I saw your question earlier, but was unfortunately unable then to
devote the proper time to providing you with a proper Texan answer, so
left the question open in case another Researcher might want to help.
However, I see that's not been the case, so I'm happy to have the
opportunity to help you after all!
My credentials: I *am* a Texan, at this time living in the great
capitol city of Austin in the great State of Texas. Though to my
sorrow not quite native, I am what is known as a ?Native Texan Once
Removed.? That is, my late Daddy (RIP) was a native Texan, but
relocated up north after WWII, which is how I came to be born
elsewhere. But he saw to it that his children were well-educated in
the history and lore of his home state, teaching us all about the many
layers of ancestors entwined with our deep Texas roots, so that when I
finally found my way back here I knew I had come home. My family ties
in Texas go back many generations to the days of the Republic of
Texas, when Texas was its own country. My grandchildren have now
restored Native Texan status to our line, and we are proud members of
the ?First Families of Texas? as well as ?Sons and Daughters of the
Republic of Texas.? This is all by way of 1) demonstrating to you 1)
the modest nature of Texas Pride, and 2) letting you know that I am
capable of definitively providing you with some unique sources for
truly Texan gifts. Hopefully, among them will be that perfect Texan
"something" for which you're looking.
For starters, in case you?re interested, here?re a couple of good
links to some basic Texas information, in case you?d like to become
better acquainted with the truly fascinating history and culture of
the ?real? Texas:
-?Texas at Your Fingertips? on the official State of Texas website:
-Texas Highways ? a magazine devoted to Texas places and people:
-Handbook of Texas Online:
-The Texas Almanac:
-Wikipedia has a good entry on Texas:
Then, to address your question about whether there is a unique product
or group of people that represent Texas, the answer is no, there is no
ONE unique item or group particularly associated with Texas. However,
there are a great MANY. You see, ?bigness? in and of itself is
representative of Texas, and often the first thought to come to mind
when Texas is mentioned. Texas is the second largest state in the U.S.
both in terms of area and population, though for much of its history,
before Alaska joined the Union, it was the largest state in physical
size. With more than 267,000 square miles, Texas is as large as all of
New England, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Illinois combined. Much
of Texas lore is based on this concept of great size, and there are
many other ideas as well, which immediately call Texas to mind.
So first, I?m going to just briefly list for you some of these
uniquely Texan ideas, objects and associations, and then I?ll give you
a list of sources where you can purchase gifts related to them, as
well as other uniquely Texan items.
Texas history is replete with much cowboy and western lore. The
Chisolm trail ran right through Central Texas, and legends of cowboy
exploits throughout the state are legion. Think of boots and spurs,
ten-gallon hats, tumbleweeds, barbed wire, horses, bandanas and beans.
Texas foods are as varied as the world?s because the world?s cultures
are represented here. Still, there are some foods uniquely associated
with Texas, and they include:
-Barbecue. Texas barbecue is distinct from that of other places. It
means a slow pit-smoked over wood coals style of barbecue, but there
are variations, and each has it passionate adherents, likely to argue
?til they look barbecued about which is best.
-Chili. Ahhhhh. Mention Texas Chili to a bunch of Texans, and
you?re likely to start as big an argument as the ?discussion? about
-Grapefruit. Texas is justly famous for the ruby-red grapefruit
from the Rio Grande Valley.
-Hot sauce or salsa is ubiquitous throughout Texas as much as
barbecue, and there are contests and taste-offs going on all the time
to find the best one.
-Olives are a surprising newcomer to the list of Texas foods, but
Texas olives are making a name for themselves.
-Peaches. Fredericksburg Peaches are renowned for their sweetness,
to which I can personally attest! Slurp, I mean yum!
-Tex-mex foods are a combination of traditional Mexican foods with
cowboy fare, and are what many people actually mean when the speak of
-Wine. Many people are surprised to discover that there are many
vineyards and wineries in Texas that make excellent wines.
