The Alabama Department of Commerce is encouraging Alabamians to spend money on Christmas gifts and decorations with companies that make their products here in Alabama — with owners and workers who are our neighbors.
The 2020 Made in Alabama Holiday Gift Guide is focused on the home, where many of us have been spending unprecedented amounts of time this year due to economic shutdowns, telecommuting and social distancing to fight the spread of the coronavirus.
“Talented Alabamians create an impressive variety of the very best products that can be found anywhere, and the fruits of their labor make for ideal gifts during the holiday season or any time of the year,” said Alabama Commerce Secretary Greg Canfield.
Red Land Cotton’s all-American blankets are made from cotton grown on a family farm in Mouton, Alabama. Prices start at $160 for the soft, warm blankets that are woven in a traditional basket weave pattern. Color choices include white and natural, and there are twin, queen and king sizes, as well as a throw.
Over the past three decades, Red Land Cotton owner-operator Mark Yeager has honed sustainable farming practices and custom gin operations on thousands of acres near the Bankhead National Forest. Today, those operations drive production of the company’s premium sheets, towel sets and other heirloom-inspired linens.
The E-Learning Desk is Alabama Sawyer’s effort to help fight the COVID-19 pandemic locally, but it’s also getting national attention. Dwell magazine featured the piece in its November 2020 issue. Priced at $175, the desk is ready to assemble, made of high-density plywood and suitable for schooling or working from home. It has a hole for a pencil cup and a wire chase for screens. It’s also unfinished, a plus for those students (and parents) who have brought the school art room home.
Alabama Sawyer, which makes modern, sustainable furniture and home goods from fallen trees in the Birmingham area, says profits from the sales of the E-Learning Desk will fund local pandemic relief programs.
Bon Secour Candle Co. in Baldwin County offers scents like “At the Beach” — a blend of raw coconut, sea salt, vanilla sugar and musk — and “Beach Towel” — a mix of cotton, lavender, vanilla, jasmine and melon.
The small-batch soy candles, priced at $12, are hand-poured in Gulf Shores. The company is named after the Bon Secour community, an area tucked into the inside coast of Alabama’s Fort Morgan peninsula that’s known for its live oak trees dripping with Spanish moss and a rich heritage in the shrimping and fishing business.
The candle scents stretch beyond the coast to capture other essences of Alabama. Among them: Sweet Tea, Alabama Kudzu and Chilton County Peach.
Only In the South pottery is made by Wheel Turned Pottery in McCalla. This distinctive line of pottery features the pattern of a Southern culinary classic. Laura Jordan of Wheel Turned Pottery presses a collard green leaf into each Only In the South piece before the clay is fired.
The collection includes bowls, plates, spoon rests and other pieces, which are sold at the Alabama Goods store in Homewood. Jordan and her son, Bryan, are both resident potters at Tannehill Ironworks Historical State Park.
Alabama craftsman David Belser has been making custom bed swings since 2012. His work has been purchased for porches, patios and decks from New Jersey to California. The swings, which range in size from crib to king, are made from southern pine or cedar. Belser’s work has been featured on HGTV’s Flip or Flop series. Prices start at $1,000. Belser also makes tables and heart pine flooring at his Macon County woodworking shop. He uses reclaimed wood from barns and buildings around South Alabama.
Economic developer Nicole Jones said: “If we have the financial means to purchase Christmas gifts, this season especially, it is important that we shop locally for goods and services. Small businesses are a vital component of Alabama’s communities. Whether it be a batch of red and green cupcakes from Sue’s Simple Bakery and Bistro in Arley, Alabama-themed trinkets from Alabama Goods in Homewood and Huntsville, a bar of scented soap from Southern Natural in Remlap, or any of the companies mentioned today, these local businesses want your business and appreciate your patronage.”