Vermonters know a thing or two about giving. July’s historic flooding produced an equally historic response, with people showing up — and contributing generously — to help neighbors, strangers and businesses rebound.
But here’s a fact that may make you shiver: State data show that Vermonters spend $20 per second with Amazon. Son of a nutcracker! That’s enough to land us all on the naughty list. This holiday season, support your local community and bring comfort and joy to your friends and loved ones by diverting some of your seasonal dollars to shops in Vermont. It will make a big difference to recovering downtowns and other hardworking business owners and artisans across the state.
’ annual Gift Guide with ideas to help you do it. These carefully curated suggestions for gifts from Vermont makers and retailers will help you surprise and delight everyone from your babysitter to your BFF. There are plenty of items under $20, plus a few that make an extra impact for worthy causes.
Readers weighed in on their favorite local businesses, too. Check out the places that your neighbors recommended most often on the Nice List.
No matter what you select from the pages that follow, when you shop close to home for those close to your heart, you’re sure to bring joy to the world.
Wearables & Accessories top
Your cousin spends every waking moment he can on the half-pipe at Burlington’s Talent Skatepark. A handmade skateboard bead bracelet, crafted from repurposed skateboard decks by Verde Mountain in Lincoln, will let him accessorize like a true sk8ter boi. $25 at verdemtn.com.
When you and your brother were growing up, your mom was a broken record: “Don’t take the Lord’s name in vain!” Make them both smile with a very Vermonty Jeezum Crow hat from Rochester maker Adam Blair — perfect for everyday use or to wear at the Jeezum Crow music festival at Jay Peak next summer. $30.50 at JeezumCrowClothing on Etsy.
Wednesdays are the highlight of your dad’s week — because he can pick up the new issue of Seven Days, of course. Celebrate his love of local journalism with a limited-edition Seven Days T-shirt, available through December 8. $23 at sevendaysvt.com/store. Want to achieve favorite-child status? Make him a Seven Days Super Reader by donating in his name at sevendaysvt.com/donate.
Ah, adulthood. Your old college roommate has graduated from doing ‘shrooms to wearing them. She’ll dig a pair of Bristol-made mushroom earrings, available in a wide variety of funky fungi, from morel mushrooms to chanterelles. $40-50 at hazelbudsclay.com.
The July flood devastated your buddy’s home in Montpelier. He’s recovering, but this Vermont Strong key ring will lift his spirits. It’s engraved with a quote from president Calvin Coolidge’s famous “brave little state” speech, given after the 1927 flood. Half of the key ring’s sales benefit the Vermont Disaster Recovery Fund. $19.95 at Danforth Pewter in Burlington, Manchester, Middlebury, Waterbury or Woodstock.
Your environmentally conscious friend just bought an electric bike to commute to work. She’s loving her hot new wheels — except for the fact that she has to lug along a change of professional clothes. Save her the schlep with this ingenious bike-to-work skirt, designed by Burlington’s director of sustainability. Simply unzip from the bottom for better range of motion. Style for miles! $128 at jengreendesigns.com.
After accidentally putting his favorite wool sweater through the dryer, your son was forced to pass the shrunken garment on to his son. Help him replenish his wardrobe and stay warm with this stylish roll neck sweater, made with 100 percent local wool by Muriel’s of Vermont, a mother-and-son-founded slow fashion brand in Grand Isle. $200 at murielsofvermont.com.
Food & Drink top
Your very caffeinated coworker likes her coffee strong and her opinions on ethical sourcing even stronger. Enter Monkton’s Ridge Vermont Craft Roasters. The state’s first certified bird-friendly roaster sells tasty coffee that’s organic and Fair Trade Certified, plus the biz is a member of 1% for the Planet. Bird-friendly coffee helps preserve the endangered winter habitat of many of Vermont’s migratory songbirds. Cofounder Diana Hill calls this “the most responsible cup that you could have.” $15-16 for a 12-ounce bag at ridgeroastersvt.com.
