Portland Care Package

Christmas is still weeks way but it’s already time to get your packages in the mail.  Sometimes I get a little overwhelmed with cookie and candy making, so for a few friends this year, I’m sending out Portland Care Packages. They are fun to put together and a nice way to send a little bit of home to people who are far away.  Here’s is one I created, plus  few extra ideas for making your own:

#1 Tillamook Country Smoker Sticks:  I love these meat sticks.  So much better than a Slim Jim and they’re made in Oregon!  In fact, that’s where I got these, at the Made in Oregon store, but I’m sure you’ll find them at most convenient stores around the city.  I love stopping at their factory store whenever I’m in the Tillamook area.

#2 A Big Ass Pinecone:  I had plans to forage one myself in the woods, but after  a recent hiking trip I realized, big pinecones are hard to come by!  So I bought this one at Portland Nursery.  The honey stand at the Hollywood Farmer’s Market had some amazing cones dipped in beeswax that would be even better.

#3 Fire on the Mountain Sauce:  From Portland’s favorite wings joint.  My favorite is Spicy Peanut, but if you hve a heat-freak on your hands go for the El Hefe.  I bought this at New Seasons, I know Whole Foods also carries it, along with all the local Fire on the Mountain restaurants.

#4 Portland Bee Balm:  Impluse buy at the checkout stand, but everyone needs lip balm this time of year.  I picked this up at Presents of Mind, but I see them all the time at Whole Foods.  It’s made from the honey of the bees in SE Portland.

#5 Beaver Mustard: My personal favorite is the Sweet Hot, but horseradish and honey mustard are good too.  Made by Beaverton Foods, this mustard is a regional classic.  I bought this one at New Season, but most local groceries should have it.

#6 Bike Chain Bottle Opener:  I wanted something to represent our bike and beer culture.  Shipping beer in the mail is technically illegal, so this is the best I could do.  I bought this at Made in Oregon but I bet most bike shops have something similar.

#7 Beaver Ornament:  Can’t get enough of Oregon’s State animal: The Beaver.  I found this ornament at Presents of Mind.  It’s super cute, but I hope it doesn’t break in the mail.

#8 Portland Mug:  There are a lot of Portland, Oregon mugs out there.  Presents of Mind and Made in Oregon had very similar selections.  This one is my favorite because of the bold colors.  It would be nice to add a pound of locally roasted coffee to go with it.  Stumptown, Ristretto and Coava would be nice choices.

Finally I topped it all off with a note on the back of a weird Oregon postcard and packed it all up with in a USPS Flat Rate Shipping Box.

Once I got started on this package it was hard to stop. Here are a few other ideas of fun stuff to include:
Powell’s Books schwag– They have a lot of fun stuff, t-shirts, bags, mugs.  Great for book lovers.
Moon Struck Chocolates– There are stores on NW 23rd, in Pioneer Place Mall, on SW Alder, in St. John’s and in Beaverton Town Center
Jacobsen Salts– A local company that collects salt “from the cold waters of the Oregon Coast”.  You can buy them online and at a variety of stores around town.
Bird Stickers:  So they can “put a bird on it”.
Well, there you go.  I hope this gives you some fun ideas, let me know if you come up with anything else.  Happy Holidays

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