Make it an Arkie Christmas 

Find gifts for every taste from in-state artisans.


In this post-organic world, “buy local” is the new mantra of the socio-environmentally aware consumer. It's generally used to describe a philosophy of grocery shopping — purchasing in-season produce from in-state farmers — but in this season of all-kinds-of-other shopping, we say why not seek out Arkansas-made gifts for those on your personal nice list? You support a local small business, cut way down on the amount of fossil fuels used to truck your purchase from its point of manufacture to your bedroom-closet hiding place, don't have to deal with West Little Rock traffic, and don't have to worry about recalls because of lead-based Chinese paint. Everybody wins.

Where to buy, if not Target or Toys-R-Us? No shortage of places.

Try Arkansas Gifts, a store at Markham and Scott run by the local Girl Scout council. A lot of its merchandise is made-in-who-knows-where Razorback paraphernalia, but if there's a foodie on your list, this is the place to go. Among the choices: My Brother's Salsa (both regular and black-bean-and-corn, my favorite) and tortilla chips; Brent and Sam's cookies and Janis and Melanie's cheese straws; Rozark coffee; the House of Wooster's varied line of jellies, sauces and canned goods; Post Familie muscadine and concord grape juices; and several Arkansas-published cookbooks.

The non-edibles include wonderful-smelling handmade soaps from Rose of Sharon, Aromatique candles and potpourri, pottery and jewelry.

If you're looking for gifts on the craftier end of things, this is the weekend for you. The Arkansas Craft Guild is holding its annual holiday sale this Friday through Sunday, Nov. 30-Dec. 1, at the Statehouse Convention Center. Baskets, quilts, pottery, jewelry, photography, wooden toys, soaps, stained glass, dolls, even something called pyrography … if it's made the old-fashioned way by Arkie hands, it'll be there. The sale runs from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.

For a more permanent option, check out Retail Therapy on Beechwood Street in Hillcrest. This boutique features regional crafts — pottery, hand knits, wooden cutting boards, fused glass, baskets.

You can also find locally made jewelry and crafts at the gift shops of the Arkansas Arts Center and the Historic Arkansas Museum.

If you're looking for an online outlet, visit the website of the Arkansas DeltaMade program, www.arkansasdeltamade.org. It's from the National Trust for Historic Preservation's Rural Heritage Development Initiative, and the goal is to create a market for products and services that originate in the Arkansas Delta. Among the participants: Mollie's Originals, a mother-daughter business that creates fabric purses, diaper bags, burp cloths and children's clothes; Haute Pare, maker of “heirloom” children's clothing; several jewelry designers; several barbecue sauce makers; and sellers of pottery, stationery, raw honey and soy candles.

n A couple of quick tidbits:

The going-out-of-business sale continues at Elle in Breckenridge Village. Discounts are at least 60 percent off storewide.

And MertinsDyke Home opens at its new location at 1500 Rebsamen Park Road in Riverdale Saturday, Dec. 1. There'll be an open house from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 2.



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