Having trouble coming up with holiday gift ideas for those difficult-to-please folks on your shopping list? Consider locally made items from Wayne County, Indiana.
Whether you live here, are a former resident, are visiting or just passing through, Wayne County has a lot to choose from. You’re sure to find something for Everyone on your holiday shopping list.
First, there’s the tried and true.
Warm Glow Candles made in Centerville will fill any room with the scents of Christmas or Grandma’s kitchen or the deep woods – think of something that person might connect with and give the gift of memories evoked by the sense of smell. No-flame alternatives are available if needed and there are scents for everyone. The Warm Glow outlet store just off Interstate 70 at Centerville Road will have its big Christmas Open House on December 5-8.
If smells aren’t enough, how about the sense of taste?
Handmade caramels from Abbott’s Candies are always popular and can be shipped anywhere easily. In addition to caramels – which come in a variety of flavors – Abbott’s offers chocolates, fudge, toffee and more sweet treats. If you go to the home store/factory on East Walnut Street in Hagerstown, you might get to see candies being made by the skilled staff. They will have an open house on December 7.
Once again this year, the Richmond Art Museum is selling tins of butternut cookies from Richmond Baking Company, something of a local holiday tradition. The tin features one of RAM’s treasures, the self-portrait of famed Impressionist painter William Merritt Chase, a native of Wayne County. The cookies are tightly packed for shipping and wrapped for freshness.
But the tried and true barely scratches the surface.
Wayne County has an amazing abundance of painters, potters, authors, crafters, bakers, and makers of all kinds, whose products are readily available at shops open year-round. Soaps and lotions, necklaces and earrings, toys and blankets – you name it, and chances are somebody makes it.
A brief excursion revealed some unique and fun gifts at area shops.
For example, at Artisans and Java – part of the complex of stores forming the Warm Glow Candle Outlet – you can find wooden boxes with drawers made in unusual shapes by Marvin Heacox of Greens Fork. Does someone love butterflies? Cowboy boots? Give them a box in that shape.
Of course, that’s not all there is at Artisans and Java. You can buy clothes for infants and toddlers, paintings or photographs for your walls, leather goods, jewelry and more. Or go to the main outlet store for regional wines and food products. Everything is special, but Heacox’ boxes are different.
Kind of like the “book art” created by Denice Soldan of Richmond and sold at O’Onda Gallery & Gifts in Richmond. Soldan sculpts old books into messages – a most unusual art form. She demonstrated her craft recently at Christmas Village. “Her stuff was just like radar,” said crochet artist Mary Kay Kidwell of Richmond, who also sells her MKM products at O’Onda. “People were drawn to her things.”
Melinda Wilson, principal owner of O’Onda, said Kidwell’s hats and scarves are popular gifts for teens. She suggests woven scarves by Ray Armstrong of Richmond for both men and women, paired with a copy of Armstrong’s book of short stories, also available at the shop. Or how about “Rufus the Doofus: The Story of a Bullied Child” by Paul Rhodes of Richmond? Fermented foods from Hidden Pond Farm in Centerville? Or something truly unique: a gift certificate for an original pet portrait by J.D. Wayne of Richmond? All can be purchased at O’Onda.
Angie Emerick owns The Village Forager in Centerville. Tiny Christmas gift boxes made by Debby Holt of Centerville are perfect for jewelry or Secret Santa gifts, Emerick said. Stools made by Tammy & Tillie’s of Boston are popular among parents or grandparents of toddlers. Becky Nocton makes dream catchers and Jama Crowe fashions wreaths. Both women are from Centerville.
The Tin Cup Tea and Gift Shop in Richmond has a few locally made items on its shelves. Co-owner Rachel Hughes says the Women in History series of cards by Sara Coulter of Richmond is especially popular among young women. She also recommends Jan Jordan’s tea cozies made from vintage pillow cases. “Younger people are drinking more tea and they like the retro look,” Hughes said.
Unlike these other shops, Halo Handmade Artisan Gallery in Richmond sells only locally or regionally made items. The stock changes frequently, said co-owner Jennifer Crawford. “You just never know what you’re going to find in here.”
Right now, you can find planters made by June Kinsinger called “hypertufa.” The porous containers are great for succulents and can, because water flows through them, can be planted directly in the ground if desired. Kinsinger also makes wool dryer balls in a variety of colors. Crawford says wooden flags made by Richmond veteran Josh Hunsinger are especially popular among men and that many of her artisans will do custom orders.
If you’re in town between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. on a Saturday, stop by the Richmond Farmers Market at the senior center. There are always crafters at the market, but this time of year there are even more.
Check out the 3-inch tall Star Wars figures crocheted by Michele Ray of Richmond. Pick up a hot chocolate envelope by Stacy and Taylor’s Sweet Treats. It’s just the right size to add a gift card, said Stacy Brown. Not different enough? How about some Fin Del Mundo Hot Sauce made by Katlin Rauthe and Walter Treminio of Richmond? They create a variety of sauces ranging from mild to smoking hot from locally grown peppers.
Still not enough choices? Look around more at the farmers’ market. Go to the Richmond Art Museum and browse through their Holiday Art Mart. Explore every inch of the Warm Glow Candle Outlet.
And stop by the Old National Road Welcome Center at 5701 E. National Road in Richmond. It’s home to the Wayne County Indiana Convention & Tourism Bureau, so you can get information on how to find all the shops listed above and more. This unique stop is also home to a gift shop that features an assortment of locally made items. There is something for everyone on your shopping list, from jewelry, paintings, pottery, books and so much more! A trip to the Welcome Center is a one-stop-shop! Mention this blog and receive 25% off one non-consignment item - an even better reason to pay them a visit!