There's no doubt that Raleigh, N.C.'s "maker" scene is thriving. Passionate entrepreneurs are creating and selling handmade products, some nationally-known, throughout the destination. And residents and visitors alike are hooked on them. If you're looking for the perfect gifts for family and friends this holiday season, the capital city is your place to shop. You can't go wrong with these picks:

Moon and Lola jewelry and accessories

Kelly Shatat's jewelry-making started as a hobby, but it didn't take long to bloom into a full-scale business. Her jewelry has been featured in publications nationwide and is honored to have been on Oprah's Favorite Things list more than once. Hit the DIY Charm Bar at the Moon and Lola headquarters in Apex or at one of the Raleigh locations to personalize jewelry on the spot; monogram and themed charms are at your fingertips. For animal lovers, the Oprah's Favorite Things-featured pet ornaments are perfect for the holidays.


Videri Chocolate Factory
The chocolate factory in downtown Raleigh, dreamed up and created by Sam and Starr Ratto and Chris Heavener, offers up bean-to-bar chocolate using fair-trade, organic beans, which Sam sources himself from Central and South America. Popular picks are the 70% Classic Dark chocolate bar and the 70% Peppermint Chocolate with organic candy cane, which is released during the holiday season.

Videri Chocolate Peppermint

Escazu Artisan Chocolates
Escazu, also downtown, offers up handcrafted bars, truffles, confections and more. Inspired by a 2005 trip to an organic cacao farm in Costa Rica, Hallot Parson returned to the U.S. and began to study the chocolate making process and how it might be produced on a small scale. Soon enough, his chocolate would become a Raleigh favorite. A few of the popular options during the holiday season includes an assortment of beautifully-designed truffles or chocolate bars like Sea Salt, Goats Milk and Pumpkin Seeds and Guajillo. 

Avenue Des Chocolates
Avenue des Chocolats specializes in European-style chocolate bonbons with silky-smooth and delicately-flavored ganache centers. Using traditional artisan manufacturing methods, Avenue des Chocolats ensures fresh, handcrafted bonbons in small batches and typically makes them to order. The signature bonbons are enrobed in 72-percent cacao dark chocolate. Find them at Raleigh Provisions in downtown Raleigh.

Azurelise Chocolate Truffles
Since 2002, the flavors on Azurelise's chocolate truffle menu have delighted the palates of chocolate lovers worldwide. Visit the Azurelise kiosk to purchase ready-to-go boxes of milk and dark chocolate classic, sea salt caramel and chocolate truffle assortments. Not sure which chocolate to pick? Go for the sea salt caramel truffles!

House of Swank clothing

John Pugh was playing gigs as Johnny Swank in bars and blues jams. In an effort to offset his bar tab, he decided to make some Johnny Swank merch T-shirts. With the power of the silkscreen, John started to make other shirts that would represent his love of N.C., music and food. Part-time hobby gave way to full-time passion in 2012 as House of Swank was born and became a regular presence at local festivals and events. Shop House of Swank's downtown home-base for N.C.-themed graphic tees, hats, hoodies and more.

Holly Aiken bags

Homegrown talent Holly Aiken draws inspiration from dime store aisles and vintage racing jackets, combining crisp colors with striking shapes for a modern take on vintage vibe. And fashion editors have taken notice, with Lucky, Design Milk and Teen Vogue showcasing her designs. Bags are made onsite at her downtown Raleigh shop by textile artisans, enabling you to shop a seemingly-endless variety of ready-to-wear items, or to commission their own custom design.

Local beer

With 30 breweries in the Raleigh area, there's no shortage of local beers to choose from as gifts. Visit a brewery or bottle shop to pick up a mixture of cans and bottles, or you can gift growler pours directly from the source (just gift the growler as soon as you can for freshness). Plus, don't miss special holiday and winter beer releases. For instance, Big Boss Brewing Company's Aces & Ates is a great stout for the winter months and is a collaboration with Larry's Coffee (mentioned below). Have any friends who love a good porter? Don't miss out on grabbing a few bottles of Carolina Brewing Company's Winter Porter, which offers the perfect balance of roasted malt flavor from black and chocolate malts combined with hop bitterness.

Raleigh Denim jeans

When designers Victor Lytvinenko and Sarah Yarborough decided to start their own line of handmade jeans, they chose an unconventional place to launch a clothing line—downtown Raleigh. It's one of those unexpected things you find here, but Raleigh Denim is helping to make the city fashion-forward and a destination for true fashionistas. Everything they use at Raleigh Denim is from N.C., including the denim, thread, zippers and the numbered labels. Shop their downtown Raleigh store, Raleigh Denim Workshop, and gift a loved one their next favorite pair of jeans.

