‘Tis the season to give art for your floor, glass lobster buoys and some nice hot soup.

And maybe a couple of severed fingers, if you have someone on your list who likes such things.

Yes, Christmas in Maine is nothing if not unique. Maine is such a bastion of creative business folks, from artists and craftsmen to foodies and fashionistas, that you don’t have to look very hard to find a truly one-of-a-kind gift.

So instead of stuffing cash into cards for folks on your gift list — again — this year might be the right time to go out and explore the wonderful bounty of Maine-made gifts. There’s probably an unusual gift waiting just around the corner from where you are now.

Here are some suggestions:


Ferdinand Home Store, owned by Diane Toepfer, has been open for 10 years at the bottom of Munjoy Hill. Many of the items are made by Toepfer herself, including a wide array of letterpress cards and a dazzling array of other accessories and gifts. Ferdinand is probably best known for Toepfer’s line of hand-screened T-shirt designs. They come in a variety of sizes and colors for men, women and babies.

WHAT: Hand-screened T-shirt

WHERE: Ferdinand Home Store, 243 Congress St., Portland


INFO: 761-2151; ferdinandhomestore.com


With a new spin on the term “pillow talk,” Gorham-based designer Erin Flett is known for her hand-drawn, silk-screened prints with an eclectic, colorful style inspired from the Maine woods and all things old. Her line features pillows, prints and bags, and they’re all silk-screened by hand. Flett just released a new batch of designs on top of her original collection that are now available via her website. You can also check out her patterns locally on A-U, a Portland-based luggage and bag manufacturer (AU-INC.com).

WHAT: 20- by 20-inch Stacked Deco hand-screened pillow on natural cotton

WHERE: erinflett.com



Along with the cold and snow, one constant of winter in Maine is the inevitable sniffles and colds. Give a gift that helps keep these ills at bay and soothes the symptoms should sickness strike. Homegrown Herb & Tea offers a Winter Sampler, featuring four hand-blended herbal infusions: Kapha Kick, Sniffle Tea with a Sore Throat Kiss, Holy Tea and Simple Winter Tonic. Choose hand-stuffed tea sacks or loose tea in 1-ounce tins.

WHAT: Winter Sampler herbal tea box

WHERE: Homegrown Herb & Tea, 195 Congress St., Portland


INFO: 774-3484; homegrownherbandtea.com


Even the person who has everything still needs to eat lunch. For those on your list who live or work in downtown Portland, consider a year’s membership in Kamasouptra’s Bowl Club. Membership includes a T-shirt, a handcrafted pottery bowl created by Seth Amaroso, a free bowl of soup and $1 off each additional bowl of soup. Offerings change daily and include such popular choices as beer and cheddar, vegan chili, New England clam chowder and gluten-free loaded baked potato.

WHAT: Bowl Club membership

WHERE: Kamasouptra, Public Market House, 2nd Floor, 28 Monument Square, Portland


INFO: 415-6692


Georgetown artist Dahlov Ipcar is beloved for her whimsical cat and dog images, and for her many children’s books. This year, the 93-year-old artist ventured into a new area — rugs and pillows. “The Dahlov Ipcar Collection” features four rugs and four pillows with cat and dog images from her books “Black and White,” “The Cat at Night” and “The Art of Dahlov Ipcar.” You can buy both the rugs and pillows online; the pillows are also available at the Portland Museum of Art gift store.

WHAT: “The Dahlov Ipcar Collection” of rugs and pillows

WHERE: shopclassicrug.com

HOW MUCH: $229 for a 2- by 3-foot rug; $499 for a 3- by 5-foot rug; $109 for a pillow


Based in the Lakes Region town of Harrison, ELMS Puzzles creates custom-made, hand-cut wooden jigsaw puzzles. You can choose the image for your own puzzle, including many local Maine landmarks and scenes. Just pick an image on the company’s website and select a size, and workers will start making your puzzle. Or supply your own art or image and have a puzzle made from that.

WHAT: ELMS Puzzles

WHERE: elmspuzzles.com

HOW MUCH: Prices range from $190 for 100-piece, 6-by-8-inch puzzle to $3,250 for a 20-by-24-inch puzzle

INFO: (800) 353-3567


What better way to say Maine than with a buoy? And what better way to say Portland than with a handmade gift that speaks to the city’s creative culture? Made locally by Portland-based glassblower Ben Coombs, these hand-crafted, hand-signed ornaments make for a thoughtful Christmas gift. Coombs received his BFA in sculpture and glass blowing from Hartwick College, and worked for five years in Seattle with world-renowned glass blowers Dante Marioni and Benjamin Moore. He now operates the Portland Glassblowing Studio on Munjoy Hill, which he opened in 2001.

WHAT: Glass buoy

WHERE: Portland Museum of Art gift shop, 7 Congress Square

HOW MUCH: $327

INFO: portlandmuseum.org/store


For several years, Maine-based artist Alan Claude has created art deco-style prints of Maine lighthouses. This year, he created an image of the iconic Maine lobster with the words “Ain’t Nothin’ Bettah.” It has proven to be one of his top sellers.

WHAT: Maine lobster print

WHERE: alanclaude.com

HOW MUCH: $65 to $1,200 depending on size, framing options and other details


Why wait until Halloween to give a bloody mask or severed finger to the one you love? If someone on your holiday list is a horror fan, The Shoggoth Assembly in Portland can fix you up with handmade masks or finger digits — as well as brains, severed ears, prop knives and other movie-themed products. Helmed by special effects artist Eric Anderson, Shoggoth makes casts of real people for its products and uses hypoallergenic silicone rubber instead of latex, ensuring a long shelf life. Anderson also does custom-made work such as lifecasts of customers’ faces and casts of pregnant women’s bellies. There isn’t a physical store address yet, but you can shop online and have your order delivered.

WHAT: Horror masks and bloody finger props

WHERE: etsy.com/shop/shoggothassembly

HOW MUCH: $5 to $7 for fingers and other small body parts; $50 to $75 for masks

INFO: 420-5534; [email protected] assembly.com

GO editor Rod Harmon and staff writers Ray Routhier, Aimsel Ponti, Avery Yale Kamila and Bob Keyes contributed to this story.