Celebrate your dad’s rock-solid understanding of the benefits of grass-fed dairy with a board that’s as thoughtfully selected as his cheddars and chèvres. Chop Vermont’s one-of-a-kind cheese and charcuterie boards are chiseled by hand in Burlington from reclaimed granite that would otherwise end up in a landfill. $65 at chopvermont.com.
It’s not the holidays without a little anarchy, right? With a fruit-packed, farm-to-cone ice cream subscription from Shelburne’s Sisters of Anarchy, you can give your siblings summertime treats in the dead of winter — and all year long — delivered right to their doors. If you can’t decide between Chaste Anne and Dirty Ann (that’s raspberry and chocolate raspberry), the sisters will pick four top flavors for you and send a surprise. From $48 per month plus shipping at sistersofanarchyicecream.com.
Pizzeria Verità’s Cherry Amore is a house favorite, thanks to its spicy-sweet topping combo. Now your pizza-loving partner can re-create the craveable pie at home with a jar of the Burlington restaurant’s own hot honey, made by hand using Vermont honey. That’s amore. $7.50 at sottoprovisions.com; also stocked at City Market, Onion River Co-op in Burlington and Healthy Living in South Burlington and Williston.
Jokes about your mother-in-law’s Pinterest fails have gotten out of hand, but she won’t stop baking. The pros at one of Red Poppy Cakery’s cake decorating classes will teach her the basics — which she desperately needs to learn. She’ll be applying an even crumb coat and piping rosettes in no time, and she’ll get to bring home a six-inch cake to share. $85 at Red Poppy Cakery in Waterbury.
Want to ensure well-made nightcaps at your neighbors’ holiday party? Bring along the Barr Hill Bee’s Knees Kit for the hosts, with a lemon or two to complete the simple three-ingredient cocktail. The kit includes bottles of the distillery’s gin and honey syrup, plus a cocktail booklet with foolproof instructions. Giftees will think you’re the bee’s knees. $53.98 plus shipping at barrhill.com, or $46.65 at Caledonia Spirits in Montpelier.
Your roommate is a born-and-bred Vermonter who somehow thinks it’s OK to keep fake syrup in the fridge. Rude! Get him on the real maple game with a handblown maple syrup pitcher. There are three options for hot-stamped designs on the bottom, but opt for an outline of the Green Mountain State to remind him of his roots. $52 at AO Glass in Burlington.
Arts & Entertainment top
After hearing about festivalgoers trapped in rain and mud at Burning Man this summer, your socialist uncle has decided to attend Bread and Puppet performances in Glover instead. He can harness the political puppet troupe’s magic year-round with its 2024 “Not in Our Name” calendar, which includes photographs from six decades of Bread and Puppet’s anti-war shows, pageants and parades. $18 at breadandpuppet.com.
Finally, you and your partner have saved up enough money to buy a house — at least, that’s what you thought until you started house hunting. If you’re going to be renters forever (thanks, housing crisis), at least you can have a sense of humor about it. Become the proud owners of this Another House You Can’t Afford Vermont Collectible. Other tongue-in-cheek options include Log Your Dumbass Thought Was Champ and Stolen Bike. If you know, you know. $35 at suspiciousduckvt on Etsy.
Your childhood bestie just moved to the Green Mountain State (hooray!) and has decided to stay forever after trying her very first creemee made from real Vermont dairy. Help decorate her bare apartment walls — and strengthen her commitment to soft serve over hard ice cream — with this Vermont Creemee Strongman print from North Ferrisburgh maker Colossal Sanders (aka David Holub). $12-35 at colossalsanders.com.
Be a mensch this holiday season and gift your grandmother (ho-dee-ay), a photo-based game with no rules for people with dementia and their caregivers. Developed by two friends in Westford and Burlington, the game takes its name from the pronunciation of the Latin word hodie, which means “this day.” Keep your loved one engaged and in the moment with a car show- or bird-themed deck. $25 at hodeeay.com.
