This year, the holiday season looks very different; in our own experience, we have had to do many masked cookie drop offs and family dinners over Zoom in order to prioritize the safety of our loved ones. But this pandemic has reached further than just our dining room; in fact, it has impacted our local small businesses in ways we didn’t anticipate. That’s why we have put together this list of some of our favorite things in an effort to support local businesses. Everything on this list has been made in Maine, and is sold either online or in store. This is in no ways complete or exhaustive, and if you have any small business you want us to include, email us at email@example.com so we can get them up on our site.
Gifts for Dogs
As you all know, our shop is named after our lovely dog Maggie Mae, so she got to pick the first round of recommendations. And as she has reminded us time and time again over the course of this pandemic, furry family members bring nothing but unconditional love and comfort. This holiday season, show them some love in return with a few of Maggie’s favorite things!
Belted Cow Collars and Leashes —https://www.beltedcow.com/categories/collections/holiday-dog-collars.html
Perfect for at home lounging or walking around the neighborhood in the snow, Belted Cow will satisfy your dog’s wants and needs. Not only does Maggie look incredible in her collar, she definitely has a bigger bounce in her step when we walk her around Mackworth!
ImPAWsible Impressions —374 US Rt-1, Yarmouth, ME
Looking for a place to send your dog for a haircut, bath, or spa day? Check out Casey. She gives our dogs a caring, thorough clean and makes them look like brand new pups every time.
Fish and Bone Rope Toy — https://www.thefishandbone.com/downeast-nautical-floating-rope-fetch-toy.html
Maggie loves to chew-it’s what she does. This toy is one of her favorites, as it lets her play fetch, tug of war, and have a good ol’ fashioned chew whenever she wants!
If you’re looking to treat your dog to a luxury bath at home, why not pick up some of Casco Bay Soap’s Salty Dog Soap? It comes in a bar, so it’s low waste and packed in recyclable cardboard. And it has castor oil in it, which is perfect for breaking down the winter mud that your dog may track into the house after a long walk!
Maggie Mae’s Biscuits — online and in store
There are few treats Maggie loves more than our very own dog biscuits, and her fellow canines have backed her on that opinion. They are made right here in our kitchen, using quality ingredients that your pup will love. If you’d like to give our dog biscuits to a dog in your life, we’re selling them in a pack of six exclusively for the holidays.
We love hanging stockings in our house; it has always been the first set of “presents” we open on Christmas morning. This year, why not stuff your stockings with local goodies?
Bixby Lobster Claws —https://bixbyco.com/collections/stocking-stuffers/products/lobster-claw
While we have not met a Bixby chocolate we haven’t loved, our family is partial to their Lobster Claws. Stuffed with peanut butter and coated in rich milk or dark chocolate, these are the perfect sweet treat!
Planet Botanicals Hand Cream —https://www.planetbotanicals.com/collections/hand-cream-collection/products/seaweed-dream-hand-cream-new
Planet Botanicals make some incredible beauty products, but we are partial to their Seaweed Dream Hand Cream. Made with real Maine Seaweed, this hand cream is vegan, cruelty free, and plant based. Not only is it moisturizing, but it is also great for sensitive skin.
Maine Street Bee Paw Protector —https://www.mainestreetbee.com/store-paw-protector/
Yes, this is another dog product, but it’s one we really love to use on Maggie. We love all of Maine Street Bee’s products—their jars of honey are local and delicious, and their chapsticks are soft and perfect—but the Paw Protector keeps Maggie’s paws safe from the salt, sand, and ice on our front steps. Definitely worth getting for your furry family members!
Lee Nails — 374 Rt-1, Yarmouth, ME
Lee Nails is our favorite local nail salon. And although we are biased (they are our neighbors!), we love getting our nails done at their salon. They have continued to prioritize safety of both themselves and their customers throughout the pandemic, and we are sure that a gift card to their salon would make a great stocking stuffer!
Gift cards for local eateries
Whether you have a foodie in your life or you’re trying to spread love for your favorite food business, gift cards are a great way to support local eateries you love. They also make great office gifts!
Treehouse Toys —47 Exchange St, Portland, ME https://www.treehousetoys.us/
One of our kids favorite spots when they were little, Treehouse Toys is a magical shop bursting with amazing toys. Rather than going to Amazon to grab a new teddy bear or some art supplies for the kiddo in your life, call up Treehouse Toys and support their store and mission.
