Every year I give myself a Christmas challenge. In the past, I’ve made all of the gifts we gave family and friends. Once, I set a budget of $25 per person and the challenge was to get the best, most personal gift I could find in that price range. This year I’m trying to buy as many gifts from local shops and independent craftspeople as I can. I put the word out among my friends and family – send me your shops, I said! And your friends’ and relatives’ shops! I’m very excited for the holidays to arrive because I can’t wait to share some of the coolest local and independently-made stuff with the people I care about!
And since you’re some of the people I care about, I’m going to share some of my holiday favorites with you! Here’s what I’ve been loving and what you should be checking out:
ava-Loo’s tagline is “keeping you warm,” which it’s definitely doing with all kinds of totally adorable beanies, flappy hats, booties, and even brimmed hats for babies! The knitter behind all of them is Christy, a busy stay at home mom to twin girls and one little man. I don’t know about your house, but in mine hats always seem to go missing so having an extra or two is never a bad thing. If there are local moms with babies on your list, you can’t go wrong with these hats.
Just because your little one is asking Santa for a dolly doesn’t mean you have to rush out and buy yet another boring baby doll. piggyhatespanda creates beautiful and stylish (and customizable) dollies for kids and grownups, too. When you’re placing your order, you can switch up the colors, faces, hairstyles, or outfits! But I think these huggable cloth dolls are lovely as is. There’s just something whimsical and sweet about them that I love!
The only single-A Aron I know also happens to be the only professional woodworker I know, and he just happens to make amazing wooden puzzles. You can get a five-pack of animal puzzles for stocking stuffers for your mom friends’ kids or a custom photo puzzle with your son or daughter’s picture. He can also do a pregnancy announcement puzzle with an ultrasound. How cool is that? There are plenty of great presents for grownups, too, at his shop, Bored With Splinters.
Peg & Plum isn’t actually taking new holiday orders right now (*cries*) but Elizabeth, who paints these super cute peggies, is offering gift certificates you can give to the older littles on your list. The ones who will understand the concept of waiting for a holiday present, that is. Your little ones can play with the peggies, but they also make great cake toppers for birthday cakes and a great gift for a working mama’s cubicle if you get her whole family made.
What’s better than local or independent? Local AND independent! For me, organic beeswax lip balm made with beeswax from bees living in my neighbors’ backyards, organic nut butters, and organic essential oils are a no-brainer gift for my favorite mom friends. Not all of you live near me but chances are there’s someone near you who is selling local honeys, beeswax candles, and other yummy (or yummy smelling) stuff made by local bees. Find them!
Rad Revolution is one mom who found herself inspired by the ever-changing roles a mother has to play. It probably doesn’t hurt that she has a degree in Art Fundamentals and is a talented photography, colorist, and graphic designer! She makes amazing hats, among other things! Know a local mom who’s currently getting chewed on by a teething tot? Get her a taggy teether and a teething necklace, stat!
There’s the coolness of the name – Darn It! Sew What? – but that’s not all. Kara’s shop is definitely on trend with decorative housewares and very cool monogrammed and embroidered pieces that are not your grandma’s hankie. I can personally vouch for the awesomeness of the embroidered zipper pouches and the flag bunting pillow (which I bought as a present for ME). What else? The zipper pouches are customizable, just right for stashing in diaper bags, and so make useful and fun gifts for the mom friends on your list!
Handmade, natural soy artisan candles with unique, quality fragrances and creative packaging? Yes, please! I bought a bunch of Witch City Wicks candles for family but as soon as I went a picked them up (another local find for me) I wanted to keep them all for myself. I am not kidding when I say these smell amazing. Candles are a traditional go-to gift for moms but these are not bad stocking stuffers for dads – there’s a whole selection of men’s candles, too!
And finally, everyone needs something a little bit pretty and a little bit delicate, right? Glass artist Alice melts, fuses, and slumps glass with abandon in the mountains of New Mexico – which sounds terribly artsy and romantic – for her shop, Kilnwork. I’m in love with all of the stuff made from old wine bottles – perfect for the wine enthusiast on your list – and the doily patterned pieces!
Are you shopping locally or buying from friends (or friends of friends) for the holidays? Share a link in the comments!