Shop Small: A Saint Paul Gift Guide

Shop Small: A Saint Paul Gift Guide

Seven unique Saint Paul makers with gifts that nobody will want to return, exchange, or even re-gift.

Photo: @talismancaps
Written by: Mecca Bos

As someone who wasn’t born with the shopping gene, I all but get the jeebies when Black Friday ads come sailing in like the relentless daggers of commerce that they are.

So instead, I take this time to support people who do good work all year long— artists, chefs, artisans, designers. They make life worth living during the holidays, and all of the days.

Seven unique Saint Paul makers with gifts that nobody will want to return, exchange, or even re-gift:

Talisman & Co.

“The Beautiful Game” deserves a beautiful accessory: Talisman & Co. Saint Paulite, Dustin Branan is a former Minnesota Thunder soccer player who wanted to make the highest-quality gear to support soccer clubs both locally, nationally, and internationally. Lines include a USA collection, “legends,” Minnesota, The U.S. Women’s National Team Players Association, and more. Talisman & Company donates proceeds from purchases to meal sharing groups such as Second Harvest Heartland and Eat For Equity.

AZ Gallery

Original art, while making for a colossally great gift, can often also have oversized price tags to match. Enter the Tiny Art Expo, from AZ Gallery, where tiny art— no larger than 10’’ X 10”— aligns with moderate prices as well, at $100 or less. This is a perfect way to scoop up some original local art that is inclusive of all mediums, content, and skill level. Available for purchase through January 2022.


House of Gristle

A curated charcuterie platter by House of Gristle, now partnering with local charcuterie masters Red Table Meats, is a stunning addition to any holiday (or post-holiday) table. HOG is one of the few Black-owned and operated catering companies in the Twin Cities area, and in addition to custom charcuterie plates, Chef Jametta Raspberry offers full-service catering from intimate to grand. Ask about their Grazing Tables— groaning tables of snackers designed to keep your people, that’s right— grazing.

Rose Street Patisserie

Locals know that small and unassuming (the way we like to do it in Saint Paul) Rose Street Patisserie packs a super big wallop on the worldwide pastry stage. Owner John Kraus is the only American-born member of “Relais Desserts Group,” which to the uninitiated means simply that he is one of the top 100 pastry chefs in the world. Gift world-class bonbons, jam, pastry, cake, cocoa, and “viennoiserie” (croissants, brioches, pain aux raisins, more). Christmas inventory will be set up on Tock and will be accessible via their website.


Jocii Designs

Jocelyn Yang is an up and coming Hmong fashion designer who makes sustainable and inclusive fashions inspired by her identity as a second-generation Hmong Minnesota woman. Melding traditional Hmong cultural stylings with modern American inspirations, Jocii Designs are truly unique. She says it’s an honor when people from all backgrounds wear her creations. Shop her website for affordable jewelry inspired by ancient Hmong motifs, and to find out more about custom fashion design.


Saint Paul Brewing

Beer! Let your recipient know you’ve been to Saint Paul like this: “Beer here!” And not just any beer, but the brewery that goes by the saintly city name itself: Saint Paul Brewing. Located in the Historic Hamm’s Brewery building on the East Side, this brewery is bursting with Minnesota history and the pride that goes with that pedigree. Gifts include growlers and wearable merch, including a fleece blanket, which Minnesotans are not ashamed to wear when sitting on a patio, drinking beer. Sundays in December, Saint Paul Brewing hosts a Holiday Makers Market, featuring locally made, hand-crafted and unique gifts and vintage items. 11am-3pm.


Bare Honey

Family-owned and operated, Bare Honey has been taking the mystery out of your honey purchase for years. Dustin Vanasse started placing hives and collecting honey by hand so that they knew exactly what they were bottling. The company has grown exponentially and the products now not only include the same pure and delectable honey from lavender to wildflower to hot & spicy; but also everything from honey sticks (stocking stuffers!) to your own starter colony and even a Beekeeper Mentorship for $660— for the person who has it all. And, rest assured that Bare is working to allay the worldwide pollinator crisis through “solar-based beekeeping.” Read more about it.


This is just a taste of all the ways you can shop small in Saint Paul this holiday season. Find more places to shop local this holiday season!


Mecca Bos is a Twin Cities based food writer and professional chef. Thinking of tacos and travel are hobbies. Her work can be found at 

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