Every year, I look forward to writing this article because I love nothing more than sharing small local businesses and the best of my home state. One of the reasons I enjoy this space so much is that I get to highlight the best of the people and our traditions from around the state. I know that holiday shopping can be exciting and simultaneously stressful, so here are some ideas for friends and family and how you can support local North Carolina businesses. Stay tuned for more holiday travel inspiration coming soon and follow along on my 100-county journey here.
Holiday Gifts from North Carolina
Best Food Gifts from North Carolina
Growing up in Halifax County, many containers of Aunt Ruby’s Peanuts were given out as gifts. While I personally enjoy the Cajun peanuts, this small gift combo set is a great option. You can’t go wrong with the trademark Country-style peanuts and the chocolate-covered clusters. You could also split this combo up and add use in a gift basket with some additional items below.
We keep all of these seasonings on hand for our own grilling and dinner prep. All of the sauces are delicious, though my personal favorite is the Eastern Carolina BBQ Sauce. Carolina Brewery has two locations, one in Chapel Hill and one in Pittsboro, and offers delish brews, plus a great menu and hosts fun local events.
Dewey’s Bakery has been a Winston-Salem staple for over 9o years now, specializing in Moravian Cookies. While I really enjoy the classic sugar ones, the ginger flavor is a delicious option! The Meyer Lemon is another great flavor option as well. That being said, the Taste of North Carolina Gift Box is so fun!
My absolute favorite cheese straw is Charlotte-made Piedmont Pennies. If I am hosting a gathering, I will always have some on hand. This set of 5 4 oz. holiday-themed packaging would make a great hostess gift, gift box or basket addition, or stocking stuffers.
Made in Asheville, this popcorn is a nod to the southern classic. It is such a great take with the fluffy, cheesy blend with tastes of pimento. There are other great flavor options, including seasonal-themed ones. We like the Reindeer Crunch for our annual holiday party.
Unique Gifts from North Carolina
David and I visited Burnsville back in October and we thoroughly enjoyed browsing the downtown shops. I picked up this scent from Burnsville Candle Company and it smells amazing! It is perfect for fall and winter and pairs nicely with holiday scents.
Cultivate Coffee is my local coffee shop that I visit quite often for a cup of coffee, a scone, and a nice place to work when I need a change of scenery. I have a monthly coffee subscription where I get coffee delivered twice a month, and the Christmas blend is a delightful blend. It is perfect for the season and would go nicely in a gift basket with some of the food items listed above.
While this would definitely be more of a splurge gift, I cannot rave about Dynamis Estate Wines enough! If the Wine Club options are out of your gift price point (though depending on who you are gifting to, you could split the bottles up and give those out), then make a reservation at their tasting room in Jonesville, right outside of Elkin. It is truly a delightful experience and their wine will completely elevate your opinion of North Carolina wines!
Evil Eye by Etaf Rum
Etaf’s debut novel, A Woman is No Man, absolutely wrecked me and was my book club pick for this year. I read it in 2022 and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it. I attended her release at Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh for Evil Eye and it was yet another book I flew through. Etaf lives in Rocky Mount and owns Books & Beans, Barley & Burger, and the Tipsy Tomato. Her representation as an author is more important now than ever!
With our newest addition of Ruthie, I have been really into Gianna Cooling (based in Raleigh) for functional pet products. I absolutely adore their leash and collar selection. I can’t stop looking at the dog bow ties and knowing that they would be perfect for both Winston & Ruthie!
From my perspective, a cookbook is a great gift idea, especially as a hostess gift. I am a big fan of Inez Ribustello and was thrilled to learn she and her husband were writing a cookbook for the 21st anniversary of their restaurant in Tarboro. It would make a great addition to a coffee table book collection as well.
When David and I recently went to Burnsville, we also made a stop at Page Pottery Studio and I fell in love with their work. i brought a coffee mug home with me and have thoroughly enjoyed using it since. They have quite a variety of sizes, colors, and styles of mugs, so I have linked the page for their mugs. One of their handmade wine glasses would make a sweet gift for your favorite wine-loving friend.