Back again this year with a renewed emphasis on buying local and sustainability, our local gift shopping guide has more than a sleighful of creations, inspirations, and cultivations, altogether serving to circulate as much festive cheer as we can around our neighbors, friends, and loved ones.
Montana Arts Pottery — Imagine firing up a small pottery enterprise in a converted Bozeman chicken coop in 1980, bringing up the heat with four children to feed and a spinning wheel of debt… Somehow, Jennie and Dave Lockie sweated it out, as did their business. After walking through that kiln, you know their business plan is boilerplate and the crafts are top-notch. Their wares are also microwave- and dishwasher-safe, with lead-free glazes. www.mtartspottery.com/
BZNFD schwag — Speaking of heat, the Bozeman Fire Department has T-shirts, ball caps, knit hats, patches, youth sizes—they’re even selling coffee beans! The local F.D. is clearly bringing out their A-game for this year’s holiday season, and it shouldn’t surprise anyone to learn that our fair city’s official heroes are donating 100% of the coffee proceeds to a leukemia charity. Inquire at Firehouse #3, next to the Dino Park and just off West Oak Street.
Béquet Caramels — A dandy stocking stuffer, if you can resist the creamy melt-in-your-mouth chewiness until the big holiday, Béquet Caramels are handmade in Bozeman. Available in 11 varieties including Chipotle, Chocolate, and my favorite, Celtic Sea Salt, you can find these delicious candies at the Bozeman Co-op, Museum of the Rockies, or online at www.bequetconfections.com/. Certified Kosher and gluten free.
Red Ants Pants workwear — Founder of the annual music festival attracting stars like Lyle Lovett and Meryl Haggard, Sarah Calhoun’s Red Ants Pants make work pants that actually fit women. Produced in Seattle, Denver, and Montana’s own White Sulphur Springs, these pants are the toughest thing on the market for all of your cowgirl, construction, logging, and gardening needs. Find a pair online at redantspants.com/ or visit “the anthill” in WSS.
Fatbikes – While Bozeman’s bike-friendly reputation has been overstated by some publications, our claim as one of the nation’s best winter towns is irrefutable. The local trail system is, ahem, nothing short of supercalifragilistic, so the two-wheel trend coming here is like a dry fuse thirsty for a match. Take one for a spin and you, too, could be shouting out hyperbole. (At this time, we couldn't find anybody locally who rents fatbikes, but the crew at Summit Bike & Ski has one avaiable for demo...)
Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) membership — CSAs allow you to invest in a local farmer's operations in exchange for a box of picked-at-the-optimal-moment fruits and veggies, fresh herbs and flowers, or local cheeses and meats, typically available for your table on a weekly basis. Information and listing of local CSAs can be found on the Bozeman Co-op's website, though we’re particularly smitten with the produce from Dean Williamson's Three Hearts Farm. threeheartsfarm.wordpress.com/
West Paw Design – Bozeman’s apex status as a dog-town has the documentation, as has the howling success of West Paw Design, founded here by Spencer Williams. With products for canines and felines, 100% of which are made in the U.S., and 98% of them are made just off Frontage Road. Sustainability has been part of the program since inception, and West Paw Design was honored as a “Beneficial Corporation” in the summer of 2013, putting them at the top of the globally-minded set with big names like Patagonia, Ben & Jerry’s, and Seventh Generation. www.westpawdesign.com/
Photos by Dan Armstrong – Doesn’t matter if your walls are covered with some 70s geometric wallpaper, or whitewashed clapboard, new plaster, or even painted paneling, Armstrong’s coveted photographs are sure to brighten up the room. He’s a Montana native embedded in the mountain sports scene, a longtime friend and contributor for the Magpie (his images are common on our website and weekly newsletters), and while that’s fine and good, it’s the lens-veteran’s imagery that deserves a salute. strobotstudios.com/p/home
BOOKS for all our dear bibliophiles – It’s all about your genre of preference this Christmas. Local epicureans are raving about Davies’s “A Bird Hunter’s Table,” and salivating over Seabring Davis’s follow-up cookbook, “A Taste of Montana.” “Sweet Thunder” has Ivan Doig’s army of fans falling in. Coffee table decorators favor Anker/National Geographic’s “The Call of Everest,” and those in perpetual search of the next dimension should take a tour of “America’s National Parks Pop-up Book.” For the tykes, we hear “Santa is Coming to Bozeman” is super-popular (even if we’re not convinced the author ever set foot in town). www.countrybookshelf.com
The Yellowstone Glove Company – They are, technically speaking, based in Idaho Falls, Idaho. But they use regionally sourced hides for their gloves—available in goatskin, buckskin or elkskin—and their seamless palm/seamless back “Yellowstone pattern” has been the company cornerstone since 1960. Whether you’re shoveling cold smoke off the walk or stuck in a ditch as the thermo goes Arctic, the lined winter gloves are more than handy. www.yellowstonegloves.com/
New tunes from The Hooligans – Bozeman’s longest running roots rock/Americana/blues jam band has eked enough time between “kids, wives, funerals, dogs, sunsets, powder days, friends lost and paradise found” to put together another album. We’re looking forward to the “Beggars & Thieves” release party which, well, they’ve scratched and rescheduled enough that we now have no clue when and where it is… You get the picture; these’re real, live hooligans. www.hooligansmontana.com/home