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Small Business Gift Guide: the Best of the Midwest

November 10, 2020

Small Business Gift Guide: the Best of the Midwest

November 10, 2020

Gathering Twigs Gift Guide 2020

We love the holiday season and gifting and we think that can be achieved all while shopping small and supporting local businesses in our communities. We have rounded up some of our favorite shops in Wisconsin and the Midwest. We hope you find something you like for a special someone in your life. Happy gifting! (or if you’re like us – one for them, one for you…) Many of these shop owners have given us coupon codes for our followers, so take advantage of the discounts as well!

Don’t forget – shipping may be delayed this year due to circumstances beyond these shops’ control. So order now and receive in time for the holidays!

Apparel and Accessories

Lake Effect CO

It doesn’t matter the season, we are ALWAYS up for a lake day. So, naturally, we are big fans of Lake Effect Co. They are based out of Wisconsin, near the Milwaukee area. Not only do they have great apparel and accessories, we love all they stand for. They give back to FLOW, Dig Deep, and the NAACP. They inspire nature lovers, and they do their best to stock items by makers who are black, indigenous, and share their values! We love this so much and love supporting businesses like Lake Effect Co!

The Midwest Girl

We have been fans of The Midwest Girl for years now. They have a brick and mortar store in Dubuque, IA that we still need to get to and visit. They also have their products in a variety of small shops throughout the Midwest (hence, the namesake!) and you can also order online. I just ordered and received the Copper Falls crewneck sweatshirt and let me tell you, it is perfect! It is long enough in the body and sleeves that I’m not having to adjust and also so very soft and warm! It’s owned by two sisters from Wisconsin who are proudly celebrating their Midwestern roots!

Copper Falls crewneck sweatshirt
Socks and mug from The Midwest Girl

Woolly Bear Knits

Woolly Bear Knits. Cannot say enough good things about the cozy items Emily makes from her shop at Woolly Bear Knits. She was kind enough to send us a couple of her hats earlier on in the fall and we have been wearing them on repeat ever since. Something from her shop would make the perfect gift that anybody would love this winter! We each have a hat but have also been eyeing up her knit headbands too! Woolly Bear Knits

These hats are just as warm as they are soft. Emily was kind enough to provide a discount code to our followers.

Use the code: GATHERINGTWIGS for 10% off your order (valid until 12/31/2021)

Evie and Co Boutique

Evie and Co Boutique is a women’s clothing boutique that has a brick and mortar shop in Waunakee, WI. It is an aunt and niece owned boutique – how cool is that?! They sell women’s clothing that is trendy and fun, but reasonably priced and a wide variety of jewelry and accessories. We love that they have an online store as well as a store in person, with new inventory coming each week. If you are looking for a place to shop for some fun clothing, check out Evie & Co Boutique!

Shop Discover Wisconsin

Calling all cheeseheads and Wisconsin lovers! Shop Discover Wisconsin has some fun and witty Wisconsin apparel that makes a great gift for the Wisconsinites in your family!

We have these fun tees (both wearing size S) but we have also been eyeing up the ‘Ope sweatshirtFor 15% off your order, use discount code TWIGS15

Do North

This another company we love and has supported our account since almost day 1. If you love the northwoods and comfy, cozy, clothing, then you need to check out Do North. We have the Logo sweatshirt and the Adventure Ahead 1/4 zip pullover. We’ve also each got a couple of tshirts that we wear and love all year round!

Personally, I have my eyes set on one of their newer designs, the Lakescape full zip hoodie!

Cedarburg Threads

Cedarburg Threads is a small online shop (who recently started doing some local pop-up shops!) with a lovely woman owner, Rachel! This online store offers a variety of apparel, some specific to Cedarburg, WI, but many others designed around the northwoods and Wisconsin in general. In addition to apparel, there are fun accessories and some small home items like pillows. See our Cedarburg Threads apparel in this photo below and check out her website or social media accounts for new designs!

