I'm all for bargain shopping. I love a great deal as much as the next gal. But, part of me gets exhausted just thinking about waking up at the crack of dawn on Black Friday and venturing out into the chilly air in an effort to make a dent in my ever-growing holiday gift list.
That's why I've become a fan of this Cyber Monday thing. It's so friggin' civilized.
Not only do I get to enjoy an entire weekend of Thanksgiving leftovers without setting foot outside of my comfy cozy home, I can sit on the couch with my laptop and my leftover pumpkin pie and click, click, click my way through that Christmas list.
And I'm not alone. According to the National Retail Federation, the average consumer does more than a third of their holiday shopping online. In fact, in 2012 online holiday sales are expected to grow 12 percent, to $96 billion.
Best of all, there are plenty of great Wisconsin-based companies offering deals on products that will please even the pickiest foodies on my list. So, I can skip the long lines at the mall AND support the local economy all at the same time.
Here are some of the great deals I'll be perusing today.
First, I'm going to check out the deals over at Wisconsinmade.com, where they're offering 20 percent off on a number of fun food gifts made right here in the Badger State. I've got my eye on the Wisconsin hardwood cutting board (regularly $48) made from lumber harvested from the remains of an early American virgin forest that existed before the American colonies were settled by our forefathers. The boards are available in two sizes.
I'll also find it difficult to resist one of my favorite holiday breakfast table treats, the Danish kringle. The Racine Danish kringle & coffee gift set includes two packs of gourmet flavored coffee, a diner-style mug and your choice of four different oval Danish kringles for $30.95.
For the cocktail lovers on my list, I'm likely to consider the twin syrups crate from Madison's Quince & Apple, which contains some of the most delicious tart cherry grenadine I've tasted, along with a bottle of rhubarb hops, a brew recently declared "almost too usable" by Tasting Table and a favorite of mine when mixed with a gin and tonic for a deliciously different classic cocktail.
While I'm there, I probably won't be able to resist getting a jar of their fig and black tea preserves for myself ... because, well, I'm getting such a good deal on all my other gifts ... and it's really the most amazing thing to serve as part of my holiday cheese platter.
The bacon lovers in my life should also be excited. After all, Nueske's is offering 15 percent off of any order on Cyber Monday. And that includes their bacon sampler (regularly priced at $29.95), which includes both thick- and thin-sliced and peppered bacon. The sale also includes a variety of new artisan cheese samplers, including collections from Wisconsin greats like Roelli, Sartori, Hook's and Widmer's. For a limited time, each of the samplers is also shipped with a free Nueske's applewood smoked pork and
beef summer sausage, making it an even better deal.
Of course, the bacon caramel corn (at $9.98 a bag) from Swiss Maid Fudge in Wisconsin Dells is also likely to make the cut. After all, it's one of those strangely addictive sweet-meets-salty confections that makes a near-perfect stocking stuffer.
I'd be remiss if I didn't peruse a few local vendors on Etsy, including the beautiful hand-thrown pottery made by JDWolfePottery. I especially love the polka-dotted cereal bowls and coffee mugs, which would be the perfect gift when accompanied by a bag of freshly roasted Anodyne coffee.
For the beer lover on my list, I might just splurge on a few "I Drink Craft Beer" tea towels made by MilkhausDesign. Since they're made of lint-free flour sacks, these towels are perfect for drying beerware or sopping up drips and puddles from a home brewing project. The towels make the perfect holiday host or hostess gift, wrapped around a homemade treat or with a six-pack of Milwaukee brews.
A couple of local candy companies also have some pretty sweet deals running. Indulgence Chocolatiers will offer a free holiday chocolate bar with any purchase of $25 or more from their website, and free shipping with any purchase of $50 or more.
Similarly, Becky's Blissful Bakery will offer a free three-piece pack of their wildly addictive salted gingerbread caramels for every order placed through their website through Nov. 27. My recommendation? Get one of your out-of-town friends the local favorites gift pack, featuring espresso dark chocolate caramels made with Stone Creek coffee, chai tea caramels made with Rishi masala chai concentrate and salted beer and pretzel caramels made with Lakefront Brewery Organic E.S.B. It's worth every penny of that $29.99.
Speaking of Rishi Tea, they'll also offer free UPS ground shipping on Cyber Monday orders for products throughout their website, including their new high-end seasonal oolongs or ceremonial grade matchas.
Want more ideas for ways to shop local for the holidays? Check out the comprehensive directory of great local businesses at Local First Milwaukee.
Lori is an avid cook whose accrual of condiments and spices is rivaled only by her cookbook collection. Her passion for the culinary industry was birthed while balancing A&W root beer mugs as a teenage carhop, fed by insatiable curiosity and fueled by the people whose stories entwine with each and every dish. She’s had the privilege of chronicling these tales via numerous media, including OnMilwaukee and in her book “Milwaukee Food.” Her work has garnered journalism awards from entities including the Milwaukee Press Club.
When she’s not eating, photographing food, writing or recording the FoodCrush podcast, you’ll find Lori seeking out adventures with her husband Paul, traveling, cooking, reading, learning, snuggling with her cats and looking for ways to make a difference.