PDD Gift Guide 2013

Get your commerce on. Here is PDD’s annual reminder that the real purpose of Christmas is to obtain material things … as long as they are locally made.

This being the fifth year of the PDD Gift Guide, most of you know the drill by now, but for uninitiated newbies the concept is simple: The folks behind the curtain at PDD select 15 locally-based holiday gift ideas. The community at large is free to add other suggestions and links in the comment section below, with some effort to not be too redundant and repeat items from the Gift Guides of Christmases Past.

Duluth Pack Growler Carrier

Duluth Pack and Fitger’s Brewhouse teamed up to make a growler pack that doubles as a koozie, and also has D-rings that let you attach it to a carabiner, bike or strap it over your shoulder. It can be ordered from both Duluth Pack or the Brewhouse Beer Store.

Re-Ewes Gear

Re-Ewes Gear of Duluth makes mittens from recycled wool, angora and cashmere, lined with recycled fleece. Available at Stone’s Throw Gallery in Bayfield, Sproutlings and Trailfitters.

Miel Gift Bag

Four generations of Walters family beekeeping, from southern Wisconsin to Madagascar to Duluth, lead to the start of Miel Duluth. The company makes lotions, lip balm, soaps, honey and other gifts made from beeswax and honey, available at several retail locations.

Mike and Jen’s Cocoa

The Packingham family in Duluth’s Lakeside neighborhood attempted to develop “the best cocoa mix on the planet” with Mike and Jen’s Cocoa Mixes. The business was launched as a way to cope with their grandfather’s cancer diagnosis. Fifty percent of proceeds go to the American Cancer Society.

Wild Bill’s Run DVD

Purchase Wild Bill’s Run for someone who lives out-of-state to show there’s a dark side to Minnesota do-gooders. And you can feel good knowing when you buy this DVD, you’ll be supporting future locally made documentaries about competitive jigsaw puzzling and Viking lore.

Ron Benson Art Glass

As part of the Greater Downtown Council’s Pop Up Store program, glass artist Ron Benson has teamed up with printmaker Betsy Bowen and painter Lee Englund in a space at 317 W. Superior St. on the Skywalk level. You can see a list of all the pop-up stores at this link.

Duluth Preserving Co.

Duluth Preserving Co. makes jams and preserves from fruits that represent the Great Lakes — strawberries, cranberries, plums, apples and blueberries. You can find them at the Blue Heron Trading Co., Duluth Coffee Co., Food Service Marketplace, Duluth Kitchen Co. and Gardening Junky.

Nessi Knits Hats

Nessi Knits Hats and warm, comfy hats designed by none other than Duluth’s first lady, Laura Ness, and produced at a local knitting mill. They are available at Duluth Pack, Sproutlings, Electric Fetus, Ski Hut and Happy Space.

Big Little Mother

Two of our favorites, Duluth cartoonist Chris Monroe and Twin Cities writer Kevin Kling, team up again for a sequel to Big Little Brother. Their humor and storytelling styles complement each other nicely. It’s available at local bookstores or directly from the publisher, Wild Rumpus of Minneapolis.

Locally Laid T-Shirts

It’s the perfect thing to wear to any 2014 Super Bowl party. Locally Laid Egg Co. has done some of the best looking, fun promotions around, and has a good chance of getting a television ad during the Super Bowl. Show your support for the real local team.

Zipper Pulls

Duluth’s Amy Burke uses a scroll saw to cut her collection of animal-shaped zipper pulls. Burke’s Sawdust Works also offers a wide variety of other animal-shaped wood products.

Local Music

It’s just too hard to pick one suggestion from the long list of album releases from local bands in 2013, so we’ll have to refer you to the still-being-updated PDD post that lists all of them.

Bent Paddle Brewing Hydroflask Growler

An insulated growler! Beer! In the woods! From the fine folks at Bent Paddle Brewing in Duluth’s friendly West End.


Cajeta is a caramel sauce made from goat milk, often used to drizzle over apple pie, cheesecake or brownies. It can also be used for dipping apples or topping ice cream. The milk comes from alpine dairy goats on the Berube family’s Split Rock Farms in the Split Rock Township.

Shaped Cutting Boards

Epicurean in West Duluth continues to make chopping and shopping more fun. It has several collections of shaped cutting boards, including Wild Gourmet (shown here), Modern Animal, States and Hipster.


