From Brenham barbecue to candlesticks designed by a Fixer Upper star in Waco, these gifts are guaranteed to secure you a repeat party invitation next year. For more gift ideas, see For Those Who Like to Take It Outside, For the Little Ones and Furry Friends, For the Trendsetters, and For the Hard-to-Please.
The Library Candle
TM General Store
With names like Tuscan Sun and Garden Party, Circle 21 candles are shipped from Janet Coffman’s cozy Amarillo studio to retailers across the world, from France to Kuwait. We love the Library’s scent, which evokes winter comforts: smoky wood resin paired with bergamot, citron, and neroli oil.
Constellation Serving Board
TM General Store
These eye-catching walnut boards are made by Dave Massman, an Austin-based elementary school librarian by day and woodworker by night. The brass inlay on each one is arranged into a constellation of the zodiac—we’re fond of Scorpio.
Harp Design Co.
Starting at $28
Clint Harp, made famous as the go-to Waco woodworker on HGTV’s Fixer Upper, has created sturdy candlesticks made from antique pine that come in three heights and will elevate any style of holiday table.
BYNDR Leather Goods
TM General Store
Tony Daniel has crafted the perfect hospitality gift, a vegetable-tanned leather vase. He makes his nifty leather goods, including accessories, in his Allen studio.
Starting at $650
Leave it to Sheila Youngblood, the founder of Rancho Pillow, the magical retreat in Round Top, to design the most stylish beanbag chair. It’s meant to seat two or more and is guaranteed to bring the enchantment found in the antiquing capital of Texas to your own backyard.
Dare to Lead
By Brené Brown
The four-time number one New York Times best-selling author tackles leadership in her latest book. Brené Brown, a proud Houstonian, spent seven years researching and interviewing everyone from Fortune 500 CEOs to captains of small entrepreneurial start-ups.
Holiday Smoked Brisket
$22 per pound
Give the gift of ’cue with a pit-smoked-to-order brisket from Brenham’s Truth BBQ, one of Texas Monthly’s Top 10 BBQ joints. Pitmaster Leonard Botello IV seasons and smokes the brisket for eighteen hours before shipping it in a Styrofoam cooler with dry ice and tallow, plus instructions for how to properly heat and serve. The prime brisket is sourced locally from the ranchers at 44 Farms. Note: Truth will start taking orders after Thanksgiving.
Tin of Treats
$8.50 per tin, plus cost of treats
The glamorous founder of Bird Bakery, Elizabeth Chambers Hammer, took inspiration from her grandmother’s beloved recipes when she opened her bakery in her hometown of San Antonio in 2012 (the second location, in Dallas, opened in Highland Park Village in 2016). Bird’s special holiday treat is a festively decorated cookie tin filled with a selection of baked goods of your choice. Bird suggests the Mexican hot chocolate brownies, chewy pecan squares, or a variety of cookies.
The Czech Stop
Call for pricing, 254-826-4170
Everyone’s favorite pit stop between Austin and Dallas, in the small town of West, takes call-in orders for overnight shipping of their famous kolaches—a delight for a homesick Texan.
Los Poblanos Lavender Lotion
San Antonio’s Hotel Emma just launched an online shop to showcase a selection of goods from its inviting hotel boutique, Curio. This fragrant lotion is made by artisans at New Mexico’s Los Poblanos lavender farm.
While plenty of cool indie stores have come and gone over the years, Sloan/Hall has stayed fresh and reliably surprising with its fine curation of home goods and accessories since launching in San Antonio in 1994 and then opening a second outpost in Houston four years later. Sloan/Hall has a knack for finding unique artists like San Antonio’s Callie Luhrman, whose armadillo bowl would add a playful touch to any counter.
Read more: Introducing Our 2018 Holiday Gift Guide
Texas Monthly serves its readers with occasional product roundups reported by senior editor Lauren Smith Ford. After she makes her picks, the Texas Monthly General Store acquires some of the items for its inventory. For your convenience, we’ve provided links to the store where applicable. For the other stuff, the links go directly to the retailer. We sometimes make a commission from sales that occur from those links.
A shorter version of this article originally appeared in the December 2018 issue of Texas Monthly with the headline “The Art of Texas Gift-Giving.” Subscribe today.