This holiday season, it’s more important than ever to support the businesses we love. Yes, it’s usually cheaper to search online for the things you want until you find the lowest price, but here’s the thing. Big retailers still be here next year. That cute little boutique down the street you love… it might not be. With this in mind, I wanted to share a list of some fun holiday gift ideas that will also help the kinds of businesses who could really use your support- brick and mortar shops, independent artists and artisans, restaurants and bookstores. I’ve included some suggestions and ideas but this list is just a starting point to inspire you to think of creative ways to support the businesses that matter to you!
brick and mortar shops…online and IRL!
You know those stores you walk into and think, I want my house to look like this? That’s how I feel about Collyer’s Mansion, a tiny home store in Brooklyn. Their colorful printed table linens and bedding are the stuff of dreams, and they have a great website, so you don’t have to live in Brooklyn to shop there!
Domain by Laura Hodges Studio is the shop “arm” of Laura Hodges’s interior design business, based out of Baltimore. She sells beautiful home decor items of all kinds, but I especially love her handmade jewelry.
I had to include a hometown favorite! Von Walter and Funk is a great little shop in the Lawrenceville neighborhood of Pittsburgh. I’ve got my eye on these Jadeite candlesticks and a bunch of other tabletop items! Von Walter and Funk also runs a balloon design business – not kidding! – and the pictures of their work will put you in a good mood instantly.
For our last shop we are heading up to Hudson, NY! Batterby House is one of my favorite stores on Hudson’s main drag. They always have a perfectly curated selection of antiques and new home items, and on their site they’ve got some helpful gift ideas for cocktail lovers, foodies. and even homebodies. I think that’s all of us these days. If you’re looking for a gift for me, I would love these oven mitts (just kidding!) (but actually, hi mom!)
independent artists, artisans, and designers
I’m listing a few of my favorites here, but one quick trip to Etsy and you’ll realize how many thousands of talented people are making and selling everything from aprons to wreaths, jewelry, cozy hats, the list goes on and on.
Speaking of Etsy, that’s a great place for us to start. Whether we like or not, masks have become the sort of unofficial accessory of 2020. There are so many different masks available from sellers on Etsy, but these cotton masks in colorful prints from Liberty Fabrics are my fave- so cute and comfortable to wear all day.
I love these fun tiger pillows by Olivia Wendel textiles. (she also makes a scarf in the same print!) And if you’re looking for a smaller gift, Olivia has also designed a puzzle for Jiggy Puzzles.. keep reading!
Jiggy Puzzles makes the most GORGEOUS puzzles featuring artwork from female artists. Just looking at these puts me in le holiday spirit !
If you’ve followed me for awhile, you know I love me some Martha Oakes Designs. Martha’s watercolor paintings are both colorful and calming, and her prints make great gifts!
Based in New York, ceramicist Tracie Hervy makes elegant minimalist pottery. I especially love her vases. Here’s a link to stores who carry Tracie’s work!
My friend Louisa Cannell is an incredibly talented illustrator, and thankfully for us, she is selling some super fun prints of her work online, along with iPhone covers, stickers and more.
I’m a sucker for a good candle, especially a Christmas-scented one! I love the Balsam Fir candle from 228 Grant Street Candle Co., but I’m intrigued by their Cedar & Vanilla candle, too!
Because food is an art form I had to include Dana Cowin’s new site, Giving Broadly, which features products from female food entrepreneurs. Keep this incredible resource bookmarked for holiday shopping and for when you need a fun new ingredient to jumpstart your creativity in the kitchen. It’s also inspiring just to scroll through and read about all the different food businesses women have started in the last few years!
restaurants / food stores / bars
It goes without saying that restaurants have had an incredibly hard time this year. Many have come up with creative ways to stay afloat – from merchandise to CSA memberships to wine clubs, dinner kits, pantry goods, and more. All of these would make great holiday gifts! A few examples from some of my faves… Momofuku’s seasoned salts and chili crunch, fun merch from Lil Deb’s Oasis in Hudson, pasta-making kits from DiAnoia’s in Pittsburgh, and “mail-order’ wine from The Four Horsemen wine bar in Brooklyn. Take a look at Resy’s helpful gift guide for more ideas, and then check out what your favorite restaurants have to offer!
This one is pretty straightforward. Books are always a great gift – especially cookbooks! Yes, they are cheaper on Amazon.. But the extra few dollars you’ll spend supporting your local, independent bookstore will go towards helping that store remain a vibrant, important part of your community. I just ordered a bunch of books from The Strand, which is just a few blocks from us in New York, but check out Bookshop.org ‘s directory to find independent bookstores in your area. And if you don’t have a book in mind, gift cards are great, too!