-Six Flags: There have been six flags which have flown over Texas
throughout its long and colorful history. They are: Spain (1519-1685;
1690-1821); France (1685-1690); Mexico (1821-1836); Republic of Texas
(1836-1845); Confederate States of America (1861-1865); United States
of America (1845-1861; 1865- )
-Lyndon Baines Johnson and Lady Bird Johnson
-Dr. Pepper was invented in Texas
-Texas Caddo Indians
Texas was once part of Mexico, and its influence is very much a part
of Texas life even today, fueled even more by the large number of
Mexican immigrants who continue to flood over the border and settle in
Modern symbols of Texas include:
-NASA, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, in Houston
-The Battleship Texas
-The oil derrick and its cousin, the pump-jack
Texas has had many well-known and well-loved music greats, and even
today Austin is billed as ?The Live Music Capital? of the world. Some
of the artists uniquely Texan are Lyle Lovett (as already mentioned),
Bob Wills, Willie Nelson and Stevie Ray Vaughan, W.C. Clark (a
personal favorite!), Joe Ely, Shawn Colvin, Los Lonely Boys, and many,
many more. You can find many listed here:
-Oil, of course. The discovery of oil in Texas in 1901 began a
legendary saga that is not yet finished, and oil is now inextricably
linked with Texas in the minds of many.
-Limestone. This is the foundation on which much of Texas sits.
-Mesquite. This often-thorny tree has many sub-species, and is
found throughout the state.
-Pink granite, locally quarried, is plentiful, and is the material
of which the Texas capitol building is made
-Prickly Pear cactus also grows throughout the state
-Tumbleweed dot the highways out west.
As I said, the very idea of anything BIG is very Texan. Some specific
-Anything related to Pecos Bill, a legendary cowboy hero said to
have been born in Texas. You can read about him here:
-Texas Tall Tales include books of stories, usually having to do
with anything Texan being bigger, better, or more outrageous than
anything or anywhere else.
Texas has many nationally known sports teams including:
-NFL: Dallas Cowboys and Houston Texans
-MLB: Houston Astros and Texas Rangers
-NBA: San Antonio Spurs
-WNBA: Houston Comets
-NHL: Dallas Stars
-University of Texas Longhorns
-Texas A&M Aggies
There are a number of symbols that stand out as meaning ?Texas? for
many people. They include
-State bird: the Mockingbird
-State flower: the Bluebonnet
-State gem: Texas blue topaz
-State insect: Monarch Butterfly
-State tree: Pecan
-The Texas Capitol, which stands taller than the U.S. capitol
-The Lone Star flag, and the five-pointed star it features, which
is also on the State Seal
-The Texas Longhorn
-The Yellow Rose (from the history of the Texas fight for
independence from Mexico)
Texas has some varmints and critters uniquely associated with this
state, even though some may also be found elsewhere.
-Armadillo. This is probably the most unusual of Texas critters, a
prehistoric-looking armored sort of rodent. You wanna get a real one,
you?re gonna have to come here, but various stuffed and other replicas
can be found in lots of gift stores.
-Mexican Free-Tailed Bat. Austin is home to the largest colony in
the world of this night-flying insect eater.
-Rattlesnake. We have lots of ?em, but the Western Diamondback is
the biggest and baddest, and lots of gift stores sell the rattles or
-Mountain Lion. This critter has been making a comeback, especially
in the wild lands out west, where there have been sightings in Big
Bend Nat?l. Park and elsewhere.
-The Texas Horned Lizard, otherwise known as the Horny Toad.
All right then, here is a list of sources for Texas gifts and
products. They?re listed in alphabetical order, so be sure to browse
the whole list to see all it contains.
THE BOB BULLOCK TEXAS STATE HISTORY MUSEUM GIFT SHOP
This museum gift shop is devoted to Texana, and has many unique items
not available elsewhere.
Luckenbach, TX (pop. 3) is a Texas oddity and institution. Yes, it?s a
real place. Matter of fact, I was just there this past Saturday,
listening to some wonderful local talent jamming out under the oak
trees. It?s a wonderful little place, made famous by Waylon Jennings?
song of the same name. And it has merchandise there in the General
Store that you?re not going to find anywhere else. Their website says,
?The Luckenbach General Store has been in operation since 1849, and
our merchandise has ranged from agricultural, mechanical and medicinal
to domestic apparel. Nowadays, we can offer a lot of the items found
in the store online.?
