Heifer-holiday-giftsThat's you!  Let's be honest. If you're reading this, you can probably count yourself among the "ones who have everything" right?  And your friends and family are in that group too.  OK, I'm not trying to be a big grinch and stomp down on all our Cyber Weekend shopping fun.  I'm just suggesting that some of the frenzy whipped up over these unbelievable deals is a bit contrived– maybe you and those on your List don't really need or want an extra flat screen TV anyway. 

So what to buy that would have some meaning?

Here's a short list of my Top 4 Favorite Christmas and Holiday Gifts:

  • A $20 donation to Heifer International could offer an education (and a new world) to a child otherwise doomed to a life of poverty in a third world country.  If you can read this story about Beatrice Biira and not be inspired to swap a goat or flock of chickens for the Blu-ray player, I'll be surprised.
  •  For the animal lovers on your list, what could be more thoughtful than the World Wildlife Fund symbolic adoption of an endangered species?  Tigers are my favorite animals and they are among the most critically endangered species on earth, but WWF offers over 100 adoption choices from Red Eyed Tree Frog to the Ring Tailed Lemur.  Adoption gifts include a stuffed animal, a personalized, framed adoption certificate and a photo of the animal in the wild.  These are fun for kids and adults alike.

The best part is that there's no Black Friday or Cyber Monday RUSH on buying these items.  But… you could take a big load off your shoulders and get everything done today.  Then you could relax and enjoy the rest of the Christmas season in peace– what a concept!


This blog is written by your friends at Vermont Woods Studios. Check out our Vermont made furniture and home decor online and visit our showroom and art gallery at Stonehurst, the newly restored 1800s farmhouse nestled in the foothills of the Green Mountains.

stickley style furniture

Vermont Craftsmen Bring the Art of Mission and Stickley Style Furniture to the Green Mountain State.

Today we say thanks to Chad, one of our favorite Vermont fine furniture makers.  He was kind enough to join us on Tuesday when ABC World News came to town.  Chad and his quintessential Vermont workshop (located in an historic, old red barn) were featured in a film segment for the Made in America Shopping Challenge.  I can’t wait to see that part of the video because Chad speaks about his craft so beautifully and powerfully–  straight from the heart.

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This blog is written by your friends at Vermont Woods Studios. Check out our Vermont made furniture and home decor online and visit our showroom and art gallery at Stonehurst, the newly restored 1800s farmhouse nestled in the foothills of the Green Mountains.

Made-in-americaIt was only a couple days ago that Shannon ran into my office with a look of total disbelief on her face, saying that someone named Christine Brozyna, a producer from ABC World News with Diane Sawyer would like to talk to us about our Made in America Holiday Shopping Challenge


Wow!  I thought WE worked hard at Vermont Wood Studios.  In 5 days these people read all about us on the Internet, liked our company and our drive, dreamed up a segment about us for their national news show, gathered up a camera crew, drove up to Vernon VT and spent the whole day today filming our story.  It was a whilrwind and I'm not quite sure if I've been dreaming myself, but I have to say today was pretty exciting, either way.



Chad-woodruff-custom-furnitureMany thanks go out to all our friends in Vernon who came out to support us and be a part of the segment.  Here's how it went down: 

