If you can’t beat ‘em, start shopping!

11/11/2010 Back To Blog

Has anyone else noticed that the holiday season began a lot earlier this year? In the past we had at least until Thanksgiving before we were inundated with festive music, Christmas décor and of course, store sales. I can’t say that I agree with jump starting the festivities, but all this tinsel and Tony Bennett has me making my list and not thinking twice. If you, like me, are sick of the same old shopping routine and buying the same old gifts year after year, consider making a destination shopping spree to Fairbanks, where you’ll find plenty of options to fulfill the visions of Alaska-made products dancing in your loved ones heads.

Start out at the Fairbanks Holiday Marketplace held Nov. 12-14 at the Carlson Center, featuring 175 specialty shops with literally thousands of holiday gift ideas including jewelry, furs, original artwork, birch bowls, fleece, pottery, etched glassware and more.

For the chef who has everything, The Great Alaskan Bowl Company in Fairbanks creates solid, one-piece wooden bowls crafted out of sustainably harvested Alaska Birch. The wooden bowls range from functional kitchen bowls, gift bowls filled with Alaska-made items or decorative bowls with unique carvings. The perfect pairing for this gift is an ulu knife. If you haven’t discovered the glory of cutting with an ulu knife yet, the rounded blade is great for chopping, slicing or trimming the crusts of kids’ sandwiches, and the handle is made of a variety of natural materials, such as jade, ivory, bone or hardwood.

Also based in the Fairbanks area, Moosetard specializes in unique gourmet mustards and syrups made with Alaska berries, wildflowers, spruce syrup and even Alaska-brewed beer. For instance, the Fairbanks Lager-Smoked mustard is made with Fairbanks Lager from Silver Gulch brewing company and naturally smoked with whole brown and yellow mustard seeds in an Alaska smoke house. It pairs perfectly with turkey, ham, salmon or other holiday staples, but I recommend spooning it directly out of the jar.

The Santa Claus House in North Pole allows you to send a personalized letter from Santa (available in eight languages) mailed directly from Santa Claus House and features a genuine North Pole postmark and Santa’s Official Mail seal. Letters also include a keepsake photo of Santa and Mrs. Claus and an official “Santa’s Good List” sticker (pending approval, of course). The Santa Claus House is open 12 months a year and has an endless supply of classic collectibles, North Pole apparel, “Made in Alaska” treats and more. For added flair, have your gift shipped directly from Santa himself (or from you) for Christmas, birthdays or any time of year.

When shopping for that perfect Alaska gift, be sure it’s authentic and help support the local economy by looking for the “Made in Alaska” symbol certifying that a resident artist, craftsperson or manufacturer made the article in Alaska. Likewise, the Silver Hand emblem guarantees the article was handcrafted by Alaska Natives. Wherever possible, art or craft items bearing this emblem have been made with Alaska materials.

We hope you’ll join us at the Fairbanks Princess Lodge for a pre, pre-holiday shopping weekend in Fairbanks. And if you can’t find the perfect Alaska-made gift for someone on your list, why not just invite them up for a holiday fairytale of their own—white Christmas, reindeer, ice sculptures and northern lights included.