Editor’s note: This feature is the first in Startland News’ five-part holiday gift guide — presented in 2023 by nbkc bank — showcasing Kansas City makers and their products. Check out the featured maker below, then keep reading for five gift ideas to get started.
Effing Candle Co. is more than just wax and wicks, said Birdie Hansen. With phrases on its candles like “Festive AF,” “Josh Hawley Sucks” and “Drunken Elves,” the brand itself is designed to make you chuckle.
“Our candle labels might be cheeky (sometimes even snarky), but our hearts are big,” said Hansen, co-owner of the popular Midtown shop.
Hansen, proudly Jewish, reminisced about a cherished holiday memory that transcends religious boundaries.
“My favorite holiday memory is baking cookies with my grandma. She was very precious to me, and she always made sure that the holidays felt magical,” Hansen shared.
As the owner of a small business, Hansen acknowledged that the holiday season is a whirlwind, with Effing Candle Co. experiencing its peak during the final weeks of the year. However, amidst the chaos, Hansen sees beauty in her connection with her customers.
“To me, the reason for the season is kindness. Taking that extra few minutes to talk to our customers, listening to their stories, and holding space,” Hansen said.
The power of scents, she said, goes beyond the olfactory; it evokes nostalgia and emotions for shoppers, turning the candle shop into a sanctuary of released feelings.
“You probably wouldn’t expect people to cry at a candle shop, but scents can trigger powerful memories for people,” Hansen continued.
“We give out our fair share of hugs to people who are missing a loved one or feeling lonely. The holidays can be a really tough time for people. A little kindness and patience go a long way this time of year.”
Memories of one particular present — given to Hansen as a child — brings out those seasonal feelings of nostalgia, she said
“My favorite gift ever — a dollhouse that my dad built for me when I was four,” Hansen detailed. “It had elements from loved ones’ homes in it, like wallpaper and carpet from my childhood bedroom, tiles from my grandparents’ kitchen, and an astroturf roof deck.”
Keep reading for more locally made gift ideas that don’t bear the “Kansas City” label.
5 gifts that rock without screaming KC (we swear)
‘Warm Hugs’ Wooden Wick Candle by Effing Candle Co. — $34
Effing Candle Co. introduces their seasonal bestseller, the “Warm Hugs” candle. The candle contains cozy notes such as almond milk, vanilla and amber.
Click here to shop Effing Candle Co. online.
Enduro-ble Hoodie by Prairie Sailor — $62.99
This durable hoodie from Mission, Kansas-based Prairie Sailor offers dependable warmth and resilience in diverse weather, making it a lasting choice for rain, wind, snow, or tornadoes.
Click here to shop Prairie Sailor online.
Noodle Bowl by Archival Designs — $32
This handcrafted, glazed deep bowl is perfect for enjoying your favorite ramen dishes. It features thoughtful cutouts on the lip, providing a convenient resting place for chopsticks.
Available at Made in KC. Click here to shop Archival Designs online.
Lavender “Everything But The Tub” Bath Kit by Yal&Yana — $38
Experience bliss with these curated kits featuring blueberry/lavender tea, a lavender tea light candle, lavender bath soak, bubble bath, handmade lavender bath bomb, “Rub-a-Dub Suga’ Scrub” cube, and a lavender body oil.
Available at Shop Local KC. Click here to shop Yal&Yana online.
Star Power Tee or Crop Top by Associated Humanity — $36/$26
You already have what it takes, now rock this heavy-weight, ultra-soft shirt in two retro-inspired styles. Each purchase directly supports Big Brothers Big Sisters of KC. Elevate your style, uplift your community.
Click here to shop Associated Humanity online.
Bonus: Stocking Stuffers
Cocktail Kit: Good Bitter Best — $24
Everything you need (sans booze) to create the perfect drink! The Black Walnut Cocktail Kit includes maple syrup, apple garnish, Black Walnut bitters, and a recipe for their Maple Walnut Old Fashioned.
Available at Shop Local KC. Click here to shop Good Bitter Best online.
Beaded Santa Hat Earrings: Eb & Co. — $22
These earrings are a subtle and festive touch to any Christmas outfit.
Available at Made in KC. Click here to shop Eb & Co. online.
About nbkc bank
At nbkc, we’re making banking what it should be: simple, transparent, and efficient. And we’re doing it across all of our services — checking, savings, business accounts, loans, and more. Simply said, what you see is what you get. Great customer service, awesome rates, and smart technology backed by smarter people. Named the strongest large bank in the Kansas City area1 and voted a Kansas City Business Journal Best Place to Work for six consecutive years. Member FDIC | Equal Housing Lender | NMLS# 409631
1 From an analysis published on April 17, 2023, by the Kansas City Business Journal, comparing all banks with a presence in Kansas City and assets of $1 billion or more. The study used 2022 year-end data from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) to evaluate banks on eight metrics which, together, reflect banks’ financial wherewithal.