint cup years ago, and keep it as a staple for my trailer travels (along with a few other Miir gems). Their 10oz. wine tumbler is functional, yet aesthetically appealing, much like their stainless cutlery set (hey – no more wonky tines or flimsy forks!). Miir invests in specific non-profits who are making a difference in our environments – serving over 200 organizations in 26 countries as of 2022.
The folks at Saltworks aren’t just the nation’s leading source for all-natural salts, but they’re also the makers of my favorite Salish Sea Salt! With 20+ years in business, they’ve been pioneers in this niche industry – and their refined salts are now available on the retail market. With gourmet gift sets, and even a line of bath salts, you’re likely to find something just right for the salt-lovers in your life.
Big Foot Chocolate
Mmmmm – who loves chocolate? The artisans at Yeti Chocolates in Wenatchee are making gourmet chocolate truffles with high-quality organic ingredients and no artificial preservatives. What’s this mean for you? A shorter shelf-life, but a more delicious, fresh product. Their chocolates are truly mini works of art, which means they’re as delicious as they are beautiful to look at. Right now they’ve got their Truffle Advent Calendars ready to ship with 25 days of truffles. Want to give the gift that keeps on giving? Check out their Yeti-Of-The-Month club. What a perfect way to kick off the holidays!
Flying Cat Creations in Pike Place Market is owned and operated by Mutsuko Mitsui. Her charming, whimsical ceramic items are great for the cat-lover in your life (or anyone who loves creative jewelry, drawings and ceramics. She’s at the Market most weekends, but contact her (or the Market office) if you’re making a special trip down.
Recycled to Perfection
Kim Ramirez created Saisei Apparel to breath new life into kimonos and obis. Her line includes creative bags, dresses and tunics – giving a unique twist on traditional vintage items. Clutches, waist bags (remember when we called these “fanny packs”?!) pair beautifully with solid colors and are sure to be a knock-out gift item. Another Pike Place Market vendor, Saisei Apparel’s in the craft market Sundays and Thursdays.
Beans for Good
If you love coffee as much as I do, you’ll love Trail Youth Coffee in North Bend. With an unassuming shop in the town’s core, and an online presence that’ll make shopping from home a breeze, they’ve got you covered. What makes them special? Not only do they have wonderful roasted beans, but Trail Youth is committed to helping with teens in their community. 100% of their profits support teen programs – so sip your brew and do good at the same time.
Tucked near a business park just off I90 in Issaquah sits Fortunato Chocolate. The good folks there buy pure FairTrade Nacional cocoa from more than 500 small growers in northern Peru. They then work, like Willy Wonky in his factory, to make some of the most extraordinary chocolate around. With flavors like Quinoa & Chai, Mango Chili, and Jalapeño Pumpkin Seed Pistachio (among others), they’re raised the bar in bringing spectacular flavors into chocolate bars. They don’t work with distributors, thus you’re working directly with their family/team. Don’t take my word for it – stop by and enjoy a sip of their hot chocolate, or take home a few bars to share with others (and potentially be the most popular person in your circle of friends).
This amazing little knit shop on Etsy has some of the cutest, locally-made items around. If you’re looking for a one-of-a-kind item for someone special, this is sure to be a hit. With warm creations, and colorful options, you can find something to warm hands and ears of even the hardest person on your list to shop for. Now, all we need is snow!
And for the ‘Knit nut’ on your list? You know, the person who brings their bag of yarn and project whoever they go and dazzle everyone around them with their skills? Well, the colorful folks at Hazel Knits likely have everything they’d ever want – including every color of the rainbow (and with every type, ply and source you can imagine). They’re just south of Seattle, which makes for easy access from anywhere.
Loving the Sound
Our Wild Puget Sound not only spreads their “love letters” of the Puget Sound and its inhabitants, but helps us help them through their online shop and messaging. Playing the role of connector, advocate, and generous donors (giving a minimum 5% of their gross sales to local organizations who are working to protect these fragile waters). Couple that with a wide array of gorgeous liftable items, and you can feel as good about supporting their organization as your gift recipient will feel about their wares.