Life’s major milestones are often more memorable than gifts, but a live, real-time painting by Montpelier artist Hope Sharp is the best of both worlds. Commission her to capture on canvas a special occasion — say, your daughter’s upcoming nuptials — and the resulting work of art will inevitably become a family heirloom. Besides weddings, Sharp does portraits of people and pets. Paintings start at $6,000 with a 20 percent discount for Vermont residents at hopesharpart.com.
Your craftsy aunt in Montréal loves DIY projects and taking up new hobbies. Inspire her with a beginner-friendly sardines embroidery kit, which includes a preprinted pattern on cotton fabric, an embroidery hoop and floss, and instructions in both English and French. She’ll have hours of fun — and an unexpected hunger for salty fish from a tin. $28 at Common Deer in Burlington.
When she grows up, your niece wants to be an artist — but so far her drawings mostly consist of unidentifiable scribbles. She can produce fridge-worthy artwork with Erin Weaver’s Brattleboro Coloring Book, filled with 10 sketches of local landmarks. $19 at StreetSketches on Etsy.
Outdoors & Rec top
In days of yore when you took the kids camping, you played Ogun the fire god, keeper of the flame and deliverer of eternal s’mores. Now the kids are all grown up and camping with their friends. But you can still share your old-world fire magic with the gift of Fire Buddies. Made by Fire.Fire. of Richmond from all-natural wood chips and paraffin wax, the waterproof flame starters get campers and campfires stoked. $10 per four-pack (starts up to 16 fires) at hirefirefire.com.
Dad and his dog are both getting long in the tooth, but that won’t keep either of them from their nightly walks. At this time of year, when the sun sets before dinner, make sure both are easily visible to drivers. Designed in Vermont and made in Finland, the Finnish Reflector clips to zippers, collars, backpacks and leashes and comes in several cool outdoorsy designs, including a goose, a bear and the Green Mountains. $12 at AsLittleCooking on Etsy.
Your weekly cycling buddy still hydrates using a cheap plastic water bottle he got when he opened a new bank account. He can step up the flow with a new stainless steel water bottle from Bivo in Richmond. Sustainably made, durable and dishwasher safe, Bivo bottles were designed by a former NASA engineer and feature gravity-flow nozzles for faster and easier drinking. $39-49 at drinkbivo.com.
It snowed six inches last night, it’s a bluebird day, and — surprise, surprise! — your work colleague phoned in sick. For his Secret Santa gift this year, get him something for those windswept, slope-side “sick days” — a tube of Bag Balm skin moisturizer, made in Vermont and soothing chapped faces and fingers since 1899. $6 at bagbalm.com or at retailers such as Clover Gift Shop in Woodstock.
Here’s a heartfelt gift idea for the outdoorsy empty nesters in your life, who don’t need another tchotchke cluttering up their retirement condo: a charitable donation in their name to Vermont Adaptive Ski & Sports. For more than 30 years, the nationally recognized nonprofit has been making Vermont’s slopes, rivers, trails and headwalls accessible to people of all abilities and income levels. Help share the great outdoors with others at vermontadaptive.org.
Unlike most teens, your niece wakes up early most weekends to go skiing, hiking or mountain biking. She’s also an animal lover intent on saving the planet. Energize all of her goals with Garuka Bars, made in Burlington with all-natural, locally sourced ingredients and recycled packaging. Named after a silverback mountain gorilla in Rwanda, Garuka makes carbon-neutral deliveries and donates 1 percent of profits to gorilla conservation. Now that’s crunchy! $3 each at garukabars.com. Also available at local markets such as Sweet Clover in Essex and the Plainfield Co-op.
The woman in your life schedules her backpacking trips around her work schedule, not her menstrual cycle. Before she hits the trail, make room in her stocking for YourYuckies! Designed by Dani and Becca Titterton, a mother-daughter duo from Killington, these convenient, discreet and biodegradable bags wrap up her used personal hygiene products for hassle-free disposal. Pack it in, pack it out and be done with it, period. $7.99 for three at youryuckies.com.
Soon after you realized your coworker was the one quietly watering the office plants, you became good friends. A unique and practical metal and glass jointed vase with slender receptacles for nine cuttings will recognize your pal’s nurturing touch and green thumb. $64 at Golden Hour in Burlington, Colchester and Winooski.
