The League of New Hampshire Craftsmen retail gallery in Concord. (Photo by Stephanie Selberg.)

The League of New Hampshire Craftsmen retail gallery in Concord. (Photo by Stephanie Selberg.)

Holiday shopping? Nonprofits have you covered

Crafts, toys, gift memberships, concert tickets, maple syrup...holiday shopping at NH nonprofits means finding awesome NH-made gifts, keeping your dollars local, and supporting the organizations that help make the Granite State a great place to live

One of our favorite themes around here is all the ways in which the nonprofit sector improves New Hampshire’s quality of life.

Well, guess what?

New Hampshire nonprofits have got your holiday shopping covered, too.

Shopping from New Hampshire nonprofits means giving unique gifts that are uniquely New Hampshire, keeping your dollars circulating in the local economy, AND supporting the operations of organizations that help make New Hampshire a great place to live.

Need some inspired ideas for the folks on your list?

We asked our staff for their suggestions for holiday shopping through New Hampshire nonprofits. This is hardly an exhaustive accounting, more a collection of some really cool stuff that we have discovered in our travels.

So read on, gentle shopper…

Gorgeous New Hampshire-made craft, art, scrumptious foodstuffs

The League of New Hampshire Craftsmen has eight retail galleries around the state featuring juried works by New Hampshire’s master artists and craftspeople. Pottery, textiles, jewelry, prints and paintings, wood and metal-craft, cards and more. Want to start a tradition (and make your gift decisions easier from here on out?): Check out the League’s annual tree ornament. This year, the ornament is “Winter’s Waltz,” a dangling part of pewter ice skates by Walker Boyle of Antrim.

The Hannah Grimes Marketplace in Keene features divine local goods. Profits support the Hannah Grimes Center for Entrepreneurship business incubator to grow more local small businesses and nonprofits. They have a little of everything … from soaps and lotions to prints and pottery and clothing and books and cards and beer and wine and maple syrup, jam, cheese, chocolate and other locally made delicacies.

The Women’s Rural Entrepreneurial Network’s Local Works Marketplace is a great reason to make a trip into Bethlehem. Delicious foodstuffs, objects both beautiful and functional, clothes, toys and more – and everything made within a 100-mile radius.

The New Hampshire Institute of Art Sharon Art Center Craft Gallery and Store in Peterborough features many selections of unique New Hampshire craft, from jewelry to paintings and textiles.

And the Currier Museum of Art’s museum shop offers prints, cards, books, jewelry and more.

‘Tis a gift…and other historical, place-based (or just plain cool) treasures

The Museum Store at Canterbury Shaker Village sells the iconic Shaker wooden boxes that are functional works of art…and many other traditional and locally made craft, books and foodstuffs. Some Shaker-related, some not. All worth the ride.

The shop at the Discover Portsmouth Center has a huge variety of books on local history and lore, cool toys for kids, jewelry, artwork and clothing. With events and exhibitions, including family programming, throughout December.

The Museum Shop at the Manchester Historic Association’s Millyard Museum is the place for books and prints and photos that capture the history and culture of New Hampshire’s largest city. And we have at least one Queen-City geek here in our office who is all about the annually issued brass ornaments featuring Manchester landmarks, like the Amoskeag Millyard, Gill Stadium and the Ash Street School.

The Historical Society of Cheshire County Museum Shop in Keene features Monadnock region books, crafts, maps, artwork and more.

At Strawbery Banke in Portsmouth, Pickwick’s at the Banke features period clothing, books, toys, crafts and much more. Or, give the gift of tickets for admission to the museum, or to go skating at Puddle Dock Pond.

You can buy a beautiful variety of holiday cards that help support New Hampshire’s most vulnerable kids from Court-Appointed Special Advocates of New Hampshire, which also sells cards for all seasons.

Over the fields and through the woods – for farm-fresh gifts

The New Hampshire Farm Museum in Milton has a country store featuring farm-fresh produce, honey, cheese, maple syrup, books, hand-made candles and rugs, crockery, educational toys and games and more. Plus, a “Victorian Christmas” event on December 16 in the historic Jones Farmhouse.

The Farm Store at Stonewall Farm in Keene features the farm’s own produce, including yogurt, ice cream, maple syrup, cheese, eggs and meat, and from other local farmers and food producers. Plus a selection of children’s items and local artisan wares.

Local Share by Plowshare Farm in Milford is run by Plowshare Farm, an organization that works with adults with developmental disabilities on a fully functioning farm in Greenfield. Try the peanut butter cookies and granola, and the beeswax candles made on the farm.

And the Root Seller Marketplace in Lancaster, an indoor farmers’ market offering an abundant variety of local products (including eggnog!), is run by the Taproot Farm & Environmental Education Center.

Tickets!

We’re not even sure where to start. But film buffs we know loooove gift cards to the independent nonprofit Red River Theatres in Concord.

The singers in our midst suggest tickets to concerts by the Concord Chorale, New Hampshire Gay Men’s Chorus, Suncook Valley Chorale and Granite State Choral Society.

