Indiana Humanities 2023 Holiday Gift Guide

The holiday season is here and we’re back with another Hoosier-inspired gift-giving guide that features an assortment of local recommendations perfect for your family and friends. Become a member at…

Photo of person browsing a table of books

The holiday season is here and we’re back with another Hoosier-inspired gift-giving guide that features an assortment of local recommendations perfect for your family and friends. Become a member at Minnetrista in Muncie. Give your favorite young bookworm a book by Indiana author Kekla Magoon. Plan a getaway to New Harmony during the 2024 solar eclipse. The possibilities are endless, but we’ve tried to curate excellent options in one quick list.

Wildflowers of the Midwest (A Timber Press Field Guide) by Michael Homoya and Scott Namestnik

Grace McDowell, Public History Intern

If you have a loved one who loves the outdoors, then look no further! This book was designed for the beginner wildflower enthusiast, orienting readers on the ecoregions present in the Midwest and the families of flowers that live here. No detail was spared, from the straightforward organization to hundreds of beautiful color photographs to the convenient ruler on the back cover for measuring identifiable features like petal length. Co-authored by Michael Homoya, former Indiana State Botanist (and member of our Unearthed Speakers Bureau!), it is no surprise that this book inspires Hoosiers to learn more about their natural environment and encourages them to share this knowledge and appreciation with others. 

Benjamin Harrison tree ornament

George Hanlin, Director of Grants

According to the White House Historical Association, the first known Christmas tree in the White House appeared in 1889, decorated by President Benjamin Harrison of Indiana, his wife Caroline and their family. To commemorate this occasion, the Association offers an ornament depicting a Victorian Christmas tree festooned with old-fashioned trimmings and some of the toys that the Harrison grandchildren received. You can order this Hoosier-themed ornament online at the Association’s website, but if you’re near downtown Indianapolis, why not stop by the Benjamin Harrison Presidential Sites gift shop and purchase one there? During your visit, make sure you tour the Harrisons’ home, beautifully decorated for the holidays with a re-creation of their history-making tree. 

Poetry Society of Indiana membership

Katie Hunger Swanson, Strategic Communications & Operations Associate, Lilly Scholars Network

Looking for a gift for your favorite poet? A Poetry Society of Indiana membership provides connection, fellowship and opportunities to share works in progress – the perfect gift of support to give this holiday season. A year-long membership is just $18. Want to throw in some inspiration? Stop by a local bookstore to pick up a book of poems. If you’re near Franklin, I personally love Wild Geese Bookshop

Local bookstore gift cards

Emily Mellentine, Kristen Fuhs Wells Communications Intern

This is for the bookworms who love to shop locally. Don’t know which book to get for your reader? Let them decide! Gift cards to independent bookstores are the way to go this holiday season with plenty of choices no matter what part of Indiana you’re shopping in. Check out these bookstores:  

Indiana Dunes getaway

Hailey DeWolf, Events Associate

Looking to plan a beachy getaway for the arts lover in your life? Look no further than Indiana Dunes State Park! Enjoy the gorgeous winding trails, take a swim in Lake Michigan, and hike Trail 9 (named one of the best places to hike in Indiana by USA Today!) After you’ve explored the state park’s three miles of dune-lined shores, head over to The Miller Beach Arts & Creative District to enjoy the cultural hub of the southernmost tip of Lake Michigan. No trip to the creative district would be complete without exploring the eclectic galleries of the Marshall J. Gardner Center for the Arts. Pro tip: be sure to catch a performance or take an art class while you’re there.

Indiana Review subscription

Lyndsey Blair, Program Associate

Founded in 1976, Indiana Review (IR) is a nonprofit literary magazine dedicated to showcasing the talents of emerging and established writers in fiction, nonfiction and poetry. The magazine is published biannually, usually in May and December, by Indiana University English graduate students. IR also awards four prizes annually: fiction, nonfiction, poetry and 1/2 K (a piece that is 500 words or less). This holiday season consider supporting the “carefully strange” work of Indiana Review by purchasing a subscription and/or donating to the magazine.

Indiana State Parks Pass

Bryana Schreiber, Lilly Scholars Network Program Director

What’s your favorite Indiana State Park? Explore them all in 2024 with the Indiana State Park Pass.  The pass is $50, but holiday gift packs are available here. These are my favorite gift bundles to spread the love of the outdoors with explorers young and old. Opt outdoors! 

Books by Indiana author Kekla Magoon

Beth Kloote, Office Manager and Development Associate

While you’re bundled up in a cozy blanket this winter, why not reach for a book by an Indiana Authors Awards winner? Check out author Kekla Magoon if you want some good YA reads or if you need a gift for the high-schooler in your life. Magoon is originally from Fort Wayne and her children’s book, The Highest Tribute: Thurgood Marshall’s Life, Leadership, and Legacy, was shortlisted for a 2022 Indiana Authors Award.