  •    We did a 10AM shoot at the Schoolhouse General Store with the new manager, Chad Mulverhill, his family and Cindy Falvey.  At first we were the only ones on scene so we all had to call everyone we knew, in desperation and beg them to rush down and help us make it look like a good crowd.  Our friends came through 🙂
  •     Then we migrated over to the Town Hall at noon for what Christine imagined as a "Huge" crowd scene.  Well, I guess huge is a relative term, but I can truthfully say this was a HUGE crowd for Vernon.  Linda Shippee had all the pre-school kids there with a Thanksgiving banner they had made.  Most of the town employees were there.  Several good people from VY came over.  And a ton of other people who wanted to support the project came… just to be nice and see what was going on.
  • Next was a 2pm segment at the Vernon Elementary School where the principal, Mark Speno let us be a part of the kids' Sock Hop, an amazing assembly in the cafeteria where the teachers we all know and love taught the chicken dance, the swim and the pony to the kids
  • Next stop– the Vernon Fire Station where Chief Todd Capan and 3 other brave fire fighters assembled in front of the camera, listened to our spiel and were good-natured enough to give a Made in America shout-out for the producers
  • The last shop was Chad Woodruff's Custom Furniture Workshop. Chad is one of Vermont's finest furniture makers and we are so lucky to be able to work with him.  The camera crew filmed Chad and his staff woodworking and also did a nice interview with Chad where we learned (among other things) that he can tell the difference between an imported piece of furniture and an American made piece from 10 feet away. 

Thanks also to the local media who came out to capture the event.  I love this behind the scenes video posted by Zach Stephens at The Brattleboro Reformer.

I hope you get to see all of this on Wednesday when it airs on ABC World News with Diane Sawyer at 6:30pm.  Everywhere we went today, the producers set up the scene so we were telling people about our Made in America Holiday Shopping Challenge and asking them to join us.  We honestly had no earthly idea how this was going to play out and we're so grateful to everyone for supporting us in our ignorance.

I can't image how they're going to boil 10 hours of filming down to 3 minutes but I trust that the genius of Christine and Eric Noll (the other producer) will prevail and everything will come out just fine.  That's Christine and Eric above with Tom and Mark, the camera crew.  They had us getting our picture taken holding the Made in America sign all day, so we wanted to turn the tables on them and get a photo of them holding a sign of our choice–  a promotional sign for Woodruff Custom Furniture

If you made it to this page, and even to the bottom of this page– we're sending out a big THANK you to all of you from ABC.  We look forward to seeing you again, closer to Christmas.  Come and check out all our American Made finds!



This blog is written by your friends at Vermont Woods Studios. Check out our Vermont made furniture and home decor online and visit our showroom and art gallery at Stonehurst, the newly restored 1800s farmhouse nestled in the foothills of the Green Mountains.

Abc-world-newsDear Readers,

Thank you so much for attending our Made in America Holiday Shopping Challenge!  Today (I think it's because of your support) we got a phone call from ABC World News telling us they are sending a camera crew up to Vernon, Vermont on Tuesday to film some footage for their November 30 nightly news show.

They want to learn more about our pledge to buy American made holiday gifts at Vermont Woods Studios Fine Furniture and also tour around the town of Vernon.  They'll visit all the BIG attractions in town:  the elementary school, the town hall, the general store, the fire station, a farm or two and Chad Woodruff's custom furniture workshop.  What could be more cool for the evening news than that?  They'll be interviewing people along the way and asking them about any plans they might have to "buy American" this holiday season.

So we're pretty excited about this and we're grateful to you for all your support, as always.  By the way, what are you buying for Christmas this year?  If you haven't taken the challenge yet, it's not too late.  We figured that if everybody in the country bought everything "American made" over the holidays, it could generate almost 5 million jobs! Who needs politicians, right?


For local Vernon and Brattleboro area residents– if you'd like to be on TV or just see the camera crew in action, you can keep up with their schedule as it evolves by joining this Facebook group or checking our website.  Here's a clip of a similar segment in the ABC series.  People in the crowd scene at the Vernon Town Hall will all have a chance to be interviewed and present visuals to feature on the national show.

This blog is written by your friends at Vermont Woods Studios. Check out our Vermont made furniture and home decor online and visit our showroom and art gallery at Stonehurst, the newly restored 1800s farmhouse nestled in the foothills of the Green Mountains.

American-holiday-giftsBy Dennis Shanoff

Earlier this year I wrote a blog which I hoped would inspire a “Buy American Made Products” movement but with a new twist. I thought that the upcoming holiday season would be the perfect time to raise awareness that there still are some great American Made products.

