With the holidays quickly approaching, you’re going to need some gifts. It’s easy to fall into that old trap of purchasing everything on Amazon, but Bezos doesn’t need more space money. Especially when there are compelling small businesses, independent shops and talented craftspeople making some of the year’s best presents right here in Texas.
Below we’ve rounded up 10 of our favorite local gifts ranging from leather goods and extra-soft tees to pickleball paddles and, yes, even a souffle.
San Antonio and online
Run by a small team of craftsmen, Bexar Goods makes a line of durable leather products, including wallets, bags and watch straps. Surely there’s someone in your life — dad, brother, lovable mailman — who can use a new hand-stitched wallet. The options range from minimalist cardholders to classic bifolds and come in colors and designs more interesting than what you’ll find at the department store.
Houston, Austin and online
Manready Mercantile has roots going back to 2012, when its founder began hand-pouring candles with wax heated on his kitchen stove. Today, the company still makes candles, plus a line of T-shirts and hats, glassware, leather coasters and fragrances. Fill your cart with a few small items, including a 100% soy candle housed in a reusable whiskey glass, and your stocking stuffers are complete.
Austin and online
Recess is riding the pickleball wave, creating durable fiberglass paddles that feature custom screen-printed designs by local artists and sport iconic names like Barton Springs and Marfa. Your giftee is unlikely to wield the same paddle as their opponent at the neighborhood courts. Buy one paddle, or purchase a two-pack so you can join the action.
Elizabeth Swift Copeland runs a successful catering, event production and party rental business in Houston, but her latest venture is all about souffles. Fab Fête is baking up a handful of delicious souffles, including White Corn and Truffle, Fontina and Butternut Squash, and Mediterranean, which merges feta cheese with artichokes, capers, dill and Kalamata olives. The souffles arrive frozen and packed snugly into a reusable dish, so your recipient can serve one during the holidays or save it for a later date.
Select stores and online
Austin’s Liber & Co. makes cocktail syrups for bartenders, both of the professional and at-home variety. Give a few bottles to your favorite cocktail-maker, and they can experiment with syrups spanning ginger, coconut and passionfruit, plus orgeat, old-fashioned gum syrups, blood orange cordial, grapefruit shrub and other ways to kick pedestrian drinks up a notch.
The 2022 InsideHook Holiday Gift GuidesA one-stop holiday shop
Founded by Dallas locals Nicole Craven and Alexis Smith, Après Hours explores the duo’s love for espresso martinis. They put the popular pick-me-up into an RTD package, making a trio of canned cocktails that include a classic espresso martini, plus salted caramel and vanilla versions. You can purchase a variety pack or a 12-pack of your favorite individual flavor.
Castroville and online
Castroville Pottery began as a passion project for Tim and Gloria Kelley, and today they have a storefront in Castroville, a town west of San Antonio, and also sell their wares online. Bowls, plates, canisters, mugs and more are available to improve kitchens. If you don’t know where to start, try a set of chili bowls and a couple beer steins for your tailgating friends, or a lidded casserole dish for anyone who loves to bake.
Jacob Clark turned a pandemic hobby into a business and now makes some of the most intricate leatherwork you’ll find, well, anywhere. (Including on this website.) His shop includes custom-made wallets, money clips, purses, portfolios, guitar straps and dopp kits, all featuring meticulous and creative designs. If you’ve got something special in mind — say, boots or a belt — you can contact Clark for custom orders.
Linda Perez creates ceramics for some of San Antonio’s best chefs, and you can also find her work at San Jose Hotel in Austin and El Cosmico in Marfa. Or just buy something for yourself online. She makes a variety of unique tableware and vessels, from plates and bowls to teapots and tumblers.
Select stores and online
This Austin-based enterprise turns ultra-premium Angus beef into delicious nitrate-free jerky that’s perfect for road trips, camping expeditions and snacking on the couch. Buy a couple bags or spring for a subscription, and your carnivorous friend will be flush in sweet and spicy jerky for months to come.
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