Raleigh Denim

Carolina Popcorn Shoppe

Carolina Popcorn Shoppe has been popping flavorful corn in Raleigh since 2000. All of their recipes are original, and their many varieties are hand-blended using butter, brown sugar, fresh-roasted nuts, rich cheese blends and other quality ingredients. Have a foodie friend who's a fan of sweets? Select from options like kettle corn, birthday cake, chocolate caramel or cookies 'n cream flavors. How about something salty with a kick? Choose from salt and vinegar or bacon cheddar.


Larry's Coffee
Founded by "coffee's head bean," Larry Larson, Larry's Coffee works with farming partners to get beans with the deep, rich flavor profiles needed for their slow-roasting process. And you can find the coffee at their new downtown hot spot, 42 & Lawrence, also carrying cans of their nitro cold brew.

Larry's Coffee

Raleigh Coffee Company
Raleigh Coffee Company sources, roasts and distributes great coffee beans for your favorite foodie to enjoy at home. Feel good about gifting a bag of coffee beans this holiday because the company is also used as a platform to give back to local, national and global communities through coffee sales. Pick it up at The Butcher's Market (Raleigh)City of Raleigh Museum (COR Museum), BREW in Raleigh and Cary plus Grounds Cafe in Wendell. 

Oak City Coffee Roasters
Oak City Coffee Roasters makes it a point to personally know the farmers who supply their beans, bringing the customer as close to the origin of the coffee as possible. Grab their canned nitro coffee, bags of their delicious coffee and more at their location in downtown Raleigh for the perfect gift.

Slingshot Coffee Co.
Slingshot Coffee Co.'s cold brew coffee was listed among 11 Excellent Cold Brew Coffees by Eater. Snag a few bottles for stocking stuffers at some of these local shops: Videri Chocolate Factory, Yellow Dog Bread Company, The Mill in Fuquay-Varina, Wine Authorities and Devolve Moto. New this season, Slingshot Coffee Co. has introduced coffee caramels crafted from a coffee they specially selected and expertly cold brewed, blended with a handful of quality ingredients for that satisfying buttery, chewy, not-too-sweet bite.

Hail Mary Bloody Mary Mix

For health-conscious Blake Stewart, consuming all-natural products has always been a priority. His grandmother Edna was a Southern farmer who canned her own tomato juice, and Blake thought that would be the perfect base for his homemade Bloody Mary mix. After experimenting with a few different recipes, Hail Mary was born, an all-natural, gluten-free mix that is the perfect blend of fresh juiced tomatoes, peppers, horseradish root and high-quality spices. Several places to get a bottle: Brew N Que in Cary, The Butcher's Market (Raleigh), Standard Foods, Bottle Mixx, DECO Raleigh and NOFO @ the Pig.

Bone Suckin' Sauce

Need a gift for a grill master? Bone Suckin' Sauce is a western N.C.-style barbecue sauce created with a tomato-paste base. The sauce is crafted with honey and molasses to offer a sweeter taste that is perfect topped on grilled chicken, pulled pork and more. The bottles pair well with grilling accessories to complete the gift. Find a few bottles at these places: their store at the State Farmers Market, Raleigh, Logan's Trading Company, North Carolina Museum of History Shop, Raleigh Provisions and NOFO @ the Pig.

The Ford Family

First Olive soaps

First Olive was started by a mother in Cary making natural products for her son who suffered from eczema. After successfully helping her son's skin condition and also getting great feedback from family and friends about the soaps, First Olive was born and now offers a variety of handmade soaps for everyone, with or without skin issues. Pick up soaps like coconut lime verbena, bamboo charcoal and more for unique gifts for loved ones. Find it at DECO Raleigh!

Sluice Hammocks

Give your friends the gift of relaxation, anywhere they go. Sluice Hammocks is named after the gold miner's sluice box, which has been used to separate gold from dirt since the early gold rushes. Founder Kemp Dunbar wants to do the same thing: "Let's sift out the distraction and give people a product that works really well and lasts forever." A few places to get them: DECO Raleigh, NOFO @ the Pig and Logan's Trading Company.

The list doesn't stop there. Though their products are not technically made right in Raleigh, Feelgoodz (flip flops) and Peter Millar (with their design headquarters and a store in Raleigh) are rooted here, and their products make great gifts!

Shopping for a food or drink lover? You can also check out our larger list of 18+ Raleigh-made eats and drinks to gift this year!

Raleigh Denim photo: Ted Richardson