The autumn season is strong in its sensory delights: the smooth sweetness of cinnamon and pumpkin flavors, the cool crisp air, the warm cozy of cider and scarves. A great way to enjoy these sensations is to incorporate them in your gift-giving this fall. Whether you’re looking for a housewarming, birthday, or “just because” gift, these ideas will hopefully jump-start your inspiration for some fun seasonal gift-giving.


This is the time of year for ciders (and not just apple!), seasonal brews and wines, and the newest fad: hard sodas. Pick out a variety of flavors for your next event, tie on a plaid bow, and you’ll have the perfect little festive gift. If you’re looking for something non-alcoholic, NA ciders are a great alternative, as well as a nice pumpkin spice latte or cinnamon hot chocolate mix.


Healthy and homemade doesn’t have to be complicated! Bake thinly sliced apple slices at 200 F for an hour on each side to make apple chips. You can also give “Apple Crisp in a Jar” by mixing together the topping in a Mason jar and wrapping it with a can of apple pie filling and recipe card. Voila–simple domesticity!


To give the gift of scent, be careful not to go over the top–there is such a thing as too many pumpkin scented candles. When choosing a candle, close your eyes, breath deeply, and let yourself feel what the smell brings to you–it will either feel like autumn or it won’t. My favorite scents that I have found were at Patina, and the Elk River Pharmacy of all places (if you visit, I highly recommend the oil diffuser in the scent of WaterFire!).


Soft things, whether they be scarves, mittens, hats, or sweaters, are always a welcomed gift. If you want to give something that celebrates your roots, consider a stop at one of the Love From Minnesota gift shops around the Twin Cities. The Minnesota Grown Directory online is a great resource for finding local gift shops if you are looking for a particular kind of “homegrown” gift.


A set of handmade cards or a nice stationery set may seem a little archaic given our current level of technology, but that just makes this kind of gift all the more special. The Minnesota Center for Book Arts shop in the Open Book coffee shop downtown offers some wonderfully unique gifts, hand-made paper, journals, stationery sets, art supplies, and more. Browsing there one afternoon, I completely lost track of time. If downtown is out of the way, there is still a variety of brick and mortar book shops around (e.g. Half Price Books).

Hopefully,  you feel sufficiently tantalised and inspired to give creatively this season. Don’t be afraid to stock up–once winter is here, it’s nice to be occasionally reminded of the other things that our seasons have to offer.


By Whitney Grindberg