2015 Gift Guide: It's the Little Things

From fair-trade to Sweden-made, these local petite presents are great for everyone on your list—big or small.

The holiday season is all about the little things, from snowflakes and hot cocoa to handmade cards and carols. We couldn’t agree more, so we explored local shops in St. Louis Park to put together a list of little gifts that will bring lots of joy this time of year. Great for stuffing into a stocking (yours or someone else’s), these little gifts will prompt a big response from gift openers this season.

Food +Kitchen

Mini Oil & Vinegar Pairings

Olive oil and vinegar is a delicious duo, and these mini pairings are perfect for salad dressings, dipping sauces and marinades. Leslie Martin, sales associate, talks about a bold pairing favorite of hot Baklouti green chili oil with chocolate balsamic. Whether you’re buying for bold or traditional cooking needs, Gourmet Oil & Vinegar provides hundreds of choices and allows for sampling so you can be absolutely sure of your choice. $12 per pair. Gourmet Oil & Vinegar, 3840 Grand Way; 952.303.4220; gourmetoilandvinegar.com

MN Nice Spice

Minnesota nice gets even sweeter with these globally inspired, locally made organic spice mixes for the amateur or professional chef in your life. From the Twin Cities Grub Rub to the St. Croix curry, these spices are handcrafted right here in Minnesota and come in eight fun and delicious varieties. Bonus: Gift-giving gives back, as the proceeds help support local artists with disabilities. $7.99 each. Moss Envy, 3056 Excelsior Blvd., Mpls.; 612.374.4581; mossenvy.com

Wine Wipes

Apricot Lane is looking out for you and your wine-loving friends this season—Wine Wipes are compact and slip right into your pocket or purse to wipe and protect your teeth from stains before enjoying a glass of wine. Or use them after a tasting. With just one swipe, you can wipe that wine off your smile. Made in small batches in the U.S., these wipes were designed to freshen your smile without interfering with wine tasting. $8. Apricot Lane, 1669 West End Blvd.; 952.582.1951; apricotlaneboutique.com

Home

Swedish Dishcloth

Sold at Iverson’s Imports for the last five years, this dishcloth has a variety of uses. Co-owner Tom Iverson loves the unconventional ways to use the cloths: “People will wipe off their windshields with them; they are very versatile.” Tiny and mighty, these cloths can absorb up to 15 times their own weight. Multiple designs available. $7. Iverson’s Imports, 5101 Excelsior Blvd.; 952.545.6051; iversonsimports.com

Annie Sloan’s Chalk Paint and Sample Wax

A bestseller, this paint requires no prior sanding or priming before using it on projects from frames to furniture. Pair the sample 4-oz. can with a sample container of soft wax for the perfect DIY duo for the craft lover in your life. Paint available in 32 colors. 4 oz. paint $12.95, 120 mL wax $15.95. Mama’s Happy, 4426 Excelsior Blvd.; 763.777.3899; mamashappy.com

Gems

Twister Bracelets

These bright bracelets crafted by Italian designer Carolina Bucci will make you twirl with joy. Made from sterling silver and covered in rose or yellow gold, Twister bracelets can stand alone or be stacked with other colors for a more playful accessorizing approach. Magnetic closure. $250 each. Max’s, 3826 Grand Way; 952.922.8364; stylebymax.com

Agate Coasters

Like snowflakes, no two agate coasters are alike. Thinly sliced and rimmed in gold, these coasters are have a modern vibe with a hint of antique. Andy Higgins, owner of Ciel, encourages customers to “class up any drink by putting it on these rocks.” $17 each. Ciel Loft & Home, 4416 Excelsior Blvd.; 952.922.2747; cielloftandhome.com

Leisure

DryGuy GreenHEAT 2-in-1

No more numb hands or dead phones with this two-in-one hand warmer and phone charger. Plug it in to charge it up, then carry it in your pocket or mitten for warmth on the slopes or trails this season. Provides about five hours of run-time. $39.95. Hoigaard’s, Inc., 5425 Excelsior Blvd.; 952.929.1351; hoigaards.com

Minnesota Bottle Opener

Made locally, these Minnesota-shaped 14-gauge stainless steel bottle openers are both practical and personal. Available at Moss Envy as a wall-mounted bottle opener or a keychain heart opener, these serve as useful accessories or permanent installments to showcase that Minnesota pride. Wall-mounted opener $24, keychain opener $14. Moss Envy, 3056 Excelsior Blvd., Mpls.; 612.374.4581; mossenvy.com

