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We have a huge soft spot in our hearts for New Hampshire — Shoestring was first conceived way back in 1999 on the UNH Durham campus — and for our first-ever Shop Local Guide to the Holidays, we're excited to share our top picks for gifts under $50 made right in the Granite State.
Be sure to check out the rest of our 250 picks for made in USA holiday gifts under $50 on our new 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!
Hello Me Handmade Tapestry Bags
Some of our very first editors meetings happened at Caffe Kilim in Portsmouth (or around the corner with Herald colleagues at the Press Room), so we love, love, love that these trendy crossbody bags made by April at Hello Me ($38 and up) are carved out of kilim, Southwestern, and floral woven tapestry fabrics.
Working Man's Essentials
Only in the Timberland would you find a line of all-natural products designed by a lifelong mechanic to literally wash the grease & grime of a hard day's labor down the drain. Grab a 7-piece Working Man's Hygiene Kit ($50) from Sam's Naturals for that hard-working dude who's got a soft heart (and needs soft hands and feet to match).
Want to splurge a little on something he'll really love? Grab him a pair of Timberland Earthkeeper boots ($90+), made with an eco-friendly guarantee and based right in Stratham.
Pretty Dreamer Waldorf Toys
Once upon a time, children's toys were made of wood, minimally designed, beautiful to look at in their own right, and lasted as family heirlooms. These amazing handcrafted toy tools ($49) from Pretty Dreamer in Harrisville make that notion modern again, inspiring creative play for generations to come.
FOR THE HOST
BioFuel Caffeinated Popcorn
If you've ever actually hosted the holidays, then you know that at some point you're running on fumes. You're trying not to strangle Uncle Joe. You have no idea your sweater is on backwards. Help a friend stay their normally perky and put-together self with this small batch caffeinated popcorn from BioFuel ($50 for a 5-lb bag) — which was created by UNH students, so you know it's got 5-star all-nighter potential.
New Hampshire Bowl & Board
Locally made since the early 1900s, New Hampshire Bowl and Board is more than just a homegoods purveyor — it's an institution. Grab a pair of these organic cherry side bowls ($40) online, or make a pilgrimage to their Webster, NH outlet store for some "real Yankee bargains."
Since way before it was cool (aka 1995), Badger Balm has been a family company making USDA certified organic beauty products right in Southern New Hampshire. From non-toxic bug repellents and sunscreens (from $4) to trendy hair care solutions like argan oil ($19), Badger makes a solid line that should also make a strong appearance in your medicine cabinet. For hard-working city or country folk, try the tins of Sleep Balm ($10) and Sore Muscle Rub ($10) — also available as ornaments ($5).
Did we miss your favorite locally made products from New Hampshire? Definitely 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.