Malls? Websites? Unique gifts available closer to home
The Ewert family of Marion works all year to make delightful décor items marketed from home during the Christmas season.
Elaine Ewert turns spindles, small and large, into unique Santa figures, each with an individually designed face and a full beard.
Her merchandise — as with many home town retailers — offers holiday shoppers a chance to give a gift that can’t be found in a typical big city store.
“All my faces are different,” she said. “I don’t make cookie-cutter designs.”
She also creates carved figures from wood.
Her daughter, Amanda Ewert Dameron, is a talented graphic artist whose work is seen in the community. She makes window decals for businesses and designed a decal for the side of a local food truck.
Amanda, too, loves working on Christmas designs and markets them through the family business.
“I like to do this, it’s a way to be more creative,” Amanda said.
Last Thursday, Hillsboro resident Jan Meisinger came to the Ewert home to pick up a Santa spindle she’d ordered.
Meisinger said it was her Christmas gift to herself.
“I have a collection of these on my mantle,” Meisinger said.
She puts them on her mantle the weekend after Thanksgiving.
Christmas shopping doesn’t have to mean searching online for merchandise you hope will be what you wanted when you ordered it.
It doesn’t have to mean fighting a crowd in an out-of-town big-box store or hoping the item you wanted is still in stock.
It could mean going to a hometown business and letting money circulate in the local economy.
Even gift cards can be bought from local businesses — some of them not places many people would think of.
Doug Regnier, co-owner of Marion Auto Supply, said the store sells gift cards in any denomination. Perhaps not a “fun” gift, it might be perfect for someone needing car parts.
Dale’s Supermarket, 108 W. Grand Ave. in Hillsboro, is famous for its German-style sausage. The store ships it all over the country.
The sausage costs $4.99 a pound.
“We had a person call us from New Jersey,” Franz said. “They asked how much it is, and we told them, and they said similar sausage costs $16 a pound in New Jersey.”
“We have gift cards in any denomination they want,” Franz said.
Dale’s also has an array of locally sourced foods. They include peppernuts from Durham, Wiebe cheese, and foods from Tin Roof Pantry, Dorrie Thiessen, Barkman Honey, Grannie’s Mustard, and Menno Beans coffee roasted at Rhubarb Market.
Another unique Hillsboro shop is Odds ’N Ends, 209 S. Main St.
The store offers a host of Kansas-made items.
“We have a lot of things from Kansas, like a lot of our food comes from companies from Kansas,” Delaney Lucero said.
Odds ’N Ends carries décor items, jewelry, a large variety of bath and body items, candles, purses, gifts, flavored teas, and Watkins products as well as salsas, Bronco Bob’s raspberry sauce, pickle-making kits, and mixes.
“You’re bound to find something that you like,” Lucero said. “We have a large variety from savory to sweet.”
Need something to showcase a special food item? The store sells serving dishes.
“We also have a lot of baby items, she said, “clothes and toys and stuffed animals.”
Gift certificates are available. A frequent buyer program provides $10 off a future purchase after acquiring 30 card punches.
Sara Dawson, owner of Prairie Oak Designs, 501 Main St. in Florence, said prices in her store begin as low as $6.
“We locally make metal items,” she said.
Prairie Oak offers candles, clothing, purses, jewelry, home and Christmas décor, and gift items.
“I can also ship items all over the United States,” Dawson said.
ManeStreet Beautique, 110 N Walnut St., in Peabody, offers gift certificates for people who love new styles or beauty products and an assortment of gift items, owner Linda Martinez said.
Last modified Dec. 8, 2021