Last-minute gift guide 2022

By Lyndsie Kiebert-Carey
Reader Staff

Each Christmas edition for the past couple of years, the Reader has published a last-minute gift guide for those locals who, as one Facebook meme I saw today put it, “waited until Mary’s water broke to go shopping.”

Of course, the silver lining of gift procrastination is the natural consequence of having to shop locally. Amazon is good, but not Christmas-is-two-days-away good. 

I pride myself on finding the perfect balance between supporting makers and business owners that I admire and buying gifts that my friends and family will enjoy. This is achieved by actually using and consuming local products year round, so that when December arrives, I feel equipped to purchase gifts I’m proud to give.

Perhaps the greatest hack of last-minute gifting is to look inside oneself. More likely, it’s not to overthink it. 

Hope Soaps’ Merrymint variety. Photo by Lyndsie Kiebert-Carey.

Here are some of my favorite local goods to give, and where to find them.

Really incredible soap

It is impossible to overstate how quality soap has changed my life. Since I started using handcrafted, natural bars, the entire shower experience has been elevated. From the aroma to the gentleness on my skin, I must stop short of writing a love poem to good soap: one of my life’s simplest and most transformative joys.

Hope Soaps are absolute luxury in a small, sustainable package. While I may or may not have a direct line to the maker and ordered several soaps ahead of time to mail to friends across the country, last-minute shoppers can get their fix by visiting Azalea Handpicked Style (322 N. First Ave.) or Annie’s Orchard Antique Store (54029 Highway 200 in Clark Fork).

Hope Soaps’ seasonal line just arrived in time for Christmas, featuring such varieties as Chocolate Orange and my personal favorite, Winter Woods: fir, rosemary, lime and spearmint.

Believe me when I say that you cannot go wrong in giving really, really good soap.

Something to eat

The older I get, the more excited I get when given something that, firstly, I would have never thought to try, and secondly, that won’t end up collecting dust once it’s gone.

Enter: pickled goodies.

I finally made my way into The Pickled Kitchen (312 N. First Ave.) on a recent snowy night and successfully purchased gifts for five people on my list. I was pleasantly surprised by the variety, which expanded beyond just traditional pickles or pickled vegetables. Other local makers are also represented at the store, offering a selection of other canned goods (hello, pepper jelly) and handmade kitchen items.

The jars I got at The Pickled Kitchen will keep if the recipients want to save their pickled present in the pantry for a rainy day, or they can be easily shared in a holiday setting. For my own sake, I hope they share.

Bread and butter pickles and sweet baby corn from The Pickled Kitchen in Sandpoint. Photo by Lyndsie Kiebert-Carey.

Something to drink

It’s no secret that Sandpoint is pretty much the ideal location for holiday shoppers who want to bequeath their loved ones with the gift of craft beer. Either canned or growlered, there’s no shortage of breweries to choose from, and beer rarely falls flat with the hard-to-buy-for men in my life. The same can be said for wine, which I’ve been thankful to receive on occasion, especially when the giver is supporting a winery they personally love.

My personal local pick for those hoping to inject a little liquid fun into Christmas would be to make a mixed pack of brews at Idaho Pour Authority (203 Cedar St.) and tailor it specifically for the beer lover on your list. For those who crave variety, jump around the coolers and make it funky. For those less adventurous (as in, my own light-beer-loving husband), grab a couple craft pilsners, lagers and blondes to encourage some holiday boldness.

Of course, not everyone partakes, and it’s not always safe to assume they do. For those people, I recommend a local coffee. You can’t go wrong with a bag of Evans Brothers (524 Church St.) or, my personal favorite, Scotchman’s Coffee (302 E. 4th Ave. in Clark Fork).

A piece of old North Idaho

If you haven’t yet made it into the Bonner County Museum Guild (300 N. First Ave. in the Panida’s north storefront), consider this shopping excursion your ultimate opportunity. The shop offers lots of handmade items (candles, ornaments, toys, stockings) and, perhaps setting it apart from other downtown shops, vintage and historical items that help tell the story of North Idaho. The guild is likely to be a shoo-in for finding gifts for tried-and-true locals on your list — plus, all sales benefit the museum’s mission to preserve our area’s history.

An actual need

Everyone knows that it’s been an expensive year. It’s possible that some people on your list would appreciate having a basic need filled. I know I’d be more than happy to receive a gift card for gas or groceries, or maybe a certificate for an oil change or hair cut.

Never be afraid to ask, especially those closest to you, what they might actually need this year. Besides, this is last-minute shopping. Make it easy on yourself.

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