Spread Christmas Cheer by Shopping Small and Local

Christmas and shopping are practically synonymous. Businesses go all out trying to entice everyone to spend their last penny on one more video game or scented candle. I like to play video games every so often, and I love scented candles. But I have a shopping philosophy. When I can, I make it myself. When I can’t, I like to buy small and/or local.

Image courtesy of thephotoholic / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

For many years, I have made Christmas plates filled with home-baked goodies for my clients and friends. My clients are high-profile attorneys that get high-dollar gifts at Christmas, but they elbow each other out of the way when I bring in my plate of cookies, toffee, and other treats. They begin asking right after Thanksgiving when I’ll be delivering them. Pity the poor attorney who is at trial on delivery day. They get little more than crumbs. Now, I’m not a baker extraodinaire, but fresh home-baked yummies beat anything shrink-wrapped.

Several years ago, our money was unusually tight at Christmas. A few friends and I got together and made different crafts to sell at open houses. I made very simple, but cute, stamped and painted tile coasters. I priced them reasonably and financed our entire Christmas that year. It still wasn’t a big Christmas, but it was more than we would have had. I thanked every customer profusely. I was so grateful for the opportunity to earn extra money. My customers were just as satisfied to get unique, inexpensive, and quality gifts for teachers and other recipients.

Last week, I met a lady selling very cute hair bows in the lobby of a building downtown. She’s small and local (to Austin). Summer Pappas with Best In Show Bows makes some of the cutest bows I’ve ever seen. You can combine several clips together to create different looks.  Toooo cute.  My girls read my blog, so I can’t say for sure if and how many bows I may have bought from Summer.

Sometimes I can’t get small and local, so I try to do one or the other.   A lady I know via the Internet (which means I don’t know her at all in real life), is sewing capes, aprons, and doll clothes to fund Christmas this year.  Her son is very ill, and she started sewing with scraps to help buy presents for her children.  Her husband was laid off more than a year ago and hasn’t been able to find a job yet.  While she can’t fulfill a gazillion orders, she’s working as hard as she can to crank out enough to cover their expenses.  See her site at ClothedInScarlet.

These are just two ladies I know that offer totally unique and quality products which will provide great gifts for the buyer and extra income for the seller.  There are more.  TONS more.  Check out craft fairs, farmers markets, and church bazaars.  There’s no telling what you’ll find.

Please share any small businesses or individuals who have quality gifts for sell.  Someone may be local for you!


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