Your Guide to Shopping Local for Holiday Decorations

We found nine holiday finds from our favorite Milwaukee shops. 

READY TO DECK THE HALLS OF YOUR PAD? This year, skip the big-box stores and support these local retailers instead. From Scandi-inspired mini birch trees to whimsical ornaments, along with haute Hanukkah décor, here are nine unique items that go way beyond the traditional and will make your home look classy and glam.

1. Cream Mercury Glass Ornament Garland


Strung like garland, these glass ornaments — in a mix of neutrals, from cream to silver — cast a cozy glow in whatever room you put them.  They work well on a fireplace mantel but could also dress up a bookshelf or floating shelves.

Photo courtesy of Vintage Barn Chicks

2. Artistic Tree of Life Menorah

Photo courtesy of Torah Gift


At Wisconsin’s largest gift shop selling Jewish items for the home, several menorahs are sold, including this one in antique silver for a sculptural twist on the traditional design.



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3. Én Gry & Sif Felt Mistletoe Wreath


For a wreath you can use year after year, and not have to waste mistletoe and evergreen. This Denmark-designed product (7 inches for the small, and 10 inches for the large) comes from a Fair Trade certified company that employs female artisans in Nepal.

Photo courtesy of Olson House

4. Folk Design Christmas Tree Set


Inject some Scandinavian-inspired minimalism into your holiday-scape with this set of three birch-cut trees emblazoned with folk designs. The set comes with a blue, blush and pink tree, expanding beyond the typical green-and-red tree sets. 

Photo courtesy of Curated Home Decor

5. Holiday Throw Pillows


Whether you swoon for buffalo check or another classic pattern (plaid), incorporating a few holiday-themed pillows into the living room is an easy update.

Photo courtesy of G. Home

6. “Smooth Setting for a Sailing Sun” by Shelby Keefe


Depicting Milwaukee scenes, oil painter Shelby Keefe’s works are familiar to many — but not necessarily this unique ornament she’s designed. It’s adapted from her painting of the same name, putting the Santiago Calatrava-designed Quadracci Pavilion front and center in a shot from on the water.

Photo courtesy of Milwaukee Art Museum

7. Cocktail Shrimp Ornament

Photo courtesy of URSA


A riff on the cocktail shrimp many Milwaukeeans enjoy on Christmas Eve, this glass ornament is so artful it need not be resigned to only the tree. You might consider adding one to a holiday platter, just for fun.

8. Hanukkah Trays


Perfect for both utilitarian and decorating reasons during Hanukkah, you can store your keys in these or stock with nuts or candies for when guests arrive.

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9. Tabletop Houses and Trees


Skewing from metallics and jewel tones, the wispy, soft trees and all-white homes would easily dress up a sideboard or small table for the holidays — or maybe even under the tree.

Photo courtesy of Urban Farm Girl



A seasoned writer, and a former editor at Milwaukee Home & Fine Living, Kristine Hansen launched her wine-writing career in 2003, covering wine tourism, wine and food pairings, wine trends and quirky winemakers. Her wine-related articles have published in Wine Enthusiast, Sommelier Journal, Uncorked (an iPad-only magazine),, and Whole Living (a Martha Stewart publication). She's trekked through vineyards and chatted up winemakers in many regions, including Chile, Portugal, California (Napa, Sonoma and Central Coast), Canada, Oregon and France (Bordeaux and Burgundy). While picking out her favorite wine is kind of like asking which child you like best, she will admit to being a fan of Oregon Pinot Noir and even on a sub-zero winter day won't turn down a glass of zippy Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc.