Are you having a hard time deciding what to get a friend or family member this holiday season? We’ve been there. Endlessly searching, “Gifts for someone who has everything,” hopeful that any path will present itself leading to a half-decent idea. Well, pause the hunt. Go holiday shopping in the Upper Peninsula! Year-round, several of our businesses make items that become popular souvenirs, but they can also be treasured presents or stocking stuffers, too. Better yet, the gift doesn’t have to be for someone who is a U.P. enthusiast either! Your gift can be for someone who has never been here. So, show them around. Let them sample our beer, family-recipe chocolates, coffee and quirky foods. Give them a piece of the Great Lakes shoreline. Here are some gifts we would love to receive from the place we call home — and we’re sure others will, too.
Tasty gifts from the U.P.
You can’t go wrong with the gift of food — and that’s especially true with food from the U.P. You have a lot of options to choose from. The taste of the U.P. is both savory and sweet!
Keweenaw Kitchen Jams
These jams are made from scratch in Baraga, Michigan. Made from ingredients an ordinary family would use to make jam in their own kitchen, there are no preservatives or artificial flavors or colors. There are 12 flavors, but some of the most popular are their pepper jam, strawberry jam, strawberry rhubarb jam, tripleberry jam and raspberry jam. You can find them on Michigan Made’s website, and sometimes in Michigan-based stores like Meijer.
Pasties (pronounced pass-tees) are an iconic U.P. meal. These savory meat pies were the original fast food of copper miners and lumberjacks. Brought here from the mining region of Cornwell, England, U.P. wives would fill the rolled-out dough with leftover beef, potato, onion and rutabaga, fold the pastry in half, seal the edges and bake. Legend says the miners would take these golden pastries into the mines and reheat them on a shovel over their lantern candles.
Today, you can buy them steamy hot with a variety of fillings including chicken pot pie, spicy jalapeno, bacon, cheeseburger and gluten-free or veggie options. Are you or the person you’re gifting for miles away? That’s no problem. Several shops can ship pasties to other states with ice packs to keep them fresh. Just pop them in the freezer and take them out when they want a taste of the U.P.
Pick your pasty shop on our pasties page.
This U.P. tradition started in Escanaba in 1906, when Joseph Sayklly, a young Lebanese immigrant, started his grocery shop that carried homemade candies and ice cream. This delicious tradition looks something like display cases full of fresh chocolates and candies, and everyone who stops by getting another whiff or two as they peek around.
With so many choices, it’s hard to decide what to give as a gift. We suggest an assortment or a Yooper Bar! Shaped like the Upper Peninsula, they’ll remember where they want to take their next vacation even after they bite it into a new shape. You can also choose between salt water taffy, seafoam, meltaways, snappies and just about anything else Willy Wonka would be jealous of!
This twice-baked Swedish coffee bread known as Trenary Toast has been a U.P. favorite since 1928. Choose from a variety of flavors from plain to cinnamon to cardamon to vanilla or get a sampler pack. Dip it in a hot beverage, or slather with a creamy topping like butter or your favorite nut butter. All Trenary Toast comes in a brown bag and will keep for a year! This is a great stocking stuffer — order it today and grab a bag for yourself, too.
We have so many sugar bushes in this peninsula, so there is no shortage of maple syrups and maple products to gift! Find locations near you or places to order online from.
You can’t have the Upper Peninsula without fudge. And several people can’t visit without stopping at our many fudge shops! And that’s not counting the several shops along Main Street on Mackinac Island. You can visit any of them, but you can also ship fudge to other states. And your recipient can freeze it for up to a year! Pick from the classic chocolate fudge, or get creative with rocky road, peanut butter, espresso, cherry, mint and other flavors. Look at all these fudge listings to see what intrigues you most. We won’t tell if you buy yourself a slice!
Don’t just get a container of Folgers for your coffee lover. Instead, visit or search for their favorite U.P. coffee shop online to see if you could order grounds of their favorite blend. Several of our local shops also have coffee subscriptions and coffee collections. They are the gift that keeps on giving! If your recipient has never been to the U.P., here are some popular blends to get started with:
- Keweenaw Coffee Works - Borealis Blend
- Contrast Coffee Company - Highway US-2 or Twelve Point
- Velodrome Coffee Company - Nicaragua
- Lucky Bean Coffeehouse - Love Potion No. 9
This candy shop makes it difficult to choose just one item to give! The only solution is to order a few and sneak some for yourself (your secret is safe with us). Shop handcrafted caramel and signature chocolate. Peruse the holiday collection featuring peppermint-white-chocolate oreos, white cran-almond bark and other irresistible goodies.
Home of Poorrock Abbey™ preserves, The Jampot’s first product was made from wild berries picked near their shop in 1986. Since then, the business has grown to offer more than just wild berry preserves, gourmet jams and jellies. Now, you can choose from flavorful and moist fruitcakes, scrumptious muffins and cookies, handmade chocolates and candies, tasty pancake and fruit-and-nut mixes and specialty grade coffees. Or, get one of everything with a giftbox! All of these goods are sure to delight, and they’re made with the finest local, regional, natural and organic ingredients available. Purchasing from the Jampot supports the Holy Protection Monastery, a Byzantine Catholic Monastery.
These small, delicate berries grow wild in the U.P. and are widely sought after by locals and visitors. Their unique tart flavor, similar to raspberries and currants, makes the perfect jam and jelly to spread on muffins and toast. Pick up a jar of thimbleberry jam at any of these U.P. stores:
Brewed U.P. gifts
Add some hops to your gift from these U.P. breweries. Choose from sending popular beers or gear that reminds them of any of these locations! Here are some popular brews:
Outdoorsy gifts from the U.P.
Maybe the person you are gifting for really isn’t a material person. They prefer time outdoors, connecting with nature. And if that’s the case, there is still something from the U.P. to give them! The following are great options.
Swedish Pimple lure
This jigging lure comes from the Bays de Noc, famous for bringing home a big catch! Plenty of bait and tackle shops have them on hand in the U.P.
These traditional wooden snowshoes have been made in the U.P. for more than 60 years.
Choose from 17 handcrafted models of snowshoes in different sizes, all available laced with traditional rawhide or neoprene.
Other ideas from the U.P.
If all else fails, or none of those seem like the right gift, then consider some of these other ideas that bring a piece of the U.P. to your friends and family.
- Chlorastrolite, Michigan’s official state gemstone, from Keweenaw Gem & Gift Inc.
- Lake Superior agates or beach glass
- Any copper-themed gift, which pays homage to our many copper mines. You could even gift a mine tour!
- U.P. art pieces from local galleries
- Books about the Upper Peninsula
- Any U.P. apparel or products from Yooper Shirts or Michigan Made
Plan your trip now!
The holidays are a popular time to visit the U.P. so plan your trip and book your stay now to shop for gifts here! We look forward to celebrating your holiday season with you in our beautiful peninsula, and we hope your loved ones love having a piece of the U.P. under their Christmas tree!