Intentional Gifts
Your Local Guide to Gifting with Purpose
Photography by LLC

When the holiday season begins, so do additional purchases from big box stores and online retailers. This year, consider how you can gift with intentionality and purpose. Here are some ideas for investing your dollars locally, while still honoring the ones you love with great gifts.

Crafters and makers
Southeast Minnesota is home to many creative and talented artists and creators. One place to find a variety of local gift options is at the Mayo Employee Craft Show on November 20 at the Mayo Civic Center. For other one-of-a-kind pieces made in the area, check out the Rochester Makers Market, where creators of all types have gifts available to purchase online.


Local nonprofits
If you’re looking to give a gift that supports artists, visit Threshold Arts. Give the give of an experience by purchasing a class enrollment. Or visit Threshold’s store to pick out unique presents for the people in your life. If you’d rather avoid material goods altogether, consider making a monetary donation in honor of the recipient. The Rochester Area Chamber of Commerce has a list of over 80 nonprofits in the Rochester area so you’re sure to find the right cause to make your loved one smile in appreciation.

Go green
With so much packaging, wrapping, disposable decorations and more, the holiday season results in a ton of extra waste. Consider gifts made from recycled or repurposed materials or save wrapping to reuse. Giving the gift of time, cooking or a monetary investment doesn’t require packaging at all. Or support local eco-friendly efforts by gifting from the Rochester Downtown Farmers Market or Quarry Hill Nature Center.

Small businesses for businesses
In need of holiday appreciation gifts for employees? Gift Rochester has a symbiotic idea to consider. Gift Rochester connects a hub of regional small businesses and vendors to supply stunning, unique baskets from one convenient, curated source. To date, the gift baskets have worked to include products and services from over 50 local businesses, investing $280,000 back into the Rochester area economy.

Books and bookstores
Did you know the Rochester area is home to more than 350 authors? Books of every genre are written each year by neighbors, colleagues, friends and local business owners. If your special person is a reader, search the Rochester MN Writers group for a compiled list of area authors. Not sure what they read? Consider gift cards to our local bookstores. Find a list of local bookstores by zip code on

Feasts and food
The Rochester area is home to many locally owned restaurants, food trucks, bakeries and grocery stores. Gather gift cards from a variety of local food options to create a personalized gift of the perfect feast. Whether they only eat cheese pizza or they want to take a culinary trip around the world with local foods, our community fooderies can deliver. Visit Downtown Rochester’s list of eating establishments or CHOOCHOO-ca-CHEW’s new Eat Local list, complete with recipe ideas. (And don’t forget our local breweries and wineries too.)

The past year may have been tough for local and small businesses, but with our support, interest and investment, this community will continue to thrive. Whether you’re shopping for your mother or your employee, Rochester has some amazing gifts with purpose.

About Author

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Gina is a writer and author living in Rochester with her husband, two entertaining children and whoodle pup.

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