For music and theatre, check out the offerings at the Rochester Opera House, the Weathervane Theatre in Whitefield, the St. Kieran Community Center for the Arts in Berlin, the Tillotson Center in Colebrook, M&D Playhouse in North Conway, Medallion Opera House in Gorham, the Capitol Center for the Arts in Concord, the Lebanon Opera House, the Colonial Theatre in Keene, the Palace Theatre in Manchester and the Music Hall, 3S Artspace or the Players’ Ring Theatre in Portsmouth. Or (and, full disclosure, our own Kevin Peterson has performed in this one in the past) tickets to Revels North’s “Nordic Celebration of the Winter Solstice” in Hanover.

Here we come a-thrifting…

So, holidays or no, we are big thrift shoppers around here. For holiday outfits or those kitchen gadgets you really need to turn out the perfect holiday meal, there’s OutFITters Thrift Stores in Manchester and in Concord, which help fund the services of Families in Transition. Missy’s Closet Resale Boutique supports the YWCA in Manchester, LISTEN Community Services has thrift shops in Lebanon and White River Junction and, of course, there are the tried-and-true Goodwill (including a new location in Belmont) and Salvation Army.

The COVER Home Repair Store in White River Junction sells everything from appliances to furniture, and proceeds from sales help COVER in its mission to offer home repairs and weatherization to folks who need it.

And if you are in a closet-cleaning frame of mind, bring items to donate!

Get outside!

We have some avid outdoors-folks around here who suggest getting a Christmas tree from the Rocks Estate in Bethlehem, a tree farm operated by the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests.

Hikers will be happy with a gift membership to the Appalachian Mountain Club, or with a gift certificate for a stay in one of its mountain huts. (Retail shops at the Pinkham Notch Visitors Center and the Highland Center Lodge in Crawford Notch are also full of gear, books and other goodies.)

The Nature Store at New Hampshire Audubon’s McLane Center is the place to stop for all avian-related gifts, including cool stuff for kids (and beautiful holiday wreaths).

Ski passes (or gift certificates for lessons) at the Jackson Ski Touring Center will make your cross-country ski friends and family happy, as would a membership to the Nansen Ski Club in Milan or Blackwater Nordic Ski Club in Hopkinton.

Or if you are looking to share a totally cool Seacoast experience, treat someone to a sail with the Gundalow Company, which offers sails on a recreated gundalow at sunset during the season (sometimes with live music). The Gundalow Company is dedicated to preserving the coastal environment and the region’s heritage.

For that someone who says “I always wanted to learn to…”

With New Hampshire’s nonprofits, you can give the gift of learning to do some seriously cool stuff.

Give music lessons or concert tickets at the Concord Community Music School, the Portsmouth Music and Art Center, the Manchester Community Music School, or Upper Valley Music Center.

Seriously, if you have someone on your list who always wanted to command a hammer and anvil, Sanborn Mills Farm in Loudon has classes in blacksmithing.

The Currier Museum of Art in Manchester and the AVA Gallery in Lebanon New Hampshire Institute of Art, and League of New Hampshire Craftsmen offer classes at a number of locations.

We could go on. And on.

 Cool stuff just for kids (big kids, too!)

The Children’s Museum of New Hampshire’s museum shop in Dover is a fun stop (and come ON, who would not want some Crazy Aaron’s Thinking Putty?)

The Montshire Museum in Norwich, VT has an expansive shop of the educational, whimsical and beautiful, plus a great book selection.

For eclectic items from around the world, stop at the Mariposa Museum gift shop in Peterborough.

Got some young scientists and astronomers on your list? Gift shops at the SEE Science Center in Manchester and McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center in Concord have you covered.

But I am so done with STUFF…

Understood. And simply supporting a nonprofit in its great work might be the best gift of all. And many organizations offer memberships, with perks that include free admission, discounts and more.

Think about the people on your list, and what matters to them. Got an avid outdoors-person on your list? Give to an environmental organization on her behalf. Someone who cares deeply about responsible journalism? Give to one of New Hampshire’s nonprofit news outlets on their behalf. Someone who wants to help kids whose families are struggling? Give to a mentoring organization, or a family resource center that provides home visits for some of the state’s most vulnerable kids.

Name an issue, and there is a New Hampshire nonprofit working on it. An outright gift to them is triply appreciated – by the organization, by the people and communities they serve, and by the person in whose name you made the gift.

So, happy holiday shopping…and thanks for supporting New Hampshire’s nonprofits at the holidays – and all year round.

This was a group effort. Patrice Allaire, Phoebe Backler, Peter Benson, Judy Burrows, Gale Dean, Amy Fackelmann, Nola Frost, Linda Gray, Jessica Kierstead, Christina LaChance, Terri McKinnon, Melinda Mosier, Kristen Oliveri, Jennifer Perkins, Kevin Peterson, Danielle Pride and Kirsten Scobie of the Charitable Foundation staff all contributed to this article.