’Tis once again the season to make good on the annual tradition of exchanging holiday gifts. But the Texanist knows that purchasing the perfect present sometimes requires more persistence than we can muster . . . and then the whole exercise turns daunting. And yet, the Texanist finds that the two-way sense of satisfaction that comes with good gift-giving (and good gift-receiving) almost always, in the end, makes it a worthwhile endeavor.
At the heart of such expressions of generosity is, typically, friendship, and since the official motto here in Texas is—that’s right—“friendship,” the Texanist figures there’s no better way in the world to demonstrate real-deal Texas-style amity than with a gift whose contours replicate, in an actual physical sense, those of the beautiful Lone Star State. Ever since the Compromise of 1850 formed our current borders, the ever-recognizable outline of Texas, with the Panhandle, the Big Bend, the Coastal Bend, and all the other distinctive features, has made for a unique and visually pleasing form.
In addition to being something that Texans celebrate, the shape of the state has become something that celebrates us; it is a sort of logo that symbolizes the characteristic bigness, brashness, and mostly good-natured bumptiousness of the place and its many inhabitants. No other state can make such a claim. And this is why you’ve never seen a wall mirror in the shape of Idaho, a cutting board in the shape of Connecticut, or a waffle iron in the shape of Hawaii.
So, without further ado, the Texanist is pleased to present his first-annual guide to the top ten gifts made in the shape of Texas.
Texas-Shaped Shot Glass, Capitol Gift Shop, $6
For those inclined to imbibe, this nifty Texas-shaped shot glass, which features a round base that swirls up into the shape of Texas, tops off at 1.5 ounces and will fit the bill perfectly. Call it the perfect jigger for the Texas swigger. In a stroke of “ain’t nuthin’ more Texan,” it’s brought to you by the Texas Capitol Gift Shop!
Texas-Shaped Succulent Planter, TheJackedCactus, $12
Know someone with a love of plants and a love of Texas? How about a Texas-shaped succulent planter? This one is 3D-printed and comes in black, white, or stone. For those who have a hard time keeping green things green, this item is also perfectly suited for holding candy or nuts or olives and the like.
Texas Bar Soap, El Jabón, $13.50
Maybe it’s the country boy in him, or maybe it’s that purveying fine advice can sometimes be dirty work, but the Texanist often finds himself in need of a thorough washing-up. And when such necessity calls, this Dallas-made, Texas-shaped soap, which comes in a variety of scents, including cinnamon oatmeal, eucalyptus, lavender, peppermint, and strawberry, will do the trick every time—and with a touch of Texas-y panache. For smaller jobs, there are Texas-shaped mini soaps, available in the same scents. And for those in need of a thorough cleansing—or a theme for the guest bathroom—you might also consider employing a Lone Star loofah from Favor the Kind.
Texas Bluebonnet Keepsake Box, Matr Boomie, $34
The Texanist doesn’t know about you, but he’s somewhat prone to misplacing his things, especially the smaller ones. If you’ve got a similar someone on your list, this handmade wooden box with a bluebonnet design will make a perfect—and perfectly useful—gift. It’s good for jewelry, keepsakes, and trinkets, and it’s also good looking.
Texas-Shaped Salsa Bowl With Pewter Spoon, The Pewter Lady, $40
What to get a discerning server of salsas? From the Houston-based purveyor of pretty pewter serving pieces, The Pewter Lady, here is, perhaps, the prettiest one of them all, a Texas-shaped pewter salsa bowl and matching star-studded spoon. It’s certainly as good for fresh guacamole, silky queso, or a simple bean dip as it is for salsas. In fact, the Texanist finds his to be perfectly suited for Texas caviar.
Texas Stepping Stone, Naturally Customized, $52
In Texas, it’s always important to watch where you step. There are rattlers, cactus, craggy rocks, and cowpies to look out for, after all. So, as long as you’re looking out, the Texanist figures, why not look at a handmade Texas-shaped stepping stone? It’s large at sixteen inches by seventeen inches, tip-to-tip, and handsome, with an embossed lone star and bluebonnet.
Texas Wildflowers Cloisonné Christmas Ornament, Kitty Keller, $53
The Texanist’s missus is a collector and utilizer of ornaments nonpareil. She’s got all kinds in all shapes and sizes all over the house. Deviled eggs, dinosaurs, and even one the Texanist made in Mrs. Jarvis’s fourth-grade class back at Cater Elementary, in dear old Temple. She’d surely love this one-of-a-kind, handcrafted, Texas-shaped cloisonné beauty. It’s colorfully decorated with Texas wildflowers, shatterproof, and is brought to you by Austin artist Kitty Keller. Plus, it comes in a durable keepsake box.
Texas-Shaped Waffle Iron, Bullock Museum Store, $55
What’s better than a warm, golden-brown waffle? A warm, golden-brown Texas-shaped waffle, that’s what. This waffle iron, from the gift shop at the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum, in Austin, makes perfect—Texas-shaped, that is—waffles that will leave residents of every other state, perhaps Hawaii in particular, green with envy.
Texas Casserole Dish, Keep the Faye, $58
Here’s a pretty, two-quart, oven-to-table stoneware baking dish for the epicure on your list. It’s dishwasher and microwave safe and, with an intricate map of places and attractions, as fun as the day is long. (Supply occasionally runs out, but is restocked frequently.) If one really wanted to put on a show, the Texanist might recommend a recipe involving Texaroni, a Texas-shaped pasta available at finer outlets, including, of course, H-E-B.
Enamel Texas Serape Charm, James Avery, $68
The Texanist isn’t sure if Texas has an official silversmith, but if there was one it would probably be Kerrville-based James Avery. The fifty-plus-year-old company’s selection of handcrafted bracelets, charms, necklaces, and rings is, as anybody familiar with the jeweler knows, enormous, but this colorful sterling silver and enamel serape charm—in the shape of Texas—is a real standout.