It truly is amazing how many unique gifts can be found in Hendricks and Morgan counties.
For a second consecutive year, Visit Hendricks County staff will feature our One-of-a-Kind Finds Online Gift Guide. I personally have been out to most of these stores helping decide what gifts we would feature this year for kids, teens, moms, dads and everyone in between, and I was blown away by what we discovered. In many cases, these gifts are handmade by local artists or simply are items you will only find in Hendricks or Morgan counties.
This post focuses on the kids and has a little bit of everything. But even if the particular item we feature may not be exactly what you're looking for, we suggest visiting each of these small businesses as they just might have that gift idea you thought you would never find.
Back by popular demand, Promise Monsters, which you can find at Wilbur's Lincolnwood Toy Store, 285 W. Main St., Brownsburg, remain one of those gifts we had to feature again.
These cute stuffed creatures, which line one wall of the store, are made locally in Hendricks County and include a secret mission of kindness that the child can do to earn points for accessories.
For $29.99, you can purchase one of the monsters: Frank, Spike, Albert, Bride of Albert, Blobby Katy or Squiggly; and also receive a random act of kindness mission. You can also purchase more missions at Wilbur's Lincolnwood Toy Store for $5 each or a smaller monster known as a Smarshmallow for $9.99. We would encourage all parents to check out Wilbur's store as they have a vast array of specially chosen toys that all have one thing in common, according to the owners: "Play value."
Handmade Wooden Toys
Located in a new shop in Downtown Coatesville called Enchanted Journey, 8022 Main St., we uncovered some wooden toys with varying price points that would be perfect for any child. The toys, which are handcrafted, include small, simple cars that sell for $3 each or two for $5.
However, we were intrigued by a bigger semi hauler carrying cars that fit in an interlocking puzzle. The colorful and creative toy sells for $40. They even had one-of-a-kind wooden puzzles made in the shapes of a horse and stars that were amazing for $20.
When we walked into The Sterling Butterfly, 190 E. Morgan St. in Martinsville, which is part of our Rural Routes to Main Street Cultural Trail, these soft and cuddly little sock animals jumped out at us. Featuring bright colors and cute faces, your child will quickly fall in love with them. I can just see my little one taking his to bed at night.
Made by local artisan Nancy Maxwell and also featured at the Art Sanctuary, 190 N. Sycamore St., Martinsville, these little critters are oozing with the cuteness factor and are reasonably priced from $20-$28.
Hand-Knit Stocking Hats
When I perused the local, handmade section at Frazee Gardens, 3480 N. Ind. 267, Brownsburg, I was immediately drawn to these amazing hats that any young girl or boy would love to own. Made by Sandy Hunt, the first one that really got my attention was in the shape of a shark that I knew my son would love.
She also had various versions of the popular braided, ponytail hats that many young girls love to wear in the wintertime. You could just tell by looking at them and feeling them that a lot of painstaking work went into making them, and the quality was exceptional. At $22, the hats were even more affordable than I expected.
What little girl doesn't love a good doll? Well, we found some that were so lifelike at Main Street Dolls ‘n More, 49 S. Jefferson St., Brownsburg, that we had to add them to our wish list.
This store has an amazing selection of dolls at virtually every price point, but the ones that caught our eye were the Lee Middleton Babble Baby selection because of their lifelike appearance and feel. This particular baby doll also makes baby sounds by reacting to the sounds and movements. The dolls are battery operated.
The store owners tell us parents love them almost as much as their children because any 0-3-month clothing fits these dolls making their accessories cheap. The dolls come with adoption papers and a Bible and cost $119.99.
If you want to provide something different this year that could make a memory for not only your child but your entire family, we suggest you consider adding this experience to your child's holiday wishlist.
This pottery studio, located at 1820 E. Main St. in Plainfield, allows the child to pick out their own piece of pottery from a wide assortment of options including bowls, cups, figurines, animals and much more and then gives them the opportunity to paint them however they wish. The best part is the folks at uPaint clean up the mess when you're done, and you don't have to worry about getting paint on your table or floors at home.
The pottery ranges in price from $5-$80, and a $5 studio fee is also charged to cover the cost of paint, brushes, clean up, etc. A final glaze and fire in the kiln is required so you don't get to take your new creation home that night, but can pick it up in a few days at uPaint Pottery Studio or have it mailed to you.
I Spy Bags
Finer Things, 1032 E. Main St., Brownsburg, seems to always have unique handmade gifts for every member of the family, and they didn't disappoint when we recently visited with a popular item that they said has already been flying out of the store called I Spy Bags.
These small bags filled with hundreds of beads bring the old game of I Spy to a whole new level and would be perfect to help children kill time while traveling. Each bag has a clear panel on one side that allows you to see inside and try to find a number of little items that are hidden inside all of the beads. Each bag has a list of the items that can be found inside.
At $8 each, this would be a perfect small gift or stocking stuffer for any child.
Handmade Candy Canes
Our final find for the kids may be best accompanied with an experience. See candy canes made right in front of your eyes at the Martinsville Candy Kitchen on the Morgan County Square at 46 N. Main St., Martinsville.
Anytime in December is a great time to head down to witness the actual candy cane-making process as workers there color, pull, shape and cut candy canes by hand. My family went down last December, and my son thoroughly enjoyed watching the process through a viewing window. Make sure to call ahead before you go to find out if they will be making candy canes that day and what time.
But you don't have to be there when they are making the candy canes to come away with a great gift or stocking stuffer. They have a number of various candy canes available for purchase and even have some specially made candy cane baskets. Yes, these baskets are completely made of candy canes!