Each year, Oprah releases a list of her favorite things.

I don't think that's exactly fair, since I'm pretty sure she's never tried the great products and items available in McDowell County.

So for the first time in McDowell News history, I am compiling a list of McDowell County items that would make perfect gifts for those wanting to shop locally this holiday season. Unfortunately, I could only choose five items this year, but hopefully next year I can share even more locally made goods with McDowell News readers.

Bee Naturally by Sherry-- Garden/Working Hand Salve

Available at: MACA, 50 S. Main Street, Marion or etsy.com

I was first introduced to the locally made Bee Naturally By Sherry Beauty Line about a year ago. At first I tried her lip balm, which is far superior in my opinion to other natural lip balms. Since all her products are made using ingredients from the bee hives on her farm, I decided to give her hand salve a go. Within days I saw a difference in my hands. They went from a dishwasher's nightmare to something soft that smelled great. My cuticles and nails also had a new shine that said "we're healthy and happy."

Glass and Clay Jewelry by Ann Gibson

Available at: MACA, 50 S. Main Street, Marion.

I have known Ann since I started my job at The McDowell News. Not only is she involved in several local organizations, but she creates unique, one-of-a-kind pieces using both clay and glass. The first piece of hers that I included in my jewelry box was a light purple and clear glass pendent on a lilac rope chain. It is both delicate and decadent, with sterling silver accents. The second item of Ann's that I added to my wardrobe was a pair of earrings dedicated to raising awareness and funds for breast cancer. Their rose-gold hooks made the salmon, lilac and blue flicked earrings pop. Since buying them I have had tons of compliments from friends. If you're looking for locally made jewelry at a moderate price, I suggest Ann's items. They're high quality and each piece reflects her spirit and personality.

Holly Whitsett's Marbled Paper Tablet Covers

Available at: 50 S. Main Street, Marion, and by special order by emailing hollyw0219@icloud.com or calling 828-803-5806.

All of Holly's items are unique and beautiful, but the most handy and gift-worthy item she makes this season is probably her tablet covers. I didn't know she had started making the reusable items that can be refilled with small writing pads until recently. Once I saw the unique desk accessory I had to get one for myself. I love mine and how it makes the otherwise boring writing pad pop with color. Plus, if you're looking for a personalized gift, Whitsett can decorate the front or inside of each table with calligraphy initials or quotes.

Amy Miller-Lamb's Homemade Soaps

Available at: MACA, 50 S. Main Street, Marion.

-- I met Amy two months ago for a story I was writing. At first I was hesitant to use homemade soap. I was a Dove girl. I had always used the rose-colored kind that smells faintly of flowers, but after a few cleanses with her soap I was hooked. My skin was softer, my complexion was more radiant and the light fragrance of shea butter and cocoa made me feel like a true lady. I love Amy's soaps because they are all-natural and elegantly styled, meaning that they're great in the shower and in the guest bathroom.

The Vintage Owl's Custom Barn Wood Sign

Available at: The Vintage Owl, 49 S. Main Street, Marion.

Whether you want to pick up one of The Vintage Owl's pre-made barn wood signs or have one made with your own slogan on it, the item makes a perfect gift for anyone. This item first caught my eye back in August when the business posted a "You are my Sunshine" sign on their website. The weathered wood with a delicate stencil of the quote along with a giant sun was really elegant and rustic looking at the same time. The most unique part about each barn wood sign is that they can be custom tailored with colors, symbols and names.

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