The holiday season is here and Minnesota already received its first snowfall. I’ve put together a special gift guide highlighting some of my favorite small local businesses. Additionally, as a special thank you for supporting Expedition Kristen and for shopping local, I’ve worked with many of these awesome businesses to pull together exclusive discount codes just for you, noted below. Thank you for shopping small and local this year!
Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning I may get a commission if you decide to make a purchase through the links below, at no cost to you. For more information, read my full disclaimer here.
1. Wild Rice Retreat
Nestled between pine trees and the red rock shores of Lake Superior in Bayfield, Wisconsin, Wild Rice Retreat is a true resort destination. Built on the pillars of nourishment, expression, and movement, Wild Rice Retreat offers a respite for groups and solo travelers alike. Enjoy daily activities including yoga, cold exposure, sauna, snowshoeing, massages, forest foraging, wine tastings, and two meals per day. Book your stay here and use code KRISTEN10 for a 10% discount on any upcoming retreat.
2. Thrifty Traveler
The experts at Thrifty Traveler, a Minnesota-based company, work to find quick flash sales, price drops, and mistake fares. Sign up and get all the deals straight to your inbox so you never miss out. Two years ago Thrifty Traveler helped us land an incredibly cheap flight deal to Paris, and a few weeks ago they helped us find a cheap flight to New Zealand for February 2024! For more details, check out my blog post on 8 Reasons to Love Thrifty Traveler. Sign up at thriftytraveler.com/premium, and email me at email@example.com to request a special discount code on your annual membership.
3. Northern Glasses
Northern Glasses is made in Minnesota by Minnesotans with your favorite Minnesota-themed designs. Find a special gift for that Minnesotan in your life who loves loons, the Minneapolis and St. Paul skylines, the Boundary Waters, hockey, Vikings, and Palisade Head. Shop for Minnesota, Up North, and Wisconsin-themed glassware, candles, hoodies, ice cub trays, matches, travel coffee mugs, and so much more. Use code KRISTEN15 for a 15% discount on your order.
4. Echo’s Healing Stones
Echo, a local Minnesota-based jewelry artist, creates stunning earrings and necklaces. Echo told me, “I love working with natural gemstones. I want my jewelry to help customers feel beautiful, connected with nature, and energized.” I love wearing her gold-filled jade earrings and Amazonite necklace. You can shop her Etsy store here and her Amazon store here. Use GRATITUDE30 for 30% off a single item on the Etsy store, GRATITUDE40 for 40% off two or more items on the Etsy store, and VKIN3UBTSSJ1 for 20% off everything on the Amazon store.
5. Emiliani Coffee
Emiliani Coffee was built with one goal in mind. For every bag sold of ethically sourced and locally roasted organic coffee, Emiliani Coffee gives $1 to non-profits and organizations fighting for kids in the foster care and adoption system. Shop here for light roasts, dark roasts, espresso blends, decaf, mugs, and more. Use code KRISTEN15 for 15% off your order.
6. Minnesota Christmas Market
The Minnesota Christmas Market is an annual pop-up holiday market that showcases small, local brands, artisans, and makers. All vendors donate 7% of sales from the event to a local charity, Santa’s College Fund, a scholarship that exists to remove financial barriers to higher education faced by many of our refugee neighbors living right here in Minnesota. There are three dates and three locations, and it’s just $1 to get in for general admission. Or use code KRISTEN15 for a 15% discount on the VIP experience.
7. Sip Scouter
Founded by two local Minnesotan sisters, Sip Scouter helps you scout out the best local, independently-owned coffee shops in the Twin Cities. Purchase the Sip Scouter Passport and receive a free beverage at 25 of your favorite (or soon-to-be favorite) coffee shops. In addition to a free beverage, you’ll also get peace of mind knowing that your money is staying local to further benefit businesses that make the Twin Cities so great. Sales for the 2024 Sip Scouter passport open on December 1. Follow Sip Scouter on Instagram or Facebook at @SipScouterMN for updates.
8. Hope Glen Farm
If you’re looking for a truly unique lodging experience, check out Hope Glen Farm in Cottage Grove. This property has a unique past that includes a visit from the infamous gangster, Machine Gun Kelly. You’ll find two lodging options including a luxury tree house and the Corn Crib Cottage, which is an elegant yet rustic cottage with a spacious living room, jet jacuzzi, and cozy fireplace. The Cottage Grove Ravine Regional Park is a short drive up the road, which is a great place for biking, hiking, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and snowmobiling. Book your stay at treehousefarmlodging.com.
9. MNimalist Goods
This local clothing company offers quality t-shirts, sweatshirts, and hats, all made from eco-friendly and 100% recycled materials. MNimalist Goods uses recycled post-consumer plastic bottles, completely reduces plastic packaging, and reduces the use of chemicals, water, and energy to create their products. Additionally, 10% of all sales are donated to Minnesota charities focused on protecting natural resources.
When you think of Bachman’s you may think of flowers and a garden center. Did you know that Bachman’s has wonderful gift ideas for everyone on your gift list this holiday season including home décor, blankets, ornaments, cookbooks, wreaths, drinkware, decorative hand towels as well as flowers, poinsettias, trees and more? Or give a fun experience with a Bachman’s gift card for one of their unique workshops such as cocktail-making or floral arrangements. Shop online here, or visit a store near you.
11. Grey Duck Paddle
Grey Duck is a local company that makes their canoes in St. Paul, Minnesota. They’re beautiful and handcrafted, perfect for a trip to the Boundary Waters or a day fishing on the St. Croix River. They also sell hard and inflatable stand-up paddle boards. I love my inflatable SUP board, which comes with a roller backpack. It’s so easy to throw in my car or even bring on a plane.
12. The World Has a Big Backyard
Written by Minnesota-born and raised Mike Day, The World Has a Big Backyard shares the travel adventures Mike had producing documentary films that took him to magnificent worldwide locations including the tallest sand dunes in Namibia, tuna auctions in Tokyo, and Jane Goodall’s research site in Tanzania. He shares adventure travel stories from Iceland to Singapore and takes readers chasing tornadoes, volcanoes, total eclipses, and $30/night motel rooms. Grab a copy here.
Wishing You a Happy and Healthy Holiday
As we head into the final weeks of 2023, I want to say thank you so much for being a part of this community. You are what makes this worth it for me! If you’re looking for more winter ideas, check out my blog posts on 10 Indoor Places to Take Your Dog This Winter, 26 Things to Do for Winter in Minnesota, 5 Unique Minnesota Winter Events and 9 Reasons to Visit Crosby in the Winter.