Blanche and Mimi —184 Middle St, Portland, ME
Blanche and Mimi is a perfect store for holiday gifts, but especially for the little kids in your circle. They have a great range of clothes, toys, and baby items that are functional and well made. Check them out if you’re in town!
There are few things more used in a newborn or toddler’s life than bibs, and these are some of the best. Not only are they super cute, but they’re made in Maine and shipped out through Etsy. There are also a TON of other cute clothes and gifts available, so be sure to check them out!
Two Little Beans & Co. Booties —https://twolittlebeansco.com/collections/baby-booties/products/booties-adventure
One of our most used items when the kids were little were baby booties. They were life savers while they learned to crawl and walk, and went a long way keeping their little feet safe and warm. They also have a bunch of cute clothing and masks, too!
Little Bird’s Flock — https://www.printbookstore.com/product/9780999235027
From their website: In this beautiful and whimsical picture book for children ages 4-8, Little Bird learns that her flock has left her behind on her first day of migration! Can she catch up to her family? She has help from animals she meets around the world-Tall Giraffe, Tiny Whale, Mother Crocodile, and Old Squirrel-in this happy, colorful adventure about inclusion, friendship, and migration. Created and co-written by The Telling Room's Publishing Workshop, and illustrated by Ashley Halsey.
With a budding writer and many avid readers in our family, books are some of our favorite presents to give (and receive!). Below are some of the local stores and publishing houses that we support; their work with our communities is incredibly valuable, especially in these times. Purchasing from them not only keeps them going, but also helps Maine thrive.
The Telling Room — https://www.tellingroom.org/give
Our daughter has benefitted from the Telling Room’s presence since she was thirteen. They have a number of writing camps, after school programs, internships, and even two year long book publishing programs. And during the COVID pandemic, they have expanded their programming to reach the furthest corners of Maine to help young writers connect with each other and publish their voices. Giving to their annual appeal is a great way to spread joy and solidarity, now and in the future. But if you have a young writer (or reader!) in your life who would love a book for Christmas, they have over 20 titles that anyone would love. Some of our personal favorites are:
Yellow Apocalypse by Madeline Curtis —2017 Maine Literary Awards Winner, Youth Fiction Category The stories in Yellow Apocalypse feature young protagonists who wander through the wonder and heartbreak of growing up. These fourteen tales swerve between the mundane and the mystical, often veering into the unabashedly weird. They feature a reincarnated goldfish, an ailing dragon, and a boy undergoing a terrible transformation. They are dark, sad, and brimming with hope. They marvel at the bigness of the world.
How to Eat Green Crab: A Cookbook of Invasive Species Harvested along the Maine Coast by Oliver Curtis —Oliver Curtis spent a year in The Telling Room's Young Emerging Authors program writing and sketching a cookbook of invasive species. How to Eat Green Crab is packed with scientific information and recipes involving some of Maine's most invasive marine species, told in Oliver's humorous and personal manner. Oliver has his commercial green crab fisherman’s license, and he and his mom have been busily testing recipes for Green Crab, Common Periwinkle, and European Flat Oyster in their kitchen. This book was featured in an article by Mary Pols in the Portland Press Herald and has garnered early attention from local foodies and national scientists alike.
Boy in Bloom by Nina Powers — Ollie Cunningham has just been pushed in front of a train. At least that’s how it feels facing his dad’s high expectations, the pressure to make his own decisions, and the daunting prospect of growing up. That’s why having Ryan Calloway as a roommate his senior year at the all-boys boarding school where his father is also headmaster is a breath of fresh air. On the surface, Ryan is Ollie’s antithesis--outgoing, relaxed, unpredictable--but as the two form a friendship that blossoms into a romance, both realize that youth is a finite resource and they are truly unprepared for the future. Walking the fine line between adolescence and adulthood, each boy is forced to ask the question neither of them wants to ask: What’s next?
Written by a LGBTQIA+ teenager, this book seeks to answer questions about sexuality and growing up that many teens face today, all with a touch of humor and romance.
An Open Letter to Ophelia by Lulu Rasor —Wicked stepsisters. Beautiful princesses. Heroic warriors. Everyone grows up on fairy tales and mythology populated by these characters, but what perspectives are omitted as these stories pass from generation to generation? An Open Letter to Ophelia gives voiceless women of ancient myth and medieval lore a chance to speak.
Poet Lulu Rasor asks what these witches, queens, saints, and monsters would say if given the chance, and how they would fit in the modern world. In prayer, sleepover confession, and love letters, this collection begins to imagine new sides to familiar and ancient tales.fe.