Every August, Addison County Fair & Field Days draws thousands of fairgoers who cheer on the tractor pull and admire prize cattle. The event’s roots go back to the early 1800s, and the Henry Sheldon Museum has the original posters to prove it. History buffs and farmers in your life will love a vintage Addison County Fair poster, reproduced on archival paper. $20 at the Henry Sheldon Museum of Vermont History in Middlebury.
For the fun-loving friend who is always game for one more run — followed by an après-ski beverage or two — this fanciful downhill skier bottle holder celebrates decades of schussing down the slopes together. Crafted from recycled steel, the whimsical figure is sure to evoke a smile, especially if filled with a favorite bottle of merlot. $99.95 at Remarkable Things in Stowe.
Those office gift swap organizers who ban coffee mugs should reconsider in light of this charming, hand-thrown Brave Little State mug, bedecked with an outline of Vermont and a sweet little heart. For each one sold, Putney-based ceramicist Kate Butt will donate to the Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont’s emergency fund to help farmers impacted by July’s devastating floods. We can all that. The artist offers a limited run of mugs beginning on November 25. $60 each at katebuttceramics.com.
The scents of the season waft softly from Mountain Stone Candle’s Fraser Fir & Frankincense Myrrh candle, each hand-poured in Hyde Park from toxin-free, renewable coconut wax. An ideal host gift, the 35-hour candle is studded with labradorite and amethyst to inspire spiritual balance — and protection from any negative energies that might bubble up around the family holiday table. $25 at mountainstonecandle.com.
A tangible tribute to countless long walks and talks on the beach with your sister, Clay Mohrman’s Haystack lamp radiates that same warmth and connection. Art meets utility in the handmade, one-of-a-kind table lamp crafted in Burlington from driftwood and named for a Green Mountain peak. It will remind sis daily of the light you bring to each other. $425 at claymohrlighting.com.
Photo albums are so yesteryear. Show Dad how much you treasure memories of childhood fishing trips with a handmade topographic map of Lake Champlain carved in Bristol from local hardwood. Maps of Vermont and Lake Champlain are available from $49 at TreelineTerrains on Etsy. A custom map of any global location starts at $199 and can be ordered until December 1 for Christmas delivery at treelineterrains.com.
School’s out for winter break, but learning can still continue! The A Piece A Part jigsaw puzzle from Jericho-based Little Patakha imparts an invaluable lesson while providing entertainment. Its 54 pieces form four diverse characters to show kids ages 3 and up that no matter what we look like on the outside, we’re all made of the same pieces on the inside. $35 from littlepatakha.com.
Your toddler grandson lives in Brooklyn, but — bless his heart! — he wants to be a farmer. Stoke his dream by sending him a Cabot Creamery barn T-shirt. Designed by Burlington artist Bethany Andrews-Nichols of Beenanza and modeled here by seventh-generation Vermont farmer Merritt Conant, these threads look good and do good. Ten percent of sales benefit Vermont flood-relief efforts. $26 at the Cabot Creamery Store in Waterbury Center.
Save this gift for the day after Christmas, when you hit the road for your 11-hour drive to Michigan. Keep your 4-year-old entertained with a five-pack of felt wool finger puppets. Brightly colored critters with cute, friendly faces are hand-stitched in Nepal by artists living with disabilities. $20 at US Sherpa in Winooski.
You’ve never changed a diaper, but you know a thing or two about what kids like — thanks to intel from local toy seller Kayla Thibodeau. A Rody horse is her go-to gift for toddlers. Impress your bestie — and delight her little tyke — with the toy that helps build balance and coordination. Next year, you can add the rocking base or wheels. $74.95 at Red Wagon Toy in Woodstock.
Family game night will get an upgrade when you wrap up Forest Animal-opoly. Players ages 8 and up compete to be the best caretaker of the forest by providing food and water for their animals in this game by Late for the Sky, which promises, “It’s gonna be wild!” $25 at the Fairbanks Museum & Planetarium Nature Store in St. Johnsbury, where you can shop without paying admission.