Shane Bauer

about 11 years ago

Here's what's new at Happy Space on USA-made or eco-friendly T-shirts. The "I Bike Duluth" is on bamboo (super soft). All net proceeds from the CHUM shirt go right to CHUM, online only at LaughingstockDesign.biz.

Everything in the store is locally made. Just got a new batch of Marvelous Melissa's cat toys, mittens and slippers made from recycled materials, Nessie Knits hats, Sally Cavallaro's jewelry (now with necklaces), updated stock of Nate Lindstrom's photo prints, and updated display of Clover Valley Candles!

And of course, we planned our entire storefront around the "Darth Bridger" shirt, but I didn't include a photo - my effort to not be too redundant (see last year's post).

Thanks for all the local support during the holidays - it's by far our best time of the year! Free gifts for you all on Small Biz Sat.

Paul Lundgren

about 10 years ago

Personally, I think the best gift item of 2013 is Todd Eckart's 1968 Chrysler Newport.

Lance Reasor

about 10 years ago

Well, as long as we're suggesting locally made perfect unique gifts for Perfect Duluth Day, I think Pajama Warmer is the perfect addition to any holiday shopping list!


about 10 years ago

Dear Santa:  as you know, I have been very Nice this year.  I have not been Naughty, as a certain Paul Lundgren has so obviously been.  It is clear that I deserve the 1968 Newport.  You know, Santa, that my life has not been the same since the wheel became dislocated from my 1967 Mustang and I could not afford to fix it.  Ditto my father's 1950--something Thunderbird convertible that my mother sold WITHOUT ASKING my brother and me if we wanted to have it! WHICH WE MOST CERTAINLY DID!!!

Please, Santa, I deserve this car.

Paul Lundgren

about 10 years ago

There's more than one hydroflask in this here brewtown, by the way. In addition to Bent Hop, Fitger's Brewhouse has one.

Collect all two!


about 10 years ago

Not sure how you stuff an e-book into a stocking, but Eric Chandler's book  Outside Duluth is marked down to a dollar until Christmas.


about 10 years ago

This 11.5-by-16.5-inch poster commemorating the stone bridges along Seven Bridges Road in Duluth is printed on archival matte paper and depicts several fine photographs of the bridges set against an original 1910 architectural drawing of Bridge #7.

The striking stone-faced bridges were designed by the architectural landscape firm of Morell & Nichols to replace the dilapitated, decade-old rustic wooden bridges built by Samuel F. Snively, the road's original builder. The new bridges and newly-improved parkway were officially opened to the public on July 6, 1912. Eighty-four years later, in 1996, the city of Duluth began a restoration program on all the stone bridges along Seven Bridges Road that was completed in 2007. Hopefully these famous Duluth bridges will endure another century.

Poster looks great framed. Cost is $19.99 plus sales tax and $7 domestic shipping/handling. Click on photo to see full image.  Send inquiries to: markryan (at) earthlink (dot) net. Thanks.


about 10 years ago

A couple of suggestions for fans of high-school musicians:

The Denfeld High School Jazz Band appears on the Minnesota Beatle Project Vol. 5, with "Please Please Me."  (Duluth's Actual Wolf is also featured with "Your Mother Should Know."

CDs and vinyl sold directly through Denfeld earn $5 each for the Jazz Band. E-mail michael.roemhildt @ duluth.k12.mn.us to order. Also available at Electric Fetus. 

The students at the Music Resource Center at Sacred Heart put together a compilation of songs they've written and recorded through the program. The CDs are available at Electric Fetus and Duluth Coffee Co.


about 10 years ago

Denfeld rocks that song BTW. Stunning.

Paul Lundgren

about 10 years ago

Louis Jenkins put out a book of new and selected prose poems in September on his Will o' the Wisp label. It includes all of the poems from the Mark Rylance play Nice Fish, which had a great run at the Guthrie Theater this past spring.

Paul Lundgren

about 10 years ago

As part of Big Top Chautauqua's Fall Fund Drive, dozens of pieces of memorabilia have been put up on eBay. The auction ends on Dec. 15.

The big item this year is a one-of-a-kind drawing by Brandi Carlile. It has a Close Encounters of the Third Kind theme and features the Big Top tent and Carlile's band members. Bidding was at $127.50 as of Dec. 9.

Paul Lundgren

about 10 years ago

There is also this vintage "bone straight razor."

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