Friday, November 18, 2011

Gift Ideas: Small Businesses Galore

I once had a friend who received only gift cards for Christmas one year. There was no collusion between his friends and family, just a bunch of "He likes to shop, so of course he'll like this gift card." He was crestfallen, to say the least.

Now, I plan on giving a few gift cards this holiday season, so I'm not hating on them at all. What I am hating on is the mentality of people liking shopping for themselves as opposed to receiving a thoughtful gift. One-of-a-kind gifts are also a delight to receive.

And it may be Occupy Wall Street of me to say, but the best kind of gifts this holiday season are going to be thoughtful, one-of-a-kind gifts that come from small businesses. Men and women pursuing their dreams and trying to make a better life for themselves and their family would love our patronage this time of year. I have made a goal to buy from small businesses as much as I can, and thus far I have done a pretty good job—75% done with Christmas shopping and counting!

To encourage you to spread more than one kind of holiday cheer, here are some reasonably-priced ideas for seasonal shopping this year.

Out of Alabaster silhouettes
Lindsey Cazac is a quality person and an amazing artist. I thought of silhouettes as only a Disneyland kind of art; I have more than one sister who has had her silhouette done on Main Street, USA! But Lindsey has proven me wrong; here is what she has to say about her hand-drawn silhouettes:

"Silhouette portraiture has a rich history dating back to the 1600's, and I love creating these heirlooms with a modern twist. I take great joy in digitally crafting each portrait to capture the essence and quirks of your loved ones."

Dogbone Art
If you have spied Jack's "Hot Diggety" shirt, then you have seen the work of Dogbone Art. Screen-printed characters of all shapes and sizes are featured on shirts, scarfs, totes, and more. Every piece of work is durable and adorable, and the customer service can't be beat. Plus, they've been featured on Ace of Cakes—can't argue with that!

After Nine to Five
I can't remember how I found Ashley's store, but I do know that I'm a frequent patron of her amazing selection of goodies. One-of-a-kind necklaces, insanely cute prints, and even consulting for the blogger in your life fill up the digital walls of her store. She is always available to answer questions through her twitter and is willing to bend over backwards to make you a happy customer.

There might be people more talented than Heather, but I doubt it. Her prints are charming and quirky, which is right up my alley. Being married to a web developer, I have learned that the best things involve web code and style—Heather's art has both! And with every order, she sends out the freaking cutest paper doll monster! I could probably love her stuff more, but my brain can't handle that level of adoration.

Source: via Holly on Pinterest

Speaking of love affairs, I have a long-standing one with my girl Paige of Chris and Paige. She is one of the most inspired artists I can think of, plus she has the best attitude/curly hair of anyone I know. Her main work revolves around scrapbooking, but she is a heck of a designer too; American Crafts thought she was great enough to produce some product lines, and I can't disagree.

She is featuring a 2012 5x7" calendar in her shop this season, which you should check out below. I had the 2010 version of this calendar and I kept it even after the year was long over (read: I still have it). Paige is giving one of these calendars away on her blog, but if you don't score one that way, you can use the code EARLYBIRD for 10% off!


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