It’s been a year marked by working at home, schooling at home and just generally staying at home, so the star of the 2020 Made in Alabama Holiday Gift Guide should come as no surprise.
This year, it’s all about the home, and there are plenty of options from Alabama artists, makers and growers.
“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 Greg Canfield, secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce.
From handcrafted furniture and sentimental décor to other items that bring comfort and convenience to a dwelling, here are a few suggestions for your shopping list.
Red Land Cotton’s All-American blankets are made from cotton grown on a family farm in north Alabama. Prices start at $160 for the soft, warm blankets that are woven in a traditional basket 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.
E-Learning Desk, Alabama Sawyer, Birmingham
The E-Learning Desk is Alabama Sawyer’s effort to help fight the pandemic locally, but it’s getting national attention.
Dwell magazine featured the piece in its November 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 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.
Candle tins, Bon Secour Candle Co., Gulf Shores
Embrace relaxing coastal vibes with candle tins from Bon Secour Candle Co. The small-batch soy candles, priced at $12, are hand-poured in Gulf Shores, with 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 company’s namesake is 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, Wheel Turned Pottery, 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.
Bed swing, Four Oak Designs, Pike Road
Alabama craftsman David Belser has been making custom bed swings since 2012, taking Southern comfort and style to porches and patios from New Jersey to California.
The swings, which range in size from crib to king, are made from southern pine or cedar and have 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 southern Alabama.
This story originally appeared on the Alabama Department of Commerce’s Made in Alabama website.