We’re Revisiting Some of Our Favorite Past Made in America Holiday Gift Guide Picks

We're putting the finishing touches on the 2019 Made in America Holiday Gift Guide, our annual assortment of American-made gift ideas from every state, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. We work hard every year to pick new items, and the vast majority come from companies that never have been on the list before. We also try to include an eclectic mix of ideas at a range of price points — there's something for everyone on your list!

The 2019 guide is scheduled to be released on Monday, Nov. 25. But in the meantime, we've been reminising about our favorite items from past gift guides, and thought we'd share some of them below. You can also check out the full guides from previous years below.

2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013

Staff Picks

AMERICAN ROOTS 

With the cold blast of air blanketing most of the U.S. this week, all I can think about is something warm to wear to brave the sub-freezing temperatures. My choice to stay warm is fleece. American Roots is a Made in Maine company that offers a full line of custom-made fleece products, including jackets, vests, pullovers, hoodies, blankets, and even hats. I particularly like the fleece vests, which are unencumbering when worn with layers of garments underneath and do not feel or appear bulky when paired with a heavy winter coat. Like the hoodies, the vests are an added layer of protection that can comfortably be worn around the house if you feel a draft of cold air coming through the windows. Owners Ben Waxman and Whitney Reynolds launched American Roots in 2015 — the company made the 2016 gift guide — with the specific goal of manufacturing clothing in America again. Also worth noting? The employees are represented by the United Steelworkers union. Now, all I need is a fireplace and some hot chocolate. —Jeff Bonior

DEARBORN DENIM

A good pair of denim jeans is hard to find, and I used to go through too many of them. I commute by bike, and five days a week on a bike seat will wear through your imported Levi’s pretty fast! That’s why I switched over to buying Dearborn Denim, which made the 2016 guide. They’re tough and won’t rip on you. The company’s website has a nifty feature that will tell you which size jeans you should buy (just enter your height and weight). And lastly, as a Chicagoland expat, I’m very proud to be able to buy jeans that are made in the Windy City. We will win the Super Bowl someday—Matthew McMullan

GREEN TOYS

AAM first put Green Toys on our gift guide list way back in 2013, and the California company continues to be a kid-friendly favorite.  I have two young children of my own, so I can personally vouch that these eco-friendly, BPA-free toys are always a hit with babies and young kids. The stacking cups and First Keys are great options for infants and the line of bath toys provide plenty of bathtub fun. My kids also have enjoyed the Dump TruckShape SorterHouse PlaysetSandwich Shop, and Build-a-Bouquet — and for the past two springs, we've planted a little garden with the Abby's Garden Planting Activity Set, a collaboration with Sesame Street. Another great thing about the company? Green Toys are made from recycled milk jugs, and everything is packaged in recycled cardboard, cutting down on the plastic waste typically associated with toys. —Elizabeth Brotherton-Bunch

UNCLE GOOSE

Ever since we featured Uncle Goose in our 2018 Holiday Gift Guide, I’ve been enchanted by this Michigan-based company’s inventive twist on traditional wooden playing blocks. Now that I’m shopping for my daughter’s first Christmas, I finally have to decide which blocks I’ll place under our Christmas tree. And, my goodness, there are plenty of amazing options from which to choose! This year, Uncle Goose has added even more sets to its offerings, including wooden figurines called Cubelings. Right now, though, the top contenders on my shopping list are the Dutch language and the Memory Game sets. Regardless of which Uncle Goose blocks I ultimately purchase, I know that they will be treasured toys for years to come. —Cathalijne Adams

Interested in learning more about the story behind Uncle Goose? Check out this episode of The Manufacturing Report podcast, featuring Uncle Goose and another great company included in our 2018 gift roundup.  

ZKANO

Zkano was an AAM gift guide pick back in 2016, and the Alabama sock company is still a reader favorite. I am personally a fan of these socks because of the variety of colors and styles that the company offers, which can be worn by men and women in a professional setting or just for leisure. I have had difficulties in the past finding socks for women that are suitable for work but also add spice and color to any outfit and shoe selection. But the best part about these socks? They are handcrafted and manufactured in Fort Payne, Ala., formerly known as “The Sock Capital of the World.” What better place to create Made in America socks? —Monique Mansfield

Do you have an amazing American-made gift idea? There's still time to send it our way! Email giftguide@aamfg.org.

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Reposted from AAM

Posted In: Allied Approaches, From Alliance for American Manufacturing

Union Matters

The Big Drip

From the USW

From tumbledown bridges to decrepit roads and failing water systems, crumbling infrastructure undermines America’s safety and prosperity. In coming weeks, Union Matters will delve into this neglect and the urgent need for a rebuilding campaign that creates jobs, fuels economic growth and revitalizes communities. 

A rash of water main breaks in West Berkeley, Calif., and neighboring cities last month flooded streets and left at least 300 residents without water. Routine pressure adjustments in response to water demand likely caused more than a dozen pipes, some made of clay and more than 100 years old, to rupture.

West Berkeley’s brittle mains are not unique. Decades of neglect left aging pipes susceptible to breaks in communities across the U.S., wasting two trillion gallons of treated water each year as these systems near collapse.

Comprehensive upgrades to the nation’s crumbling water systems would stanch the flow and ensure all Americans have reliable access to clean water.

Nationwide, water main breaks increased 27 percent between 2012 and 2018, according to a Utah State University study.  

These breaks not only lead to service disruptions  but also flood out roads, topple trees and cause illness when drinking water becomes contaminated with bacteria.

The American Water Works Association estimated it will cost at least $1 trillion over the next 25 years to upgrade and expand water infrastructure.

Some local water utilities raised their rates to pay for system improvements, but that just hurts poor consumers who can’t pay the higher bills.

And while Congress allocates money for loans that utilities can use to fix portions of their deteriorating systems, that’s merely a drop in the bucket—a fraction of what agencies need for lasting improvements.

America can no longer afford a piecemeal approach to a systemic nationwide crisis. A major, sustained federal commitment to fixing aging pipes and treatment plants would create millions of construction-related jobs while ensuring all Americans have safe, affordable drinking water.

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There is Dignity in All Work

There is Dignity in All Work