Black Friday is almost upon us, and in less than a week it seems that most of America will be taking advantage of all the great discounts that will be offered by all of your favorite Big Brand stores. It seems that this day has almost become a holiday in and of itself with thousands and thousands of people across the states participating by lining up all night and day outside of these mega-stores to make their discounted purchases on those oh-so-special items they have been coveting all year.
Yes, I agree that Black Friday is a good day to get your holiday shop on, since most of us have the day off anyway. But I would like to venture off the beaten path and suggest another alternative to this shopping epidemic. Now brace yourselves, my friends, I may seem a little controversial and anti-“the American dream” with this idea. Shopping Local, Shopping Small.
What is this crazy woman talking about, you may be thinking to yourself? Good question! I mean, instead of going to the mall or mega/superstores on Friday, and circling the parking lot like a vulture looking for a parking space, fighting that little old lady for the last shopping cart, stockpiling your cart with gift cards, CD’s, WII games, Blue Ray movies, and festive socks from the dollar bin, then standing in line for over an hour to make your “special” purchases, which will then be wrapped in pretty paper and put under your decked out and twinkling tree until Christmas morning; I suggest that you take Friday to kick back, sleep in, enjoy another leftover turkey sandwich, watch a great movie with your family or friends and then take part in the “Shop Small Movement“. This means you go out on Saturday instead to find a great local boutique, or you can patronize a friends Etsy store. Even look for local Holiday Craft Fairs in your area (I am sure there are a ton going on right now!) as an alternative to your prior shopping endeavors. Not only will you find some AMAZING, one-of-a-kind gifts that will probably become a special family heirloom, I’m positive you will reduce your holiday shopping stress levels as well.
Just think about it; if you are advocating a push toward keeping your money localized in your own area by shopping locally (think about all of those sweet mom & pop shops or those cool urban-chic boutiques you’ve wanted to venture into but never had the time or energy), it will put “revenue back into the local economy, enriching the whole community”. That means better parks for family pick-nicks and outings, more money for after school programs, more local jobs, and you’d be advocating a movement toward environmental sustainability, i.e.- more walkable shopping centers in your area, and less driving around looking for parking places!
With all of that being said, I have found some amazing small businesses, crafters, artisans, designers, and Etsians that have something for everyone on your list! Check them out and give your loved ones an incredibly unique and unexpected gift this Christmas! Each one of these small business entrepreneurs offers some amazing products and services that you really shouldn’t pass up on! They are all TOTALLY worth the splurge! Read on!
Amazing candles with delicious scents for each season that last and last! These candles keep their scent, and don’t dwindle as the candle runs low. One of the best thing about these soy candles is that if you happen to get the melted wax on your skin, it won’t burn! You can actually rub it on your hands like a moisturizer! Then you smell like your yummy candle- BONUS!
Absolutely gorgeous handcrafted jewelry created with all natural stones from around the world. This jewelry artisan makes necklaces, earrings, and bracelets. With sets like “Vibrant & Fun”, “Day & Night”, “Deep & Cool”, “Earth & Sky”, and “Warmth” you are sure to find something that you will love. They do custom orders as well, and offer gifts for just about every price point.
For your mind, body & soul. Merci’s yoga class is amazingly refreshing and you leave feeling strong and empowered as well as peaceful. She even offers your first class as a freebie to see if you enjoy it, and if you do, her classes are very reasonably priced. I highly recommend purchasing this for your loved ones! They will thank you for it!
FOR THE KIDDOS
Each of these simply sweet hand crafted Puppet Theaters are great for kids of all ages! These theaters fit in just about any doorway, and can be easily moved. No doubt that playing with these will promote creative and imaginative play. Just be ready for loads of giggles and hours of fun!
Absolutely some of the most charming and completely handmade Rag Dolls on the market! Perfect for your petite little one, but these dolls have charmed adults as well. Each doll has been inspired by popular literature, and is completely one of a kind! Don’t forget to check back at this site often- you never know when a flash sale may pop up!
If you are thinking about and value your child’s educational future, consider My March Consulting. They offer daunted parents a variety of sessions to choose from and educational packages with loads of information. What can be a better gift than to help pave your child’s collegiate future? Check it out!
FOR THE FASHIONISTA
It is possible that the best gift you can give is the gift of organization and clarity. Instead of filling up your loved ones closet with clothes they may never wear, offer them the alternative. A closet and personal style revamp! What could be a better gift than that? Take advantage of Jenny’s fashion expertise and organizational skills with a Snappy Package tailored to fit your personal style needs!
If you are looking for someone to give you GREAT hair, Jessica is the woman to see! Her salon is adorable, and she offers new and exciting full service hair salon in the Hidden Valley Lake/Middletown area. Go see her to experience the ultimate in hair treatments! A perfect treat for that over worked momma in your life!
FOR THE UNIQUE COLLECTOR
Quirky and sweet shabby-chic jewelry, mixed media art, and gifts that incorporate a little bit of vintage into their unique hand made products! These gifts are perfect for those on your shopping list with an eclectic taste palate.
While this website is not a physical business, this website is great for lovers of all things Star Wars. Star Wars Wife is a website and community that chronicles what life is like being married to one of the biggest Star Wars fans out there! They also host FREE giveaways of fabulous Star Wars products often! Yay for FREE giveaways!
Are there great local businesses in your area that you can shop at? Take an opportunity this Friday or Saturday to go and check them out! I bet you will be glad you did!
(For more reasons to shop local visit ilsr.org-as if you really need them).