I’ve been looking forward to this event and writing this post for weeks. The Boise Christmas Show is an annual event held the first weekend in December at Expo Idaho. It’s one of my favorite holiday events and my mom, sister and I go every year.
The Boise Christmas Show is a place for locals to sell their goods for the holidays. One of my favorite things about being from a state like Idaho is that there are always a lot of gift ideas from local businesses that you can’t get anywhere else and I love supporting local.
In no particular order, here are my top 5 local businesses from this year’s event:
- Starlight Herb and Spice Co.
I first fell in love with this company years ago. They offer blends of rubs and seasonings that are absolutely incredible. They’re easy to cook with, as they’re already mixed blends, so you don’t need 10 different spice bottles in your kitchen for making one meal. I bought their product for the first time as I was preparing to move to Madagascar with the Peace Corps. I’d heard from other volunteers that spices were really hard to get in Madagascar and most foods were only seasoned with salt and pepper. When I saw Starlight’s line of blends I bought a few to take with me, thinking that it might be a nice way to spice up my food. Of all the things I packed for my trip, I probably used these the most.
In fact, when we were evacuated a year later and severely limited on what we could take with us when we left, I made sure I packed these. While I had gotten the locals hooked on them as I often cooked for people in town, I didn’t know if/where I would get another position in the Peace Corps and if I would be shipped directly to another country in Africa. If so, I definitely wanted these spices with me.
They have several different flavors, but my favorites are: Garlic Pepper, Lime Pepper, Greek Seasoning, Southwest Seasoning (good for anything Mexican), and the Kitchen Sink (which can be used on literally anything you’re cooking.)
- Timber Butte Elk Ranch
I’m not a fan of industrial farming, so I try not to eat a lot of meat, and when I do I like to eat local whenever possible. I’ve been eating elk jerky from Timber Butte Elk Ranch for a few years now. I was a little disappointed this year as they’d already sold out of the Mesquite flavor by the time we got there, but they still had Hickory, which is my other favorite flavor.
As far as jerky goes, Elk is a little pricier. At $11 for 5 ounces, I wouldn’t consider this product cheap. However, for local, grass-fed, humanely treated meat with no steroids or growth hormones, this is a pretty decent price. Plus, they offer tours of the ranch where you can visit the elk and see how they are raised and treated.
Writing about this made me hungry, so I had to go bust open my last package.
- Spud Fudge
Yup, you read that right! Here in Idaho, you can even buy fudge made with potatoes. Sweet Hope uses potatoes to make fudge replacing 1/3 of the sugar. They have a variety of flavors and even have some they make in the shape of a potato. My favorite flavor is maple, but really, can you ever go wrong with fudge?
- Donna Cook
Donna Cook is a local author that I first met at this event last year. At the time she was selling her first book ‘Gift of the Phoenix.’ In talking with my book club after the event, we decided to read her book, which we did back in February. Donna was nice enough to come to our meeting and discuss her book with us. She recently published her second book ‘The Lost Branch’ which is technically a sequel, but she says it can also be read as a standalone. I bought two copies, one for myself and one to take to my book club’s holiday book exchange. I also bought her other book, ‘Nashua’s Choice’ which she says is one of her favorites.
The books are Epic fantasy and I personally loved ‘Gift of the Phoenix.’ I haven’t yet started ‘The Lost Branch’ because it’s hard to find time to read in December. But it’s on my shelf and I’m hoping to break it open soon.
- Nectar of the Vine
I have to fess up that this one isn’t actually local as they’re based in Ohio, but it’s still one of my faves and they come every year so I’m throwing it in. Nectar of the Vine sells frozen wine frappes, which are quite possibly one of the most amazing things you can drink in your life. You buy the frappe package and mix it with a bottle of wine and equal parts water and then put it in the freezer. Take it out about 30 minutes before you plan to serve.
I’ve been buying wine frappes for a few years now. I serve them at every party I host and they’re always a big hit. They have a variety of flavors. Personally I love the Piña Colada and Strawberry Daiquiri. While they suggest you make it with a dry wine, I usually make it with a Riesling or Muscat as I tend to prefer things a bit on the sweeter side.
We use ammo for more than shooting:
I wasn’t planning on doing Christmas gifts for the office this year but when I saw these dark chocolate moose candies, I couldn’t resist picking up a few.
In addition to all the great gifts you could purchase, there was also a station where you could write a ‘Dear Santa’ letter. Macy’s was donating $1 to Make-A-Wish for every letter written, so we took a few minutes to stop in.
We also had to stop for a group photo at the holiday sculptures. Sorry the picture isn’t fantastic. I edited it the best I could, but this is what happens when I give my mom the camera!
I also found out about a new website that I’m very excited about. Since I’m currently working in Idaho while paying off my student loans, I’m trying to take advantage of some of the local gems. www.IdahoCalendar.com is a new site to help find events and places to visit. While my month of December is booked solid, I’m looking forward to getting on there after the holidays to see what new things I can find.
We had a great day but were quite tired after our 4 hours of shopping. My mom bought a 6 foot metal sleigh to put on her dining room table, so we ended our day with schlepping that out to the car. We got a quick bite and then went home to crash before our work week started the next day.
What’s your favorite holiday event? Are there any incredible local businesses where you’re from?