SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – The New Mexico Tourism Department is taking an out-of-the-box approach to helping small businesses struggling in the pandemic by going inside a box — and they’re targeting your holiday shopping list. They’re sponsoring a full holiday gift guide, comprised of New Mexico True-certified businesses — and their products — to encourage residents to shop local this season.

“It gives them an opportunity to kind of connect their brand to the New Mexico True brand. Businesses that qualify for that program and join it, those are the types of businesses and products that we do feature in opportunities like this,” said Cody Johnson, with the New Mexico Tourism Department.

While the tourism department puts out gift guides most year, this is the first year they’ve made a gift box. The department says they picked a variety of different local businesses and products for the box, including everything from treats to ornaments. Since it’s their first time doing a box, they started with a limited inventory of 50 and have just a handful left.

“Business leaders and local leaders have really sort of emphasized and encouraged to shop and support local. It’s something we all kind of innately want to do,” said Johnson. “They do want to support local businesses. It’s even better when there’s a lot of things packaged together because you can support a lot of businesses at once.”

Taos-based business, Bison Star Naturals, makes hand-made soaps. The owners say being featured in the New Mexico True box and gift guide is a boost in business at a time they need it most.

“The whole New Mexico True holiday gift guide sends a lot of customers our way and we’re so appreciative to them to create such an awesome database where people all over the nation can find New Mexico-made products,” said Jacquelene McHorse, co-owner of Bison Star Naturals. “We’re really thankful to all of our locals who have been supporting small businesses and keeping small businesses going strong in these challenging times.”

The department’s holiday ‘shop local’ guide is expanded beyond just the gift box. It suggests specific products from each business — from the more expensive like hand-crafted jewelry to affordable options like salsas and jams.

The tourism department says with the success they’ve seen so far with the holiday box, they hope to create more that can be featured throughout the year. The gift guide is available through the New Mexico True holiday page. The available boxes are $95 each and can be purchased online.

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