I’m proud of the way we shopped local and DIY for Christmas. Gift giving is one my languages. Here is how it went this year.
How to Style Your Brand – had to buy from Amazon because it’s not sold other places, which means she’s is an author with a smaller brand. I’m proud to support that.
Felt ball slingshot – I saw this first from Magnolia Market in their magazine. Local, in a sense that they are not Target or Walmart or Amazon, but still, the Gaines’ are taking over the world. I found this slingshot at my local favorite, Vintage Market, which hosts a variety of vendors who upcycle, sell antiques and newly made products in the latest and most awesome fashions (rustic and whimsical). At $14.95, the price was comparable to others I have seen. I bought form the maker and when I hesitated about the color, she arranged for me to get the orange I so desired from her a week later.
Mittens – not handmade but also from Vintage Market. When I support sellers there, I support their crafts and the owner of the shop, whose parents ran a shop of a different color before her.
Garden wall art – from Vintage at the Yard, a monthly market with local vendors junking it up. I picked up some army guys on the same visit. Oh, the treasure hunting!
Brownies – my mom is a phenomenal baker and in lieu of payment accepts donations to Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. We ordered several dozens of brownies to take to hospital staff.
DIY crafts – Dresser from Craigslist, reinvented using chalk paint from Vintage Market to become an armoire for dress-up clothes.
Wall art – Puffins, downloaded from Unsplash and developed at Costco (maybe $4). Frame from Selective Antiques ($2), mat board from Hobby Lobby (Christian-owned business, $7), glass from Home Depot ($5). I do the framing myself
Beeswax and honey products– as of this writing, I have not actually made the candles, but I was thrilled to purchase and encourage my mother’s purchase of local honey, wax, beard balm and lotion bar from Shaffer Apiaries, a family business. This woman has an eye for design. Their displays and packaging are beautiful. Buying from the maker means better costs, she explained, when we marveled at 32oz jars of local honey for only $12 (if you are spending less than that at the store there is a good chance it is not pure honey). My plan is to buy vintage glass from local thrift or antique shops to turn into unique candle gifts.
We make other gifts for people: photo books, wind chimes, letter art, gift baskets with homemade bread and paintings.
I do not know who they survey when the news reports families spend an average of $1000 on gifts for Christmas. We spend a lot (not nearly that much), but it is joyful, not obligatory and Christmas comes but once a year. There were some other store-bought items, to complement the kids’ request to Santa for roller skates.
Not everyone enjoys gift giving. For us, it is a way of expressing gratitude and sharing joy and friendship with others. It is not about the dollar amount or the number of gifts, but the thought and time that goes into. Because of that, I am proud to shop locally. Those are the gifts that give in all directions. As I read on Facebook, when a small business owner makes a sale, they do a little happy dance in their hearts. We know the feeling.