Ten Awesome Appalachian Made Items for Your Holiday Gifting List

Also, a request for you to share some of your own

Nov 28, 2016 · 6 min read
Photo: Clark Yong via Unsplash. All others in this post: Their respective businesses.

Writer’s Note:

If you would like to include some of your favorite products from small businesses/individuals in your area that can be purchased online, please share in the comments section below this article. If you are able to comment your selections by Saturday, December 3rd, I will include them in a special Medium post on Sunday, December 4th. Thanks to everyone who has already shared, and I look forward to seeing others selections. (Seriously, I still have a few gifts I need to purchase, so PLEASE share your local businesses with us. Ha!)

I never do the whole listicle thing. Ever. But today, I thought I would do something a little different. It’s for a good cause, after all.

I am enamored by locally crafted and sourced items. There are TONS of craftsmen and craftswomen who dedicate their lives and livelihoods to creating unique gifts in West Virginia, and throughout Appalachia. I have chosen this year to buy everything individually made (as opposed to made in a large factory), and in doing so, thought I would share some of my favorite West Virginia products (all of which can be ordered online) with you.

Now, that said, I have a request of you. Since I’m endeavoring to keep my holiday 100% small scale, I was wondering if you might share a couple of products or gifts you like that are produced where you live. This can be from anywhere in the world. The only catch: It must be made on a small scale and, in so much as is possible, be sourced locally. Also, I must be able to purchase the item(s) online. That’s it. Double points if the items are handcrafted by you. Triple points if they have a social justice connection.

Care to share some links to your favorite local products in the comments? Tell me what the item is, and where it’s produced (city and state/province/country). If there’s any success, I’ll share the results of the crowd sourcing in a follow up post at the end of next week. And yes, I do plan to purchase some of what you share for my family and friends. So please, do share.

Here’s my picks, straight from Almost Heaven West Virginia:

Complete Beard Care Kit

from Mountaineer Brand

An awesome beard care kit that comes with W.Va. timber beard wash, W.Va. timber beard oil, Magic Beard Balm and a military-style beard brush. Made with 100% natural oils and essential oils. Comes in a burlap bag for easy storage.

Location: Sheperdstown, W.Va.

Cost: $38

Purchase Here

Star Design Personalized Serving Tray

from Richwood Creations

Richwood Creations is awesome not only because it offers handsome rustic home decor, but also because it’s a non-profit established to bring skills and work to a community whose population (and jobs) have been in decline for decades. They offer many sweet creations, but their serving tray really stuck out at me. It features a star design which is personalized with your family or first name. It comes in cherry or maple wood, with your choice of a wooden or rope handle.

Location: Richwood, W.Va

Cost: $69

Purchase Here

This Shirt Kills Fascists T-shirt

from Kinship Goods

Ok, for me to pick one shirt from Kinship Goods is like me eating only one piece of cornbread; it ain’t gonna happen. That said, there are several awesome t-shirts by this crazy awesome company. (The ‘possum and Appalachian pride are two of my personal favorites.) Oh, and another cool note: all profits from some of their shirts — like the This Shirt Kills Fascists one— “will be donated to various non-profit organizations that are fighting the good fight,” according to their website.

Location: Charleston, W.Va.

Cost: $18-$28

Purchase Here

Three Set Nesting Pottery Bowls

from West Fork Pottery

A set of three hand-crafted pottery bowls made from W.Va. clay. Unglazed exterior, inlined with a food safe glaze. Great for prepping food and storing.

Location: Fairmont, W.Va.

Cost: $54

Purchase Here

Deluxe One Layer Chocolate Box

from Holl’s Handcrafted Swiss Chocolates

Holl’s is West Virginia’s ultimate chocolate company, and this box of 16 handcrafted chocolates is to die for. Seriously. The sampler contains truffles, caramels and nut confections in both milk and dark chocolate.

Location: Vienna, W.Va.

Cost: $18

Purchase Here

W.Va. Harvested Salt with Mini Cellar in Burlap Bag

from J.Q. Dickison Saltworks

Situated on an ancient salt basin, the Kanawha Valley region of W.Va. produces some really, really good salt (like, who knew salt could taste different, but really, it does.) Locally, salt is cultivated by J.Q. Dickinson Saltworks. Prized for its taste, the salt can be found in many fine dining establishments throughout the U.S. This gift includes a jar of salt, as well as a mini salt cellar and a burlap bag to hold it.

Location: Malden, W.Va.

Cost: $13.50

Purchase Here

Love and Laugh Handcrafted Metal Candle Sticks

from Wallace Metal Works

This handcrafted set of “Love” and “Laugh” candlesticks are a beautiful addition to any home. Can be customized with a personal message on the bottom (if giving as a gift). These are hand-forged with wrought iron.

Location: Charleston, W.Va.

Cost: $180

Purchase Here

Cranberry Simple Leather Notebook Cover

from Davis Leather Works

This is the perfect gift for all my writer friends. This handmade item can hold one to three 3.5" x 5.5" notebooks. Comes in various styles, but the cranberry color really stood out to me.

Location: Belle, W.Va.

Cost: $25

Purchase Here

Fuck 2016 Letterpress Greeting Card

from Base Camp Printing Co.

Because, #fuck2016. No better way to end the year than with this handmade, letter pressed greeting card. From W.Va.’s coolest printing shop. (They do it old school, with a hand press. It’s awesome.)

Location: Charleston, W.Va.

Cost: $5

Purchase Here

Hand Forged Letter Opener

from Sky Forge Metalworks

Sky Forge Metalworks, located in my growing-up stomping grounds (where most of my childhood essays on Medium are set) is a really awesome, old school metal works company. They have a lot of very awesome items, but I am particularly fond of their hand forged letter-opener.

Location: Albright, W.Va.

Cost: $14

Purchase Here

Michael Ramsburg

Written by

8th generation Appalachian. Proud West-by-G-d Virginian. Word writer. Code creator. Faith. Food. Folk. Facts. More: http://www.ramsburgwrites.com

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