How is it winter again? Didn’t we just do you, cold weather? We all know how tough it can be to get through the December doldrums, but luckily Jesus and Captain Capitalism combined centuries ago to give us the holiday season, full of tree-smelling, scarf-wearing, cookie-devouring, and gift-giving.

Last year we hooked our readers up with a batch of unique, local Milwaukee-made gift ideas, all which are still great choices. One sun-revolution later and we’re back with more. This city is brimming with local artisans, and their goods are definitely one of a kind. Stock up for those special Milwaukeeans in your life.

Cream City Grooming Essentials Ground Coffee Beard Scrub

All photos by and starring Joe Powell.

All photos by and starring Joe Powell unless otherwise noted.

Us burly men can be hard to shop for, but look no further than our steadily lengthening face-scarf for inspiration. A well-groomed beard is a happy beard, and Cream City Grooming Essentials has got…well..the essentials needed to keep your chin coiffed.

Made right here in Bay View by the talented wife-husband duo Autumn and Casey Dunn, their whole lineup is made from simple and limited natural ingredients. In particular, rubbing the Ground Coffee Beard Scrub on your face is a fantastic way to wake up in the morning or before a night out. It’ll leave you feeling fresh, alert, and smelling a little like black gold.

Get Mugged by Beth Eaton


While most Milwaukeeans know all about the fabled “I Closed Wolski’s” bumper sticker, the “I was mugged by Beth Eaton” sticker is much rarer, but just as cherished. Beth has been working in ceramics since the 90’s, and while her mugs are often front and center, she has plenty of other handmade products for your home. Everyone who’s anyone only drinks their local coffees out of a Beth Eaton mug.

Bradford Beach (On A Good Day) from Milwaukee Candle Company


When I met Milwaukee Candle Company‘s founder, Kevin Goudzwaard, he regaled me with the tale behind this Hometown Collection candle staple. “The first time I went to Bradford Beach (on the 4th of July), it smelled terrible. I went back a few weeks later and it was completely different, inviting. This candle is meant to remind us of those good days on the lake.”

Besides this daisy, clove, and sunscreen (natch) fragrance, MCC’s candles hit locally with Jazzmine in the Park, Brewery Tour, and Third Ward Java Dark Chocolate. All hand-poured right here in the MKE, these soy candles are “inspired by our city.”

Top Note Tonic‘s Vodka Trilogy Gift Box

Image courtesy of Top Note Tonics.

Image courtesy of Top Note Tonics.

In a city built on beer, it’s refreshing to know there’s craft beverage makers pursuing new liquid horizons. Top Note has been making tonics and ginger beer for a few years (in, yet again, Bay View!) to pair with your favorite liquors or on their own. This December, grab a vodka gift pack featuring ginger beer, bitter lemon tonic, and Indian tonic and mix with a splash of some local clear liquor for a festive and delicious cocktail.

PieGram from Pie Inc (bakers for Honeypie Cafe and Palomino)

Photo by Rebecca Perry.

Photo by Rebecca Perry.

It’s common knowledge in Milwaukee that if you want pie, you go to Honeypie Cafe or Palomino in Bay View (of course). Both are supplied by the eponymous Pie Inc, and for a shockingly-small sum you can send a 6″ version of the best bakery MKE has to offer to anyone, nationwide. We sent the PieGram above to our lovely (but woefully southern-oriented) sister all the way down in Fort Lauderdale. In a matter of days it arrived, still fresh despite the oppressive Floridian heat.

Flavors range from Blueberry Citrus Crumb to Caramel Fudge Twirl. Each is accompanied by a locally-designed card with pun-tastic notes. As Pie Inc states themselves, “You’ll be sending pure happiness through the mail.”

Merry Christmas and happy holidays to you and yours, Curd readers, and a special thanks to all who subscribed to The Squeaky Curd for a chance to win one of the above gifts in our giveaway. Congrats to Gail, Ryan, Deidre, and Googie.

Special thanks to our awesome, local Milwaukee vendors for making this give-away possible! Enjoy the Holiday Season, and don’t forget a gift for your favorite blogger.

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