When her mom landed a dream job at Kennedy Space Center, your niece landed in a “Don’t Say Gay” Florida high school shortly after coming out as queer. She could really use a friend like Lily Hu, the protagonist in Malinda Lo’s YA historical novel Last Night at the Telegraph Club. The 2021 National Book Award winner and 2023 Vermont Reads choice includes themes of self-acceptance, familial and cultural ties, LGBTQ+ and feminist history, and xenophobia. $11.99 at the Norwich Bookstore and other local booksellers.
Secret Santa gifts are fun for first graders and a chore for parents. Check this one off your list with Our Hearts Can Soar, a picture book produced by two Vermonters, author Eleanor Pelosi Stephenson and illustrator Julianna Brazill. The story begins when a little girl asks her mother to tell a favorite story and ends with readers pondering their own answer to the question: How far can your heart soar? $12.99 at Phoenix Books in Burlington, Essex and Rutland, as well as other independent bookstores.
Beauty & Body top
With a head massage and great conversation, hair appointments with your stylist are like therapy sessions. Send some pampering her way with luxurious whipped body butter. Winooski’s B.B. Herbals uses all-natural ingredients rich with vitamins and botanical extracts to soothe dry skin and impart a radiant glow. These balms come in a variety of colors, each scented with essential oils. $28 at bbherbals.com.
Teachers deserve respect and infinite gratitude. Top that off by keeping them toasty warm during playground duty with reusable hand warmers. Felt pouches filled with flaxseed heat in the microwave, then slip into wool covers made from upcycled sweaters by Snug Bug Shop, a 22-year-old, family-operated Morrisville business. They feel like a pocket-size hug. Order by December 15 to receive them before Christmas. $12 per pair at snugbugshop.com and at Joe’s Pond Craft Shop in West Danville.
It’s becoming more common: Your wife pops awake in the middle of the night and can’t go back to sleep. To-do lists loom large at 3 a.m. Give her Quiet Mind, a grounding, calming, meditative blend of essential oils from AroMed Essentials. The 10-year-old, woman-owned business sources ethically harvested, high-quality essential oils to create its products. $14.95-52 at AroMed Essentials in Montpelier (newly reopened post-flood!).
Instead of age, hobbies or measurements, your guy wrote two words to describe his ideal person: someone kind. You swiped right. He’s rugged and old-fashioned, so he’ll appreciate a shaving soap bowl with a lid — turned from a single piece of olive wood — and cedar clove sandalwood shaving soap, a classic combo. $28 and $9 from Farm Craft VT’s Farm Shop in Shelburne.
Sharing a room is a rite of passage. It builds character, you tell your kids. So what to do when one kid complains about the other kid’s book light? Support your reader and gift your sleeper a Cat Nap Velvet Sleep Mask. With a cotton front and velvet back, it’s handcrafted in Bangladesh by makers working with Saidpur Enterprises, which provides sustainable jobs for women who lack employment opportunities. $16.99 at Ten Thousand Villages in Burlington.
Shopping got you frazzled? Treat yourself to NanoTonic, a fast-acting CBD fire cider from Starksboro’s vTerra Farms. It boosts immunity and energy while calming nerves and inflammation, the company says. And it makes great holiday mocktails: A staff favorite is pineapple juice, ginger, a splash of seltzer, and a teaspoon or two of NanoTonic. $41 at vterrafarms.com or at Winooski Organics Craft Cannabis Market and Blue Sage in Waitsfield. Use code SEVEN to save $7 on NanoTonic online orders until December 31.
Your daughter is a newly minted lawyer working around the clock. She could use a massage, but she just can’t break away. Tigerfly Massage Therapy will bring a mobile massage to her. Essex Junction massage therapist Krissie Zambrano specializes in deep tissue and sports and relaxation work. Zambrano’s schedule fills up fast, so book two months in advance and give your legal eagle something to look forward to: a non-billable hour. $100 per hour, plus travel and setup fees, at tigerflymassage.com.
