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The 10 BEST New Mexico Gifts to Send to Out-of-State Friends and Family

Perhaps you have friends who have moved somewhere out of New Mexico, and are missing the elemental items from home that can’t be found anywhere else. Perhaps you have family who live out of state and can’t get enough of the fascinating, foreign culture you live in here in New Mexico. Or perhaps you just know someone who is an aficionado for the Land of Enchantment tourist-y things. The following is a list that can help cross any of these people off the shopping list this year. Spread the NM love!

1. Red chile wreath or ristra

This first on the list is a classic. Whether you decide to go with wreath or ristra, you can’t lose. New Mexico chile is called that for a reason: the stuff just isn’t grown anywhere else. Hence, a true New Mexican ristra can’t be found anywhere else. And what a statement it makes on any doorway! ChileMonster.com has them for sale.  

2. Red or green chile peanut brittle

Sounds weird, right? This is a new discovery of mine, and if you’re a fan of mixing sweet and spicy, you’ve got to try this. With just the same consistency as regular peanut brittle, a sweet foretaste, and an aftertaste with a kick, your non-New Mexican friends are in for an adventure with this treat! Find at Chile Traditions in Albuquerque, on Montgomery near Wyoming.

3. Piñon-scented candle

via ChileMonster.com

Bring the smell of the New Mexico mountains into the homes of your loved ones in such sorry places as California, New England, or the mid-west this holiday season. You can even get such candles set in a hand-crafted pottery bowl, as pictured above, for an extra-Nuevo Mexicano feel. You can find these candles, and lots of other authentic New Mexican gifts, at ChileMonster.com.

4. Chile ornament

Courtesy of Delia Barnas

As you’re probably aware, New Mexico chile is both a staple and an icon here. Head into any tourist shop and you’ll see more chile-themed trinkets than you could have imagined before walking through the shop door. One such trinket that can be found on the Christmas trees of native New Mexicans and tourists to the state, alike, is the chile ornament. It is a popular trinket in these shops for a reason, and that is that it decorates the crap out of a Christmas tree.

5. Native American Pottery

The pottery that can be found in New Mexico is widely appreciated across the country. Send any fan of Native American art and culture a piece—whether small, as in a tree ornament, or large, as in a pot or vase—and they will be impressed, overjoyed, and eager to brag to their friends. Popular hits often feature the kokopelli symbol or the zia symbol.

6. Turquoise jewelry

Turquoise is the official state gem of New Mexico, and we don’t assign that lightly. You would be hard-pressed to find anyone in New Mexico who does not own a piece of turquoise jewelry. Special occasion? Bet on seeing the majority of women (and some men) wearing some form of the now southwestern-chic jewelry. Now you can let your friends in on the origin of the fashion—and the best part is that it’s cheaper here in the southwest than you will find it anywhere else.

7. Bizcochitos

via Huffington Post

Everyone loves receiving baked goods around the holidays. Whether you’re the baker of your family or prefer to buy your treats and save your time for something else, bizcochitos are a cookie that no other state can replicate. Darn right, too. The bizcochito is the New Mexico state cookie. As a festive, tasty, Christmas-y New Mexican treat, it cannot be outdone!

8. Tamales

via New York Times

If you can pull off the homemade kind, you’ll really impress those NM-foreigners. There is nothing like bringing a little bit of your local holiday tradition into the homes of those who have no idea what they’re missing. I realize that many of the items on this list involve food, but that’s just because no one does food like New Mexico, especially during the holidays. (And if you can’t make your tamales from scratch, no worries, pretty sure our store-bought ones still beat out any that can be found in the stores across the states.)

9. New Mexican food cookbook

published by UNM Press

Help those loved ones who would like to replicate the cuisine you have the privilege of eating every day, and send them a guide book to doing just that. Some ingredients may be harder for them to find than others, depending on where they live, but I have faith that bits and pieces of the New Mexican diet can be found everywhere. You just have to have the patience to look, and the book to tell you how to put them together. Clyde Casey’s Red or Green: New Mexican Cuisine and New Mexico Cuisine: Recipes from the Land of Enchantment are two that I’ve put on my own book shopping list this year.

10. Meth candy

via CNN, courtesy of Albuquerque Convention Visitors Bureau

Last, but certainly not least—if you’ve got any Breaking Bad fans in your circle out of state, your gift can be super simple this year. Pay a visit to The Candy Lady in Old Town, Albuquerque, and she’ll hook you up with the state’s best and original meth candy. It’s got that pure blue and tastes like heaven. Plus, it’s straight from the heart of the show that captivated so many across the nation. And that you really can’t find anywhere else.