The experts said shop early this year for Christmas, so in that spirit we offer our annual list of Wyoming-themed gifts.

But we do not have to worry about supply chains or products being stranded off some California port — these gifts are available here in our own backyard. Plus, buying local helps the Wyoming economy in the best way possible.

I love doing this because it also gives a boost to our Wyoming artists, craftsmen and retailers. We are really recycling our own money in the best way possible.

Pete Illoway of Cheyenne suggests folks check out the Made in Wyoming Directory on the state’s web page, which lists some 120 items made here. Besides all those wonderful items, here is a compilation of my favorite things, plus items offered up by my friends.

Like most towns across the state, Lander hosted a nice craft fair this past Sunday, which was organized by Amy Federer. My favorite item was a set of jade knives made by G.W. Stone Knives in Lander. There were so many wonderful items, all made here in Wyoming.

Former longtime Wheatland rancher Ray Hunkins suggests Foothills Cellar jams and jellies by Henry Poling, a paraplegic rancher who obviously has great taste.

Queen Bee Gardens of Lovell sells amazing honey candy items, according to Darin Smith of Cheyenne. The Millers in Dubois also have an amazing honey store.

Former longtime Wyomingite David Kathka loves Serendipity Confections of Laramie. “Wonderful chocolate caramels and fudges,” he says.

A lot of folks rave about Maven products of Lander. This outfit was founded by Cade Maestes, Mike Lilygren and Brendon Weaver. They sell the best binoculars I have ever seen and just came out with a line of spotting scopes and rifle scopes. Amazing optics.

Jerry Kendall of Hudson says here in Fremont County that Jess Forton makes pine furniture, Cleve Bell does metal sculptures to order and Dubois artist Marty Dorst paints custom Christmas bulbs. I believe Jerry produces some amazing walking sticks, too.

Dean McKee says: “Once again I mention Wyoming Whiskey owned by Brad and Kate Mead.” It is now distributed internationally and in most of the states in the U.S., spreading the Wyoming brand.

Central Wyoming College President Brad Tyndall recommends Farmer Fred’s Famous Sauerkraut sold in Lander and Jackson.

Cody Beers of Riverton recommends Wonderful Wyoming Honey, as does Tony McRae of Lander.

Jim Hicks in Buffalo raves about the wonderful sculpture by D. Michael Thomas. Most recently, he did a statue of the late Chris LeDoux, on display at Frontier Park in Cheyenne.

Penny Merryfield, publisher of the Pine Bluffs Post, recommends: “Allwayz Manufacturing is a local company, and they do so much with metal and metal art. Check them out at allwayzmfg.com. The cross with the Wyoming flag is awesome. Dean and BJ Bowman, have it.”

Nancy Guthrie of Jackson recommends David Fales’ Wyoming Gourmet Beef of Cody.

Tom Satterfield of Cheyenne likes buffalo products from Terry Bison Ranch.

Tom Cox of Lander suggests honey and Indian fry bread.

Amy Surdam raves about Alexis Drake handbags, belts and jewelry made here in Wyoming.

Jean Haugen recommends beadwork by Shoshone and Arapaho tribal members. She especially like works by Tom Lucas.

The State Museum in Cheyenne is loaded with Wyoming products, says to Tucker Fagan.

Pat Henderson in Sheridan sent me the following: “Legerski Sausage gift box. Fabulous tasty and such a unique product. Koltiska Distillery — sampler gift box of locally made crafted alcoholic beverages.

“And hats, winter stockman caps, Western gifts and much more, plus Tom Balding Bits and Spurs — state-of-the-art bit and spur designs backed by industry leading technologies innovation for horseback riders.

Kim Love touts the SAGE Art Gallery in downtown Sheridan, which has a wide selection from local artists.

Best gift you can give, though, is to reach out and help the needy. Support your local food bank programs and reach out to people who have suffered big losses this year. A kind word or an invitation to a lonely person means a lot this time of year.

Bill Sniffin is a longtime journalist from Lander and publisher of Cowboy State Daily. Email: bsniffin@wyoming.com.

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