While I travel throughout Wisconsin as Alice in Dairyland, I am honored with the opportunity to visit and often get a behind-the-scenes look at many Wisconsin businesses. From confectionaries to butcher shops, to restaurants and farms, each has a unique story to tell and something special to offer our communities statewide.

Emmanuel’s Mix offers the perfect sweet and salty snack during the holiday season. (Photo credit: Alice in Dairyland)

Shopping local businesses is a great way to share the joy of gift-giving while supporting local economies this holiday season. The U.S. Small Business Association states that, “on average, 48% of each purchase at local independent businesses is recirculated locally, compared to less than 14% of purchases at chain stores.”

As each business shares their unique story with me, I am inspired by their motivations, perseverance, histories and hopes for the future. Just in the last few months, I visited a sixth-generation dairy farm, a bakery started by a multi-generational family that recently opened its first physical location, and an organization that connects women survivors of sexual exploitation with safe housing, meaningful work, and a healing network of support—plus many more businesses with amazing stories! As the 76th Alice in Dairyland, I look forward to hearing more from the businesses that call Wisconsin home.

Something Special from Wisconsin™ (SSfW) makes it easy to discover local businesses. For 40 years, SSfW has been helping consumers identify Wisconsin-made products. SSfW members certify that at least half of their ingredients, production, or processing is from Wisconsin. Members can use the recognizable red and yellow logo to identify Wisconsin-made products.

Jolly Good is a delicious and refreshing drink option during the holiday season! (Photo credit: Alice in Dairyland)

Regardless of who you are shopping for this holiday season, you can find the perfect gift through somethingspecialwi.com. Browse categories—from artisanal and gift to grocery and pet products—and search by location, item, or business name, as well. Visitors to the website can learn more about our members’ products. The map feature can also help you identify companies in a specific location of the state.

I am currently celebrating Something Special from Wisconsin with the Alice in Dairyland holiday campaign. Throughout the state, I have been visiting television and radio stations to share some of the amazing Wisconsin-made products that belong to this program. Tune in to your local channels and see a selection of SSfW products! I’ll be sharing items to finish off a charcuterie board, delicious snacks, refreshing beverages, self-care necessities, spices that’ll wake-up your taste buds, books to keep yourself entertained, and much more!

Participants in this years’ holiday campaign include: Christine’s Kitchen, CJ’s Premium Spices, Author Corey Geiger, Crave Brothers Farmstead Cheese LLC, CTL Foods, Inc., Doorstep Peppers LLC, Emmanuel’s Mix LLC, Flavor Temptations, Franciscan Peacemakers, Grilled Cheese Life, Honestly Cranberry, Jolly Good Soda, Little Bull Falls Soap Works, Mister Burns, Moose Lake Mustard, Mrs. Beaster’s Biskits, Northleaf Winery, Oak Creek Hemp Company, Olympia Granola, Palo Popcorn, Pine River Cheese Spread, Pop’s Kettle Corn, Real Wisconsin Products, SEHR Essentials, Sheboygan Pasty Company, Stanton Legacy Acres, Sweet P’s Pantry, Tom & Ma’s Maple, White Jasmine LLC, White Winter Mead, Cider, Spirits, Widmer’s Cheese Cellars, and Wisconsin Candle Company.

This holiday season and all-year round, remember to look out for the red and yellow Something Special from Wisconsin logo to support local Wisconsin businesses!