The Iowa themed gift guide features some local favorites

Say hello to the Des Moines Register’s Iowa Pride Gift Guide with 16 hand-spun local gifts, from coffee to candles and t-shirts to sacks of flour, made by small businesses across the state. Each item on this list has an Iowa theme and costs less than $35, so families can afford and access local gifts when costs rise this holiday season.

As college football season wraps up and the air gets colder, more people across Iowa will be spending time in malls, supermarkets, major department stores, and even shopping online for gifts for friends and family. This list is perfect for any type of Iowan or Iowa lover.

Printed with a sketch of a vintage car alongside the slogan “Let Your Dreams Drive You” above the words Des Moines in red lettering by Ken Supply Co., the cream t-shirt makes the perfect gift for the big dreamer in your life. The apparel company, founded by Drake University graduate student Malique Miller, was a 2022 addition to Des Moines Farmers’ Market and is a celebration of Iowa’s largest city.

Leather + Smoke Candle, Present Co. – $22

Leather + Smoke Candle by Current Co.

Blending leather and smoke with sandalwood alongside notes of incense, black pepper, patchouli and other scents, the Leather + Smoke scented candle from Des Moines-based small-batch soy candle company Current Co. is the perfect hand-poured fragrance for everyone in your life. The all-natural candle company calls the blend “delightfully masculine,” and gifting the candle fits well with Iowa winters.

Iowa Floursack Towel, Doe – $16

Iowa flour sackcloth by Doe a Deer Design

Stuart-based social media sensation and handmade decorating company Doe A Deer, which offers homewares with home-spun designs, offers a line of US state-style flour sack towels with options from South Dakota to Oklahoma. The Iowa towel features a pale blue outline of Hawkeye State dotted with the state’s three major universities, tulips and two cows.


The Midwest: God’s Gift to Planet Earth Book, Raygun – $17.50

Raygun owner Mike Draper (front) published the book, "The Midwest: God's Gift to Planet Earth."

Raygun owner Mike Draper authored The Midwest: God’s Gift to Planet Earth in 2012, and the self-proclaimed guide to Central America is still relevant a decade later The best region in the country from its bubbly Des Moines founder, Raygun, boasts that The Midwest was proudly printed and published in the United States.

County Fair Candle by Dirt Road Candle.

Hand-poured on a farm in rural Lewis, Iowa, the 16-ounce County Fair candle is influenced by Dirt Road Candle Co. creator Michelle Myers during childhood summers at the local county fair. Myers’ leather-inspired scent is infused with hints of cowboy boots and belt buckles that feel as Iowan as the fried corn dog stand at a local county fair. Proceeds from the candle benefit local 4-H clubs so local youth can develop positive life skills like Myers once did.


College Style Dad Caps, The Vinyl Studio – $32

Valley Junction-based clothing and design company The Vinyl Studio, the brainchild of local designer Laura Biggins, is selling a college dad hat for students and fans alike. The Iowa State style hat – a khaki baseball cap with red lettering – competes with the black and yellow University of Iowa style hat. The pair of hats is perfect for game day, but also pairs well with any off-season look during the summer months.


The handcrafted Iowa-shaped milk chocolate bar is individually wrapped in clear plastic bags with red ribbon and is sold in three sizes at Valley Junction’s main store and the popular Heart of Iowa Market Place mega gift shop in West Des Moines. The creamy milk chocolate is the perfect Christmas morning treat, seamless stocking filler and popular gift basket.


Easy Livin’ Sweatshirt, The Side Garage ― $30

Easy Livin' sweatshirt from The Side Garage.

The Easy Livin’ unisex cotton crew-neck comes straight from Des Moines’ Midwest-themed apparel collection at The Side Garage screenprinting company. The Easy Livin’ crew makes a perfect gift for the person in your life who loves to kick back, relax, and enjoy the Midwest scenery rather than fret over things that don’t matter elsewhere. If this easy-going, Iowa-loving crew isn’t for you, The Side Garage has a range of Iowa and Midwest products for the holiday season.


Black X Studs, NaeClayCo. – $16

Black X cleats by NaeClayCo.

Black-owned jewelry company NaeClayCo. offers simple black mini stud earrings that will accent any garment on our list or a comfy outfit as you and your family push the cart and carry the Christmas shopping list. Crafted from smooth polymer clay and “blended in the Midwest”, the bold statement pieces are handcrafted in slow batches to ensure quality.


On holiday mornings, sample a sip of home while you prepare traditional dishes and unwrap gifts with the Home Sweet Home roast from Des Moines’ own Happy Home Coffee Roasters. The medium-sized house blend with a smooth and smooth flavor profile with notes of chocolate and berries is a blend of coffees from Africa paired with Central and South America.


The DSMX Camp T-shirt.

Fontenelle Supply Co., the popular brand headquartered in the East Village area of ​​Des Moines, which also has a store in Omaha, calls their DSMX Camp Tee a “crowd favorite”. The four-letter shirt is an ode to Iowa’s largest city with an X symbol and the city’s DSM nickname and IA directory. The 50/50 blend t-shirt is available in grey, white and black in a wide range of sizes.

Des Moines-based book printer The Permanent Collection is publishing an 8 x 10 inch outline of the state of Iowa with notable cities in gold and black ink. Below the state outline is the founding year 1846, a running citation, and the state name. Cities from Des Moines to Decorah and Ottumwa to Orange City are included on the print.


Indianola-based Bramble Wood Acres specializes in scented goat’s milk soaps with offerings like coconut lime verbena, black raspberry, creamy coconut, and crisp pear. Bramble Wood Acres uses goat’s milk, produced by animals on the farm where the soaps are made, to create artisanal and natural skincare products that soothe and soften skin. Bramble Wood Acres’ wide range of goat’s milk soaps are perfect for freezing days and chapped or dry skin.

Iowa socks from Bozz Prints in Valley Junction.

Everyone can use a pair of cheeky socks, and Bozz Prints in Valley Junction delivers. Designs include nods to the city of Des Moines, the city flag, UNI Panthers, Iowa State Cyclones and Iowa Hawkeyes. Owner John Bosley launched the West Des Moines prints, posters and shirts business back in

Hook & Loop pennants and banners

Manufactured by Urbandale, Hook & Loop Pennants’ triangular pennants feature pop culture celebrations peppered with the faces of comedian Bill Murray and astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson to Des Moines’ hometown baseball team, the Iowa Cubs. The high school art teacher turns day-time pennant-pusher in his spare time, creating these nostalgic works which, as owner Christopher Kamble says, “give them modern, often nerdy and fun themes from the fringes of pop culture.”


Sometimes You Find Your Way Print, The Red Door Press ― $20

Signs from The Red Door Press.

Husband and wife Adam and Tammy Winn of The Red Door Press create letterpress designs for handprinted cards, flyers, social stationery and more. Find 8″ x 10″ vintage map prints for the wanderer in your world. Browse the online store for more designs or browse the company’s store at artist collective Mainframe Studios’ Mainframe Studios at 900 Keo Way.


Jay Stahl is an entertainment reporter at The Des Moines Register. follow him on instagram, Twitteror contact [email protected]