12 Handmade and Local Gifts You Need Under Your Tree


Made in Newport, this hand-stitched gold leather pouch from Ami & Abo will add some sparkle to your holiday giving.

Several years ago, I committed to doing a large part of my holiday shopping locally. It keeps my dollars circulating in our community and it’s a great excuse to mingle around town. As an added bonus (procrastinators, rejoice!), it’s (almost) never too late to pick up a gift at a local boutique. (Even FedEx can’t deliver on time if you’re shopping on December 24!) To help you show your local love this season, we’ve rounded up 12 gifts made and sold here in Rhode Island that will please even the pickiest people on your list. And don’t worry, we won’t tell anyone if you leave it to the last minute.

1. Ami & Abo gold leather pouch

Lisette Rooney is best known as a local health and fitness guru, but in her spare time, she also designs jewelry and accessories under the moniker Ami & Abo. Her gold leather pouch (pictured at top) is hand-stitched with contrasting trim – perfect for toting little treasures. Toss it in a purse or use it on its own. Available through the Ami & Abo Etsy shop.

2. Mission x La Maison de Coco Chocolate bars

A photo posted by MISSION (@missionnpt) on

Newport’s hippest burger bar teamed up with expert chocolatier La Maison de Coco to create a fantastic line of chocolate bars just for the holiday season. Head down to Mission to pick up some of this handmade, organic, fair-trade deliciousness. Bonus: All proceeds benefit Universal Promise, a non-profit that supports international education initiatives in impoverished regions. Can a stocking stuffer get any better than that?

3. Cheap Chic

cheap-chic-caterine-milinaire Fashion is what you buy, but style is how you wear it, and Newporter Caterine Milinaire – who worked at Vogue and later became a celebrity photographer – knows a thing or two about both. Milinaire is also co-author of Cheap Chic, style Bible of the 1970s, which was reissued for it’s 40th anniversary this year. The advice and street style looks are still as inspiring as they were four decades ago. Pick up a copy at Chateau & Bungalow.  

4. Newport Bridge token necklace

newport-ri-bridge-token-necklace For the local history buff or loyal visitor, wearing a piece of Newport history is a fun way to show the love. Out-of-circulation Newport Bridge tokens are transformed into necklaces, featuring the six different designs that were used prior to the age of E-ZPass. Head in to Green Envy to acquire yours.

5. Java Skin Care Double Shot body serum

java skincare body serum

Photo by Megan Sepe.

Stephanie Additon operates Java Skin Care out of her husband’s coffee shop in Wickford, where she marries artisan coffee beans and the science behind good skin. Celebrities swear by this stuff, and you will, too. Try Java’s Double Shot body serum, which delivers smooth and silky skin without an oily residue. Order yours online or head into Green Envy to pick some up.

6. Rhode Island Rustic branch hook

RI Rustic branch hook The clever duo behind Rhode Island Rustic make gorgeous home goods including these hooks made from found branches. They’re the perfect way to cozy up your house. Available online or at these R.I. locations

7. Farmhouse Pottery honey

farmhouse-pottery-honeyPublic service announcement: We have found the world’s best honey! It comes from Vermont’s Farmhouse Pottery (coincidentally operated by a native Rhode Islander) but luckily, you don’t have to travel that far to get it. It’s available for purchase at The Cottage at Four Corners in Tiverton. We eat it by the spoonful. It’s just that good. 

8. Narragansett beer tree ornament

Narragansett_beer_ornament Here’s the perfect stocking stuffer for hipsters and old guys alike. A little bit kitschy, a little bit cool, this ‘Gansett beer ornament brings the good times to your tree. New for 2015, it joins a lineup that already includes Del’s lemonade cups, Awful Awfuls, the Big Blue Bug, Autocrat coffee syrup, and a slew of other Rhode Island icons. Order from My Little Town, or head over to Benny’s.

9. Shut Up & Relax bath salts


Sometimes you just need to pipe down and close out the world with a hot soak in a tub. Give the gift of rejuvenation when you wrap up a jar of soothing Shut Up & Relax bath salts. The detoxifying potion – made with sea and Epsom salts and essential oils – is handmade in Newport by Rachel Lessne. Head in to her shop, Green Envy, to indulge.

10. Haarstick tassel

purple tassel accessory
Anything old can be new again when you add a little sparkle to it. From local jewelry maker Haarstick, this small but mighty tassel adds the perfect amount of flair to an existing (or new!) purse. Trust us, there’s a woman in your life who needs one of these in her possession. Available at Chateau & Bungalow.

11. Kate’s Dream Crème

We’re addicted to Kate’s Dream Crème, handmade by local landscape architect Katherine Field right in her Portsmouth kitchen. Crafted from shea butter and essential oils, it can be used on hands, face, body, or wherever your skin needs a pick me up. The latest version – made especially for wintertime – delivers some serious moisture. Get it online, or at Michael Hayes.

12. E. Frances stationery

christmas-love-efrances-watercolor-cardSaying it with a card? Allow the ladies of E. Frances Paper to do the talking for you. Their adorable designs are the cutest possible way you could say “Happy Holidays.” Designed here in Newport in a former bubble gum factory, these cards know how to bring the cheer. Find them at Papers or online.

Meaghan O'Neill is a writer, editor, blogger wrangler, and the founder of Puddingstone Post. She was formerly editor-in-chief of TreeHugger, Discovery Channel online, and TLC's Parentables. Her writing has appeared in numerous print and online publications, and her book, Ready, Set, Green: 8 Weeks to Modern Eco-Living (Villard/Random House) was published in 2008. She lives in Newport, RI with her family.


Leave a Reply