Ultimate Local Holiday Gift Guide
Our curated selection of New Hampshire shops and gift ideas are sure to excite and delight (almost) everyone on your list
For the Game Lover
For your loved ones who prefer a gift that’s a little bit more hands-on, give them the gift of a locally made game.
The Gundalows of Portsmouth are steeped in history as the once-mighty workhorses that transported goods and passengers to several Seacoast cities and towns for more than a century. Now there is a board game that allows players to experience life as the captain who has to navigate those choppy business waters.
Created by Kevin Trainer, a geologist from Kittery, Maine, The Gundalow Game challenges players to get the best deals they can in Seacoast ports in places like Dover, Exeter, Newmarket and Durham on goods like bricks, granite, lumber and textiles and sell them in other ports. Gundalow captains can also pick up passengers and drop them off for $5 apiece. Players earn
Victory Cards for dropping off the most goods and passengers.
Trainer says there is also an element of business arbitrage to buy low and sell high. Unlike Monopoly, which can be lengthy, Trainer says the Gundalow Game takes about an hour to play. It is also an actual board game in the traditional sense with dice. ebbtidegames.com
Pickleball is all the rage throughout New Hampshire. Inspired by the success of his illuminated golf balls, NITELITE, Corky Newcomb of Tuftonboro and owner of LITE4NITE, recently created illuminated pickleballs that glow in the dark, allowing players to enjoy their matches under the stars.
According to LITE4NITE’s website, the players, lines and nets are all illuminated.
The illuminated pickleballs also give players another healthy benefit — they naturally eliminate exposure to harmful UV rays from the sun and allow play in a cooler temperature. LITE4NITE pickleballs are very durable — players have never broken any of the games during testing. lite4nitepickleball.com
Brainstorm Puzzle Co.
At Brainstorm Puzzle Co. in Dover, designers Briana and Jason don’t just create handcrafted, colorful puzzles, they create individual works of art that their customers can assemble piece by piece and have a blast doing it.
The couple captures many of the most popular places in New England and national parks and transforms them into whimsical puzzles that enlighten and delight. The designers share their puzzle-making philosophy on their website, brainstormpuzzleco.com. Among their creations are a Ski New England puzzle, Acadia National Park and 62 U.S. National Parks. They all sell for $30 each and make great gifts.
“Each of our puzzles manifests from many hours of detailed, in-depth research and synthesizing our two unique artistic styles. We love to travel and take in the beauty of the outdoors, and we put that same joy into each of our products so it can be shared with you.” brainstormpuzzleco.com
For the Proud Granite Stater
Here comes the shameless plug! Our New Hampshire Magazine online store debuted earlier last year, and it’s filled with New Hampshire-themed items. Gift ideas (all for under $40) include cutting boards, coasters, photo frames, totes, calendars, wooden signs and more. Here are a few of our favorite New Hampshire-made items that can be found at store.nhmagazine.com
Old Hancock Suncatchers
These suncatchers were hand-pressed from recycled glass using a centuries-old technique by Chris Salmon of the Old Hancock Glassworks, which is located in a historic glass-making region of southern New Hampshire. Each piece has a unique character not found in machine-made glass.
Wooden Night Lights
These beautiful night-lights were fabricated in Dublin, New Hampshire, by master woodworker Dan Hill. In his career, Hill has built elegant rolltop desks, as well as the casings for historical clock replicas that were commissioned by a museum. Hill creates the night-light shade designs on a computer and then carves them with a specialized laser. The resulting images are highly intricate, detailed and delicate. Each shade consists of four pieces of wood held together with interlocking finger joints (no glue). The front panel illustration is different than the two complementary side-panel designs, and each night-light casts a warm, relaxing glow.
Choose from designs, including: Old Man of the Mountains, dragonfly, hummingbird, lighthouses and Victorian hearts.
Ox Pond Press Wooden Signs
These signs by Ox Pond Press in picturesque Bethlehem, New Hampshire, are made from knot-free and kiln-dried white pine purchased from local lumber mills.
New Hampshire Greeting Cards
They don’t call them “greeting cards” for nothing. Who wants to be “greeted” by another piece of email? If you want to send a proper holiday hello (or thank you) to the many special people in your life, avoid the e-card fad and stick with real paper and ink.
Hundelrut Studio in Plymouth makes delightful holiday and Christmas-themed cards with intricate line art and amusing sentiments that speak volumes. Remember, you can’t string up e-cards over the fireplace or cut them up the next year to make gift tags. hundelrutstudio.com
Cards for a Cause
CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) of NH sells beautiful cards designed by local artists, students and photographers that come blank or personalized. Proceeds help abused and neglected children in New Hampshire. casanh.org/greeting-cards
Support your local stationer!
These wonderful, colorful shops are filled with great products, including unique holiday greeting and thank-you cards.
Gus & Ruby Letterpress
The owners of Gus & Ruby Letterpress have an honest-to-goodness letterpress from the late 1800s on which they craft outrageously beautiful one-of-a-kind paper creations. Their lovely, welcoming store also offers a large range of paper products, stationery, holiday cards and more. They’re located at 29 Congress St., Portsmouth. gusandruby.com
Steele’s Stationers opened way, way back in 1871,
making it the oldest business in the Monadnock area. It’s located in the historic Anderson building, which still has the original tin ceiling and wood floors. It seems a fitting place to shop for fine stationery and greeting cards. Steele’s is located at 40 Main St., Peterborough. steelesstationers.com
Black’s Paper Store
Located in lovely downtown Wolfeboro, in addition to paper goods, Black’s also sells locally made items such as Winnipesaukee Chocolates — just in case you wanted to get in other holiday shopping (or buy a treat for yourself). blacksgiftsnh.com
Since the 1960s, the post office in the small town of Bethlehem, New Hampshire, has postmarked holiday mail with a special stamp picturing a star over, well, the town of Bethlehem. Once you’ve purchased (or made) your cards, head up to this beautiful place to put that perfect finishing touch on your annual greetings.
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