After all this is the time of year when shopping is going full force. So if there ever was power in numbers this would be the time to really make a difference!


I began my research into American Made Products that would make good holiday gifts and I was both surprised and pleased to find that this was not as difficult as I first envisioned. Certainly at some point most of us have commented on the overwhelmingly high percentage of imported products we see on our stores shelves. And how product quality has diminished as well. 



I realize that there is some perception that US made product is just too expensive but when you factor in its quality and lasting power over “cheap” imports it actually may prove to be a bargain! Buy it right, and buy it once I say.

I was also very pleased to find that most of the companies I had discovered were started in America long ago, understood offshore production savings or felt economic pressure to manufacture offshore, but firmly resisted this based on a core belief of contributing to the US economy and an unwillingness to diminish quality. Those companies I commend, and those companies’ products I will purchase! They are indeed out there and they deserve our business.

It has been both a fun and enlightening project and I was quite surprised and happy to find good old American made products that my family and friends could use and enjoy. And as a matter of fact I book marked a few dozen websites for things for myself in the process! So Santa, if you are reading this….

Below are some American Made gift ideas I found during my first pass I would like to share with you and I plan on updating this blog post throughout the holiday season.

  • Well you may have thought any type of US produced clothing would be hard to find but it’s out there! And who hasn’t gotten or given pajamas as a gift! Check out Vermont Flannel. BTW… I actually was given a VF shirt and shorts about 10 years ago. Still have and still wear them! And it doesn’t look like they are going to wear out anytime soon! http://www.vermontflannel.com/index
  • What’s more American then blue jeans, right? But blue jeans made in America these days? No way you say! While the famous brands packed up their US factories long ago, there are some little guys refusing to budge! Check out Texas Jeans http://www.texasjean.com/ and All American Clothing http://www.allamericanclothing.com
  • Hmm, I suppose when you need to grab a flashlight you must be in a REAL need for light? So the one that you have to keep smacking in the palm of your hand to stay on may not be the best choice! And how much of a bargain is it in that situation? Well there’s a USA Made MAGLITE in my home, all my vehicles glove boxes, and in my backpacks & camping gear. Turns on, stays on EVERY time! TIP: The little MAGLITE Solitaire attaches to a key chain and is a great stocking stuffer! http://www.maglite.com/
  • No “handy-person” would be disappointed to get a top notch pocket or belt multi-tool. This extremely handy gadget was pioneered by “Leatherman” almost 30 years ago and has been evolving ever since (and is probably one of the most copied inventions of the century!) Now they have an ingenious multi-tool for almost every activity and function. http://www.leatherman.com/
  • Something for the little ones? How about some good old fashion wooden toys? Don’t think they make them like they use too? Well then check out the award winning line of wood toys by Maple Landmark. Lots of fun stuff for kids of all ages and you can personalize them with the child's name! http://www.maplelandmark.com/
  • Need a gift idea that suits all ages? Or something that the whole family can participate in? How about the classic jigsaw puzzle! From 60 piece children’s puzzles to 2000 piece challenges for the master puzzler, Springbok is the oldest and most respected brand name puzzle manufactured in the USA (and they get another vote from us for having environmentally friendly manufacturing practices!) They have a great sorting & categorizing feature on their website to make finding the perfect puzzle quick & easy! http://www.springbok-puzzles.com/

So I hope I have inspired you to consider this holiday gift theme for your family and friends gatherings, office party, secret Santa, or Yankee Swaps. And please feel free to share your findings or events by joining our Facebook event. We look forward to hearing from you and we wish you a Happy Holiday season!

This blog is written by your friends at Vermont Woods Studios. Check out our Vermont made furniture and home decor online and visit our showroom and art gallery at Stonehurst, the newly restored 1800s farmhouse nestled in the foothills of the Green Mountains.