As I see more and more stories about Black Friday, Cyber Monday and shopping until I drop, I'd love to remind folks to make the extra effort to support their Midwestern neighbors and their businesses by shopping locally and buying local products and services.
I asked some fellow Midwestern travel bloggers for some suggestions, and here are some fun ideas for creating a real Midwestern holiday as you shop for your loved ones...or just if you want to grab a little something for yourself this holiday season!
Exploration of The Wildbird Shack in Mt. Prospect Reveals Locally Made Items and Sense of Community-Mel urges readers of the A Little Time and a Keyboard blog to check out a cute local store in the Chicago area as they shop for seeds and other supplies and help their local avian friends weather the winter. Even as the temperatures plunge, The Wildbird Shack is a warm and welcoming place, as well as a community center for bird lovers that highlights local product and the store's own special blends of seed and other feed.
Anderson's Candy Shop (Barrington)-Working up an appetite while feeding your feathered friends? Mel says to stop by this local candy company in suburban Chicago and get a treat for yourself! Anderson's is a three-generation family business with gorgeous house-made chocolate treats in more than 30 different flavors with creamy, crunchy, chewy centers and more. Mel particularly Anderson's chocolate-dipped ginger bars and tells us that the Barrington store also participates in the town's Wine Walk events.
Made in CBUS-The Experience Columbus Web site devotes a lot of space to highlighting local dining, attractions and shopping for folks heading to Ohio's capital city for a few days. The city takes a special pride in their local businesses that include independent restaurants and locally owned boutiques, many of which offer locally made product created by Columbus artisans, craftspeople and designers. Columbus is #3 on a list of Fashionable Destinations from USA Today, and recent ranked as top Midwest Destination for visitors. Columbus has a number of special shopping districts in town like Short North Arts District and German Village, and these are just a few things you can learn more about at Experience Columbus.
Motor City Brew Tours-If you're a beer drinker and live near Detroit as I do, you know that the Motor City has a wealth of great local brews! Aimee West tells us that Motor City Beer Tours put together a package that includes a gift certificate, a Detroit Beer Book (why have I yet to see this one?) and a few other tools like a can koozie and coaster to help you experience your tasting tour knowledgeably and in style!
Holen One Farms and Preferred Popcorn from Nebraska-Check out Gretchen's story at the Odyssey Through Nebraska blog to find out about a couple of companies owned by Nebraskans who create and package local food products to sell at fairs (like the State Fair where Gretchen discovered them) and other outlets. Holen One Farms offer a range of grilling products like marinades, dipping sauces and seasoning rubs to help you put a little zip into your meals (Gretchen and her family like their Java Rib and Roast Rub). Gretchen also discovered some zippy microwavable jalapeno popcorn from Nebraska's Preferred Popcorn, which is a company run by several Nebraskan farm families.
Holiday Adventures with Adventure Santa-Cindy shares a story about a couple in Minnesota who created a toy and book combo to help share holiday adventures with the jolly holiday fellow and your children while spending time together! Baking cookies? Cutting down your own Christmas tree? Or creating a new holiday tradition with your family? This is a fun way to get your children involved and using their own imaginations to help create holiday happiness! Check it out at Traveling Adventures of a Farm Girl.
More ideas about regional holiday products, services other things Made in the Midwest? Share them here or let me know as I'll continue to share more ideas this month about how you can support local sites and businesses as you complete your holiday shopping!