THE TEXAS STATE CAPITOL GIFTSHOP
This gift shop has the exact same items that you would buy in the gift
shop located at the Texas State Capitol itself if you were to tour it
physically. Items include a state seal trivet, a replica of the first
flag of the Republic of Texas, an art print of the state Capitol
building, and a bluebonnet and Texas pink granite brooch.
GUITARS AND CADILLACS
Based in Austin, and already partially referenced by leskowitz-ga in
his comment, this is one of my personal favorite gift shops. It?s
where I go to find unique Texas gifts to take with me when I travel,
or to give to my out of state visitors. They have a very nice
selection of goods in all prices ranges, and they ARE Texan:
HOMEGROWN GIFT SHOPS
Here are links to a number of homegrown gift and other shops located
in Texas that carry a wide variety of Texas merchandise:
-BLUE FIELDS OF TEXAS in Austin specializes in Bluebonnet flowers and art prints
-CAPITOL ENGRAVING of Austin sells upscale engravable gifts of
Texas mesquite, granite and stone, along with other gift items:
-COPANO BAY BOOKS of Rockport features a selection of Texana and
books about Texas: http://crazybooklady.com/aus.htm
-LONESTAR LIMITED of Grapevine features wrought iron Texas gifts
and home decor: http://www.monterreyimports.com/
-PURE TEXAS OF FORT WORTH is a Texas retailer that shops for items
from around the state to offer in its retail store. Though not
strictly local, it does have Texas-made items.
-TEXAS GREETINGS offers local artwork, photography, wearable art
and greeting cards reflecting the humorous side of life in Texas:
-THE TEXAS FRONTIER STORE of Medina has a line of Texas furniture,
linens, home decor and Texas limestone gifts:
-TEXAS GIFT MALL of Needville sells a variety of Texas made items,
-TEXAS MESQUITE COMPANY in Bertram makes handcrafted furniture from
Texas mesquite wood: http://www.texmes.com/
-TEXAS TRUE of Tyler has Texas and western furniture and home
-TREASURES OF TEXAS in Kerrville offers a large inventory of
historical maps and books on Texas and the Old West.
-TWELVE GAUGE DESIGNS of Houston has a selection of Texas and
Texas-themed gifts. http://www.twelvegauge.com/
-Y?ALLS in Spring is a fun shop offering a variety of Texas
This deserves its own heading , and these links are to genuine Texas
barbecue restaurants that also sell and ship their foods and sauces
elsewhere. And nope, you can?t get these anywhere else. Now, I know
you said no perishable food items, and I suppose barbecue is
perishable. But some of these places have signature sauces that come
in bottles, so that might perhaps be of interest to you if you didn't
want to ship actual meats. But I include these just because they are
*so* Texas, any list of Texas gifts would be woefully incomplete
-Black?s Barbecue, Lockhart, TX http://www.blacksbbq.com/
-Kreuz Market, Lockhart, TX http://www.kreuzmarket.com/index.shtml
-Southside Market, Elgin, TX
-Cooper?s Barbecue, Llano, TX http://www.coopersbbq.com/
-City Market, Luling, TX http://www.lulingcitymarket.com/
TEXAS COWBOY HALL OF FAME
Located in the famous Fort Worth Stockyards district, this museum
currently has only an on-site gift shop, which carries general
Western-themed merchandise as well as purely Texan. However, they do
plan an online store to be opening soon, and have some unique gift
items. Worth checking out and keeping in mind.
These links include local packaged foods, sauces, candies and snacks,
all made right here in Texas, shippable to just about anywhere, and
for the most part non-perishable:
-BANDANA BANDITO of San Antonio makes and sells authentic Tex-Mex
sauces and salsas. http://www.bandito.com/
-CROCKETT FARMS in Harlingen, what Texans call ?The Valley,?