Experiences & classes top
Make an evening of it in Middlebury when you take your daughter to dinner at Crooked Ladle and then adopt a plant for her dorm room from Everything Nice. The two businesses’ shared space is also the site of the Giving Fridge, which buys restaurant-prepared meals and distributes them to people experiencing hardship. Each plant purchase buys at least one meal for the fridge. Plants start at $22 at Everything Nice in Middlebury.
Winter makes it tough for your mom to do her daily walks. Happily, the weather won’t matter when you gift her with a low-impact Aqua FIT class at the Hard’ack Pool in St. Albans. The complex is covered by a massive inflatable dome that keeps the water a comfortable 80 degrees, even if it’s a winter wonderland outside. $15 for St. Albans residents or $20 for nonresidents at stalbansvt.myrec.com.
You’ve been roommates since college, and that’s about how long your BFF has been talking about trying pole dancing. Give her the nudge she needs with a three-class pass to RevolVT in Burlington. She’ll build strength and confidence through the total-body workout and feel comfortable and welcomed in this inclusive community. $75 at revolvt.com.
Growing up, your sister was always the artistic one. Now she’s a mom with two toddlers, which means cleaning up after finger painters is all the “art” she has time for. Enroll her in an adult art class — like Fundamentals of Acrylic Painting — at Davis Studio in South Burlington. She’ll get a few hours of kid-free time and remember that she’s still her fabulous, creative self. $68 at davisstudiovt.com.
Sure, your wife will say she likes whatever gift you buy her, but what she’d really love is more time alone with you. She’ll be thrilled to receive a one-hour private sauna session for the two of you at Savu in Smugglers’ Notch or Burlington. The wintry views from your steamy sanctuary will have you connecting with nature — and each other — in no time. $65 for a one-hour session at savu.cc.
Wow, your teenage nephew is on his phone a lot. Then again, so are you. You’ll both get some fresh air — and a chance to bond — when you take him fat biking at Catamount Outdoor Family Center in Williston. Rent bikes on-site, then saddle up for trails through gorgeous Vermont scenery. No snow? No problem. You can ride with or without the white stuff all winter long. Day memberships start at $15 for youths 6 and up at catamountoutdoor.com.
The holidays are busy. Promise to catch up with your tribe in the new year with tickets to the Snowlights Enchanted Garden Party in February at Greensboro’s Highland Center for the Arts. Your crew will bask in an illuminated garden landscape, boogie outdoors to a Latin dance band, and enjoy food and drinks by a cozy fire. With a special group rate, the deep winter fest is an inexpensive way to cross a lot of people off your list. $17 for a single ticket or $30 for a carload of up to six at highlandartsvt.org.
Listening & Reading top
Dad has fantasized for years about writing the novel that’s been kicking around in his head. Inspire him with another dad-turned-author’s book: Montpelier writer Lloyd Devereux Richards’ Maidens of the Cave. This story of an FBI agent’s race to catch a killer is just the thing to get creative juices flowing. $18.99 at Bear Pond Books in Montpelier and other local bookstores.
Maybe your Food Network-obsessed husband can’t whip up a blackberry-cornmeal cake yet, but he can get there with Gesine Bullock-Prado’s MY Vermont Table: Recipes for All (Six) Seasons. A White River Junction resident and host of the “Baked in Vermont” cooking show, the celebrity pastry chef offers recipes and tips that will turn your partner from a faker into a baker. $35 at the Vermont Book Shop in Middlebury and other independent booksellers.
TV news talking heads are always going on about the gay agenda — and while that makes you and your queer BFF do some hard eye rolls, it also weirdly sounds like something your disorganized bestie could use. The tongue-very-much-in-cheek Gay Agenda spiral planner is a 52-week desk planner featuring rainbows, stickers, inspiring quotes from the LGBTQ+ community and plenty of room to jot down appointments — goodbye, accidental ghosting. $19.20 at the Peace & Justice Center in Burlington.
