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Handcrafted Here

Kalamazoo Coloring Book made by Simon Kalil Borst, Kalamazoo
Great uber-local gifts to give and get this season

If you love Kalamazoo, there’s no better way to share your hometown pride with others this season than by giving them a little piece of the Mall City or its nearby environs.

We’ve done the legwork to find great local items to give as gifts or to take to gatherings (because that’s what we do during the holidays — give and gather). And with everything from caramels to coloring books, socks to salad tongs, we’ve got all ages and tastes covered.

For Giving

Fun gifts for anyone and everyone

1. Dragon Fruit Two-Tone Tie-Dye Socks

Hip tie-dye? Not an oxymoron. These flamboyant footsies are custom-dyed and made from bamboo.
Made by: Bambüz, Kalamazoo
Price: $12
Buy at: Sawall Health Foods, 2965 Oakland Drive; Love Your Mother, 39 N. Main St., Three Rivers

2. Handcrafted Hand Lotion

Opulent Blends body products are made with natural ingredients and are grease-free and silky. Try the Lavender Essentials lotion to feel calm and spoiled at the same time.
Made by: Opulent Blends, Kalamazoo
Price: $8
Buy at: Tromblay, 627 S. Burdick St.; People’s Food Co-op, 507 Harrison St.

3. The Original Michigan Salad Servers

These handcrafted utensils are made with Southwest Michigan maple, cherry and walnut wood.
Made by: Rutgers Wooden Spoon and Utensil Co., Kalamazoo
Price: $45
Buy at: Food Dance Market, 401 E. Michigan Ave.; Sticks & Stones, 124 S. Kalamazoo Mall; Natural Health Center, 4610 W. Main St.

4. Mad Love Hat

This cotton, seven-panel hat with a woven label patch features a flat bill, brass metal eyelets and a premium leather strap in the back. The hat is designed and printed by Handmade Kalamazoo.
Price: $24
Buy at: Handmade Kalamazoo, 509 W. Vine St.

5. Born & Raised Youth Tee

Let the little ones show off their roots with incredibly soft T-shirts that say “Born & Raised Kalamazoo”. The shirts are made in WRAP-certified (Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production) facilities, which means they are made without sweatshop labor or child labor. The artwork is designed and then printed on the shirts at Handmade Kalamazoo.
Price: $15
Buy at: Handmade Kalamazoo

6. Kalamazoo Coloring Book

Color Kalamazoo your way with this coloring book featuring 31 drawings of the city by graphic artist and Kalamazoo native Simon Kalil Borst.
Made by: Simon Kalil Borst, Kalamazoo
Price: $15.95
Buy at: Bookbug, 3019 Oakland Drive

For Gathering

Great items to give your hosts or share with guests

7. Kale Chip Gift Jar

Michigan kale and organic ingredients are handcrafted with love into a delicious and healthy snack. This jar makes for a great gift or potluck contribution, and the label peels off for easy reuse.
Made by: Kaleamazoo Chips, Kalamazoo
Price: $20
Buy at: Irving’s Deli, 125 S. Kalamazoo Mall; Juicy Leaf, 316 S. Kalamazoo Mall, Suite 104; People’s Food Co-op; Sawall Health Foods

8. Spice Packets

These spice packets let do-it-yourselfers bake up a batch of kale chips in their own kitchen. They also make great seasonings for vegetables, popcorn, marinades and dressings.  
Made by: Kaleamazoo Chips, Kalamazoo
Price: $3
Buy at: Irving’s Deli, Juicy Leaf, People’s Food Co-op, Sawall Health Foods

9. The Mitten Cider

This Michigan cider is a blend of last season’s pressed apples, aged in bourbon barrels for up to one year, then sweetened with this year’s fresh-pressed apple juice. It has notes of vanilla, caramel and charred oak and comes in 765-milliliter bottles.
Made by: Virtue Cider, Fennville
Price: $19.99
Buy at: Tiffany’s Wine & Spirits, 1714 W. Main St.; Virtue Cider, 2170 62nd St. (just south of 122nd Ave.), Fennville

10. Juniper, Lime and Mint Caramels

These milk chocolate caramels are created with fair-trade organic chocolate using original recipes by chocolatier Dale Anderson and made by employees who have barriers to regular employment.
Made by: Confections with Conviction, Kalamazoo
Price: $15 for a box of nine
Buy at: Confections with Conviction, 116 W. Crosstown Parkway

Emily Townsend

Originally from the Midwest, Emily comes to Encore from a stint reporting on the arts for The Cambodia Daily. You can catch her voice as a host (DJ ET) for Kalamazoo’s only feminist news and music show, Grrrlville on WIDR 89.1 FM at 8-10 p.m.

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