specializes in the famous Texas ruby-red grapefruit as well as other
Texas-grown foods and specialty items:
-D. L. JARDINE?S of Austin sells hot sauce, salsa, drink mixes and
various snack items.http://www.jardinefoods.com/jardinefoods/index.jsp?s=1117791937293&logout=true
-FIRST TEXAS OLIVE OIL COMPANY:
http://www.texasoliveoil.com/store/index.htm in connection with Bella
Vista Ranch: http://www.bvranch.com/
-THE GENERAL STORE of Electra has chili mixes, spice packets and
-This San Antonio site sells a cookbook called ?Secrets to Cooking
Tex-Mex? along with a selection of necessary ingredients:
-TEX-MEX TO GO of Houston specializes in an assortment of Tex-Mex
foods and other Texas specialties: http://www.texmextogo.com/
-TEXAS PEACHES has a listing of many of the good
Fredericksburg-area orchards and growers, from which you can order
fresh peaches direct: http://www.texaspeaches.com/
-ROYALTY PECANS of Caldwell has a variety of items.
-TEXAS PECANS of Hondo offers a large variety of Texas pecans
-WHITTINGTON?S makes traditional mesquite-smoked beef and turkey
jerky. Texas owned and operated. I?ve eaten this stuff. It?s yummy!
-Here is a directory of Texas WINERIES:
I won?t spend time giving you a lot of links here, since you said you
weren?t really interested in music, as it was mostly available
anywhere. But there are a couple of outlets where you can buy
recordings by locally known musicians, that just aren?t readily
available from other sources. In case you?d like to check them out,
here are a few good ones.
-Lonestar Music http://www.lonestarmusic.com/
-Texas Music Roundup, Austin http://www.texasmusicroundup.com/
-Waterloo Records, Austin http://www.waterloorecords.com/
TEXAS PRISON MUSEUM
The Texas Prison at Huntsville, TX is infamous for its Death Row on
the ?Wall Unit.? This unique gift shop features items made by inmates
in Texas prisons, including this one and is, of course, absolutely
unique to Texas.
TEXAS RANGER MUSEUM STORE
Myoarin-ga suggested an official Texas Ranger badge. Well, here?s
where you can get one, as well as buckles, lapel pins, histories and
knives, among other official ?Texas Ranger? items:
I?ll just include the better known college team stores, since famous
pro sports teams memorabilia can be purchased just about anywhere.
-Texas Longhorns gift shop: http://www.elonghorn.com/
-Texas Aggies gift shop: http://www.aggieplanet.com/WStore/WStoreCatalog.aspx
-Baylor Bears gift shop: http://baylorbears.collegesports.com/store/
TEXAS STATE PARKS AND HISTORIC SITES
This link has a list of further links to Texas state parks and
historic sites? gift shops, some of which have a very nice selection
of products unique to the state and with a local flair:
WILD SEED FARMS
Located just outside Fredericksburg, TX, this is the largest working
wildflower farm in the U.S. It grows and sells wildflower seeds for
over 90 varieties of flowers and native grasses, including native
Texas wildflowers such as the state flower, Bluebonnet, and Indian
Paintbrush, Mexican Hat and Purple Coneflower. It also sells cut
flowers and planting instructions.
I hope this list gives you a good variety of uniquely Texas gifts and
goods from which to browse and choose. All are located in the great
Lone Star State and, without the convenience of the internet, many
would likely require a trip to Texas in order to be able to purchase
their goods. Of course, please understand, this is only the most
general selection. There are many distinct areas and regions in
Texas, all of which feature their own local flavor and specialties.
Some of these are East Texas, which has strong ties to Louisiana Cajun
Country, or the Texas Gulf Coast with its seafaring fisher folk, or
the West Texas oil towns like Midland/Odessa or Amarillo, or perhaps
El Paso or the Big Bend desert country to the far Southwest. Remember,
Texas is very, very BIG.
In finding these links, I used a lot of my own bookmarks and local
knowledge supplemented by some searching. If you?d like to search more
on your own, I suggest trying some of the regions by name alone, or
using the following search terms:
[unique texas gifts]
[unique texas foods]
If there is any particular item(s) you were hoping for that I didn?t
include, please let me know and I?ll try to find it for you, and if
anything isn?t clear, please ask in a Request for Clarification before
rating and closing your question, so I can be sure you?re happy with
the information provided. Also, despite our care, sometimes links
don't post correctly, so if any of them don't work, please let me know
and I'll repost them. I?ve added some of these links, new to me, to my
own Texana collection. I hope you have as much fun exploring them as I
had finding them!
Best Texas regards,