Here are a ton of things from Maine that—if you do the whole holiday gift giving thing—you should consider buying rather than getting stuff from the mall or whatever. I mean, the mall is cool. I worked there a ton when I was a teenager and that was a formative experience. But here you can buy directly from the folks who make these things, or you can buy from shops that are more or less in your back yard.
This is—I don’t know—the 7th time I’ve put this together? The mission is to make it so that you can buy locally made things straight from local vendors. The guide is not as grandiose as it was last year, but I didn’t think we’d be compiling this list this year at all. I am moving to Nashville early next year to open up a second Knack Factory office (Knack Factory is alive and well and continuing to thrive here in Maine) and that ended up overwhelming a lot of the time we’d otherwise have put into planning. But a number of vendors asked if it was going to happen and noted their appreciation for the guide and so here we are.
Every thank you in the world to Might + Main for designing the Maine Gift Guide site, look, vibe, and everything that makes this look like a professional operation.
One of the biggest advocates for getting the list up and running was Emily Page, co-owner of Townie Supply Co., who was so eager to make this happen that she did literally 95% of the work it required to get it together. Thank you so much, Emily, for making this thing happen.
Oh, by the way, here are a few of my top picks that aren’t exactly gifts:
My great friend Lauren Rioux is playing a show at One Longfellow Square. She will be joined by other friends and extraordinarily talented musicians Brittany Haas (Live from Here, David Rawlings Machine, Hawktail), OLS fave Joe K. Walsh (Mr. Sun), Yann Falquet (Genticorum) and special guest Claire Scott. This event will blow you away, I promise. Check it out.
If you’re hankering to give to some good, local causes, there is a hearty list of organizations to consider down below, but might I suggest MaineTransNet, Speak About It, The Travis Mills Foundation, or Maine Immigrants Legal Advocacy Project.
If you're giving the gift of books or music, please shop with our friends at Print Bookstore and Bullmoose, or any of the amazing independently owned shops throughout the state.
Okay, I think that’s it. Happy shopping, everybody.
Some great organizations doing important work to make Maine a better place. Please consider supporting their efforts by making a donation.
Maine Youth Leadership "Working with Maine youth to seek out, recognize and develop their leadership skills."
MaineShare "Providing funding to over 40 statewide organizations working every day to make Maine a better place to live."
Hardy Girls, Healthy Women "Dedicated to the health and well being of girls and women."
Cultivating Community "Creating and sustaining greater access to healthy, local foods; empowers people to play many roles in restoring the local, sustainable food system; and models, teaches, and advocates for ecological food production."
Maine Humanities Council "Using literature, history, philosophy, and culture, the MHC brings people together in conversation that crosses social, economic, and cultural barriers."
Speak About It "Partnering with high schools and colleges to educate, entertain, and empower students to create positive change within their communities, advocate for and practice healthy relationship habits, and prevent sexual violence."
WMPG "Empowering University of Southern Maine students and community members to create diverse, innovative, high quality media, foster the exchange of ideas, and celebrate the many cultures of USM and surrounding communities for broadcast to the world."
Maine Youth Rock Orchestra "Reinventing and revolutionizing music education through programming, concerts and opportunities for all of our students, building them musically and emotionally, while contributing to better our communities around us."
SPACE Gallery "Supporting contemporary arts projects, championing artists, and encouraging an open exchange of ideas."
GrowSmart Maine "Building lasting prosperity without sacrificing the quality of life that defines Maine."
Travis Mills Foundation "Benefitting and assisting wounded and injured veterans and their families."
Good Shepherd Food Bank "Relying on its relationships with Maine’s food industry in order to gather millions of pounds of food each year."
Preble Street "Providing accessible barrier-free services to empower people experiencing problems with homelessness, housing, hunger, and poverty and to advocate for solutions to those problems."
Woodfords Family Services "Committed to the support and inclusion of people with special needs and their families in Maine communities."
Maine Public "Connecting the people of Maine to each other and to the world through the open exchange of information, ideas and cultural content."
Maine Children's Alliance "Committed to improving the lives of Maine’s children, youth and families."
Girls on the Run Maine "Transformational physical activity based positive youth development program for girls in 3rd-8th grade."
Bangor Area Homeless Shelter "A facility open 365 days a year, providing both overnight shelter as well as a Day Program."
National Alliance on Mental Illness Maine "Grassroots, membership-based organization established to enhance the lives of everyone impacted by mental health concerns by offering support, education and advocacy statewide."
Sexual Assault Response Services of Southern Maine "Providing free and confidential services to victims of sexual assault since 1973."
Planned Parenthood NNE "The largest reproductive health care and sexuality education provider and advocate in northern New England."
Frannie Peabody Center "Committed to compassionate care for those affected by HIV/AIDS in Maine."
Pine Tree Legal Assistance "Providing high quality, free, civil legal assistance to low-income people in Maine."
Catholic Charities "Empowering and strengthening individuals and families of all faiths, by providing innovative, community-based social services throughout Maine."
Friends of Casco Bay "The leading environmental organization working to improve and protect the environmental health of Casco Bay."
Maine Audubon "Working to conserve Maine’s wildlife and wildlife habitat by engaging people of all ages in education, conservation and action."
ACLU Maine "The state's guardian of liberty... active in the courts, the legislature and the public sphere to defend the Constitution and the Bill of Rights for all Mainers.
The Telling Room "Nonprofit writing center dedicated to the idea that children and young adults are natural storytellers... The power of creative expression can change our communities and prepare our youth for future success."
EqualityMaine "Maine's oldest and largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) political advocacy organization."
STRIVE "Serving tweens, teens and young adults with intellectual & emotional disabilities."
Maine Legal Services for the Elderly "Providing free, high quality legal services to Maine’s socially and economically needy elderly age 60 and over."
Disability Rights Maine "Enhancing and promoting the equality, self-determination, independence, productivity, integration, and inclusion of people with disabilities through education, strategic advocacy, and legal intervention."
The following organizations make up Maine Initiative's 2016 Grants for Change Racial Justice Grantee Cohort. Each of these 10 organizations embody a unique approach to racial justice and racial equity issues in Maine.
In Her Presence "Through connecting with immigrant women and girls, we grow our collective empowerment so that our voices may lead in our communities."
Maine Immigrants' Rights Coalition "Helping low-income immigrants improve their legal status and works for more just and humane laws and policies affecting immigrants."
Maine Inside Out "Initiating dialogue, develops leadership, and builds community across boundaries with collaborative original theater, inside and outside correctional facilities."
Maine-Wabanaki REACH "A cross-cultural collaboration that successfully supported the Maine Wabanaki-State Child Welfare Truth and Reconciliation Commission."
Mano en Mano "Building a stronger community in Downeast Maine by working with diverse populations to provide educational and affordable housing opportunities, remove barriers to health and social services, and advocate for social justice."
Martin Luther King, Jr. Fellows "A student-centered group with the mission to advance racial equity and social justice in the Greater Portland area."
New Mainers Tenants' Association "Bringing landlords and New Mainers together.."
Raise-Op Housing Cooperative "A Lewiston-Auburn-based organization offering democratically controlled housing to its members and organizing residents to build equity for themselves and the greater community."
Somali Bantu Community of Lewiston/Auburn "Assisting the Somali Bantu refugee community with the transition to our new lives and to our new home here in Maine."
Tree Street Youth "Supporting the youth of Lewiston-Auburn through programs rooted in academics, the arts, and athletics in a safe space that encourages healthy physical, social, emotional, and academic development while building unity across lines of difference."