As this year’s Christmas present shopping list was coming into focus, I realized there are so many special small vendors I wanted to share that I thought it might be fun to compile a gift guide. Admittedly, these ideas are tailored to the age and preferences of my recipients, but it would be easy to adapt these gifts to various ages, besides, who couldn’t use new ideas when it comes to checking off that list?
Probably my favorite way to gift and may not be as difficult as it seems. Looking back over the past year and recalling the new interests that have occupied your loved one’s time is helpful. Any new hobbies, obsessions, or life events that could be mined for presents? It’s pretty likely and a good place to start searching for related items.
My husband and I try to stick to stocking stuffers only, that way we have a little something to open on Christmas morning without adding pressure to shop extravagantly for each other in addition to the already lengthy family and friends lists we’re scrambling to finish. An added wrinkle to this system is that his birthday falls on Christmas week and I don’t want to deprive him of a thoughtful present because he was an unfortunately timed baby.I think these will end up a birthday gift, but would make a memorable Christmas present. My husband’s favorite pastime this summer was working in the garden. Hunter-Gatherer Gift’s shears will be perfect for harvesting all of our viney veggies instead of the kitchen knife we used as a saw this year. These £25.00 pruning secateurs are made from copper plated carbon steel with ashwood handles which can be personalized for no extra charge. I added a simple message for a personal touch, and they should make it across the pond in time for Christmas. (Don’t worry, I will prevent my husband from reading this post to keep the surprise).Personalized wood burned items are a favorite small business shopping discovery. Forage Workshop provides nature-inspired wood burned and turned items which are ideal for customization. The ornament above is for my husband’s newly married cousin. I know his bride, especially, will love the foraged material as she thrifted all of her wedding decor and used succulent bouquets to replant later, not wishing a single flower to die for the ceremony. I’ll be featuring Forage Workshop’s handmade wares in another full post, as I ordered several items, but don’t want to reveal the presents quite yet.
Etsy is a treasure trove of independent sellers providing personalized items, last year I ordered mixing spoons with funny messages for friends, such as, I have a passion for not cooking. From jewelry, to tote bags, to artwork, Etsy is the first place I look for personal gifts and most shops are extremely affordable.
Personalized doesn’t need to be imprinted with a literal name, however. To me it means a gift that’s tailored to the recipient, one only he/she might appreciate. Case in point, these soaps below are for one of my sisters. Like most of us she appreciates Bath and Body Works’ soaps, what makes these personal is the calendar tag I wrote for each so she’ll have one on hand every month. This idea came to me last summer when, visiting for a swim, I discovered she happened to be out of hand soap, with none anywhere. My sis works multiple jobs and explained she hadn’t had a chance to grab some. After washing with dish soap, I thought it would be fun to gift her some backups and started collecting seasonal soaps whenever they went on sale. It’s a little thing, but for her, it will be one less thing to have to worry about.Another cool personalized idea was giving my incredibly hard to shop for brother-in-law a Hometown Map Puzzle from L. L. Bean. A city councilman, he exudes home town pride and had a fun challenge working his knowledge of the area to put it together.
Knowing which fandoms your giftees support makes holiday shopping easier. Whether they exalt sports or entertainment, an item celebrating a beloved fandom will make a bang on present. Sporty gifts are abundantly easier, yet book, movie and t.v. merchandise is thriving at independent stores and small vendors.
Bookish:Books and scents are a few of my favorite things. Any bookish soul would proudly display and possibly even light these candles, if they could bear to use them. A few favorite fandom candle makers: The Melting Library (above) Nerd Wicks (on sale through today) Reverie Library, Frostbeard (current coupon HOLIDAYS2017 for 15% off) and In the Wick of Time.
Sweet Sequels also carries hand-painted book blankets and prints. Speaking of which, the custom book shelf prints and paintings by Ideal Bookshelf are a literary lovers dream (25% off cyber Monday). As are all of the novel renderings gracing the stationary, mugs, and enamel pins♥♥.
I recommend following these small vendors on social media and getting their newsletters to make note of restocks (teastocks). For unbeatable selection and availability, Adagio teas is best. Type Fandom in the keyword search and be amazed at the varietea from Tardis teas, to Sherlock, and every t.v. show, book, movie, and video game in between. Hurry though, free shipping ends tonight at midnight. Of course, you can’t go wrong with giving actual books either.
Why are they so tough to shop for? Unless you have a literary teen on the list (see above). I miss the days when my niece and nephews would record scrolls of Christmas lists with everything their hearts desired. Teen interests are not one-gift-fits-all, but if they enjoy playing games, there are some fun options. I mean board games mostly, video games require in-depth knowledge of which platform is owned and required, in my experience teens usually instruct which video games to buy.
I’m not making these up! Actually, this sounds like a totally chill game night.
Searching a few of these titles led to many interesting board and party game recommendations. Also, if you haven’t gotten Code Names yet, do so! It’s a family fave and adapts well to a variety of age groups.
We live in a fortunate age where large and small vendors hand-select themed goodies in a curated package and ship it to your door each month. I, for one, am a huge fan. For bookworms, Owl Crate obvs., also The Bookish Box with cyber Monday deal, sign up for 3, get the 4th month free and newly discovered, FanMail, the female empowered box for lady geeks.
I’ve gifted Loot Crate, for gamers, to my husband and teen nephew alike, with high acclaim. Crate Joy has pages of bath and body box options and though not a subscription, Euphoria Soap Works’ Holiday Gift set will give all the holiday feels and last at least as long as a 3-month subscription.
For the crafty at heart, there are even handcrafted home decor boxes. I prefer the adorable sets made by The Little Green Bean. From shaving to socks, if there’s an interest, a subscription box likely exists.
As for me, I’d be ecstatic with any one of these gifts and I haven’t even touched on my love of pottery from indie vendors, I’ve looked longingly at handmade pots by Allison Fretheim Ceramics, Little Garden Pottery, and my much-obsessed over shop, Pitch Pine Pottery.
Are you shopping large or small businesses this year, or a mix of both? I only have one person officially done and will be trolling for deals today to get a few more, my two toughest are my brother-in-law and my boss, any suggestions welcome here too!