Katie is wearing the 1848 Wisconsin Unisex hoodie and
Sara has the Wooded Up North State of Mind long sleeve tee

Home Decor and Accents

Lake Life Candle Co.

Lake Life Candle Co is a candle company based out of Waunakee, WI that sells handmade soy candles. These candles are some of our very favorites that we are constantly socking up on all the time. The scent from these candles provides the right amount of fragrance in our opinion and lasts quite a while. Some of our favorite scents are Christmas Morning and Flannel and Frost. In addition to candles, Lake Life Candle Co offers sugar scrubs, some apparel, and home decor. They recently moved from a shop on Main Street in Waunakee to the country and the candles are made and sold out of a barn on the farm’s property. Check Facebook for the shop’s open dates and times!

Strider Northwoods Mercantile

Can you tell we love candles? They set the mood for the perfect cozy afternoon or evening while quarantined at home this winter. (Can you tell that we also love all things cozy?) Strider Northwoods Mercantile offers a variety of raw goods all inspired by the Northwoods of Wisconsin and we are completely on board with that! They have beautifully designed and scented candles. But they also have fun reclaimed wood coasters and a bottle opener, which would be the perfect gift for somebody with a little bar in their basement, or to hang up in the garage.

Hutch & Hide

Nestled in one of the most picturesque small towns in Wisconsin, is Hutch + Hide. This store is a cute ‘mom and pop’ store with everything form some home decor to baby items. We have bought some fun baby gifts in this store! There is not an online shop, but if you are up for venturing out to New Glarus, this is a must stop shop where you can purchase a variety of gifts, or items for yourself 🙂

Here is a blog post on visiting New Glarus, if you are interested.

The Shoppes at Lynndale Farm

This is one of our very favorite places to visit and bum around. We visit the Shoppes at Lynndale Farm at least twice a year, and more if we can! In Pewaukee, WI there is a farm with multiple barns and buildings that have been turned into shops. They sell primarily home decor and gifts. There are a variety of shops. If you are looking for a gift or in the market for some new holiday decor – this is your place! It also makes the perfect girls day.

We love this place so much that we have an entire blog post on it! See below:

ReKindled & Co

A mobile shopping adventure! That is the slogan for ReKindled & Co. This shop usually has on the go pop-ups in a renovated Winnebago, named “Winnie.” When Winnie isn’t on the go, Rekindled & Co still has an online shop full of goodies! ReKindled has home decor, gifts, and merchandise Over this past weekend, she just launched her holiday line with all kinds of goodies – I grabbed a couple Lab-themed gifts for…myself 🙂

MNi Cards

MNi Cards is a newer-to-us company that we connected with via Instagram and now reach for these cards anytime we have an reason to send one (or not, just a hello card is always appreciated by the receiver too!). We love how they’re local to the Midwest (Minnesota = MNi Cards… get it?) and they’re totally our style. The cards feature cute hand-drawn illustrations and quirky, cute puns for just about every occasion! Shipping is very cheap and has been quick, in our experience!


Experiences are what we are all about – this year more than ever. Here’s a round up of some ideas we have for this winter as a gift for an experience, most of which can be done with relative safety during this winter’s pandemic.

Nineteen09 Wine Bar

Did somebody say, family-friendly wine bar? We’re in! Nineteen09 is located in Cross Plains, WI. As most business have had to adjust their normal operations because of COVID, so has Nineteen09. They have the most picturesque globes that have small heaters, decorated cutely, and cozy. The best part, they are completely closed off which creates a safer dining and drinking experience during COVID times. There are a variety of different options for the Globes experience: a 2-hour standard reservation, a family day-date, and a Bubbly Bubbles for morning mimosas and coffee. There is also a menu for the Globes that includes a charcuterie board, hot chocolate, ciders, beer buckets, veggie tray, etc.

Needless to say, we think a gift card to Nineteen09 would be a great gift for this winter season!

