Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Holiday Gift Guides 2013: Volume 1

Shop Small/Give Big: Gifts Under $40

Think about this for a minute: does a gift purchase you make at a big box store (on or offline) make more of an impact or does shopping with small independent businesses? Does shopping at big box stores backed by mammoth corporations embody what you see as the spirit of Christmas or does spending your hard earned money with small retailers who put their hearts and souls into their businesses and customer service?

You might have guessed by now, I for one do not buy into what has become a bizaare sporting-like event reminiscent of gladiators at the Colleseum. It just doesn't represent Christmas to me.

Shopping at small businesses means more to me somehow. I get great customer service, I get more unique selection of products, it feels like I'm making a bigger impact.  Small independent business owners live, eat and breathe their businesses and, for the most part, it shows. Compare that to the big box stores who have been advertising for your 'dollar' since September. I for one, appreciate the sincerity of small independent businesses and their relationships with their customers. I also appreciate the impact supporting independent business owners can have on them, their staff, and on their local economies.

Let's just take one example: According to the Institute for Local Self Reliance, "Studies have found that big-box retailers, particularly Walmart, are depressing wages and benefits for retail employees, and that median incomes have risen faster in places with more small businesses compared to those dominated by big businesses."

Not only that, but quite simply, I believe you can find more personal gifts through independent businesses, whether in your local community or online.

This year I encourage you to really consider where and who you're spending your money with and the power your purchasing habits can have. Whether you choose to shop locally or online through venues like etsy (where you'll find a ton of awesome shops focused on handmade and vintage), just stop and think about the difference you can make.

That's what my 2013 Shop Small/Give Big gift guides will be all about, starting with this Volume 1 which features handmade or vintage gifts for $40 from my fellow etsy shop owner. 


Please visit these shops for the products you see above:

Margaret Vera: horse bit bracelet 

Nutak: wood necklace 

Rank & File Vintage: pottery vase 

Secret Holiday Co.: yes flag

Zebras And Bubblegum: vintage carrying case

Kulayan: ruffled skirt 

Cake Number 9: woven table runner 

Edies Lab: winged ampersand

ancienesthetique: vintage fedora 

Shabby N Chic: antique wooden cheese  

Go on, give shopping small a try and see how big you can really give this season.

If you are an independent business owner and would like to be considered for inclusion in one of the upcoming gift guides this holiday season, please email me at pbates (at) speakeasyinfo (dot) net. 

Ciao for now,


  1. Great finds - classic style. Thank you for including my antique cheese box.

    1. More than welcome Shabby N Chic! love that cheese box.

  2. I agree with everything you said. Handmade by you or someone else is so much more personal. I believe is supporting small businesses and it's not hard to do with your beautiful gift guide!

    1. It's so true Sarah. I always 'make' a little something myself, and try to find other handmade gifts as well. I LOVE the plaid jewelry --- tried to comment but for some reason I always have an issue posting......could be windows.


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