For that favorite coworker whose headphones are glued to their ears, a fresh infusion of music is in order. They’ll be whistling while they work with Andriana Chobot’s vibrant indie-pop record Return to Sincere. The Burlington singer-songwriter/occasional dueling pianist laces her songs with just the right combination of whimsy, complexity and emotional acuity. $27.97 at Pure Pop Records in Burlington and other local record stores.
Fairfax illustrator Jess Polanshek’s new art book, The Woodland Homestead, is the perfect gift for lovers of animals and the outdoors — and in Vermont, that’s almost everyone. These renditions of whimsical woodland creatures in charmingly homey surroundings are sure to transport your art-loving auntie to a magical realm with no phones or emails to answer, just bunnies and birds in the snow. $35 at ofthehills.com.
Your brother wonders aloud where all the folk singers have gone. He doesn’t want to hear about pop stars or rappers or metalheads; he wants old-fashioned songwriting, lyrics that paint pictures and heartfelt acoustic guitar that channels sadness into beauty. The latest LP from Burlington’s Eastern Mountain Time, More Buses & Trains, has his name all over it. $7 at easternmountaintime.bandcamp.com.
Parental faux pas: Last year you gave your kid some music that, to quote them, “sucks.” This year you’ll buy a gift certificate to a local record shop and let them rock out in their own fashion. Pair it with a special-edition “Record Monster” poster, benefiting the American Civil Liberties Union of Vermont, and you won’t have to worry about not looking cool. $5 for the poster, and gift certificates start at $25, at Buch Spieler Records in Montpelier.
Pets & Their Humans top
Over the past few years, your sister has made her sugar bush more bird-friendly. She can celebrate the return of the wood thrushes and screech owls with a Vermont bird feeder made by Brandon woodworker and teacher Sandra Chicoine. This sugarhouse-shaped avian apartment is fully customizable and constructed from sustainable and reclaimed materials. Made to order, so allow some lead time. $85 at VermontMadeCraftCo on Etsy.
This year your roommate has really gotten into the New England cannabis scene, but you’re sure their cat is feeling left out. It’s high time — get it? — to buy that curious kitty a catnip cat toy from Dr. Pussums, a premium catnip company in Maine that makes playthings with sturdy fabric and no fillers. $8.79 at Pet Food Warehouse in Shelburne and South Burlington.
Your son and daughter-in-law aren’t sure they want kids. That’s OK — for now, you’re content to spoil your granddog. A personalized glass treat jar will let that regal beagle know he’ll always be top dog, no matter who else may eventually join the household. $49 from Orvis in Manchester.
If the creatures populating your cousin’s farm — human and fur babies alike — are going to get through winter without chapped skin, she’ll need a tub of Vermont Bee Balm’s Original Beast Balm, made in Craftsbury. The beeswax-and-olive-oil salve is safe for use on puppy paws, bovine udders, human hands and baby bottoms alike. $9.99-25.99 at Vermont’s Own in Middlebury.
Your best friend’s shih tzu loves plushie toys, but she has rapidly dismembered every stuffed duck and soft sheep she’s ever been handed. Give that born predator a Fluff & Tuff ladybug, a tugging toy made with a durable mesh lining, double-stitched seams, and no limbs or appendages to rip off. $9.95 at Houndstooth in Burlington.
If your retired teacher mom values funding for education and high-quality snacks for her cockapoo, gift her a four-bag variety pack of Bellcate School Dog Treats. The biscuits, which come in chamomile-honey, pumpkin-apple-cheese, maple and peanut butter-pumpkin flavors, are made by special education students enrolled in the Essex school’s employment preparedness program. $35 at bellcateschooldogtreats.com.
No matter how many times your brother tells you that rolling around in the mud is perfectly natural dog behavior, it doesn’t change the fact that his black Lab is stinking up his apartment. Get both of those boys a Pawsitively Fresh pet-friendly candle, made by Waitsfield’s Three Buds Apothecary. It’ll freshen up the place — and help local retailer Vermont Dog Eats rebuild from the flood. $24 at Vermont Dog Eats in Montpelier.