Here’s Your Shop-Local Milwaukee Holiday Gift Guide

A few of my favorite things, available locally, sure to please every special person in your life this holiday season.

Ever notice how some people have a special knack for giving gifts? There’s no magic formula — just search for something unique and consider what the recipient would never think to buy for herself. If you focus on high-quality, well-made items, you’ll be sure to please.

Here are a few of my favorite things for the holidays and ideas on who might enjoy them. Best of all, all of these items are available locally.

For the hostess with the most(ess)

Coqui Paperie (1770 W. Capital Drive) offers stationery products with both modern and elegant designs. I like to have a nice set of thank-you notes on hand at all times. Skip the wine – this is the perfect gift to bring to a holiday party, and it will last longer, too. If you’re looking for something extra special, the custom letterpress stationery makes a big impact and true paper-lovers will appreciate the quality. Stationery sets are available in store with standard designs and for custom order. Appointments recommended for special orders.

For the new home owner

Cozy homes need lots of texture and exotic accessories like Turkish pillows and hides from Ursa in Bay View (2534 S Kinnickinnic Ave). The Turkish Kilim pillows come directly from a maker in Turkey and are available in various sizes and patterns.  The cowhides are sourced the best quality pieces from all over the world, also available in different sizes. Purchase all these pieces in store.

Turkish Kilim pillows, $40-50 and cowhides, $90-$300, depending on size. Photo by Jenna Kashou.

For the modern lady

You might recognize Cival Collective Jewelry from the many shows and markets around town. They will have a dedicated showroom in the Brew City Salvage space (524 W. National Ave.) starting December 18th, but there are selected pieces available now while renovations on the showroom are underway.  I love the half moon textured brass earrings and several of the limited-edition holiday necklaces pictured below, all ranging from $35-50. All featured piece available online here. Brew City Salvage will have a variety of other items as well.

For the guy in your life

Stance Socks from MODA3 (320 E. Buffalo) are a great pick. They are not only warm and cozy, but they also have fun designs – everything from bold geometric patterns to Darth Vader. Stop in a MODA3 to see their robust selection of socks (and sneakers) or order online.

For the foodie

Spice blends from Penzeys are a great pantry staple for the good cooks and eaters in your life. This ethnic seasoning gift set, named after Milwaukee neighborhoods, comes neatly packaged and includes: Old World Seasoning, Brady Street Cheese Sprinkle, Galena Street Rib Rub and my favorite all-purpose seasoning, Fox Point. Order online or stop in at one of their many Milwaukee area locations. 

Ethnic Milwaukee spice set $33.99. Courtesy of

For the friend who has everything

Everyone can always use a candle. California-based P.F. Candle Co. offers richly scented soy candles in unique and organic scents like Teakwood & Tobacco, Patchouli Sweetgrass, Piñon and Black Fig. The Amber & Moss scent is my favorite – subtle, earthy and warm. The room sprays area also a great way to liven up your living space. Sold locally at Orange and Blue Co. (1809 N. Hubbard) and the Waxwing (1800 E. North Ave.)



Jenna Kashou is a writer, storyteller and journalist specializing in lifestyle and culture feature writing for print and web. She is a frequent contributor to Milwaukee Magazine, MKE Lifestyle Magazine, The Business Journal and more. She was chosen as the fifth writer in residence at the historic Pfister Hotel where she wrote about and photographed guests and events. A Milwaukee native, Kashou has lived abroad and visited far-flung locales like Greece, Portugal, Spain, Brazil, and Argentina. She has always had an enormous sense of pride for her hometown and spreads this Milwaukee love everywhere she goes.