Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Holiday Gifts

There has not been a holiday season that hubby and I haven't spent hours in the kitchen making goodies to give as Christmas gifts.  We've made jams and jellies, apple butter, English toffee, fudge, truffles and pies. Our handiwork doesn't stop at the kitchen though.  I've been known to pull out the sewing machine, stay up late cropping photos for scrapbooks or going to bed with paint under my nails.  Hubby, ever the good sport in my crafting adventures, has spent lunch hours and early mornings drilling and nailing, measuring and cutting, gluing and painting along my side.

When it comes to holidays though, sometimes you just have to buy some gifts.  Don't get me wrong, I love shopping.  I even love that crazy, chaotic energy in the mall right before Christmas.  Everything is decorated with twinkling lights, colorful trees and snowflakes.  Cheerful music plays in every store and the weather is perfect for a peppermint hot cocoa. 

This year, I am encouraging you to rethink your holiday shopping.  Sure, head to the mall for that crazy chaotic rush and that photo with Santa if you want.  But instead of spending money at those big box stores, try supporting a local farmer, an unknown artist or a small business.  We're hoping to be one of those local farmers at the market next year...

  1. Society 6  The images on Society 6 are created by thousands of artists across the globe.  You can buy prints, iphone covers, pillows, notecards and more. 
  2. Etsy  Etsy is a marketplace where 30 million people connect to buy and sell handmade and vintage items or craft supplies.  I have made some pretty awesome purchases on Etsy.  For example, a set of four handmade wooden guitar picks - each carved from a different type of wood.   
  3. The Grommet  The Grommet is a product launch platform, which means they find awesome new products that you haven't heard of and gives them a chance to succeed.  They promote businesses built on strong values, with a story to share.
  4. The Davis Farmers Market  In 2008 the Davis Farmers Market was voted #1 large market during an American Farmland Trust competition.  The Davis Farmers Market regularly boasts upwards of 60 vendors any given Saturday morning or Wednesday afternoon.  You can buy local honey, nuts, produce and beef or handmade blankets, baby clothes and candles.  While shopping at this market isn't an option for all, you can find a farmers market close to you here 
  5. Persnickety Prints When I finally gave into digital photography, I tested all the popular websites for printing my photos.  I was relatively happy with Shutterfly, until I discovered Persnickety Prints.  The shop is located in Utah, but you can order prints online from anywhere.  They use actual photo sensitive paper and chemicals instead of ink printed on paper.  The quality is amazing and the prices are really reasonable.  Plus they have a huge range of sizes and papers.  I had a landscape photo enlarged and then I framed it for my step-mom two Christmases ago.  It was beautiful.
  6. People you know and follow (your friends, your family, bloggers, yourself).  Who better to support than someone you love?  Are there bloggers you follow that are graphic designers, crafters or bakers?  Chances are they have shops linked to their blog or an etsy store of their own. Your money will be supporting a real person, not a corporation, and you will have purchased a unique, handmade gift.
  7. Downtown.  If you live in a city with a downtown, there are bound to be some local small businesses like family owned restaurants, clothing stores, art galleries and toy stores.  Local shops are neat in that they offer products that are not mainstream.  You know that if you buy your niece that awesome t-shirt, twenty other girls won't have received the same one for Christmas this year, as may happen when buying at a big box store.  Many local shops also offer gift certificates.  This is like two gifts in one!  The receiver gets to have a special shopping experience and pick out something they want.

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