Good Night, Indiana University by Joey B. Lax- Salinas

Bronwen Carlisle, Programs and Special Projects Manager

As the son of IU Bloomington alumni, my toddler has enjoyed listening to Good Night, Indiana University by Joey B. Lax-Salinas, a new picture book that takes readers on an evening journey through campus. From the Sample Gates to Dunn’s Woods to Memorial Stadium, the pages of this book will surely inspire your little Hoosiers-in-training to sport cream and crimson any chance they get. So, you might just pick up an IU Bookstore gift card to go along with it, too! 

A Flame Called Indiana, edited by Doug Paul Case

Megan Telligman, Director of Programs

Looking for a gift for the Hoosier literature lover in your life? Head to your local bookstore and pick up a copy of the new anthology A Flame Called Indiana, edited by Doug Paul Case. The anthology features many names familiar to Hoosier writing enthusiasts alongside a diverse new set of voices from those who have passed through the Hoosier state. Case’s update to the canon of Indiana writers is an exciting look at a new topography of Indiana writing, further emphasizing the incredible work that is produced in and by this state. Need further convincing? How about this line from Bruce Snider’s poem “Map?” “Remember a place where spring breaks the yellow news of the pawpaw tree,/where a pan of grease hisses against a flame called Indiana.”   

Belt Magazine membership

Colleen Williamson, Public History Intern

Intrigued by “The Queer Witches of Appalachia?” How about a podcast on great American industrial fires? A Belt Magazine membership is the perfect gift for lovers of learning and of the Midwest —whether that’s you or a loved one. The magazine hires locals to write about where they live, so your membership will support the people who know their region best. Through vivid essays and thought-provoking pieces, Belt showcases the diversity and beauty of life in the Rust Belt.   

Indiana Writers Center membership

Marisol Gouveia, Director of Engagement

Do you have a budding Ross Gay, Angela Jackson-Brown, Craig Fehrman or James Still in your life? Help them finetune their craft with the gift of a membership to the Indiana Writers Center! No matter their skill level, the IWC has an offering to fit their needs. Annual memberships start at $35 and include discounts on classes and the annual Gathering of Writers, as well as free access to critique groups. Best of all, a membership offers the opportunity to connect to a supportive group of faculty and students. Give the gift of creative community! 

Once-in-a-lifetime trip to New Harmony

Marlena Ratchford, Finance, Grants and Program Associate

Looking to impress your loved one with a once-in-a-lifetime experience that they’ll never forget? Consider a truly historic trip to New Harmony, Ind. on April 8 to witness the solar eclipse fully within the path of totality. An early American utopian community, New Harmony boasts unique architecture and landmarks including two bewildering labyrinths, a roofless church with gilded gates and the stunning modernist Athenaeum Visitors Center building. Hop on one of the many golf carts you can rent to explore the deeply charming town of less than a thousand people that consistently punches above its weight in arts, history and cultural offerings. While the solar eclipse will last fewer than five (awe-inducing!) minutes, make it a wonder-filled weekend by nabbing a room at the famed New Harmony Inn Resort or one of the numerous historical bed and breakfasts and guest houses. Don’t forget to grab some grub at the crowd-favorite Red Geranium Restaurant. Who knows—while the sun will shine again, you may never want to leave this “utopia!” 

Hoodox subscription

Tom Streit, Creative Technologist

Eat local, read local, watch local? Indiana has tons of stories and an annual Hoodox subscription is a perfect gift for the curious Hoosier. Seeing your friends and neighbors on screen (no matter what the size) gives you insights into their passion and grounds you in our collective neighborhood of a state. My mother-in-law and I have bonded over “Sleeze Lake,” a film about a custom van club outside Monticello told with the factual hyperbole of a 30-rack-of-beer fishing trip. 

Minnetrista membership

Anna Bowman, Communications Manager

Minnetrista is a one-stop shop for family connection, programming, beautiful gardens, local history and art for people of all ages. Hoosiers living in Blackford, Delaware, Henry, Jay, Madison or Randolph counties should consider giving the gift of a Minnetrista membership this holiday season, which offers free admission to exhibits, a subscription to its magazine and invitations to exclusive events, just to name a few. Located in Muncie, Ind., Minnetrista is a 40-acre museum with community programs, workshops, community events and meandering trails along the White River. Make plans to quietly recharge, learn something new and explore new ideas with the whole family next year! 

Schimpff’s Confectionery candies

Keira Amstutz, President and CEO

If your loved ones have a sweet tooth, there’s something special about the cinnamon Red Hots and chocolate cordials from Schimpff’s Confectionery in Jeffersonville. The candy maker is one of the oldest family-owned businesses in the US and has been in its present location since 1891. If you’re in the southern part of Indiana, consider giving the gift of a classic soda fountain experience by visiting during the holiday season with family or friends and touring the Candy Museum. If you’re not local to the area, the confectionery has an online store perfect for ordering gifts for faraway friends.