Tuesday, November 13th, 2018
Where to Buy Local Gifts in Bellingham and Whatcom County
Annette Bagley

Sustainable Connections Online Gift Guide

To make shopping for local gifts in Bellingham easy this holiday season Sustainable Connections has created a new online gift guide featuring a plethora of local businesses from around Whatcom County.

Find the perfect holiday gift, and easily sort by gift type or budget. Explore gift ideas for friends and family who love the outdoors, are crafting enthusiasts, or put fashion first. From local stocking stuffers to gifts that offer unique local experiences, Sustainable Connections new online guide has a ton of ideas to help make sure your holiday shopping is successful.

Last year was a record-breaking year for online sales and forecasters predict a similar trend for 2018. Sustainable Connections believes that now more than ever we have the power to make positive impact by supporting local businesses and organizations.

‚ÄúIndependent businesses invest up to 3x more back into our local economy, hire more local people, and have been a powerful pathway to the middle class,‚ÄĚ says Becca Weathers, Think Local First Program Coordinator. ‚ÄúWe help promote shopping local because places with more local businesses mean less income inequality in a region, stronger social ties, and more character ‚Äď and we think these are things our entire community values.‚ÄĚ

Visit the online local gift guide to find local gift ideas and inspiration. In addition, Sustainable Connections has tools to making eating local this holiday season easy as well. The Eat Local First site features a downloadable shopping list, ideas for where to source common holiday ingredients and a guide for what food and produce is available locally in November and December.

The Think Local First Program is made possible by generous sponsorship from City of Bellingham, Cascadia Weekly, Village Books & Paper Dreams, Whatcom Educational Credit Union, Lithtex, Samuel’s Furniture, Bellingham Frameworks, Mt. Baker Care Center, Overhead Door Co. of Bellingham, Final Touch Auto Spa, Louis Auto Glass, and Fairhaven Runners & Walkers.

Village Books Passport

Are you or someone on your list the ultimate Village Books and shop local fan? Choose the new Village Books and Paper Dreams Passport. The 32-page, whimsical passport sells for $30 and includes a range of experiences that Passport holders will complete to earn¬†prizes.¬†Upon completion, they’ll be inducted into the exclusive League of Extraordinary Readers.¬†‚ÄúWe think it‚Äôs going to be a lot of fun for our customers and for our staff. It‚Äôs one more way we are building community, and we‚Äôre looking forward to cheering people along as they gather stamps,” says Village Books and Paper Dreams co-owner Sarah Hutton.


More Village Books Ideas


Need inspiration to get your gift giving in gear? Attend Village Books and Paper Dreams’ 10 a.m.- 5 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 11 Pre-holiday Open House in¬†Fairhaven¬†or¬†Lynden.¬†Try out new board games, including¬†Bellinghamopoly¬†from the¬†Bellingham¬†Regional Chamber of Commerce.¬† Sample products. Join the famous “Book Walk” to win¬†prizes. Visit stations around the store for gift giving ideas and to complete a game card. Turn in completed cards for a chance to win discounts or¬†prizes. Before you go, take a tag from the store’s Giving Tree to buy a book for a local child. You’ll receive a 20 percent discount for the Giving Tree book purchase. Last year alone, generous shoppers gave books to almost 1,300 children through eight local organizations.

Employee Gifts Solved!

Village Books offers a 10 percent discount on bulk gift card purchases of $200 or more.  For more information, contact orders@villagebooks.com.

Audio Books

Do you have busy, on-the-go readers on your list? Give them an audiobook from Libro.fm, and your purchase will support Village Books. The audiobook alternative makes it easy to gift memberships or specific titles from their catalog of more than 100,000 titles.  Send your gift by email or print a certificate. Visit libro.fm/villagebooks to choose from over 100,000 audiobooks. Bulk orders for corporate or employee gifts are also available.

Gift Wrapping Services

The¬†Fairhaven¬†store is partnering with¬†Northwest Youth Services¬†to offer gift wrapping services during the final hectic days of the season. For a donation, volunteers will put the flourish on holiday gifts noon-4 p.m. the two weekends before Christmas (Friday, Dec. 14, Saturday, Dec. 15, Sunday, Dec. 16 and Friday, Dec. 20, Saturday, Dec. 21, and Sunday, Dec. 23). Donations support construction of Northwest Youth Service’s new day-use center, The Ground Floor.


Celebrate all things Bellingham this holiday season with the new board game Bellinghamopoly, produced by the Bellingham Regional Chamber of Commerce. Games are available for sale at Bellingham area Haggen locations, Woods Coffee shops, Village Books and Paper Dreams, the Whatcom Museum, Launching Success, Greenhouse, The Chrysalis Inn & Spa, Home2 Suites by Hilton and the Western Washington University student bookstore on campus.

Oyster Bar on Chuckanut Drive

Here’s a gift that is perfect for your favorite foodies!¬†The Oyster Bar on Chuckanut Drive rests on the cliffs overlooking Samish Bay with stunning views of the San Juan Islands. Their seasonal menu features a variety of local and fresh seafood and produce along with pairings from one of Washington‚Äôs largest and award-wining wine cellars.

Holiday Deal

Make a total purchase of gift cards over $1,000 and get a bonus 10% at The Oyster Bar on Chuckanut Drive. Or purchase more than $2,000 worth of gift cards and get a bonus of 15%. You choose who gets the bonus. The Oyster Bar can even set up an an additional gift card with the extra % just for you!

Share a Feast with Friends and Family

Leave the children at home and entice your friends from the Seattle area to skip town and drive to The Oyster Bar on Chuckanut Drive, where the sunsets are gorgeous and time slows down just a little bit. Reserve a table in the main dining room or gather your comrades for a private dining experience in the wine cellar dining room. Reserve this space for groups 8-20.

Local Artists

Bellingham and Whatcom County are filled with talented local artists, and the holiday season is a great time to purchase their work, which is available a numerous locations. Start with this quick list of Holiday Craft Shows and Bazaars in Whatcom County  to find out where to shop for unique treasures each weekend.

Also be sure to see this list of Holiday Events in Whatcom County, which includes special shopping events in the Fairhaven Historic District and downtown Bellingham.

Many of these artists work is available year-round at a variety of Visual Arts Galleries in Whatcom County.

kenneth kearney bear cubs bellingham whatcom tourism

Photo by Kenneth Kearney Photography.

See our full Shopping Page for more county-wide shopping locations.

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About the Author:

Annette Bagley is the Director of Marketing for Bellingham Whatcom County Tourism. As a writer and media relations consultant, her work has appeared in local and national media. She has been enjoying life in the Bellingham and Whatcom County region for more than a decade. Her ideal escapes include water, mountains, a farm visit, or a history lesson, accompanied by good food and a glass of wine.