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It was an absolute battle picking favorites from our home state for our first-ever Shop Local Guide to the Holidays, but since we must — here are our top picks for gifts under $50 made in Massachusetts.
Be sure to check out the rest of our 250 picks for made in USA holiday gifts under $50 interactive US map, where you'll find our favorite locally made products by state for her, him, kids, the home, the host/hostess, stocking stuffers, even some for pets!
Christen Ashley Mitchell Jewelry
Sure, we already featured Christen's work in our Valentine's Gift Guide, but not only are we still in love with her hand-dyed horse hair bracelets ($25-$35), we're even more in love with her splurge-worthy silver cast dog tail and vertebrae jewelry ($67.50 and up), a collaboration with another emerging Boston designer: David Chum of Selahdor.
The Man Can from Plum Island Soap Co.
Made and assembled right on the North Shore, this kitchen sink set of grooming products ($48-50) comes packaged in a paint can and is not just for metrosexuals. With a nod to Newburyport's sea captain's heritage, each product is made with the man's man in mind, containing products like spiced bay rum shave gels/beard oils and Fisherman's hand butter. (The paint can pry included in the kit even doubles as a lasting bottle opener.) Available direct through Plum Island Soap Co. or online at UncommonGoods.com
Sweet Carolyn's Crochet Toy Animals
Combining the classic nostalgia of crochet knit with sea creatures like lobsters, crabs, whales, squids, and more, Sweet Carolyn's toy animals ($10 to $30) are a no-brainer for savvy aunts/uncles and baby showers, or just to decorate the mantle of your Cape or Islands cottage. For DIY parents and gift givers, Carolyn even provides PDF patterns ($4) created in her East Sandwich home. Available at Crompton Collective in Worcester and on Etsy.com.
FOR THE HOME
Nervous System Housewares
Paying homage to our new hometown pride as innovation leaders, we love these "Hive" food-grade silicone trivets ($12) from Somerville-based Nervous System. Designed by MIT grads Jessica Rosenkrantz and Jesse Louis-Rosenberg, these sleek and modern housewares feature embossed organic patterns inspired by cellular forms. Available online at n-e-r-v-o-u-s.com.
FOR THE HOST
Gift Boxes from Eat Boutique
No one else champions local purveyors of small batch gourmet food producers and cookbook authors quite like Maggie Battista of Eat Boutique. Maggie's curated markets, seasonal subscriptions, and individual products — with prices start in the single digits — are a treat for the senses and a wonderful way to discover new producers. Shop EatBoutique.com or check out our recent DIY Boston interview, including info for the Eat Boutique Holiday Market on December 9th (tickets $7 to $15).
For more food-related gifts made in Mass., check out our From Boston With Love story featured in the Holiday 2011 issue.
One of our favorite new products to come out of Somerville this year was the Cuppow ($7.99), a genius BPA-free reusable plastic lid that turns any mason or ball jar into a to-go cup (and is also 100% recyclable). Watch the super-cool Cuppow video or just pick one up for everyone on your list. Available at Cuppow.com, from several local stockists around the country, and on Amazon.com.
Polka Dog Bakery Treats
We couldn't be more proud of our friends at Polka Dog for scoring a coveted collaboration with The Shops at Target earlier this year, but to us they'll always just be the original neighborhood pet shop. Show a furry friend just how much you love them this year with some Lucky Duck treats ($9) or Tall Cans ($13). Available online at PolkaDog.com or Amazon.
Did we miss your favorite locally made products from Massachusetts? Share them with us in the comments, we'd love to add them to our shopping lists!
Story & main image: Copyright 2012, Shoestring LLC.
Photos: Courtesy, various retailers.