(Hint hint – you might want to stay tuned on our Instagram account for a fun surprise…)

The Globes at Nineteen09

Ice Skating

Last winter, Sara took her family ice skating a couple times and it was a big hit. A fun outdoor activity to do with the whole family this winter. Some of the places we skated in Madison were the Tenney Park Ice Rink and The Edgewater Ice Rink. Tenney Park might not have gift cards available for purchase but you could create your own that is redeemable for an afternoon of skating. To read more about our ice skating experiences click here.

Ice Skating at Tenney Park


A gift card for skiing at your local ski hill could be a fun outdoor activity to do with your family this winter. Last winter, Katie took her daughter skiing a couple times and it was a big hit. We visited both Cascade Mountain and Devils Head Ski Resort. Both places had good programs for kids skiing. Here is a blog post on taking our daughter, age 6 at the time, skiing for the first time.

Skiing at Cascade Mountain

State Park Pass

The gift that keeps on giving. Encourage the outdoors by gifting a Wisconsin State Park pass! We spent so much time at various Wisconsin State Parks this year, and we don’t plan on that changing any time soon!

Aneu Med Spa

We’ve both been clients at ANEU Med Spa for years and cannot say enough good things about the staff and the services. Whether you have minor or major skin concerns, or just want to enjoy a relaxing spa service like a facial, the ladies at ANEU are always willing to make it a great experience. Make sure to follow along on their Instagram or email list, as they’re often running some great sales and promotions! (Make sure to mention we sent you! There is a client referral program where you’ll receive a discount!)

A weekend away at one of our favorite places

If you’re looking for something to do for the whole family, consider booking a weekend away at one of our favorite Wisconsin cabin rentals we stayed at this year. Finding the perfect cabin is one of our favorite past times!

Kayla E. Photography

…and last, but certainly not least, is our favorite photographer – Kayla from Kayla E. Photography. She’s been taking both of our own family photos for the past few years, as well as a few sessions she’s done for our “blog photos”. Several of our friends use her for their family photos as well, and every single print that comes out of her studio is stunning. Not only is she friendly, great with the kids, and SO talented, but she runs a great business – she’s professional, prompt at responding, timely with her photo turnaround, and has the CUTEST indoor studio in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin as well. We cannot say enough good things about Kayla and her talent and know her photos will speak for themselves. Check out her website for all the info on booking sessions (husbands! take note: your wives would love a family photo session as a Christmas gift… just saying.)

She makes us look good and we’re not even a couple 🙂

Make sure you also follow her on Instagram or get signed up on her email alert list via her website, as you’ll want to be the first to know when she posts bookings for her seasonal mini sessions. They always book up fast and you’ll want to snag an appointment as soon as they drop!

Photo by Kayla E. Photography


Paddle North

Anything from Paddle North is on our own Christmas List this holiday season. This would be a pricier gift. We have our eyes on the paddleboards and the kayaks from here! How cool is it that they are inflatable and lightweight, yet sturdy at the same time? Hopefully someday, we will have ourselves our own kayaks. Paddle North is based out of Minnesota.

Redfeather Snow Shoes

Based out of LaCrosse, Redfeather snow shoes are designed right here in Wisconsin! Snowshoeing might be a way for you and your family to get outside and enjoy the outdoors this winter season!

Clear Water Outdoor

Clear Water Outdoor has two locations in Wisconsin – Lake Geneva and Delafield. If you are looking to purchase some of your favorite brand name items like Patagonia, North Face, Vuori, etc…, consider purchasing through Clear Water Outdoor versus the big franchise stores. They have both an online shop and brick and mortar shops. A gift card could be a great option as well. They offer rentals for snowshoes and cross country skis during the winter. In the summer months, they have rentals for kayaks and SUP boards.

This is not an exhaustive list by any means, and we know there are a million other small businesses and local shops that we haven’t included. We love learning about new places and basically any excuse to shop either online or in-person, so let us know your favorite hidden gems!

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