The Stars are the Same Everywhere by Maryam Abdullah —Lana Mustafa was eight years old when her father was killed by sectarian violence in Baghdad, Iraq. At twelve, she immigrated to Portland, Maine, a lonely outsider covered in a hijab and Goodwill snow boots. Now a strong-willed and fiercely independent high school senior, Lana struggles to define herself amid conflicting cultural expectations. Lana learns that no matter what sky she lives under, she must fight for that which matters most—her family, education, friendship, and dreams. Maryam Abdullah's semi-autobiographical illustrated novel is a must read!
Quantum Mechanics for Kids: A Humourus, Easy to Read, Math Free Book on a Very Perplexing Subject by Christopher Gilbert —When you look at particles smaller than atoms, things can get weird… very weird. You are transferred into a world where particles can be waves, waves can be particles, and atoms are “up” and “down.” This book explores what seems like science fiction but is mathematically and scientifically sound. So, get ready to dive deep into a world where codes are unbreakable, computers use atoms to process data, and hypothetical cats are dead and alive: the world of quantum physics.
A New Land: 30 Groundbreaking Poems by Youth Poets — this collection of youth poetry is pulled from the Telling Room’s first fifteen years; tackling issues from climate change to teenage motherhood, this collection showcases thirty stunning youth voices who question what it means to grow up and navigate this “new land” we are coming into.
Print Bookstore—273 Congress St, Portland, ME https://www.printbookstore.com
Although Print is currently shipping out all of the Telling Room’s books (yay!), they are also a great local stop for your other bookish needs. Rather than going to Amazon for your presents, stop by Print (or order online) to keep your local booksellers alive!
Islandport Press —https://www.islandportpress.com/
Located in Yarmouth, ME, Islandport Press is an independent published dedicated to showcasing the rich social, cultural, and economic history of New England. Their books cover everything from thrilling crime novels to heartwarming memoirs, and are the perfect gift for anyone who loves New England.
Sherman’s Books —All over Maine! https://www.shermans.com/
Sherman’s is an incredible bookstore full of amazing staff. Their recommendations are always spot on, and they can help you get presents for everyone in a pinch. They also carry Islandport Press books, which are located in a great Maine centered area of their store. Although we are partial to their Portland location, every one of their stores is lovingly cared for and well stocked. Support them this holiday season to keep our local bookstores alive, and don’t forget — they gift wrap!
Heath and Harrow Gift Towels —http://www.hearthandharrow.com/organic/set-of-4-honeybee-organic-cloth-napkins
Although all of Heath and Harrow’s products are beautiful and well made, we are quite fond of their dish towels. Beautiful designs inspired by nature are screen printed (by hand!) on organic cloth napkins. These honeybee towels come in black and yellow, and will brighten up any table.
Jordan Kendall Parks Tea Towel —http://www.jordankendallparks.com/shop-bags/mountain-tea-towel
Jordan Kendall Parks currently lives in Portland, ME. They have a variety of products that are beautiful, but our favorite is the mountain tea towel. Hand sewn and printed with a gorgeous mountain design, this tea towel is perfect for any rock climbers or hikers in your life. Be sure to check out their screen prints and t-shirts, too!
Maggie’s Farm Spoons —https://www.etsy.com/shop/maggiesfarmmaine
When we found these farm spoons, we had to include them in our gift guide. Our Maggie would love to chew on them, but we have been very happy using them to stir up soups and serve all sorts of good food at our table. These would make a great gift for any entertainers in your life. And be sure to check out their other products!
Puffin Dip Dish —https://lisamariesmadeinmaine.com/product/puffin-dip-dish/
This dip dish hand made in Maine by a husband and wife team. Not only is this puffin cute, roomy, and practical, it is also perfect for any occasion, be it a Super Bowl Party or a summer picnic! Grab one soon, though, before they sell out.
Double Dip Dinghy —https://ashcovepottery.com/double-dip-dinghy
Another brilliant gift is this double dip dinghy! Made in Harpswell and glazed to perfection, this dingy will push the party forward. The colors are gorgeous, and the double dips are made for chips and dip, cheese and crackers, or even shells and seaglass!
Seawicks Candles — https://shopseawicks.com/collections/classic-seawicks
Our houseware favorites would not be complete without some glorious candles. All of Seawicks candles are made in Maine and smell delightful. And in this time, when everyone is in the house and looking to be cozy, what better gift to get someone than a candle to pop on the table?