It seems like some years the holiday season sneaks up on us. One moment we're biking up the Rattlesnake in shorts, the next it's 6 degrees and we're hustling downtown for Small Business Saturday. Well, bundle up, friends. It's time to attack the aisles, rock the cash registers, make a gift list and check it twice.
To help you hit the holiday season running, we've compiled 28 different suggestions—sorted by category and targeted for those most likely on your list—almost exclusively from locally owned small businesses. So, forget Black Friday, circumvent Cyber Monday and follow our guide to a stress-free shopping spree.
- Cover illustration by Max Mahn
FOOD & DRINK
To: The coffee lover
Black Coffee Roasting Company bundle
One of the great things about Black Coffee Roasting is the company's habit of greeting each season with specialty beans. The Hunt made its annual appearance shortly before hunting season, complete with its trademark Ralph Steadman label. The holidays ushered in the first bags of Drift earlier this month, and BCRC is primed for the release of an Indonesian green coffee housed in rye whiskey barrels from Missoula's own Montgomery Distillery. Act quickly enough and you can bundle all three into a nice gift package that will keep any coffee lover warm and well caffeinated into the New Year.
How much: All three specialty bags cost $47 total
Where to find it: Black Coffee Roasting Company, 525 E. Spruce St.
To: The aspiring mixologist
Fee Brothers bitters
Bitters are an essential part of many classic cocktails. Go beyond the basic Angostura and check out the delicious flavors offered by Fee Brothers, like plum, cherry, black walnut and Aztec chocolate. Be sure to include the lemon bitters, which is versatile enough to liven up just about any beverage, from a classic G&T to a can of cheap lager.
How much:$9-$9.45 per bottle
Where to find it: Grizzly Liquor, 110 W. Spruce St.
To: The home chef
Cutting board from Backcountry Woodworking
If there's one thing Montanans do well, it's woodworking. Want proof? Check out the diverse line of cutting boards from Whitefish-based Backcountry Woodworking. Functional and ornate, these kitchen essentials will dress up even the messiest countertop. And for a particularly local look, go for the Trout Plank, a maple slab with that unmistakable fishtail flourish. When it comes to gifts, a cutting board might sound about as exciting as a pair of socks, but what Backcountry Woodworking has to offer will turn that preconception on its head.
How much: Backcountry Woodworking cutting boards start at $28; the Trout Plank goes for $120
Where to find it: backcountrywoodworkingmt.com
To: The frosty relative
Just because the planet is heating up doesn't mean your beer has to. Keep a long-neck bottle of brewski frosty cold to the last drop with a Chillsner. The manufacturer, Corkcicle, says the stainless steel tube is filled with a proprietary gel mixture and just needs to be stuck in the freezer for 45 minutes before being slipped inside a bottle of beer.
How much: $16
Where to find it: The Green Light, 301 N. Higgins Ave.
To: The wine aficionado
Wine barrel coat rack
Ian Crawford started selling his distinctive Vinoture wine barrel bar stools at the People's Market six years ago, just as reclaimed furniture was soaring in popularity. The wine barrel coat rack is his newest product, though it has the vintage look of something out of a 19th-century farmhouse. It's a worldly piece: the barrel wood comes from France, the metal hooks from Italy and the brackets are USA-made iron. It's also probably one of the most affordable items at Vinoture's new storefront in downtown Missoula, making it the perfect gift for those who like fine furniture as much as they like fine wine.
How much: $100
Where to find it: Vinoture, 101 S. Higgins Ave., #5
To: The classy backpacker
Smuggling booze into the backcountry is one of the great American pastimes, and sipping it on the Clark Fork is one of Missoula's. Sometimes this very sophisticated activity requires very sophisticated alcohol, and that's where the Vinnebago comes in. The insulated steel thermos can keep an entire bottle of Sauvignon Blanc chilled for an obscene 25 hours. Don't ask us how it works, just admire the sleek stainless steel and give it to someone who will invite you along to his or her next randonnee.
How much: $29
Where to find it: Liquid Planet, 223 N. Higgins Ave.