Each year as we grow older, it seems like we have a hard time with finding that perfect gift for loved ones, coworkers, and friends.  Hopefully with our 2016 Holiday Gift Guide, you will be able to find the perfect gift.  We strive to seek out locally made products from here in Kentucky, with a couple of exceptions.  Please feel free to let us know any stores or items that you would recommend for your loved ones.

 
 

Berea College Crafts – Scarf or Wooden Trash Basket

Being a proud alumni member of Berea College, I can attest to the true craftsmanship that goes into each and every item produced.  Each item is lovingly made by the hands of students at the college.  As part of our education, we had to work a job on campus alongside our educational studies.  It helped us gained skills so that upon graduation, we were work-ready to be employed.  Berea College Crafts have got a lot of items, but I would highly recommend getting the Wooden Trash Basket, a scarf, a coffee mug, or even a baby blanket.  I personally have all of these items and they do last a long time! Visit www.bereacrafts.com and order from their catalog.
Berea Basket
 
Handwritten Recipe Book

When my grandma passed away a few years ago, the one thing that was given to me was a stack of her original handwritten recipes.  I painstakingly went through them, scanning them immediately to preserve them.  I have since made a book with photos and copies of her recipes and gave them to each of children.  I recommend getting with your family and collecting recipes that have been passed on from generations.  Also, get the family stories and put them together.  You can do a photo book through Shutterfly, or use a local printer to do a printing.  It will be a gift that many will cherish for years to come. 

Drinks On Me

When it comes to Kentucky, there are 3 beverages that most will identify with – bourbon, Ale-8-One, and Ski.  Many of the distilleries in Kentucky have online catalogs that you can purchase items.  Makers Mark Bourbon has a special program for Ambassadors in which they receive a special gift for the holidays.  For gift idea, I suggest purchasing a shirt from Ale-8-One.  You can even get a clock from Ski to hang up on your wall and tell your friends how cool you are.  Click here for more info.

Ski Retro Clock

Rock Bottom Soap Company

I think I could be an ambassador for Rock Bottom Soap Company of London, Kentucky, because I am always bragging to others how good it is.  My family has used their goat soaps, lotions, and body scrubs for a couple of years with great results.  If you have a mechanic in the family, I recommend the Mechanic Soap.  Or, for the deer hunter, there is a soap that is called “dirt” that helps get the human scent off of them.  Their lotions have been great for dry skin in the winter time too.  They use all natural ingredients and have a wide variety of products available online and in their store. www.rockbottomsoap.com

Rock Bottom Soap Company
Louisville Slugger

For the sports fan, they will love to take a tour of the Louisville Slugger plant in Louisville.  You can also order a special bat personalized in different sizes and colors.  This would be great to commemorate a special occasion, or for the coach/sports fan to hang up on their wall.

Louisville Slugger
Louisville Stoneware

Hot Brown Dish – First served at Louisville’s Brown Hotel, the Hot Brown was originally created in 1926 by Chef Fred K. Schmidt as an alternative to ham and egg late night suppers. The open-faced turkey and bacon sandwich with Mornay sauce is now a Louisville tradition with worldwide appeal. Featured in restaurants throughout Kentucky and as far north as New York City, the Hot Brown has been featured in Southern Living Magazine, The Los Angeles Times, NBC’s Today Show and The Wall Street Journal. While the original recipe is still served at the Brown Hotel, you’ll find it’s a great post-Thanksgiving use of leftover turkey.  The Louisville Stoneware company makes the dishes to cook the Hot Browns, as well as a lot of personalized items online. Check out the Hot Brown Dish by clicking here.

The Stone Pansy Rocks & Ornaments

If you have a gardener on your list to shop for, or someone that collects ornaments, I recommend getting one of the Stone Pansy’s painted rocks.  She also has some beautiful handcrafted ornaments that are in the likes of Santa and Snowmen.  You can order via her Facebook, or by attending one of the holiday craft shows in London, Manchester, and Somerset.  She has items for sale in the Berea Artisan Center, as well as Rock Bottom Soap Company in London. Visit the Stone Pansy online at www.facebook.com/TheStonePansy.