Lab Glass

“Made just like your science beaker, these thin and durable beauties can take the heat, the cold, or even a toddler,” says Ciel owner Andy Higgins. With several sizes and designs available, and sold both individually and in pre-wrapped boxes of six, lab glass is tough enough to handle the kids’ table this holiday season, and trendy enough to impress your most distinguished guests. $5-$8 each. Ciel Loft & Home, 4416 Excelsior Blvd.; 952.922.2747; cielloftandhome.com

Luci Inflatable Solar Lantern

Eco-friendly, inflatable and rechargeable, this award-winning solar lantern is sure to brighten someone’s day. Packaged for outdoor enthusiasts, this lantern is available in white light or in a color-changing variety with seven different color settings. $14.99 for white light; $24.99 for color-changing lantern. Hoigaard’s, Inc., 5425 Excelsior Blvd.; 952.929.1351; hoigaards.com

GSI Outdoors mini eXpresso

A necessity for the outdoorsy coffee lover in your life, this mini espresso maker provides gourmet caffeinated experiences in the backcountry and beyond. With a lightweight, small frame, the mini eXpresso won’t slow down your adventures. $39.95. Hoigaard’s, Inc., 5425 Excelsior Blvd.; 952.929.1351; hoigaards.com

Blue Q Socks

With blunt, humorous statements, these socks have remained a bestseller during the holidays at Guild. “Customers love them, because they say what you can’t say,” Guild co-owner Sheila Leiter says. Men’s $11, women’s $10. Guild Collective, 4414 Excelsior Blvd.; 952.378.1815; guildcollectivellc.com

Vintage Men’s Pipes

These classic wood pieces may be more of a decoration than a wearable, but they’re sure to please any pipe smokers or collectors on your holiday list. Choose from a variety of unique designs. $15. Guild Collective, 4414 Excelsior Blvd.; 952.378.1815; guildcollectivellc.com

Family, Kids & Pets

Melting Elf and Snowman

Do you want to build a snowman? And watch it magically melt—then rebuild and repeat? Endless fun for kids of all ages, these little toys are a festive and quirky addition to your gift list this season that kids will love! Ages 4 and up. $14.95. Bean + Ro, 4617 Excelsior Blvd.; 952.303.3411; grandframes.com

Fair-Trade Finger Puppets

Roosters and skunks and hippos, oh my! These tiny, adorable stitched finger puppets come to life in an instant and are great for on-the-go puppet shows. With more than 15 little eco-friendly critters to choose from, these puppets are fair-trade and individually handcrafted in Nepal. $2.49. Moss Envy, 3056 Excelsior Blvd., Mpls.; 612.374.4581; mossenvy.com

Mini SET Game

Having won over 35 best game awards, this mini version of the original SET game is a fast-paced game for the entire family. SET is easily to learn and builds cognitive and logical reasoning skills as you play, whether you are 6 or 86. Ages 6 and up. $5. Creative Kidstuff, 1665 West End Blvd.; 952.540.0022; creativekidstuff.com

“World’s Smallest” Toys

Designed like the originals, this collection includes some of your childhood favorite toys at a fraction of their original size—including an Etch-A-Sketch, Rubik’s cube, yo-yo, and Perplexus. These mini games are just as engaging as their larger lookalikes, and are great for on-the-go fun. $4.95-$9.95. Creative Kidstuff, 1665 West End Blvd.; 952.540.0022; creativekidstuff.com

Sweaty Bands

Fashionable and functional, Sweaty Bands hold hair back and don’t compromise on style while doing so. “These really work,” Caitlin Hart, sales associate says. “I love them!” Designed specifically for athletes, Sweaty Bands are made in the U.S. and come in a large variety of colors, designs and widths. $15. Michael Lynne’s Tennis Shop, 5011 Excelsior Blvd.; 952.926.1520; mltennis.com

Z ART Bowls

Locally made, these little bowls are made by an animal lover, for animal lovers. Subtle and elegant, many customers choose to use them as a vessel for dips and sauces, but they can also serve as a food bowl for your furry friend. Multiple animal designs available. $14.99. Bone Marche, 3777 Park Center Blvd.; 952.929.2019; lundsandbyerlys.com