Stone Pansy Rocks
Hand Poured Recycled Crayons from Meadow Branch Farm

If you have little ones on your list, you will want to head over to Manchester, KY to The Makery.  One of the vendors there is Meadow Branch Farm and they make hand poured recycled crayons into unique shapes.  Recently, they had Star Wars and Lego Themed crayons.  I should also mention that they make some delicious honey that you should try out as well.  They are located on Facebook at www.facebook.com/MeadowBranchFarm.

Meadow Branch Farm Recycled Crayons
Gift Certificate to Infinity Day Spa of Corbin

Located in Corbin, Kentucky, Infinity Day Spa is a one stop shop for massage, pedicure, manicure, facials, and more.  Their professional service and hometown pride is one of many reasons to utilize them.  They offer many specials throughout the year and continue to add services.   They are also flexible with scheduling as well. The best part – they strive to use natural products even with their pedicures/manicures (you don’t even smell the polish like other places!)Visit their Facebook page and contact them to get a gift certificate for a loved one.  www.facebook.com/Infinitydayspaofcorbin

Jams, Mustards, and Soaps from Sunflower Sundries

Located in Mt. Olivet, KY, Sunflower Sundries has been featured recently on National Public Radio (NPR) for their products.  They have a special heirloom non-GMO open pollinated white corn by the name of Hickory King.  They make grits, hominy, cornmeal, and tortilla chips out of this corn that you can purchase online.  You can also get some of their delicious organic jams and herbal soaps.  Visit them online at www.sunflowersundries.com.

Sunflower Sundries
Reading Material
For the bookworm or Kentucky history fan on your Christmas list, here are a few suggestions:
* Subscription to Kentucky Explorer magazine—full of Kentucky history photos & stories
Books by Wendell Berry, Silas House, or Jesse Stuart
Kentucky Country: Folk and Country Music of Kentucky {Amazon Link}
Barn Dances & Jamborees Across Kentucky by J.D. Wilkes {Amazon Link}
Kentucky Country Music Albums
It is only fitting that with a holiday gift guide of Kentucky handcrafted items to include albums from Kentucky country music artists.  There are quite a few that have released new material this year.  Some of my top picks include:
Justin Wells—Dawn in the Distance {Website}
Sturgill Simpson – A Sailor’s Guide to Earth {Website}
Kentucky Headhunters – On Safari {Amazon Link}
Dwight Yoakam—Swimmin’ Pools & Movie Stars {Amazon Link}
Loretta Lynn—Full Circle {Amazon Link}
Kelsey Waldon—I’ve Got a Way {Amazon Link}
  
I See Me Books

I love when you are able to give someone a personalized gift.  For kids, the “I See Me!” book series are perfect to help them read, as well as being clever by having their name placed in the book.  The publisher sent me a free copy for my niece.  I was extremely impressed by the high quality of color pages, as well as the little tidbits of her name throughout it.  It was also accompanied with a cd of songs that had her name on them.  I ended up purchasing a coloring booking for my nephew that had trucks in it.  Again, the quality was top notch and reasonable priced.  Their website is www.iseeme.com.   If you sign up for their email newsletter, you get 20% off your order.

 

I See Me Books
 Kentucky State Park Gift Card

If there is anyone on your list that loves adventure, or perhaps enjoys history of Kentucky, be sure to get them a Kentucky State Park Gift Card.  They can be used for lodging, meals, or even items in gift shops in one of the many beautiful state parks that Kentucky has to offer.  They can be used at the Kentucky Artisan Center, Kentucky Horse Park, and the Kentucky Historical Society’s 1792 Store.  Gift Cards can be purchased online on the Kentucky State Park Website, as well as in person at one of the parks.

Thank you for taking this journey through the Kentucky Country Music 2016 Gift Guide. Be sure to comment your favorite thing to give at Christmas that is from KY.
 

Jessica Bray has been a music journalist and historian for over 15 years. She enjoys providing concert photography, reviews, red carpet event coverage, and exclusive interviews of your favorite country music singers. She is a Kentucky Colonel, as well as a collector of Volkswagen and Gnome items.

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